The Big Chop or Nah

If you’ve made up your mind about switching from relaxed hair to natural hair, then that’s great! 😉 But it ain’t easy. 😧 You might know that you have one of two options; to transition or do a big chop. Transitioning means you won’t have to chop all your hair off. Instead, you’ll keep off relaxers, heat treatments and chemical treatments while you frequently deep condition and moisturize. And oh, you’ll have to trim your hair “as little or as much” as you want.
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I’m making this post because of all the muslimahs that are not sure whether they can cut their hair or not. Well, according to   IslamQA, Muslim women aren’t allowed to shave their heads but may reduce the length for comfort or beauty. If you follow IslamQA’s opinion, then you could transition or go for the big chop (although, you might not want to cut it too low, right?).
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Uhmm…too short?

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Yep! That's more like it.

Yep! That’s more like it…

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Or maybe something in between, hmm?

There are other opinions of course and you might want to do some proper research before you decide what you want to do. (I guess this is you researching. Am I helping?)  According to Central Mosque, women can’t cut their hair except to trim uneven ends. If you follow this opinion, then you can transition but not big chop. Still wanna go natural without having to cut or trim your hair at all? Essence does not mention trimming at all in an article they made about transitioning. Remember, with natural hair there are no hard and fast rules, so by all means, embark on that journey to healthy, happy, savage hair. 😉

And oh! I spot a sister that’s considering the big chop but is not so sure. Nne, please don’t big chop just yet, you might regret it. Just try transitioning. You might want to see Kanisha Parks’ thoughts on the big chop. Hey Natural Hair’s also got a nice piece on the pros and cons of the big chop and transitioning.

Personally, I never found myself contemplating between transitioning and the big chop. I was sick of having relaxer treatments that only burned my scalp badly and damaged my hair. So one day, I accompanied my mom’s friend to a salon to get her hair treated and I ended up with a big chop! My mom wasn’t keen on the idea at first but well…I got my way😌. This was December 2011/January 2012. By now I should have waist-length hair (naah..not really) but between then and now, I ran back to “creamy crack” at least twice (like a real junkie) and got afflicted with the “scissors-hands syndrome, resulting in at least three more “huge chops” with the last (and possibly most devastating) chop around April/May last year. I believe I have been properly rehabilitated and now pledge to “maintain” my natural hair just as Eve would have (she could have had kinky hair:roll:).

One last thing; this whole natural hair thing is about patience, consistency, and a dash of adventure. Please do your research before you jump in and yes, there’s too much information out there and it can get pretty confusing. I’ll try to make sense of it all for ya. 🙂

For more on transitioning, check Black Naps. See how women compare transitioning and the big chop here.

*Nne – sister (Igbo)

Photos: Naturally Motivated Lady
Craving Yellow
Teemix
Mussoya
Blacknaps

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D.C 101

As a sister with natural or relaxed hair, deep conditioning (D.C) is generally considered a must if you want to have healthy, moisturized hair. However, some people can swear that deep conditioning is a waste of time and really, I’m tired of going through all the arguments. I have done a D.C several times and I saw good results almost every time (although I’m not sure how much of that was due to daily moisturizing). In this post, I’ll cover the basic things you need to know about deep conditioning (assuming you know little or nothing about it):

1. Deep conditioning is intended to make sure your hair absorbs and retains moisture which is what you certainly need if you have dry hair. Dry hair breaks easily and is such a pain to manipulate.

2. Deep conditioning is generally classified as moisture or protein. Naturally Curly advises alternating between moisture and protein. The proportions and frequency of each will depend on the needs of your hair though.

3. It’s got to be regular; every week, once in two weeks, once a month. The interval really depends on you and your hair (I’ll talk about hair types in a subsequent post In Sha Allah).

4. It is generally thought that a D.C requires heat to work. This may involve using a dryer or a hot towel to apply heat after the hair has been covered up with a shower cap or heating up the conditioner before application.

5. You start at the ends of your hair and concentrate there, while trying to avoid the scalp (not because it’ll burn but to prevent product build-up).

6. You shouldn’t leave a D.C in your hair for more than 20-30 mins (or even much less depending on the product) if it is an off-the-shelf product. With a natural, homemade D.C though, you can leave it overnight, which is what I do.

7. Calm down. Deep conditioning isn’t as stressful or expensive as everybody makes it seem. As a rule, I’ve never bought a deep conditioner, I always make them myself with ingredients I find lying around the house.

8. It is common knowledge within the natural hair community that your hair should be washed with warm water before you apply your D.C to open up your cuticles and allow the product penetrate the hair shaft. Although,  I read an article by Fran of HeyFranHey.com that challenges this entire idea.

9. To mix your own D.C you’ll need a base (could be mayonnaise or yoghurt), liquids (water, glycerin, aloe vera juice), oils (olive, jojoba, coconut, avocado, argan), sealants (Shea butter). Once you know the basic things that should be in a D.C and what you want the D.C to do, making yours should be a breeze.

10. I love to experiment and there’s no end to experimenting with a D.C. There’s an endless list of things you can try. In subsequent posts, I’ll elaborate on some the the above points (In Sha Allah). Until my next D.C post, keep spraying your hair with oil and water. And oh, get a leave-in conditioner to add in the mix. See ya! 🙋

Sources:
Blacknaps
Naturally Curly

Styling 101

Let’s talk about styling! Did I hear you say “what’s the point?” Well, I don’t think your hair should be jaga-jaga (scattered) all because you cover it up when you’re not at home. There may be no point in elaborate styling but I’ve got a few go-to styles:

1. Twists!!!
Once upon a time when I made time for my hair, I would twist and twist and twist! My hair was not very long then; it was longer than a TWA (teeny weeny afro) and shorter than medium-length (whatever medium-length means). I don’t measure the length of my hair. Perhaps that’s because I’ve got the “scissors syndrome”. I just keep taking a pair of scissors to my hair for reasons I don’t even remember. The last time was the worst; I had tricked myself into believing I needed a trim to get rid of split ends and because I was too impatient to get a new pair of scissors, I took my nail scissors and snipped away. It was a disaster! Lesson: never decide that you need a trim unless you are 101% sure and please get professional help if you can.

Oh yes, we were talking about twists. I would wash and condition my hair and leave it to air dry for a while. Before it dries completely, I would oil it and get to work twisting. Sometimes I apply Eco Styler gel as I twist. I love this gel, it’s the best I’ve used so far. I like twisting with gel because the twists hold for a longer period and it gives your twists a great finish really. How large or small your sections are depends on you and your hair. Longer hair would be able to manage larger sections and you probably wouldn’t be able to do chunky twists with short, thick 4c hair. I would usually carry my twists for a week or less, depending on how eager I am to unravel them.

See how to twist your hair here:
http://m.wikihow.com/Do-Two-Strand-Twists
Or here:
http://www.refinery29.com/two-strand-twist

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2. Twist-outs!!
These come after the twists and are probably my favourite part. Again, they come out better and last longer when you use Eco Styler gel to twist, at least with short hair. I’m not sure you’d want stiff twists if you have long hair.

You achieve a twist-out by unravelling your twists and then carefully separating your strands. Be careful or you’ll just spoil all your hard work. This style was great for showing off my rich, super-thick hair to my roommates 😎. I had a mirror in my room that I would pass by each time and just stop for a few seconds to check out my hair 😋. This hairstyle could last for a week or so, however, be careful how you tie your hair when you want to do your hijab and how you fluff your hair again after taking off your hijab. And don’t forget to put a layer of satin between your hair and your hijab. (Except the hijab is silk or satin of course)

Learn to do a twist-out here:
http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2014/11/natural-hair-two-strand-twists.html

3. Braids!
Braids are really my ultimate go-to because they last much longer than twists. For the last 2 months or so, I’ve had my hair in single braids, washing and conditioning without bothering to take down the braids. Now, this is a great method if you have very thick, dry hair and don’t have the time or energy to battle with your hair every week or so. It’s even better for your hair because natural African hair just likes to be left alone! When the braids get rough, you can re-braid. Cornrows are great as well, maybe even better. You could leave your cornrows for a month or so, washing, conditioning, moisturizing and oiling as often as you’d like. By the time you take down the cornrows, you’d be impressed with the curls and texture of your hair. Also, I can guarantee that your hair would feel so well moisturized. Don’t know how to braid hair? Find someone to teach you!

To learn about braiding (not including how to braid):
https://www.quora.com/Why-do-African-Americans-or-even-Africans-I-dont-know-really-do-the-whole-hair-braiding-thing

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Photos: http://www.mens-hairstyle.com
http://www.desiremynatural.com

Satin

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Retaining moisture is a must for any naturalista that wants manageable, healthy hair. One of the most popular ways to do this is to sleep with a silk or satin bonnet or scarf with added protection from a silk or satin pillowcase. I hear silk is much better than satin but it’s also much more expensive so I’ll just stick with satin. 🙂 I don’t sleep in a satin bonnet or scarf. I don’t think it makes sense for me to have my hair covered up all day and then cover it again overnight. My hair and scalp need to breathe!

What I do is I spray my hair with a water and oil mix (olive oil is my favourite) or I pass wet hands over my hair (as I would in ablution) and then rub oil over it. I prefer spraying though. Then I put a satin scarf over my hair and tie it at the back. I wear an undercap on this satin scarf to keep it in place and to give some form to the jaga-jaga (scattered) knot behind. I don’t mind the jaga-jaga knot though cos it gives the hijab a better shape without adding too much volume. I must say though, I don’t cover my ears with either the satin scarf or the undercap. Once, I told my lecturer I didn’t hear what he’d said when he asked me a question, and I was sitting in the first row. He said, “how will you hear when you have covered your ears?!” How sad. Lol.

So! On the under cap, I wear whatever hijab style I feel like. As for my night routine, I spray my hair again with water and oil and place a satin scarf on my pillow and go to bed. No matter how well I tuck the edges of the scarf under the pillow, sometimes I wake up not knowing where the scarf is. This also happens on the nights that I sleep with my hair tied up in a silk scarf. Hmm..it just occurred to me that I can pin the edges of the scarf under the pillow. I’ll have to try that and see.

I sleep with my head covered up when I am deep conditioning the hair. I usually do this when the next day is a free day for me cos it’s also going to be wash day and my hair would be able to breathe! Usually it’s not advisable to leave a deep conditioner in your hair overnight but I only use homemade DCs with natural ingredients and I haven’t had any problems from leaving them in overnight. But then again, it depends on the kind of hair you have. I have very thick, tough hair that’s just terrible when it’s dry so I focus on moisturizing DCs. We’ll talk about my DCs later. I hope you’ll try a layer of satin under your hijab for moisture retention. You know how those normal undercaps and scarves just dry out your hair. 🙂

Muslimah Naturalista

There are several naturalista blogs out there but not a single one for Muslim women that wear hijab!!! Whyyyyyyyyyyy???!!!!! 😣 I feel marginalized! 😥 Lol. No. Not really. I’m not thaaaat Biafran. 🙂

Anyway. I’ll start doing a few posts about being a covered Muslimah and a naturalista. You might be wondering why a woman that wears hijab would be bothered about what her hair looks like anyway. It’s the same reason I work out (or try to) – to look and feel good for myself. Or you might think it’s really not necessary. There are lots of great hair blogs out there right? Well, I’m doing it anyway.

Whatever I’ll be saying about hair wouldn’t be much about elaborate styling and all of that but probably more about care. Also, there’ll be no pictures of me or my hair but there’ll be pictures where they are needed. So let’s get started already!! Soon. 🙂