August 1st has come and gone but I want to acknowledge that it has been 1 year since I did, what I consider to be, my big chop.
Last year in the Spring I began flat ironing my hair more and more frequently. As a result, I got heat damage. Tired of the straight ends, I went to the local chop shop and had her cut about 4 inches of hair off. I had about 4-5 inches remaining. I wrote about it here.
Although I vowed not to use any heat on my hair for a year, I broke that promise and used a blow dryer several times. I also flat ironed once and got a professional cut back in May.
Looking back I can say that this has been the best hair year since I made the decision to stop relaxing my hair in 2008. My good hair days have certainly outweighed the bad and, judging from people’s compliments, the bad hair days weren’t as bad as I thought. I stuck with the tried and true twist-out as a styling option, throwing in an occasional ‘fro puff for good measure. My natural hair confidence has been boosted which means I haven’t cared much about what I used to stress over like curl definition, shrinkage and frizz.
Length was something that I was obsessed with in the beginning. Not so much any more. But I realize that it’s probably good to document hair growth if but only to let you know that you’re caring for your hair properly. Hair grows [hard stop]. Poorly kept hair breaks off and splits which means you’re not retaining length. If hair grows (on average) 1/4'’-1/2” a month but you have to get a 1/4”-1/2” trim every 6-8 weeks because of split ends, then you’ll see minimal growth.
And while protective styling is a great method that helps with (maximum) length retention; it’s not necessary. I've only done one protective style (mini twists) in the last year. Just keep the ends moisturized and handle them gently and you should be fine.
Although you can see my hair growth from my posted pictures below, I went ahead and grabbed a tape measure to record some stats. My hair in the front is about 8” and when pulled taut, touches right below my chin; the hair on crown is 10”; hair on the sides right above my ears is about 7” and the hair at the very nape of my neck is just about 5”. Not too bad, in my opinion.
|July 2010 - My Big Chop|
|May 2011 - After Cut/Flat Ironed|
|August 2011 - Blow Out/No Flat Iron|