Getting Rid of My Long Hair Made It the Healthiest It’s Ever Been
I no longer dread trims, and if you have natural hair, you shouldn’t either.
If you have naturally textured hair, you know that styling and caring for it can be a challenge. That’s why we created The Curl Corner, a monthly column that celebrates the versatility of textured hair. Here, we cover everything from how to properly style your coils to how to protect them—and include expert tips for curl patterns of all types.
When I was younger, my only goal when it came to my hair was length: Long hair was what I viewed as beautiful. I didn’t care what my ends looked like or how ratty they were and I didn’t care if my edges were brittle and broken, I just wanted long hair. When my mom would take me to the hair salon, I would cringe at the word “trim.” Even though it was in my best interest to cut off my split ends so that my hair could optimally grow, I didn’t care. Length was what I saw advertised, so that was exactly what I wanted.
Representation of women in beauty who looked like me was also a lot different back then. Natural hair wasn’t advertised even a fraction of what it is now—back then, silked out and permed hair was king. I mostly saw white women in hair ads and campaigns, and most of them had long hair down their backs. Naturally, as a young, impressionable child who at the time was mostly surrounded by non-Black children, I felt pressure to have hair that looked as close to theirs as possible.
To be honest, my views on healthy hair didn’t really do a full 180 until I transitioned from relaxed to natural hair during my freshman year of college. After a failed DIY perm resulted in chunks of my hair falling out, I made the decision to completely stop relaxers. Luckily for me, the decision wasn’t difficult. At my college, the majority of women were already natural, so it was easy for me to fully engulf myself in the natural hair movement. It’s a movement that not only amplified coils and texture, but with length not being the primary goal, hair health came first. I began to deep condition my hair on the regular, I’d tell my professional hairstylist to remove my dead ends, and—above all—I began to fully invest in protective styles.
However, it’s not as simple as putting my hair away and leaving it alone—if that were the case I’d be back at square one. Instead, unlike in the past, I now make it a point to prioritize my hair’s health, even when my weaves are in. I tend to my edges, which are often neglected while wearing weaves, I try to limit heat to my leave-out one time a week, and I’m never without a silk scarf and bonnet when I sleep.
It’s amazing the way that the psychology of hair, especially for Black women, has progressed over time. I used to think of beautiful hair as the straight, long hair derived from European beauty standards, but today, I couldn’t care less about my hair’s length as long as it’s healthy and my curl pattern is intact. Ironically, my hair is now longer than it’s ever been, which is a testament to what happens when you focus on what actually matters.
When I talk to other Black women in my circle, they share the same sentiments: health over length. We look back at older movies, magazines, and photos of ourselves and laugh at how damaged our hair was and thank the heavens for how far we’ve come. So if you’re one of those people who sits in a stylist’s chair fearing a trim, take it from me: Your hair will not only look better, but it will grow better if you let go of length hangups and prioritize healthy strands over everything else.