My junior year of college I looked back at my photos and compared them to my younger years. I’d think to myself, “Milena, what the hell have you been doing to your hair?!” I realized that I was frying the crap out of my hair and using all the wrong products. People always ask me, “Milena, how do you make your curls look like that? What products do you use?” Ladies (and some gents), it is not entirely all about the products you use but more so about the way you treat your hair all together. Your hair should be treated like skin. Moisturized and healthy with a regimen that allows you to get in the habit of taking care of it.
First, I started with some hair masks. No, that was not enough. I soon realized that there was no turning back. For some, masks will be the solution, while others are faced with the harsh reality that their hair doesn't bounce back. Believe me, you’ll know when you've hit a dead end. Some people think that protein masks will solve this problem and they’re completely incorrect. If your hair is damaged, depending on your porosity — too much protein can actually cause damage and breakage to your hair. Learn what works for your hair and educate yourself on the things that make it healthy. So many people come to me for heat damage advice but barely anyone wants to put in the work. You have to stop using the heat. No matter what you do, do not use heat. There are ways to straighten your hair or style it without heat, but again — I can’t give you all the answers. Everyones hair is different and everyones hair surely styles different, so you have to find what works best for your type of curl.
In the Winter of 2013 I got to the point of frustration where I realized, “I can’t do this anymore, I’m not happy with the way my hair looks and I know if I keep it long and damaged I’m just going to straighten it.” This is what most people with damaged hair think, and a majority of those people tend to take the iron over scissors. The big chop is a tough decision to make, I won’t lie. But when I’m fed up, I’m totally over it and willing to do anything to get back to my original state. I took scissors and chopped off all of my hair. Yes, I did it myself (and then went to a professional). It would grow out and after 3 months as much as it pained me I would chop it off again. People would be like “OMG! Milena, again!?” and I’m all like, “Yeah, again.” But no one would understand why until months later (when my hair grew to be amazingly healthy). I had to keep cutting off dead ends and that took months to repair. If you straighten already damaged hair, keep in mind that your scalp is going to grow fresh curls and you’re just going to continue to ruin any progress your scalp has already started.
One of the biggest benefits of the big chop is that you will learn so much about yourself and your hair.
- Versatility: If you’ve already had long hair, you will become an expert on styling long and short hair alike!
- Confidence: You’ll feel like you can conquer the world. I won’t lie - some days you will feel like you look like a little boy. But let’s be honest, we feel like that some days even with our long hair. If you can have short hair and rock it with confidence, you can do anything.
- Patience: You’re going to learn to wait. You will have no choice unless you want to use wigs — and who knows maybe you’ll even love your hair short and keep it that way. True story, and a lot of people do!
- Reward in Discipline: When you're growing it out you're going to want to have that cute straightened pixie. DON'T DO IT! But BELIEVE ME, once your hair has grown out you will be too scared to put heat on it (at least I was). Hard work and dedication is needed to grow your hair back and after months of patience you will treat your hair like a freakin’ million dollar lottery ticket. You'll be so happy with it, it'll be your prized possession. One of your greatest accomplishments! Lol, I know I sound dramatic — but really.
- Knowledge: After all that hardwork you will want to educate yourself. You’re going to become a curly guru. You’ll want to have thee biggest understanding of how to take care of your hair. My virtual hair professor became SunKissAlba. She has my hair texture and went through the exact problem I was having with heat damage. Although she took the cut as you grow route, I did learn a lot about hair care through her YouTube Channel. Find someone that matches your hair type and ask them for advice. If that’s me, then ask away!
I recommend that everyone try a pixie cut at least once. You’ll be surprised how much it teaches you, not only about your hair, but yourself as a whole. I know I sound like I’m being deep about hair — but forreal forreal — don’t knock it until you try it! Thank me later. ;)