If you've been thinking of going short with your next hairstyle, what's holding you back? Or maybe you already took the plunge and you've been rocking a teeny weeny afro (TWA) for a while now. Either way, it's always good to switch up your look from the norm and try something new.
Thinking about making a big chop?
"Remember that your hair will always grow back - so, if you’re considering transitioning from a long to short hairstyle, I’d say do it!" says Vernon Francois, celebrity natural hair stylist, "It can be such an exciting moment in your hair journey. Don’t be afraid to experiment with color, also a cut with more height toward the front of your head can look fantastic. Visit a few hairstylists experienced in working with your hair type first, be clear about what you want to achieve and go with the one who is just as excited about your vision as you are."
How to keep it moisturized and poppin'
Caring for short natural hair is super similar to how you care for any natural hair. You should focus on applying plenty of moisture inside and out.
"Keep your daily water intake up, eat a healthy varied diet, choose sulfate-free shampoos and look for conditioners with hydrating natural oils that suit your hair type, like those from my collection," says Francois, who has a product line in Sephora, "One of the best ways to help prevent your ends from suffering is to sleep with your head covered at night, ideally wrapped in a silk scarf or cap. This will help to keep moisture locked in and the heat generated at your scalp has a conditioning effect on your strands."
Which hairstyles can beginners try?
Don't feel like you have to rely on the same-old style you're used to. There is versatility that comes with natural hair that you shouldn't take for granted.
"A dramatic side part starting at the highest point of your eyebrow arch can instantly change your look," Francois says, "Create the line with a comb, apply a little firm-hold gel with your fingertips to help it stay (I like Schwarzkopf’s Got2B Glued); then a croc clip on either side of the part, a short blast of warm hairdryer heat to set, then gently remove the clips and voila!"
If you want something a bit more dramatic, you could also incorporate other materials.
"Treat yourself to some beautiful material that complements your outfit and create a unique head scarf," he says, "Wrap it around the hairline instead of fully covering your head to emphasize and show off your texture. Experiment with different knots, folds and tie techniques — it doesn’t have to be symmetrical.
What products should everyone with a TWA keep in their arsenal?
"Everyone with a TWA should invest in products that promote healthy hair and a healthy scalp, like my Vernon François Scalp Nourishment Spray," he says, "It has a blend of several natural oils that nourish, strengthen and hydrate the hair and scalp including jojoba, sweet almond, argan, castor and crambe oil, also vitamin E; but it’s great because it has a dry finish, so it’s non-greasy."
One unique struggle to TWAs is the amount of sun your scalp is exposed to.
"Think about being sun-sensible," says Francois, "My lightweight styling serum and Dazzling Spritz shine spray both contain mongongo oil, which is known for its sun protection properties. A stylish silk-lined hat or cap can also be great for keeping moisture where it’s needed, too."
Silk-lined caps are more and more common, and they can also totally be DIY'ed if you aren't ready to let go of your favorites.
What are some misconceptions about having short natural hair that people tend to have?
"One of the biggest misconceptions that people tend to have about short natural hair is that you can’t do much with it," Francois says, "Variety is out there, all you need is the confidence to embrace it! Another misconception is that shaved designs are just for guys. They can be sassy and feminine, too!"