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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

My Natural Hair Journey: From Big Chop to Waist Length - The Transformation and Tips I Learned Along the Way

February 2024
 Hey there, lovely people of the world! I am thrilled to open up about my natural hair journey with all of you today. It has been one heck of a ride since I made the decision to transition from relaxed to natural hair. There have been highs and lows, moments of self-discovery, and a whole lot of experimenting with hair products. But here I am today, absolutely over the moon to tell you that my once damaged and short hair has transformed into a beautiful mane that reached waist length at its longest. I've since cut it to a more manageable bra-strap length, which suits me better personally.

I want to take you along on this journey of mine, sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly. I'll let you in on the tips and tricks I've picked up along the way, as well as the setbacks I've faced. It's been a journey of transformation, and I can't wait to spill all the details with you. So, are you ready to dive in with me? Let's do this!

Transition Period: Challenges and Tips
April 2017

My journey to embracing my natural hair began back in 2016 when I was still a college student. It all started with me simply running out of time to relax my hair, and before I knew it, I had a noticeable amount of new growth. It was a spontaneous decision to go natural, but I was excited to see where this journey would take me. I remember stocking up on Shea Moisture products and diving into the world of natural hair care.

The transition phase was definitely a test of patience. Dealing with two different hair textures was challenging, to say the least. One of the key things I learned during this time was the importance of keeping my hair hydrated. Dryness can lead to breakage, especially at the line where the new growth meets the relaxed hair. I also discovered the benefits of using a wide-tooth comb or my fingers to detangle, starting from the ends to minimize shedding. Nighttime hair care became crucial as well. I made sure to protect my hair with a silk or satin scarf or pillowcase to reduce friction and prevent breakage while I slept. Styling during the transition period was a bit tricky, given the two different textures. I relied heavily on twist outs and braids to manage my hair during this time.

The Big Chop: Beginning of the Journey
July 2017

First things first, what do I mean by 'The Big Chop'? It refers to cutting off all the chemically treated hair, leaving just the new natural growth. The decision to go for the big chop wasn't easy. However, it was a significant step towards embracing my hair’s natural texture. After almost a year of transitioning, I had a significant amount of new growth, and I was tired of dealing with the two different textures. I knew that it was time to make a change and learn to love my hair in its natural state.

I had originally booked an appointment with a stylist for a silk press and a trim, but when I sat in that chair, I made a bold decision. I told the stylist to go ahead and chop off all my relaxed ends. The moment the scissors touched my hair, I felt a mix of liberation and fear. It was a radical transformation, but it marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life.

Physically, it felt like I was starting fresh with a blank canvas. I had to relearn how to care for my hair in its natural state. It was the beginning of a journey of self-discovery and self-love, and I wouldn't change a thing about it. The big chop was a symbol of my strength and courage to embrace my true self.

Hair Care Routine: The Foundation

Washing my hair for the first time after I cut off all my relaxed hair was a moment of truth. It was like rediscovering my natural hair all over again. I had a routine that worked while I was transitioning, but now I needed something new. After a lot of trial and error, I finally found a hair care routine that worked wonders for me. I found that taking care of my natural hair was not just about washing and styling; it was about giving my hair the nourishment it needs to thrive. I learned that consistency is key when it comes to the health and growth of my hair.

September 2017

In my hair care arsenal, moisture-infusing products were my secret weapon. Natural oils like almond and jojoba, along with deep conditioners and leave-in conditioners, transformed the way my hair looked and felt. I also discovered that using the right techniques could make a huge difference. Weekly washing, regular deep conditioning, sealing in moisture with oils, and gently detangling my hair were all essential parts of my routine.

I've come to understand that what works for someone else's hair may not necessarily work for mine. It's important to know and embrace your hair type, and tailor your routine accordingly. By doing so, you can ensure that your hair stays healthy, strong, and beautiful.

Protective Styling: The Key to Growth

I truly believe that protective styling has been the key to my hair growth journey. It's all about giving your hair a break and letting it thrive on its own. I can't stress enough how important it is to minimize manipulation, and that's exactly what protective styles allow you to do. Personally, I found that wearing my hair in protective styles about 80 percent of the time made a significant difference.

My favorite go-to protective styles were braids and twist outs, but as I became more confident in my hairstyling abilities, I started experimenting with faux locs and marley twists. It was not only a fun way to switch up my look, but it also helped in protecting my hair and promoting growth.

October 2020
I've learned that protective styling is truly a growth booster. These styles work by safeguarding the ends of your hair, which in turn reduces the risk of breakage. Here are some tips that I've picked up along the way:

  • Opt for braids, twists, or buns as they protect the ends of your hair and support length retention.
  • Avoid leaving the style in for too long to prevent matting and potential breakage.
  • Make sure to keep your hair moisturized even when it's in a protective style, as dryness can lead to breakage.

By incorporating these practices into my hair care routine, I saw a noticeable improvement in the health and length of my hair. Protective styling has truly been a game-changer for me, and I can't recommend it enough for anyone looking to achieve healthier and longer hair.

February 2018
Length Check: Celebrating Progress

When I embarked on my hair growth journey, I made sure to keep track of every little progress I made. It was such an exciting feeling to hit new milestones and see my hair getting longer and healthier with each passing month. To monitor my progress, I would perform length checks every now and then. It was a simple process of stretching out a section of my hair and measuring how much it had grown. This visual representation of my progress kept me motivated and excited for the next check-in.

It's important to remember that everyone's hair grows at a different pace. If you feel like your progress is slow, don't get discouraged. Focus on enjoying the journey and taking care of your hair, rather than just fixating on the end goal. I eventually reached a point where I stopped obsessing over length checks and simply reveled in the journey itself. The real progress for me was seeing my hair become stronger and healthier.

Overcoming Challenges: Dealing with Setbacks

October 2020
Setbacks are a natural part of any journey, including hair growth. It's crucial not to lose hope when faced with challenges. Keep nurturing your hair, celebrate every small victory along the way, and most importantly, keep pushing forward. The results will come, but the journey is where the real magic happens. Your natural hair journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Along the way, I faced several challenges. From dealing with dryness and breakage to unmanageable tangles and knots, it was a learning curve.  It wasn't easy, but every hurdle has taught me something valuable.

One of the biggest hurdles I faced was feeling like my hair was stuck at a certain length. It was frustrating, but I refused to give up. I continued to care for my hair, educate myself on the best practices, and adjust my routine as needed.  I've learned that setbacks are just a part of the journey. They may be discouraging at times, but they are also opportunities for growth and improvement.

Waist Length: Reaching My Hair Goal

Setting and achieving my hair goals has been such a rewarding journey for me. When I made the decision to embrace my natural hair, I set the ambitious goal of growing it until it reached my waist. It wasn't an easy path - there were setbacks and challenges along the way, but there were also moments of triumph and growth.

In 2022, after years of patience and dedication, I finally reached my goal of waist-length hair. Surprisingly, when I reached this milestone, I didn't feel the overwhelming excitement I had anticipated. I had stopped obsessing over length checks and was simply enjoying my hair as it was. It wasn't until I straightened my hair one day that I realized just how long it had gotten. It was a moment of realization and pride in how far I had come. However, in 2023, I made the decision to cut my hair. It may seem counterintuitive after spending so much time and effort growing it out, but I realized that bra-strap length was more manageable and suited my lifestyle better.

The journey to achieving my hair goals taught me so much about patience, consistency, and self-love. It's not just about the physical transformation of my hair, but also about the inner growth and self-discovery that comes with it. I've learned to appreciate and understand my hair in a whole new way, and I'm grateful for the lessons it has taught me along the way.
December 2021

Conclusion: Embracing the Journey

Looking back on my natural hair journey, the one thing that stands out is that it was a journey of self-discovery, self-acceptance, and self-love. It was about more than just hair growth. It was about learning to embrace and love my hair for what it is. To anyone embarking on their own natural hair journey, remember, it is a journey, not a race. Embrace each stage, each challenge, and each triumph. Learn about your hair, listen to it, and most importantly, love it!

Through this journey, I’ve come to realize that natural hair isn’t just hair. It’s a crown, a statement, an essence of who we are. It's beautiful, and it's unique, just like every one of us. So, here’s to embracing our natural hair, in all its glory, at ANY length.


  1. This was so inspiring! And love seeing your different hair phases. What would you recommend to someone who’s just starting their healthy, natural hair journey ??

    1. The best thing you can do for your hair is leave it alone as much as possible. When I first started I used minimal products and minimal styling. If you're looking for a easy routine to follow, check on my post on my wash day routine. https://www.kerinskorner.com/2024/01/my-hair-care-secrets-unveiling-my-long.html

  2. Excellent write up from one Team Natural to the other.


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