One you chop you just can’t stop

I’ve spent the last month wavering back and forth between the big decision that seems to plague me every couple months: Cut or grow? BAA or TWA? Crop or Crown?

I knew I needed a simple trim so I made a last minute appointment with my stylist Marie of Madusalon in San Francisco. The issue is, last minute appointments don’t work so well for a lady whose signature curly cuts book out a month in advance.

We were crunched for time in a serious way.

As a result, I decided that I simply wanted to go natural.

“Go natural?” you say. Yes, go natural, as in ditch the color and the crazy cuts, I wanted a short cropped do and my own natural color.

The result is just that, a short cropped do featuring Lola au naturel!


Well, kind of.

The remaining blonde highlights will have to go pretty soon, but you get the point.


Wanna know the other point? Of course you do.


There is just something so simple, chic and pure about having a minimalist ‘do.

Saying that my hair is easy to style is an understatement. It takes a matter of seconds and I’m done! I will say that I am having a bit of a challenge in finding the appropriate combination of products that coax my curls out of hiding. It seems that my hair likes different products at every different length and right now we’re seeing a renaissance of GELS. Stay tuned for how that evolves.


You may notice that I’ve been rocking a side part with the look, a style note I pinched from my lifelong bestie (and BIRTHDAY GIRL) Phallon, who added one to HER big chop a few months ago. It’s a super simple addition, but one that adds a level of sophistication and refinement to the new crop. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post when I do a tutorial on how I get the part (and make it STAY!)

5 Reasons Why Short Hair Kicks Major A**

It’s been two glorious  months since I went for my second big chop and I’m stil VERY VERY happy with the decision to clip my curls! I like it SO much in fact, I’ve even been back to the salon to have it cut even shorter!  Here’s why:



1. Short hair means short everything

When my curls were longer, my hair could take 30-40 minutes to wash, condition + style and upwards of eight hours to dry. Now? We’re talking under 5 minutes to wash, condition AND style followed by 2 hours until I’m fully dry. It really can’t be beat!

2. I can wear a helmet!

I went from something like this:
afro biker

Natural hair + a naturally big head = bike helmet woes.

When I had longer hair, my helmet would be more perched atop my head for show than securely protecting my brain. I searched for a larger helmet to no avail and even made phone calls to various helmet companies in search of one that would fit. “You mean you don’t have an XXXL??” Now with a Little Lola, my helmet slips on not a problem AND it doesn’t even really mess up my curls afterwards!

3. TWO WORDS: statement. jewelry.

Imma let this [sneak peek from Curls, Curves & Cocktails!!!] picture tell 1000 words for this one.


4. Products last longer

You’d think it would be obvious: that less hair means less product. However, the first time I washed my own hair after the cut I applied my normal amount of styler and ended up with about 15X the product I needed on my head. The tiny dollops product I need for my entire head of short natural hair mean that the all of my favorite hair goodies stick around for much longer! It’s definitely a money saver!

5. It’s fly. That’s all there is to it.

There was a time when I was worried about being less attractive and feminine with short hair, but I quickly got over it and fell in love with the new ‘do that doesn’t allow me to hide behind bangs, layers, curls and accessories. Cropped cuts are confident, chic, edgy and definitely not for the faint of heart. I love dressing mine up with bold make up and big earrings or keeping it detendu and au naturel with a simple sweep of blush. Either way, it’s the most effortlessly, easy style I’ve found to rock a polished look.


I Couldn’t Resist the Clippers (Part 2)

So where did I leave off?

Oh right! I left the salon looking all cute and fly and digging my hair. I woke up in the morning and figured that since I had short hair- what the hey!? Why not wash it! So I went through my normal cleanse, condition, and style routine and when I got out of the shower I saw that my hair was looking a bit… off. My curls weren’t defined at all and instead were sticking straight up giving me a flat top. Which is not what I wanted. At all.


I tried to work with it, I really did, but I felt less #CrazySexyCool, and more #HouseParty. It wasn’t good.


As promised I returned to Marie for my finishing touches. Maybe, just maybe, I thought she can figure out what was going on here. And as soon as I sat in her chair she gasped:

“Where are your curls!?”

“I thought something was wrong!!! I thought that maybe it was just that my hair was too short to curl!”

“Go home IMMEDIATELY and steam your hair. I can’t cut anything because all I see is frizz!”


It was bad. But I followed the doctors orders and used my Huetiful Hair Steamer with DevaCurl’s Heaven In Hair, leaving it in when the steam sesh was over.

Thankfully, when all was said and done, my little curly coils were BACK and I breathed a MASSIVE sigh of relief. Turns out that the cut and color had given poor little Lola a shock and all she needed was a dose of hydration to be revived. PHEW!


I’m finally happy to say that Lola has received a clean bill of health and approval to be photographed. So without further ado:

Apparently short haircuts give you cheekbones? Don’t know where those things came from, but I don’t mind one bit.

So I didn’t go cue ball or really, really low on the fade because one of the things I like most about my hair is it’s texture. We wanted to go for a length that would truly show off my unique texture and teeny weeny curls and I think we did just that! A huge THANK YOU to Marie of Madusalon for as always taking my crazy and convoluted hair ideas and creating an awesome and unique style. If you’re in the Bay Area you REALLY must check out Madu. They’re the best.

This cut is everything. No really, it is. It’s sophisticated and playful, structured yet soft, refined yet edgy. So far I am L-O-V-I-N-G how easy it is to take care of and the drying time is next to nothing (a far cry from my usual 8 hours!). It also really makes me want to DRESS and bring out lots of fun colors, accessories and patterns.]


As you know, I really like to name each of my styles, but I’m really at a loss right now! If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments and I’ll pick one of ’em out!

**STYLE SHOUT OUT: Thanks to FunkyButtons for hooking up the pictured red earrings. Check out her shop and get yourself a pair of your own!***

Chop! Chop! I Couldn’t Resist the Clippers.

For the past couple weeks I’ve had a trip to the salon on the mind.  My ends were feeling ratty, my color had seriously grown out and it was just time to get in Marie’s chair at Madusalon and let Lola get some professional love.  The issue is, I was headed into the salon with The Itch.  You know, that little voice in the back of my mind that has been saying [for upwards of a year] “SHAVE IT OFF!”

Seeing as I transitioned for a year, I never had the opportunity (or the guts) to chop my hair super short, but it’s always been a style to which I’ve been drawn  I wrote an entire series on this blog called “Chop! Chop!“, which features interviews with those who have rocked their 2nd Chop (starring: Felicia Leatherwood, Tomiko Frasier Hines, and Pam Jenkins of Koils By Nature).  To me, these ladies were almost braver in chopping the second time around because they had already crossed the finish line that most naturals are yearning to reach: long, natural hair.  So for these Chop! Chop!’ers to just clip off their years of “work” inspired me by showing not just that it was possible, but also yielded beautiful, confident results with no regrets.

So there I was, with a 2nd Chop on the mind, a hair appointment on the books and the conflicting emotion of wanting to have beautiful flowing curls.  I explained all of this to Marie who took my confusion in stride and helped me sort it out:

“So you want short hair, but also long hair?”


“You’re making no sense.”

“I know.”

“Well, show me what you’re talking about.”


After a trip to her computer where I showed her some cropped cuts and styles I’ve been eyeing she sat me in her chair and broke out the clippers.


My heart raced as I saw piles of my curls fall to the floor and disappear into a trash bin.  I have to admit I was sad to see them go.  Very sad.


I’ve always loved my spiral boing boing curls, but I also found myself entranced by the sleek, short silhouette I saw in the mirror.


Once the cut was done, we decided to do another round of all over color.  I’ve been a HUGE fan of the color I’ve been rocking this past year so decided to bring it into my new style.


After a round of all over dye, followed by highlights and a finishing toner, I was washed, styled and only had a few minutes to sit beneath the dryer before I had to dash off to be a guest judge at an elementary school spelling bee in Oakland (!).

Typically Marie does a final cut to finish the style, but I had to dash out the door so quickly we didn’t have time that night but decided that I would return to the salon in a couple days for her to check it out.  I also promised I wouldn’t post pictures of her work until it was all finished.

Leaving the salon, my hair looked great!  I was loving the cut and felt fresh, sophisticated and renewed.  However, the next day, things started to go downhill….

…and learn why in part 2…

Camille’s Big Loc Chop

I peeped Miss Camille’s new ‘do on Instagram and immediately pinged her to send me more pics.  Y’all know that I love 2nd Chops more than anything so I took the opportunity to snag an interview with this Bay Area Naturalista who just snipped off her locs for a fierce short style.



...and after the 2nd chop!


Cassidy: What inspired your 2nd chop?

Camille: I get bored easily with my hair and like to change it up. After having locs for a year, I was just ready for something different. I was also feeling very stressed and overwhelmed around that time. Cutting my locs, I felt, was a great way to release some of that negative energy. I cut all my locs off one random night sometime in April, and went to the barber the next day to fix it up. I have kept it short since.

Cassidy: What has the reaction been?

Camille: The reactions have been all positive, thankfully. Most of my friends and family have told me short hair really fits me and suits my face well. I have yet to receive any negative feedback.


Cassidy: How do you like the new look?

Camille: I love the new look! I feel like I’ve received more compliments with this look than any other style I’ve rocked before, including after my first big chop in 2008. I feel like I look a little more sophisticated, but funky at the same time. I love that I can rock it dressed up or dressed down, with little effort on my end.

Cassidy: What’s your regimen like now?

Camille: My regimen is a lot more fluid now that my hair is so short; I simply attend to it as needed. I wash my hair every week to a week and a half. I like to rotate between Trader Joe’s Tee Tree Tingle Shampoo, V05 Moisturizing Shampoo (passion-fruit smoothie), and Tresemme Color Protection Shampoo. After I rinse out the shampoo, I follow up with a conditioner. I switch between V05 Moisturizing Conditioner and Trader Joe’s Balanced Moisturizing Conditioner. After washing my hair, while it is still damp, I use a creamy leave-in and seal it in with an oil. Some of the leave-ins I use include Garnier Fruntis Sleek & Shine Conditioning Cream, Beautiful Textures Tangle Taming Leave-in, and Oyin Handmade Hair Dew (my favorite). As for oils, I use a variety of kinds like olive, grapeseed, castor, and coconut. Throughout the week, I spritz my hair with a little water every morning and apply a little oil every other day.

Cassidy: Are you planning to keep it short or grow it out?

Camille: When I originally cut my locs in April, I had planned to grow it out. However, I fell in love with the way it looked short and have cut it three times since then. Also, as a full time student with two part time jobs, short hair works really well with my lifestyle and busy schedule. So I might keep it short for now until I get the urge to feel a handful of curls in my head again.

Cassidy: Anything else you’d like to add?

Camille: Since going natural in December of 2008, I have noticed a growth in the way I think about my natural hair. After my first big chop, I just really wanted it to grow. I longed to have that afro people avoided sitting behind in the theater. Because of my gravity-defying shrinkage, I would sometimes become discouraged by what seemed like snail-paced growth. Then I started my loc journey in March 2011 because I always wanted them and was ready to take the leap. In this journey, I was still slightly obsessed with attaining length and reaching certain length goals. Over the years I have just fallen in love with the texture of my hair, and the unique look of it. I’m now more concerned with it being healthy and looking fabulous at all times. At this point, I have no hair goals. I’m just loving my hair for what it is at the moment, and going with the flow. Thank you for this feature!

Be sure to keep in touch and follow Camille’s natural hair journey on her YouTube channel Natural Hair Care and Love!

Chop Chop! Tomiko Fraser Hines Models Her 2nd Chop

For our final installment of the Chop Chop series, which celebrates the 2nd chop, we have Tomiko Fraser Hines.  It was recommended by several people, including previous Chop Chop’er, Felicia Leatherwood, that I catch up with this lady to hear her story.  So glad I did because it truly is a powerful narrative to round out this series!


Tomiko Before (Photo Credit: Derek Blanks)


After the 2nd Chop! Gorgeous! (Photo Credit: Derek Hines)


Natural Selection: What inspired your 2nd chop?

Tomiko Fraser Hines: I decided to do another big chop because I felt at my core that it was time.  I have been on a wonderful journey of self-discovery and self-definition these past few years.  As I mature, I realized that I wasn’t always being my TRUE me.  I was being what I thought I needed to be or how I was expected to be.  I knew it didn’t feel right, but I was afraid to do anything else.  But when my spirit is ready for a change, it does not keep quiet.  It lets me know every chance it gets that it is time for a change.  For example, I’ve wanted to pierce my nose for years. But I was afraid that it would negatively affect my modeling career.  But my spirit would not keep quiet until I finally decided to do it last summer and I couldn’t be happier.  Were my agents happy with my decision?  Probably not.  But I was doing and BEING who I wanted to be and it’s working out just beautifully.  And not to mention what can be done with retouching these days.  My nose ring can be “gone” with the click of a mouse.

The same thing holds true for my “choice” to do another big chop.  And let me first clarify that the first time I big chopped, I was not happy AT ALL.  I wasn’t ready to embrace my hair like that and I re-relaxed my hair the first chance I got (it fell out and I ended up HAVING to go natural again).  As I was saying, my choice to big chop again came from my spirit.  I found myself drawn to black women with TWA’s or who were wearing Caesars or completely bald.  I stopped wanting to style my hair.  The regiment of maintaining my hair was becoming too much for me to handle.  While I love wearing headwraps in general, I found myself wearing them more often because I didn’t want to comb my hair.  I even began looking at my own pictures where my hair was pulled back or wrapped and placing my fingers over the picture so I could see what I’d look like with a TWA.  I thought once I mentioned what I was considering to my husband, he would dissuade me from cutting my hair for reasons like it would negatively affect my career or he wouldn’t find me attractive with short hair.  But boy did he call my bluff!!  He not only gave me his blessing, but he told me that I am beautiful no matter how I wear my hair and it didn’t matter to him what hairstyle I wore just as long as I was happy.  I have an amazing husband!  : )

NS:  What has the reaction been?

TFH: The reaction has been amazing!  Everyone from my husband, to my friends, to my agents all love my new look!  While I’m happy that they all like it so much, it wouldn’t have mattered much if they didn’t because I love it.  And that’s all that matters in the end.  : )

NS: How do you like the new look?

TFH: I am in love with my new look!  Not only do I love the way it looks on me, I am blown away with how much easier it is to take care of.  I’m now a “wet and go” girl when it come to my hair.  I no longer have concerns about what my hair will look like if I work out or get caught in the rain.  It’s so freeing!

NS:  What’s your regimen like now?

TFH: My regimen is simple. I wet my hair in the morning and add a little less than a palmful of “Hair Rules Curly Whip” styling gel.  I then rub my hair/head in a circular motion, which creates a beautiful curl and then I let it air dry.  The whole things takes less that 5 minutes.  To say I’m thrilled with this new regimen is an understatement.  : )

NS:  Are you planning to keep it short or grow it out?

TFH: I plan to keep it short for a while.  I just can’t beat how simple it is to care for.  And I can be a little lazy sometimes when it comes to styling my hair, so this style suits me perfectly.  But I am also a chameleon and love changing my hairstyle every few months, so you never know.  : )


NS: Anything else you’d like to share with Natural Selection readers?

TFH: I’d love to invite your readers to subscribe to the new YouTube channel that my husband, Chris, and I recently created.  It’s called “Chris & Tomiko Talk About….” and we post videos of us talking about a variety of topics with our own uniqueness added to them.  They’re a lot of fun and we are upping our production value and will be putting out bona fide talk show material very soon.  Our ultimate goal is to have our own talk show on a major network and we’d definitely appreciate the support of your readers.  The link to the channel is “

They can also follow us at:


Absolutely stunning after the 2nd chop! (Photo Credit: Derek Blanks)



Chop Chop! Pamela from Koils By Nature’s 2nd Chop

For our third installment of the Chop Chop series featuring 2nd chops, we’ve got the owner and founder of the natural hair product line Koils by Nature, Miss Pamela Jenkins. I met this lovely lady and her cropped cut while out in Atlanta at Fro Fashion Week where she told me the story of her [then recent] chop story. And a few months later, here we are sharing it with you!







After! Cropped, chopped, and looking good!

Natural Selection: What inspired your 2nd chop?

Pamela: My second chop was inspired by 2 things….Gaye Glasspie and the fact that I had a bad bleaching job!! I initially wanted to color my hair a reddish brown, but due to the fact that I had a hennaed my hair and used indigo my hair would not lift…only the roots! So my hairstylist insisted on lifting a section of my hair…the ends never fully lifted but she was able to apply some color. Over the course of a few months my hair was getting very hard and dry in that section of bleached hair and I tried doing protien treatments, hydration, moisture, moisture and more moisture, but my hair was suffering, I could tell that is was completely damaged and there was no saving it.


NS:   What has the reaction been?

P:  The reaction has been amazing!!!!!! Everyone loves it and I love it!! When I did my first big chop in 2007, I was pregnant and knew NOTHING about natural hair or what products to use! I did not go on YouTube and back then there were not many ladies on or blogs like there are today! Facebook wasn’t even that popular! I wasn’t educated about natural hair.

NS:  How do you like the new look?

P: I love my new look!!


NS: What’s your regimen like now?

P: I co-wash my hair every morning with Koils by Nature Hydrating Creamy Conditioner, follow up with KBN Moisturizing Leave In Conditioner, I apply the KBN Soothing Herbal Peppermint Gel and follow up with either the Nourishing hair & Body Butter or the Replenishing Hair & Body Oil. I henna and DC (Deep Condition).

NS: Are you planning to keep it short or grow it out?

P: I plan to grow it out…I love the convenience but I miss my puff :-)


NS: Anything else you’d like to add?

P: Going natural was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! I love seeing my natural beauty!


Be sure to check out Koils by Nature products!  I’m a huge fan of their Shealoe Leave in Conditioner, Eucalyptus and Lavender Gel, and Hair and Body Butters (that smell mmm mmm mmm marvelous!!!)

Chop Chop! Monique’s 2nd Chop

Today in the Chop Chop series (featuring people who have gone for the big chop AGAIN) we have friend and fellow Bay Area Natural, Monique!  I caught wind of her 2nd chop through her YouTube channel and want to share her debut video with you, along with some questions I posed to her on the chop.

Monique (center) before at a Rock Your Natural in July

Monique after! Lovely lovely love!


NS: What inspired the chop this time around?

M: Time!  I became very frustrated with the time involved – setting a style – doing a zillion twists for the perfect twist-out and banding to stretch the hair – it wasn’t worth the hours. I could be more productive in my mind doing other things such as spending time with my family and friends, enjoying my hobbies and doing ab-so-lute-ly N-O-T-H-I-N-G! Some people call that resting. I didn’t know what that was because I was always doing something. Rather it be researching a new product or trying a different style.

NS: What has the reaction been?

M: I continually get compliments in my work and personal life, however in my military life there were a lot of blank stares – there were a few who voiced their opinions in a “I’m confused why you did that” kind of way “but it looks good”.  Mind you I work with pilots and guys who jump out of perfectly good helicopters for a living (par-rescue jumpers) and in my civilian career I work in a hospital. Overall it’s been a positive reason.

NS: How do YOU feel?

M: I LOVE it! The simplicity of it is my favorite part!!


Chop Chop! Felicia Leatherwood’s 2nd Chop

Lately I have been fascinated by the concept of the 2nd chop.  The Big Chop is so monumental, such a pivotal moment,  that I guess that I’ve always had the idea in my head that you only lop it all off once in a lifetime.  But then a few weeks ago, something clicked in my mind: you  can chop your hair off as many times as you WANT!

It’s your hair.   It’s just hair.  It will grow back.

I think that the second chop is a great reminder that hair is just hair and its all about whats inside of your head and heart that truly matters.

Over the next few weeks Natural Selection is going to be featuring 2nd choppers and asking them what inspired them to take the plunge again.  Kicking us off is the lovely Miss Felicia Leatherwood, celebrity stylist and natural hair maven.  This woman knows her natural hair and has rocked so many styles under the sun, but currently is sitting pretty with a honey-hued cropped cut.  Read on for her story!





After the 2nd Chop!!


Natural Selection: What inspired the chop this time around?

Felicia Leatherwood: Because I wanted to get back to focusing on who I am on the inside without my hair. I started becoming, what I call “Hair Obsessed,”  which is when we start making out hair be wrong for how we feel about ourselves.  We keep changing our hai so often looking for it to provide a certain feeling, but at the end of the day the feeling comed from the inside out!


NS: What has the reaction been?
FL: I feel like a Beauty Queen! Lots and Lots of Love! The thing about natural hair is when you are wearing it, you must wear it like a Queen, with the highest of Confidence! You have to know that you are the prettiest and most beautiful creature in the room!

NS: Anything else you’d like to add about your new style?
FL: This is my second favorite look for myself next to when I wore Locs. I feel beautiful, confident and sexy. Also wearing your hair in a Big Chopped and or Natural makes you want to do all the right things for yourself, that includes working out, eating right, drinking plenty of water and feeling good! I say Big Chop Sistahs Unite and rock your Natural Big Chopped Hair with Love!


For more on Felicia Leatherwood and to check out her informative and inspirational workshop, Loving Your Hair with Natural Care, check out her website here.  Next up is Seattle so if you’re in the area, be sure to check it out!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...