Coco Chanel said, "A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life." Muva was speaking the truth because a hair cut provides liberation and freedom for so many women.
It is especially hard for women of color to choose to embrace that freedom because our culture romanticizes long, thick hair. The moment you tell your mom, aunt, or play cousin that you plan to cut your hair, they will act as if someone died. For decades, it has been instilled in us that our hair represents our crowns. This means cutting your hair signifies being stripped of your glory.
Well, that is over and done because it's a new year, and we have the right to decide what our crowns bespeak. From rocking 4C kinky hair to donning a buzz cut, the choice is yours.
Rocking a buzz cut has to be the one of the boldest moves a woman of color can make. Thankfully, there are some daring and beautiful women living life unapologetically and wearing their buzz cuts with confidence and ease – these are their stories.
I decided to cut my hair the summer of 2017 because my hair was severely damaged, and I was really growing tired of my ordinary look. I also wanted to challenge myself and detach myself from my hair, since my hair was part of my identity then. As soon as I shaved my hair off, I immediately fell in love with my buzz cut and felt like a redefined individual. I felt free to be quite honest. I was breaking gender norms and embracing my baldness.
My shaved head reminds me that beauty is within and doesn't equate to how long your hair is.
Hair is just an accessory some people choose to rock more than others. Hair isn't a necessity for me; it's more like costume jewelry. Regardless of how people choose to rock their hair, buzz cuts should not be associated with just men. Buzz cuts are unisex hairstyles.
My first chop was in July 2012 and I haven't looked back since. I had a decent length of hair growing up and I was always told, "You won't be cute without hair," or "Your hair is what makes you." I never understood how having hair could define a person and I was sick of hearing it, so I headed to my nearest barbershop and told him to go for it.
One of the best decisions I've ever made.
I just recently tried to dye my hair gray after being blonde for months, and it magically turned pink… I have no idea or scientific explanation for it (laughs). But I decided to embrace change and OWN my pretty pink buzz cut by rocking it effortlessly!
Living in South Africa as a young black woman, I've had to find creative ways of redefining the buzz cut in a way that showcases my personality best.
I color my hair, shave letters into my hair, maybe even add glitter if I'm in the mood; or sometimes I just wake up and leave my hair to do what it does best, shrink into beautiful little coils on the top of my head. I used to find myself grabbing any accessory and makeup product to put on, just to make up for the absence of hair on my head, however, I have now come to learn the true essence of owning my buzz cut.
Firstly, I had to fall in love with my revamped self and then, I had to confidently allow the world to see my cranium in its true element. From there, owning my buzz cut has become so effortless, yet so impactful on my being.
I've realized that being in high school and cutting your hair off completely is a BRAVE MOVE because judgment is inevitable. Being able to conquer my fear of judgment really did empower me in so many aspects of life. I shaved my hair off at 16 because I no longer wanted my hair to be perceived as an extension of my personality. I was known as the girl with the bob cut, and constantly complimented on my hair.
I no longer wanted my hair to own me.
Hair is praised in society and steers discrimination in many South African schools today. On the other end of things, a woman that does not have hair (whether it be by choice or not) is judged frequently by so many people in society because it goes against the norm.
In grade 10, I started feeling as though my identity no longer belonged to me. I felt as though my identity was now made up of physical things, including the strands growing out of my scalp. That's when I decided to be brave and stood in front of the mirror, picked up the clippers, and shaved all my hair off. I have felt empowered, liberated, and truly myself ever since. Owning my buzz cut meant repossessing my true self. I wouldn't change the experience for the world.
I chose to cut my hair as a form of expression and to make me feel more confident.
Art is an outlet for me. Cutting my hair happens to be the best form of expression for me now. Before I decided to cut my hair, I was feeling uninspired. I was stressed out, I wasn't focused, and I was kinda depressed. It felt like nothing was going right, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I felt like I was wasting my talents, I felt like I wasn't good at it, I was losing myself and didn't care about things I loved. I had to get rid of that doubt and get out of that mindset. I've been through some tough times in my life and one thing that was always with me was my hair. My hair was there when I was sad, inspired, stressed, happy, motivated, and depressed.
Art had always been a way to express myself. I've always been daring with hair colors and other forms of creating but this time, I wanted to cut it all off. So the night before I got it cut while I was sleeping, I sorted through all of my feelings and any doubts and any reminders that stopped me from wanting to be great. When I woke up that morning, I was determined to feel better, do better, and live better. With every shave, I was close to feeling like a new person.
So now every time I cut my hair I'm freeing my body, my mind, and spirit of any negative vibes and starting over. To top it off, I'll dye my hair a new color.
Cutting my hair gave me a sense of power and confidence.
You have to be a strong and daring woman to rock a buzz cut. I own my cut by living in my confidence. Now my room isn't the only place I feel confident, I'm confident everywhere I go! I smile back at people that smile and stare at me instead of looking at my phone or walking in another direction. Honey, I own every room I walk in now.
I originally chose to cut all my hair off in 2009 to release myself from all the "good hair, bad hair" ideals I grew up with.
I know I'm not the only black girl who grew up telling people, "I have Indian in my family" just to give the impression that my hair would somehow be better because I was "mixed."
I have cut my hair and let it grow out many times since then, but this is the first time I have truly loved being bald! I enjoy the attention I get when I walk into a space and people are taken aback that my confidence is just as strong without hiding behind a bunch of hair. I serve face! I even started an Instagram page @baldgirlmagic and hashtag #BaldGirlMagic to celebrate beautiful bald women like myself. Whether you lost your hair from chemo or you chose to shave it, we all belong to this really cool club!
I own my buzz cut by simply being myself.
Six years ago, when I first cut my hair, I was uncertain about how I would be viewed. Not having hair has really allowed me to discover the best parts of myself and provide me with the confidence needed to go through life full-speed.
I am proud of the woman I am and the woman I'm becoming. I truly don't see me ever growing it out!
It's been almost 8 years now since I've cut my hair, and my reason for cutting it at 20 turning 21 was because weaves were expensive (laughs). I'd just wanted to try something new, finally getting to the legal drinking age.
I wasn't really thinking of the freedom that I was about to feel.
My reason for keeping it cut became so much more than just saving money. I'd felt so liberated, so open! I had nothing to hide behind.
I've owned having my short cut by being unapologetically me, no matter where I go.
By not being shy when walking into a barbershop filled with men, and by not being afraid to show the women in my family that there are many different standards of beauty.
I own my buzz cut in the most beautiful way.
I chose to cut my hair 5 years ago because I wanted a new look. Something to make me look more edgy and show off my beautiful features, especially my cheekbones, more. I feel like if you can rock a low cut, you can rock anything.
Hair doesn't define beauty, YOU define beauty.
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Originally published on April 3, 2018