If there is one summer when folks who don't believe in climate change (what in the world?!) should definitely get this side-eye, this one would have to be the one. Y'all, I live in the South, so I'm used to the summertime being mad humid. Still, when it comes to the heat that the sun is giving this year? I'll put it to you this way — currently, I am like the seniors who try and run errands at 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. to avoid it. Straight up.
That's why I totally get that some people are all about big chopping this season. Shoot, for most of my adult life, my hair has been some variation of short (no exaggeration), so I totally get it. Still, as someone who has big chopped and also sometimes regretted it due to it being more emotionally-driven than a well-thought out plan, if you're someone who is strongly considering doing it, in order to make sure that you won't find yourself crying in your bathroom mirror from now through Labor Day, I wanted to offer up a few things to think about before you pull out your clippers or make an appointment with your stylist.
1.Have You Ever Big Chopped Before?
Here's been my personal experience with big chopping — unless your hair is really long and you've never gone super short before, it's not really the length that's the issue. No, the challenges actually come with 1) finding a cut that suits the shape of your head; 2) deciding if you want to relax your hair, texturize it (which is a form of mildly relaxing it) or go all-natural, and/or 3) figuring out which products to use. And because a lot of people tend to big chop impulsively, that means they didn't devote enough time to doing any real preparing which can ultimately freak them out once their hair is off of their head and in a sink somewhere.
That's why, if you happen to be a "big chop virgin", it's so important that you think about all of the points that I just made all the way through. While different lengths and styles do complement some more than others, I'll be honest when I say that it's rare when I've seen a big chop go awry; that is, when the cut is dope, the styling is on-point and the person carrying it is confident. Preparing ahead of time makes all of this possible.
2.Is It a Weather-Triggered Response?
Like I said in the intro, it's hot. LAWD, IT'S HOT. Yet just like Loretta Devine's character said in the seriesThe Client List about the weather, the same thing applies to seasons — "give it some time and it'll change". While right now, it might seem like the heat is never gonna end, the reality is that, this year, autumn officially begins on September 22. It's a reminder that seasons only last for (roughly) three months and where I'm going with this is, if you're thinking about cutting all of your hair ONLY because the heat is too much to bear, that sounds like an emotionally-charged decision. Oftentimes, moving in that space is not a good look (no pun intended); especially when it comes to making choices that you've got to live with for a while. While our hair is always growing (1/4-1/2" a month), it does require patience to gain real inches. So, if you're only considering big chopping as a way to get some much-needed heat relief, I would strongly consider pumping the brakes.
3.Is This a Hair Transition-Related Decision?
Some people opt for big chopping during the summer season because it's not uncommon for folks to go at least a few inches shorter when it's hot outside; this means that it could be a great time to transition from chemically-treated hair to an all-natural look. I'll be honest, if this is your reason for cutting your hair off, I think it's a wise move because the whole "keep your straight hair while growing out your natural texture" can be a bit taxing because that can oftentimes lead to a significant amount of breakage, if you're not careful. Plus, it can emotionally take you through it a bit if it's been FOREVER since you've even dealt with your natural hair. Learning its texture, adjusting to shrinkage, etc. might make you say "F it" and go back to relaxing. In fact, big chopping is usually for the sake of going immediately from chemically-treated to natural. Still, if you're not ready to lose all of your inches in one sitting, there is always another route that you can take. This brings me to my next point.
4.What About a Protective Style?
Something that can help to keep impulsive people from cutting their hair before they are truly ready and transitioning folks from becoming stressed the hell out as they are growing out their natural hair is protective styles. Some summers, I will do nothing but put my hair into box braids; it leads to low-maintenance and absolutely no regrets. Some pretty popular looks this year include stitched cornrows, flat-twist updos, medium-sized box braids, Bantu knots, braided faux hawks and mini twists. If you take good care of them, most of these looks can last you 3-4 weeks (at least) which will either get you through the summer heat or buy you more time for you to figure out if you really want to go short — or not.
5.Have You Discussed This with a Professional Stylist (Yet)?
The first time that I big chopped, my late fiancé literally pulled out a set of clippers and gave me an immediate low Caesar. It was the early-mid 90s and pretty "buck" at the time; although I must say that, in hindsight, I probably would've gotten a professional stylist to do it because well, they're a professional.
Listen, I know it seems so revolutionary to pull out some shears, stare yourself in the mirror and go absolutely ham on your head yet if you don't know what the hell you are doing, it can result in a mini-nervous breakdown because your hair will end up looking like it. Sometimes — no, many times — the anxiety surrounding a big chop has little to do with the length and everything to do with the cut.
That's why I strongly recommend that if you've got a professional stylist, you should run your thoughts by them. Not only can they help you to come up with a look that is the most flattering, they can also put together a hair regimen that you can realistically keep up with. That last part actually brings me to my final point.
6.Do You Get That a Short ‘Do Also Requires Maintenance?
Back when my hair was really short, two things that I adored was being able to cut it myself (learned to perfect it over the years) and being able to get-up-and-go without a lot of prep time and sometimes even drama. Still, when it's super short, cuts have to happen on the regular and when it's kinda short, you've gotta figure out what products truly work for your hair and that ain't always no crystal stair. Even when I had a relaxed mohawk (which was super cute), relaxing it sucked during the summer because I would sweat and then my sides would stick out like a porcupine.
Moral to the story? If you've been telling yourself that big chopping will free you from having to do your hair, on some levels, that couldn't be further from the truth. It's just a different kind of work. So again, think things through and choose wisely. Oh, and if you do chop it all and end up regretting it, remember that hair always grows back and a protective style can hold you down. Now, after reading all of this — big chop or no?
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
If there’s one part of the face that seems to be the most vexing to correct, it’s the under eyes.
This delicate area has a way of being tipped off by our irregular sleep patterns, stress, and the straining that comes from our computers and phone screens. From puffiness to dark circles, it can be irksome to find the right products to soothe our under-eye concerns. Thankfully, there’s one solution that delivers a brighter and more awakened look over time, and that’s under-eye masks and eye patches.
Eye patches are giving our under-eye bags an eviction notice because they can’t hang our glowing faces rent-free. The beauty of these patches is that they are designed to bring your eyes targeted results through concentrated doses of active ingredients directly to the skin under the eyes. Typically made of thin, gel-like material and infused with ingredients like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, caffeine, and even green teas, these small but mighty patches depuff your puffiness, brighten your dark circles, or tighten fine lines.
While every under-eye differs in its needs, every eye can benefit from an under-eye mask or patch that suits its concerns. And to help, we’ve put together the best under-eye patches to hydrate, soothe, and brighten your eyes.
The KNC Beauty All Natural Retinol Infused Eye Mask, 5-Pack, is a retinol-infused, all-natural product designed to rejuvenate your eyes. It promises to provide hydration, smoothness, reduced puffiness, and brightness without the use of chemicals. With ingredients like retinol to refine skin texture and stimulate blood flow and aloe to soothe and reduce redness, it's like getting 8 hours of beauty sleep for your eyes.
These cooling hydrogel under-eye masks from Topicals promise to fade the appearance of dark circles and discoloration in just 15 minutes. The set includes six masks and offers benefits that brighten, hydrate, depuff, and cool your under-eye area.
Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Brightening Hydra-Gel Eye Patches
Grab these eye contour gel patches to brighten the eye area and combat signs of aging using a powerful form of vitamin C called THD Ascorbate, which is 50 times more potent than traditional vitamin C.
BeautyBio's Bright Eyes consists of 15 colloidal silver-infused eye gel patches designed to provide instant depuffing, brightening, and revitalization to the delicate eye area within 10 minutes. They also contain natural collagen to help diminish the appearance of fine lines, which we love.
These viral hydrogel masks offer moisture and nourishment to rejuvenate tired-looking skin. Their Snail Secretion Filtrate contains "Mucin," an effective moisturizing ingredient that soothes damaged skin and delivers deep hydration, making it suitable for dehydrated and damaged skin types. Your under-eyes will thank you.
Try these caffeine-infused patches to reduce puffiness in the under-eye area. The product features clean, vegan ingredients such as caffeine, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid for deep hydration and moisture delivery.
The Forever Eye Mask is designed to be the “last eye mask you'll ever need.” This thin, lightweight, and reusable eye patch can hold gels, serums, and creams close to the skin for better absorption, helping your skincare products work more effectively.
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