Minimalist Beauty

Why I shaved my curly hair after 7 years natural

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Women shave their hair for various reasons but I thought I’d share here why I woke up one day and decide to shave my curly hair after letting it grow for 7 years.

Anyone with curly hair or who’s gone through a natural hair journey knows that it takes a lot of effort, care, consistency, and patience to care for and grow black, curly hair. Where people with straight hair would see a difference in their hair length after 6 months, it would take us (curly women) 3 years for that same growth to be visible (hello, shrinkage!).

Oh, and have you tried announcing to your family and friends that you are about to shave all your curly hair?

Yeah. Good luck.

So why on earth would a (sane(ish??), black) woman decide to shave all her hair after 7 years of pre-pooing/conditioning/detangling/protein treatments/sweat, tears, and effort on their natural hair?

Well, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

You might think it’s crazy to so much as think about getting rid of your curls or cutting your hair really short, but in my case, shaving my natural hair off turned out to be one of the best decisions of my short little life.

But I put off the decision for far too long and went through a lot of pain and misery that I could have spared myself by taking the plunge sooner. I mean, when I finally got the guts to do it, I think I plainly hated my hair.

I wish I had listened to all the signals my body and my mind were sending me about getting rid of my curls (if you could call that “curls”).

But the truth is, I didn’t know how to recognize signs back then nor did I know how to listen to my heart.

But I’m learning. And in retrospect, here are the signals or the reasons why I shaved my curly hair or why I shoud have shaved my hair sooner.

If you recognize yourself in any of what follows, then it might be time for you to consider cutting your natural hair super short and/or embrace the freedom of a buzz cut for a few months.

So, here we go:

Why did I shave my curly hair after 7 years growing natural hair?

I didn’t decide to shave my curly hair on a whim. It appears like I woke up up one morning and I shaved it, but in truth, it took years of thinking about and of built up frustration.

1. I hated my hair and I hated the way it looked

I don’t hate many things. But at that point, I think I legit hated my hair and that’s why I decided to shave it.

The way it was constantly breaking and falling despite my consistent efforts and care.

The way it looked super short even after years of trying to grow it. I swear, sometimes it felt like I’d had the same “hair” for a decade.

Anyway, I won’t go into all the reasons why I hated my hair so much: that’s what the following points are for.

But let’s just say, I was sick and tired of my curly hair. I hated it so much! My hair had become a major source of negativity in my life and the very fact that my hair was taking so much place in my life, made me hate it even more.

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2. I hated having to do my hair.

Have you ever had to take care of natural black hair? If yes, then you probably understand why I hated and still hate doing my hair.

Between the twists, the braids, protective hairstyles, wash-and-go’s, pre-pooing, detangling, moisturizing, treatments… Oh my effing God!

The time, logistics, preparation, energy, it took to do my hair every week! I just hated it!

And then, once you’re finally done doing your hair, you are still left with sticky/oily hair everywhere! In the shower drain, on your clothes, all over your bathroom floor, in your ears, your butt-crack….

And you still have to walk around with wet, dripping hair for hours, walking on eggshells, barely moving your head (forget about touching it!), waiting for your damn hair to dry.

I could not do it anymore.

The mental and physical energy… The commitment… Not to mention the “shallowness” of it all! I’m not saying that doing your hair is shallow. I’m just saying I didn’t want to spend 30-40% of my time either thinking about my hair or managing my hair when I had other things to worry about.

Again, the problem is that I was not aware of how much I hated doing my hair and that I could (and should) have faced the issue and done something about it.

It’s as if I had not realized that if you hate your hair so badly, then you should get rid of it. It’s as simple as that.

3. Everything revolved around my hair

Again, if you have natural, kinky, curly, 3a-4c type of hair, you might relate.

When you have hair like this, your whole life (and the life of people around you) revolves around your damn hair:

  • It’s humid or raining outside? F**ck! I just did my hair!
  • Need to take a plane? (re)F**ck!, I don’t have a registered bag! What do I do with my hair products??
  • Need to travel light? Shit! My hair products won’t fit in an overnight bag!
  • Changing countries? Ugh! Do you think they sell products for my type of hair over there??
  • Going to a chalet in the woods for a week? What the “F” do I do with my hair?? It’s too short to braid!

I had to work around my hair all the time. My hair was sucking up all of my energy, mental space, and free time. I even had to give up swimming, because managing my hair had become so complicated. What did I do on Sundays?

Even sleeping had become hell. ‘Cuz, ya know, you have to wear some sort of bonnet, head wrap, nightcap, to not mess up that freakin hair-do that just took you 5 hours.

Aaagh!

Just thinking about it makes me anxious.

Photo by Etty Fidele on Unsplash

4. Finding a hairdresser was a pain in the ass

Finding a hairdresser who knows how to cut natural hair/black hair is like searching for a unicorn. It seems like it doesn’t exist.

In my last 3 years natural I went to 3 different hair-dressers.

  • The first one burned my scalp and my hair with his “natural” products and his need to straighten my hair before cutting it.
  • The second one cut the middle part of my hair 15 cm (!) shorter than the rest. (I looked like a mushroom for months and it took me almost 2 years to grow out fiasco #1 and #2)
  • And the third one gave me THE worst Deva cut I’ve ever seen.

I spent those 3 years with my hair constantly wrapped, braided, or just looking ugly.

When you have natural curly hair, every visit to the hairdresser is like a game of roulette. He might do an okay job, or he might set you back years.

That’s how I ended up cutting my hair myself.

Unfortunately, that didn’t go so well either. I mean it worked okayish the first few times, but at some point, you just need a professional.

Aaaanyway. To make a long story short, after 3-4 years of this hell, my hair was looking like this:

Shave curly hair
My hair a few days before shaving it

5. It was too much effort for so little reward.

I spent 7 years of effort on growing and caring for my curly hair. Out of those 7 years, I had about 2 years of “good hair” and 5 years of pain in my ass.

My hair kept breaking, falling, not growing. Overall, my hair kept getting shorter and shorter, and my curls were looking worse than ever.

It took days of effort to make my hair look good for a few hours, then it would go back to ugly hair again.

I think I was in a perpetual state of frustration.

6. My scalp was so irritated!

Honestly, I should put this as the #1 reason for (and benefit of) shaving my natural hair: the scalp RELIEF!!!

I swear, in my final months with hair, my scalp had become so dry and irritated, it felt like every strand of hair was piercing through my skin like a knife. It hurt!

My scalp was dry, itchy, flaky, and I could barely touch it. It constantly felt like I had a clay mask on it: it felt tight, and thirsty as if water had never touched it.

The worst part is, I kinda thought it was normal to feel this way?? I only realized how much of a problem it was once I shaved my head.

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7. Rheumatoid arthritis and the pain of detangling my curly hair

This is the real reason why I finally took the plunge and shaved my natural hair.

I had struggled with inflammation and joint pain for a decade but had not been diagnosed yet.

But in the final 2 years before shaving my curls, the pain in my wrist had become excruciating, and detangling was really hard.

Honestly, the mere thought of having to go through my knots with a comb made me want to cry.  

But then, one day, I reached a point where I could not use both my hands, and I had no one around me to help me with my hair (or food, for that matter).

Around that time, I bought a clipper, then one day, I FINALLY got rid of my hair!

shave natural black hair

8. Hair maintenance is so expensive!

Haircare is expensive. Black haircare is even more expensive. And I was sick of it.

It’s not that I consciously told myself that I was going to shave my hair because it was costing too much money. It’s just that, I think the financial cost of taking care of my natural hair was also an important factor of annoyance.

I didn’t have much money (I still don’t), and I was trying to rebuild my finances and was living frugally. And so, every time I would spend 50-120$ on freakin hair products that didn’t even work, I was super annoyed.

All that despite the fact that I DIYed a lot of things and didn’t even go to the hairdresser!!

9. I hated the discrepancy between who I was inside and what I looked like outside

Call me shallow, but the way you look or feel about your looks, affects the way you feel inside.

And I hated my looks. I was sick and tired of looking in a mirror and seeing my hair constantly wrapped in a headscarf, or tied up.

I p-e-r-p-e-t-u-a-l-l-y looked like a child. Like a “good little girl”.

Barf.

And for almost a DECADE!

Related post: How can you love your body when you hate your looks?

Honestly, when I turned 30, it really started to bother me BIG time.

The fun part is, now that my hair is shaved, it removes the problem. Well, for now anyway. And hey! At least I look different. Much different.

And a buzz cut has an edge to it so, I’m happy with that.

black woman with natural hair who wants to shave her curly hair

10. I think my hair was making me depressed

Or at least, my hair was contributing to my depression.

Managing my natural hair was one of those things that sucked up all my energy. And constantly having to deal with something you HATE, especially when you’d rather be doing something else, can quickly become emotional torture. Or make you bitter as hell.  

And the worst part is? I would spend 10-15-20 hours per week on haircare, all this to NOT SEE any result or look at braids and headscarves constantly. What was the point of all that!!?

Related post: This one mindset shift helped me overcome depression

11. It just… happened.

Why did I finally shave my hair after so many years of being a slave to it?

Well, it just happened.

I was watching a movie one night and I noticed one of the actresses. She had a shaved head and she was drop-dead gorgeous!

I could not stop staring at her.

And so, of course, I googled her and was blown away by her raw (bald) beauty. I started googling “women with shaved heads”, and came across a few YouTube videos of girls shaving their heads. I was surprised to realize that I thought they looked more beautiful without hair than they did with hair.  

Being the analyst that I am, I researched it a little (a lot) more. Then I bought a clipper, and cut my hair on a Friday night. And then I shaved it all off the next Saturday morning.

Related post:

And so that’s it! All the reasons why I shaved my natural hair after 7 years of growing it.

Is your natural or curly hair driving you mad? Are you thinking about shaving your head? Let me know in the comments!

shave curly hair

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About Steph

I am a personal growth/self-management enthusiast. I was able to completely transform my life using everything I share here. I hope this blog helps you transform yours as well.
View all posts by Steph →

6 thoughts on “Why I shaved my curly hair after 7 years natural

  1. O…m..g! I read this entire article and could relate to every single point. I’ve struggled with my hair since preschool age and it has never been strong, healthy, or hydrated. I’ve bought countless products and have gone to a number of hair dressers only to be disappointed that once again my hair isn’t healthy! I’ve done the just ‘shave it all off” and it was so liberating! Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. Hi Venecia, Thank you for sharing! It’s so nice to know that I’m not the only one who got fed up with my hair. Natural hair can be such a pain, I don’t think people understand how real the struggle can be. No, it’s not a life-threatening illness or a natural disaster, but it doesn’t mean it’s not a burden. So happy to read that you found peace and freedom too 🙂

  2. I can absolutely relate to this post. Truly, I get it sis. I grew out my dreadlocks for 15 years and I never went to a beauty salon. I got to the point where I realized that my weekends were being hijacked by my hair care. Additionally, the weight of it contributed to me having surgery on my spine. And I won’t even begin to talk about how people always commented on my hair before they made comments about me as a person. I got tired of it and felt like people saw my hair and not me , I actually combed my dreadlocks out thinking that would make it better. That’s with the depression really kicked in, lol. I have kinky and Coiley hair also and that stuff is no joke. Eventually I just saved it off. Hello freedom. Kudos to you and thank you for your post .

    1. Hi Renee, Thank you so much for sharing! It’s crazy to think that you had to have surgery on your spine (partly) because of your hair (!) I also find it so interesting that you mention your depression. I have been thinking A LOT about the link between hair and depression. I’ve been dying to write something about that. I just don’t feel “secure” enough in my ability to address that issue the right way (yet). I also don’t want to sound shallow. But I do think we under appreciate the extent to which hair can take over our lives. But you know, your story seems to have a happy ending and this truly makes me happy 🙂 You rock!

  3. Thank you so much for this article! I dealt with very thick, tightly curled hair for years, and I related to this article A LOT!! I had Fibromyalgia for years, but then I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Disease and Disc Degenerative Disease and my illness made it impossible to take care of my hair. I wanted to shave it for years, but everyone talked me out of it. I finally KNEW I had to AND wanted to do it. I LOVE IT and I haven’t looked back!!! I wish I had done it when I first wanted to!! Now my hair is nothing to take care of, I can but my time and energy into more important things, like enjoying every moment of my life!!

    1. Hey Donna, thank you so much for sharing this with us! I’m genuinely touched by your comment and what you’ve been through. I hope you are finding effective ways to deal with your illnesses (although it sounds like you are enjoying life a lot more now 🙂 ). I send you much love xxx

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