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Do You Compensate for Being Natural?

Avatar • Feb 21, 2014

by Amma of Klassy Kinks

updo

London singer/songwriter Kadija Kamara, photographed by Simon Klyne
Recently, I was watching a video from Liz of Beautifully Mane blog. She mentioned that she sometimes feels the need to compensate for being natural by wearing a lot of make up or wearing statement pieces. I can relate and I wanted to share my thoughts as well as my experience.

My Method of Compensation

When I first big chopped back in 2009, I bought so many earrings that dangled. I have always been into jewelry and accessories but my obsession with earrings that dangled was intense. As soon as my sister-in-law cut off my relaxed hair, I drove to the mall and purchased some in order to compensate for my new TWA (teeny-weeny Afro). Studs were no longer acceptable for me at this time in my life. I thought I needed earrings that dangled in order to appear as feminine as possible. I was buying all kinds of earrings that I would’ve never purchased in my relaxed hair days.

I also started to wear headbands and flowers in my hair. I never wore them in my hair while it was relaxed because my hair had never been this short. I also went to Bare Essentials and bought a makeup kit. I started filling in my eyebrows and wearing make up (though this didn’t last long). Before I did the big chop, I always had my “long” relaxed hair to rely on when I didn’t feel like wearing make up, jewelry or dressing up. I now felt obligated to go over and beyond in order to not appear “homely” or less feminine than my peers. I also didn’t want to appear as though I were going through an “awkward” TWA stage. As time went on and my TWA grew out, I realized less is more. I didn’t have to wear all my jewelry at one time. I stopped wearing the headbands and flowers. I am still into jewelry but I try not to overdo it. I wear make up when I want to. I no longer wear it because I have natural hair and I feel that I need to.

Is It Wrong to Compensate?

I think going natural has helped me develop more of my own personal style. I am more creative with my outfits and accessories. I think that stylish side of me was always there but I was scared to be different. I believe that wearing my natural hair has exposed that side of me and helped to eliminate some of my fears of standing out. I do not think I compensate for being natural anymore. My natural hair and style work together and I’m more confident with my natural hair today than I was back in 2009. Though, I do think the length of my natural hair has helped me a great deal. I think if I were to big chop again today {four years later}, I would feel the need to compensate all over again. However, I do not think there is anything wrong with compensating for being natural. As women (relaxed, weaved or natural), we all want to look and feel beautiful. I just think compensating for being natural should cater to one’s personal comfort level.

At the end of the day, you don’t have to prove anything to anyone. It’s important to remember that without all of these enhancements such as makeup, accessories, jewelry and even hair, we’re all still beautiful. When it comes to makeup, jewelry and accessories, do what works best for you. Whatever makes you feel comfortable and has you feeling your best. Wearing a full face of make up everyday to work didn’t work for me in my TWA stage. I wouldn’t do that now if I were to big chop again. But I would return to dangly earring and flowers. It’s about finding what complements your natural hair but still makes you feel comfortable and confident all at the same time.

What do you ladies think about compensating for being natural? Can you relate?  If so, how did  you compensate? Please feel free to share your comments, opinions and/or experiences below.

Natural hair at any length can be adorned. See below how these lovely ladies adorn their natural hair.

hairadornment

Amma is a monthly contributor for Klassy Kinks and she also blogs regularly at allthingsammamama.comKlassy-Kinks.com is on a mission to change perceptions of kinky textured hair around the world. Site founder and editor, Ijeoma Eboh, can be found on social media @klassykinks.

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About Klassy Kinks

KlassyKinks.com founder and editor, Ijeoma Eboh, is on a mission to change perceptions of kinky textured hair around the world. You can find her on social media @klassykinks.

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PMS
PMS
6 years ago

Hmmm. Did I compensate? I don’t think it was for lack of hair type being exposed but more so lack of length when if came to the hair accessories. Plus flowers were trendy in that period of time. These days you would be hard pressed to catch me w a flower in my tresses. I have always been a girly girl tho, earrings, bracelets, necklaces I am about that life. Makeup will always have a special place in my heart & on my face.

Ugonna Wosu
Ugonna Wosu
6 years ago

why “compensate” and use a word that makes it sound like there’s something wrong or lesser than about being natural? Nah, I don’t compensate, I COMPLEMENT my look with makeup and good clothes. Having nice makeup and clothes alone will not do anything to “compensate” for being natural if the beholders already don’t seeing natural people. If you think your hair is not neat enough, make it so. Tame your edges, brush your hair at the front and do updos, otherwise if you feel the compensate for being natural, you probably should rethink being natural. I’m not trying to judge… Read more »

juanicole617
juanicole617
6 years ago
Reply to  Ugonna Wosu

Thank you. I couldn’t think of a better word but knew that compensate seemed as though having short natural hair was less than. Compliment is a more accurate word to describe how we accessorize our look.

Como?
Como?
6 years ago
Reply to  Ugonna Wosu

I understood the author to mean compensating subconsciously, as is in refashioning your image in a way that may lessen the focus on your hair. I think “compensate” expresses the tension between embracing your natural hair and presenting yourself in a way that is appealing to others. Using the word “complement” would no longer express the conflicting emotions. Personally, I have experienced this duality, at a few points during my 13 years of natural so I agree with the author’s word choice. Even the advice you gave above about “taming” one’s hair to speaks to the issue that naturals face… Read more »

Dee*
Dee*
6 years ago

Interesting post. I’m a low-mid maintenance chick; if folk live for fashion and makeup then cool. When I started this “journey” thru youtube vids, I did notice that naturals tended to wear flowers and earrings as if accessories were MANDATORY if one had natural hair (heck, I sorta fell into that myself initially). Also, many women seemed very much into ORNATE (totally my opinion) makeup in order to “pretty up” the natural hair. Now, four years later, IDK if these tendencies came before or after the natural hair, and at this point IDC because we all use personal methods to… Read more »

easyBlake
easyBlake
6 years ago

Nope.
LOL. I did start actually *doing* my hair, rather than relying on Ye Olde Ponytaile. My style evolution came with age.

lockstress
lockstress
6 years ago

I say do what makes you feel beautiful.

Poshnera
Poshnera
6 years ago

I really hate the way this is worded. I think women come up with ways to make themselves feel uncomfortable because this all seems so foolish. If your style evolves then fine, but to wear something as an apology is just stupid and insecure to me.

Mani
Mani
6 years ago

While I do think using the word “compensate” does open up the idea that being natural is “bad,” I understand what the writer is trying to get across. When I first big chopped, my mother’s first instinct was to buy me heaps of feathery, dangly, colorful earrings. I think that overall, it goes back to confidence. I didn’t feel like I needed to wear earrings when I big chopped, I was more excited about the fact that people could see my face. Of course, my hair has grown out, and I still don’t wear earrings, I’m more into makeup–not because… Read more »

LBell
LBell
6 years ago
Reply to  Mani

Agreed. “Compensate” is a controversial word choice but if it gets people reading your article, so much the better… 😉 I was always a minimalist fashion-wise but after being mistaken for a boy (twice) shortly after my first BC, I too started wearing larger and gaudier earrings. However, the minimalist in me eventually won out and I went back to my simple styles. By the time I started experimenting with different clothes, colors and accessories I was in my 40s and had been natural for over a decade. Now that I’m enjoying the BAA I feel that it’s a great accessory… Read more »

merry
merry
6 years ago
Reply to  LBell

people always wanted me to wear big earrings when my hair was short.

i’m not into big earrings though, and never wore them. only wore small hoops and studs. i always felt like i was enough.

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Pat
Pat
6 years ago

I wouldn’t say “compensate” exactly. But going back to my natural hair has made me embrace myself, to take better care of my whole body, not just my hair and to really make an effort to feel feminine. This was kind of hard because I was a tomboy growing up: jumping fences, climbing trees/rocks/hills and running through my neighbour’s field. While I liked my relaxed hair, my natural hair seems more ‘me’.

merry
merry
6 years ago

i think there are people who compensate by dyeing their hair blond. i mainly see naturals who have a twa with the blond hair. i don’t think i’ve seen a natural with long hair wearing blond hair. i don’t think it’s always a coincidence.

yep, i said it. be mad. i don’t care. lol.

norris
norris
6 years ago

Hmm. I didn’t compensated for being natural, but I think I did compensate for being nearly bald when I big chopped haha! It was last year in high school and even though I LOVED my natural hair, it was hard to adjust from long hair to almost no hair! If makeup/flowers/earrings helps you adjust, I say go for it!

Kellee Blue
Kellee Blue
6 years ago

One thing that annoys the hell out of me is the skanky stripping-down of young sistahs with natural hair. I hate the ‘over-sexed afro-HIPSTER’ look that insecure black females dip into and post all over tumblr. It’s sucks and it sends a terrible message to little black girls and it is socially irresponsible. If we’re gonna do that, we may as well keep your hair relaxed. ((Yeah, I said it.)) As for me, when I big-chopped I wore a lot of headbands and eye make-up and sometimes accessorized with thick-rimmed non Rx glasses w/contacts (to see). My ex-boyfriend’s best ‘friend’… Read more »

norris
norris
6 years ago

sidenote: all the women in that picture collage look FRICKIN BEAUTIFUL WOO!

Kellee Blue
Kellee Blue
6 years ago

I think the word ‘compensate’ fits the situation just fine, because that’s just what it is…crutches and training wheels.

KP
KP
6 years ago

I remember seeing people “adjust” to having very short hair. I mean, sure, having hair less than 3 inches is a big change(!) and some people trade one type of femininity for another, which is completely fine. I personally think that studs look better with shorter hair because they stand out more. No hair to get in the way and cover them up. 🙂

Dananana
Dananana
6 years ago

This article brings up an interesting point: how does a woman’s self-confidence change after returning to natural hair? Does it get better or worse? For me personally, I’ve always had self-confidence issues, especially when I was relaxed; I could never get my hair to shoulder length, and that plus body image issues made me feel as though I was ugly. I’ve never been huge on makeup (adult tomboy, here), but I did notice that I certainly used more of it after I BC’d. And earrings.…I LOVE EARRINGS. Dangly ones, studs, BA hoops, all of them. But I didn’t get my ears… Read more »

Adia Sinead
6 years ago

My style definitely has always been the way it is now, at least since I was able to make my own purchases. I have gotten more into makeup but I think that’s more because I’ve gotten older.

tasha fierce
tasha fierce
6 years ago

yes i did, especially after the big chop, it was the length that i was uncomfortable with not my natural hair texture, but i didn’t wear heavier makeup i just wore makeup more often. having a TWA didn’t feel feminine to me, makeup and accessories made me feel feminine.

lauryn
lauryn
6 years ago

People may not like the word “compensate,” but the truth of the matter is that it’s an accurate description of some people’s experience.

With my relaxed cropped haircut, you could tell I was a woman. With a 2in TWA, you could easily have mistaken me for a pretty boy.

So, yes! I did compensate for that by wearing more makeup and jewelry at that time! There’s no shame in that. It’s the truth.

Nisha
Nisha
6 years ago
Reply to  lauryn

Same here, lol. I big chopped my long dreadlocks last year and I was insecure about the length of my hair in the beginning. I have a round face and I thought the lack of hair (less than inch and a half) made my round face look larger. So, I wore large hoop earrings to offset my round face. My hair has grown out, but I still feel ‘naked’ when I go without earrings. I’m compensating (not for my natural hair, but for my length and round face), but I’ll get over it in due time.

Lizz
6 years ago

Thanks for the mention! This topic is ever so prevalent in our natural hair society. I have come across many women who feel the need to compensate for being natural by dressing up, dying their hair a particular color, wearing alot of makeup JUST so they can feel noticed by others in society.

Natural Hair is BEAUTIFUL…we should all embrace it. Proud to say I AM an overcomer of feeling the need to compensate. Natural Hair ROCKS! We are Wonderfully, Fearfully and “Beautifully mane.”

Najah
Najah
6 years ago

I was 19 when I big chopped and I feel with going natural and rocking the TWA there was some type fierceness being associated with it, and don’t get me wrong, I felt beautiful and more womanly and more mature with my natural hair, but I always wore hooped earrings headbands with my relaxed hair. and when I BCed, it didn’t feel right anymore. I didn’t feel the need to compensate for my short hair, I was extremely comfortable wearing minimal accessories.

Deb
Deb
6 years ago

I wore more earrings and wanted to pay more attention to my skin when i had a twa just because my hair was short. I did the same thing when I had really short relaxed hair (which was SO less flattering on me) I think natural hair is so expressive and creative on it’s own that it is such an adornment on it’s own.

Jordan
Jordan
6 years ago

With a TWA I definitely did my make-up/wore big earrings but I’m pretty sure that’s with every girl with short hair. I did the same with short permed hair. But now I find myself wearing less make-up. My hair is a statement itself but then again I never really wore make-up in the first place.

Cindy
Cindy
6 years ago

When I big chopped, I wore a lot of hair accessories, jewelry and even a little make up. I did so to ‘compensate’ for having SHORT HAIR that I no longer had to spend a lot of time styling the way I did with long relaxed hair. It gave me something fun and yet feminine to do in place of doing hairstyles. It also helped me ‘compensate’ with all the negatively I initially received from family and friends for going natural. I did it to enhance my hair, not apologize for it.

Sophie
Sophie
6 years ago

I don’t think it’s “compensating” as much as styling differently because you look different. Short hair makes your face and ears more of a focus so you take more care to style them. Unless you are ashamed of the short hair there’s not a big difference between that and styling at any other length.

Erica
Erica
6 years ago
Reply to  Sophie

I agree. I started getting my eyebrows waxed when I had a twa. I had never really paid any attention to them but super short hair highlighted them. But I still get my brows done and have long natural hair.

JENNID
JENNID
6 years ago

Good topic. I think this can be a natural response to doing a big chop but its usually short lived. Intact it probably helped a lot of women find their sense of style. With no hair to play with it forces you to get creative with other aspects of style which is good cause too many black women act like hair is the end all be all when it comes to having a sense of style or looking good. My opinion is why go natural in the first place if you think you will have to be “on ” all… Read more »

sid
sid
6 years ago
Reply to  JENNID

Great perspective!

Ugonna Wosu
Ugonna Wosu
6 years ago
Reply to  JENNID

yes, I’m starting to realize the writer may have meant compensating for having short hair. Though she did write me above and say she agree with me that the proper word is “complement”.

sid
sid
6 years ago

Hmm…Never thought about this. Maybe I might have felt this way If I big chopped and was left with little to no hair? But no, I never tried to compensate/compliment my look as a natural. I am a very low maintenance and practical type of gal. My every day styles are braid-outs, buns, ponytails and it was the exact same thing when I was relaxed. If anything, I think I’m a lot “lazier” as a natural and more confident. I don’t feel naked without accessories and I don’t wear makeup. Just lip gloss and maybe mascara. I feel like my… Read more »

kitso
kitso
6 years ago
Reply to  sid

I feel the same as you Sid.But for me it could be that iv never known anything else, had to wear short hair till i was 26, and since 26 i alternated between short natural hair, short braided hair and big natural hair. I do understand those emotions mentioned here but it is hard sometimes to relate how people can feel so strongly about hair.

Marie
Marie
6 years ago

It may have to do with having short hair and how it frames your face. People of all different hair types feel self conscious when they have a hair cut to a length they are not used to or that looks different from what they’re used to seeing of themselves in the mirror. It gets easier as time passes:)

Ashley
Ashley
6 years ago

Great article. It is never wrong to compensate. Some people have to do what makes them comfortable when transitioning into wearing natural hair. Everyone comes into being natural in different ways, whether by compensating or not compensating.

chalise
chalise
6 years ago

the lipstick and overall makeup on the girl n the pic is so stunning. i love it!

Jo
Jo
6 years ago

I had to do that this morning with a twist-out. My hair wasn’t doing exactly what I wanted it to do (some parts stuck out, and some were floppy others were frizzy…), so instead of embracing the wild-haired crazy catlady look, I opted to add a hairtie, a hairpin, a giant red flower, big earrings to become bohemian-chic catlady.

Stephanie
6 years ago

I started the big chop in 1972; went from large afro to very short hair. In 1973 I’d go to the barber shop to get a caesar haircut. Never thought about whether or not I looked feminine; it was all about comfort, easy care and not wasting time worrying about hair. I had more important things to do. Fully confident in my femininity it was never in question nor was there any thought about compensating. On the occasion when I would wear tee shirts and jeans; I sometimes thought I might look boyish; however, I knew better. A brother once… Read more »

yahya
6 years ago

I think it’s less about compensating for having natural hair and more about compensating for having short hair.

http://pocahontas-secrets.blogspot.com/

Ugonna Wosu
Ugonna Wosu
6 years ago
Reply to  yahya

that makes sense.

Danessa
Danessa
6 years ago

I totally understand this… Naturally I am understated when it comes to jewelry and clothes because I wore long weaves (always natural brown) and love makeup. Since I went natural I felt naked and I started to wear chunky necklaces which I never did. And on ther other side I feel because I’m natural I’m suppose to be a fashionista which I’m not… I’m more of a simple gal… Lol so now I’m 27 and in a fashion limbo…
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/image-16.jpg[/img]
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/image-17.jpg[/img]

Stacie Reeves
Stacie Reeves
6 years ago

Omg, this article relates to me so much! I just “teeny” chopped my hair (because I have always worn my hair short). The first month I was really feeling it, short hair has always been really becoming on me but now it’s grown back a lot, and I’ve been breaking out a lot (and I have to deal with hyper-pigmentation so my forehead looks like cheetah skin). I’ve been caking on the makeup, earrings, accessories, wearing dresses. I don’t know what to do to feel pretty.

saffron33
saffron33
6 years ago

For me I pretty much wore the same with makeup & jewelry as I did when I wore braids. Didn’t have a relaxer prior to rocking the hair natural. I was already natural, my hair was in braids all the time. I do love my headbands but I’m not into the flowers in the hair thing, But its whatever floats your boat. Know what I mean.

Lily Madu
Lily Madu
6 years ago

After I cut my locs and was left with a TWA, my face was just there. I could suddenly really see my eyes and lips and skin. So had to line my eyes, colour my lips and powder my skin. It made me feel pretty and very feminine. Not to say I didn’t use makeup before big chopping, but I could more appreciate the enhancing effect it has after my big chop.

Kristel
6 years ago

I dont compensate for being natural. I always was a akward creative girl and as I got older my style developed more. I did start wearing more hair pieces when I went natural since 2005, but not to compensate… to CELEBRATE my kinks! 😀 My hair gave me more confidence to stand out and be myself, because I couldnt find images that look like me in the media I had to find my own style. And I wear bold color lipsticks too, but that is because I think its looks amazing on dark skin. In my art classes I always learned that color pops… Read more »

Twinkle
Twinkle
6 years ago
Reply to  Kristel

Is that you in the picture?

Kristel
6 years ago
Reply to  Twinkle

Yes, it was for a swimwear photoshoot

hortonhearsa...
hortonhearsa...
6 years ago

I think that some natural women do compensate for their hair through overdoing clothing,accessories, make-up. I don’t think it’s a majority. It’s moreso the YT, blog and tumblr girls who want to be noticed that overdo it. There’s a really good natural hair tumblr featuring lots of beautiful hair but i can’t help but notice how many of the pictures are of naturals wearing very little. I’m talking very short cut denim shorts, customised t‑shirts that show off all the cleavage and midriff. Maybe that is just a US natural hipster/boho look? I always wonder if some girls think they… Read more »

Dananana
Dananana
6 years ago

I see what you’re saying, but I think it may have less to do with “needing” to feel sexier and more to do with actually feeling sexier and the expression of that through fashion choices. I know I feel much better about how I look with my natural hair versus my relaxed hair. Also, I feel that there will always be women that are comfortable exposing a lot more skin than the average woman, and I think their hair choices have little to do with that–I see just as many scantily clad relaxed/weaved/wigged women as I do naturals here in… Read more »

Twinkle
Twinkle
6 years ago

If a person feels the need to overcompensate (not compensate lol) for their natural hair then they truly do not love it.

tristan
tristan
6 years ago

I always feel like a bad-ass with my natural hair. It always feels like a statement within itself no accessories needed at any length. But as far as the earrings go I think women with short hair are just looking for symmetry and balance when they add large earrings or flowers

Chan Chan
Chan Chan
6 years ago

I don’t think compensation is really about being natural. If you change your look, you might feel the need to make other changes because you’re not used to yourself looking that way. If my hair was relaxed and chopped into a Halle Berry cut, then I would still feel just as naked and want to compensate with makeup or accessories. Yes, we are all beautiful, but if we don’t believe that then it will show. Do whatever you feel is necessary to feel better on the outside as you balance it with how you feel on the inside.

SantanaNyla
6 years ago

I bleach my locs whenever possible.…call me blondie.
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Snapshotofme14.png[/img]

TS
TS
6 years ago
Reply to  SantanaNyla

Da fuq

Random ass people

SantanaNyla
6 years ago
Reply to  TS

Naturally.…..

Honeybrown1976
Honeybrown1976
6 years ago

Just chiming in to say that this is a good article. While I never big chopped (I transitioned for almost three years), it was interesting to see how you felt about your new styling options and natural hair.

LindaJ
LindaJ
6 years ago

I always feel like I come from a different perspective when I read these articles. I never big chopped. I’ve always been natural. Compensation sounds like insecurity. Which I learned at 12 was less about me and more about how I perceived others perceived me. Perhaps I just ‘don’t get it. Why compensate when who you are has always been enough

G
G
6 years ago

It was the opposite for me. After the big chop, I started wearing less makeup and accessories. I learned to embrace my natural beauty.…flaws and all. Occasionally I wear makeup and jewelries, but most days I prefer to leave my hair wild or big braids and throw a scarf on as an accessory.

Kb
Kb
6 years ago

I was wondering when would there be an article about this, and clearly from the comments we excuse it away 🙂 When I was relaxed I never wore makeup except for special occassions, biggest earrings I had were hoops and no statement jewellry. Following my BC, I started wearing more makeup, way more, way often, and very bold. And went and bought the flowers, the head bands, the statement pieces. At the time I didn’t think I was compensating, I was just being a “natural” as I saw on social media. But sure as my hair got longer and longer and fell… Read more »

Anisa
Anisa
6 years ago

I did the same thing! I bought so many pairs of big dangle earrings because I felt without my long hair i was lacking, so I had to put something else in it’s place. Everyone has a beauty crutch.

Aly
Aly
6 years ago

Well, I guess I do compensate a bit with earrings. I have always liked earrings but I think I stay away from studs more-so now than I did before. The earrings aren’t really that big, but I don’t tend to feel that my look is complete until I put earrings on. I think they help me look more feminine yes, but I don’t think that’s a crime.

Ms Ebanks
Ms Ebanks
6 years ago

Wow. I did compensate with headbands and scarves after my big chop. But I do think it is a little wrong. But I became aware of how much I relied on hair to identify me as a female. Even though I always loved lots of make up, my hair was my fall back woman ID.
Now that it’s long and I wear it protected in a bun, braid or twist most days, I am probably compensating with my glasses.
I should pay more attention to my face and body, I guess. Even hair is just an accessory.

MimiPanda
MimiPanda
6 years ago

i was just thinking about this too, but not in terms of make up or accessories, i was thinking about feeling the need to compensate for your hair, by doing twist outs, coil outs etc, basically everything that will make people not be shocked at your texture. whilst twist outs are not the issue, i get confused when people say natural hair is hard work because they haven’t got the time to be doing twist out and braid outs, or preparing their hair for 5 hours the night before so it can have some curl in it the next day.… and… Read more »

Tiff
Tiff
6 years ago

I take a more positive stance(; It wasn’t compensating for being ‘Natural’, it was compensating for having (for a good # of us) the shortest hair we’ve ever had in our lives. It was more about tempering the sense of lost femininity. I don’t think it’s any different from any other population of females who go extremely short. The accessories help soothe the transition, sparks creativity with style and honestly, brought out fierceness some of us would’ve never thought to attempt. I was an average long haired relaxed girl and I rocked a Fro Hawk recently..a FRO Hawk! I attribute… Read more »

Tiff
Tiff
6 years ago

Red lipstick and big earrings also, amazingly, acted as my ways of making The Rest Of Me as fierce as my cut<3

Elodie
Elodie
6 years ago

The 1st time I big chopped, I was 15. The 2nd time I was around 20. Each time, I met people who called me “sir” on several occasions. This is a pretty traumatising expérience for any woman but even more when you’re a teen. In between, I became more féminine with an interest for earrings and makeup…not like a fashionista but enough to feel good about myself. I bigchopped again at the beginning of the year (after 7,5 of locs) and I bought some accessories not to compensate but on the contrary because I am proud of my natural hair.… Read more »

Joedean
Joedean
6 years ago

I do not compensate for my natural hair In this pic jus finish wash and moisturize with Africa shea butter and cold ccompressed castor oil.…..no make up no earings.…be confident and love who you are
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/20140222_210537.jpg[/img]

Deedeemaha
Deedeemaha
6 years ago

People compensate on a daily basic on a variety of things. We perm, pressed,weave, and wear wigs to compensate for not having straight hair or what we perceived as unmanageable hair, or lack of time to do our hair. No one dare mention you were compensating, if so, be ready to fight. Lol perms, press,weave, and wigs were the accessories. When naturals got rid of those accessories we replaced it with others flowers, hair bands, etc. who is going to compensate a flower or headband after getting a 300$ weave? Or a 95$ perm. ? Everyday we compensate for something. We hire… Read more »

folamix
folamix
6 years ago

I always wore big earrings, even when my hair was relaxed so that has not changed. I never wore a lot of makeup and still don’t. Although I think if I had worn some, I would have gone through my TWA a little easier, I thought I was hot without makeup…lol

Ain't I an African
Ain't I an African
6 years ago

I’ve often thought the same about twist-outs and braid-outs.

Chat1
Chat1
6 years ago

I think I’m weird…with my big chop I only wore studs or non dangle earrings…I felt that big earrings didn’t suit the cut. Now that my hair has grown I wear them more often.

Zanneta
Zanneta
6 years ago

Hair itself is an accessory. When you cut it, you have to rethink your entire aesthetic. I don’t think “compensating” is the word I would use for my particular experience, but rather “reworking” my look.

I felt as though with long relaxed hair or weaves the extra jewelry and makeup looked a bit over the top but it looked artistic and balanced with a shorter do.
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/image-18.jpg[/img]

Stella
6 years ago

I never feel the need/pressure to compensate for my natural hair although I’m addicted to accessories especially African ones.
One of the most beautiful aspects of having natural hair is that it is an entire aesthetic statement. I always feel complete with or without accessories/makeup.

My natural hair is a crown; decorating it myself because of the type of hair I rock is not essential to me.

Patricia Kayden
Patricia Kayden
6 years ago

Yes, I wear make up everyday at work now. My natural hair is in twists and very short. I guess I try to feel more feminine by wearing make up more than I did when my hair was in a weave/braids. Interesting post.

Darlyn
Darlyn
6 years ago

I never felt the need to compensate for my hair. Even when I was relaxed, I enjoyed wearing earrings.

As far as makeup is concerned, I don’t wear it much.

jjac401
jjac401
6 years ago

I didn’t change my earthy style, but I don’t believe there is an issue with enhancing ones self style if that makes you feel or look more glamorous. Add some sparkle with jewelry and/or make-up if you want to.

Women with long hair or short hair many times do the same thing, so what is the big deal. A little glitter or glamour is cool as long as it is not over the top and looks silly.

I personally think a TWA with false eyelashes and lip gloss look awesome!

Camille
Camille
6 years ago

I don’t think it was compensating, but after my second big chop, I did start wearing dangling earrings and I paid more attention to my brows. It’s more of an overall “I have a new hair style, it’s a good time to adjust the rest of my style.” I do the same thing when I change hair color.

Tyler
6 years ago

No, I don’t compensate. I used to wear flowers all the time when I started, but I don’t use them much anymore. And I don’t wear makeup because I’ve never felt the need to.

Tyler
http://www.onelittleblackdress.com

Kat
Kat
6 years ago

Let me start by saying this… I love this topic, because back in 2012 when I choose to wear my kinks, waves, and coils (combination hair lol) as they grow out of my scalp, that I didn’t feel as secure in my femininity. I did not big chop BUT I transitioned from heat damage. I had a conversation with my little sister who looks up to me and eventually followed my footsteps with growing natural. We used to say we gotta wear some makeup or something. We just look plain, but the more secure I have become with myself as… Read more »

Lavinia Gass
Lavinia Gass
6 years ago

I do compensate at times; but, not as much lately. I realized I compensated the most with makeup when I was around certain people. My best friend harped that I needed to have on makeup at all times because a lot of guys are not fans of natural hair. Also, a male friend of mine would periodically reference how he preferred my hair when it was relaxed and in a bob. I told both my best friend and male friend that they needed to accept me the way I am or leave me be. It’s sad that some people are… Read more »

Mackenzie
Mackenzie
6 years ago

I have to say I’ve noticed the same thing, both in myself and in friends. When we looked back at photos from our permed days, we wore normal amounts of makeup and jewelry, or at least what was normal for us. After going natural, the pictures were almost night and day in comparison, and it had nothing to do with the hair. The makeup was caked on, the eyebrows were thick, dark and full, the jewelry was piled on, and the clothing were more deliberate. Some of it was because NATURAL was considered sloppy and without effort. It was as… Read more »

Annie
Annie
6 years ago

After a bad perm/bleach/ dye job, I was forced to cut off all my hair and wept for a week. There was this constant voice in my head that sounded like Shug Avery repeating “you sho is ugly!” And convinced myself it was true, all because I had lost some hair. This was 10 years ago when almost nobody had natural hair particularly in my age bracket. However with my TWA, no makeup and a black outfit I hoped would camouflage me from the world, I was out shopping in London and was stopped by a national newspaper who asked… Read more »

Yoshi
Yoshi
6 years ago

Yup, I stopped caring so much now but when I first went natural I bought a bunch of earrings because I wanted to look more feminine. I’ve been natural for a year now and this is also the first year I’ve ever bought makeup. Usually I felt like the lace fronts I wore were pretty enough to not need makeup or earrings. Now when I wear a big fro I like to wear earrings and bright lipstick just because I think it makes more of a statement. I stopped caring how I look at work/around my boyfriend now though so… Read more »

Zoe
Zoe
6 years ago

I guess with my eye makeup. I always use a lot of mascara, I want my eyelashes to be super bold.

Kimmie
Kimmie
6 years ago

I felt that way at first. I was never one to wear makeup before however now that my hair was short I felt like I need the extra. Soon the new became normal and I was able o once again see the beauty that was always there. I’m beautiful because GOD made me beautiful not because of my hair choice.

sandy
sandy
6 years ago

I think we are so hard on ourselves. Why is it no other ethnic group, that I’ve seen online, has to make apology for their hair and accessory choices. Please understand I love your blog and the work you do, but we’ve got to do better with questions and articles that uplift rather than make us doubt ourselves. You wear what you like. Period. It has nothing to do with hair. I’ve met bald women who wear nothing( they either have cancer or it’s a choice) I’m sure you’ve met women who wear small earrings, little makeup or none at… Read more »

Tel
Tel
6 years ago
Reply to  sandy

I do understand where you’re coming from, but I would like to respectfully disagree. I think that by having these conversations we unearth the doubts sown in us by a world that isn’t used to seeing us as beautiful — reading these posts and the experiences of other women has been increasingly uplifting specifically because it tells me that I really don’t have to apologise for my choices, that I can be stronger than that omnipresent need to conform to an unrealistic standard that plagues all women regardless of race- in many different ways. I think these discussions are akin… Read more »

Mackenzie
Mackenzie
6 years ago
Reply to  sandy

Sandy, I have to respectfully disagree like the other person to respond. African American women (or women of African descent) are not likely the only women who have this dialogue. Women everywhere who are subjected to the European standard of beauty forced upon us by colonization, but whom are not from European descent are having this dialogue. We as well have this dialogue because our natural appearance from our head to our toes has been presented to us by the greater European society as flawed and defective for centuries. This article is shedding light on deeper issues that affect some,… Read more »

Amina
Amina
6 years ago

Interesting now that I think about it I did overcompensate with large dangling earrings when I did my first big chop 4 years ago. This time around I’m more into bolder lashes but for me it’s not because I’m natural it’s because of the length.

eugenia
eugenia
6 years ago

Interesting read. I found myself doing the opposite when I big chopped back in 2010. In my weave and relaxed days I use to wear more long earrings and excessive jewelry almost at all times. Once I was comfortable with my short hair I would only wear statement necklaces if I was dressing up and started to wear studs way more frequently. My basic makeup routine has always been some powder and mascara. I didn’t feel the need to compensate for having short hair. Even now, with having 4c hair that I cut frequently, I love being able to do… Read more »

Liz
Liz
6 years ago

SO funny, because the other day, I decided I feel the total opposite! My hair IS the extra! It’s all the character I need! In fact, I’ve STOPPED wearing the little make up I used to wear. Curls are definitely it.

Dee
Dee
6 years ago

Just big chopped this past Wednesday and I still only wear studs. I really like my facial features so I don’t really wear a lot of accessories. I only have a 1/2 inch or a little more in my head but I love it. I look just like my mom did when she was in her late 20s/Early 30s and so I rock it. My job requires a little make up but I just keep up with my brows like I did when I was relaxed. I usually only wear lipgloss and mascara anyway but if I’m going out my… Read more »

Julia
Julia
6 years ago

Adter big chopping, especially during the awkward stage, I was strongly tempted to start putting on earrings.
Now, I had never worn earrings before, infact, my earlobs aren’t pierced, but I was sorely tempted to start. I saw it as a compensation for having ‘short’ hair and wanted to look more attractive.
I had to feel at peace with my hair before I could rock it without weaves and wigs, and still feel fly and feminine.

Dianne M. Daniels
6 years ago

When I went from shoulder-length (though damaged) relaxed hair to a short afro after transitioning for a few weeks only, I felt I needed to “step my game up”, makeup-wise. I was always a fan of earrings, though I do think I wore more dangling earrings after I big-chopped. I’ve transitioned again away from coloring my hair, and when I went gray I big chopped again. This time, I was just about buzz-cut short with clippers (could not STAND that demarcation line between my abundant gray and my dyed black hair). I actually loved my TWA — it left all… Read more »

Cynthia
Cynthia
6 years ago

Wow, I’ve been reading all of the posts and though I recognize the societal pressure on all women to aspire to some crazy standard of beauty; women of color have a definitely been made to feel ‘less than’! When I lost my mind during the transition and did the big chop, I thought that I looked like a young boy and started wearing bigger earrings that were already in my jewelry case. I also bought the bows and headbands. Now that my hair has grown out, I wear the studs that I alwasy wore, makeup did not really change since I… Read more »

MissTiny
MissTiny
6 years ago
Reply to  Cynthia

how did you lose your mind?

locedup
6 years ago

This is such a great topic. I wore a large afro in high school. No makeup. Mom wouldn’t let me:) Loved my look as it was the 70’s and all the kids at school had afros. Stopped wearing one in college and grew it out. Pressed it and finished out the 70’s and 80’s with various styles. Perms, Jeri-curl and the like. In the 90’s I returned to my afro , only a shorter version. Still no make-up as I like myself this way. My jewelry changed with the style of clothing. I wore mostly afro centric jewelry. My husband… Read more »

.T.
.T.
6 years ago

well when i realised i didn’t have a whole lot of hair to hide behind, i grew more accepting of my facial features because my face was now the main focus. all the angles of my face that i never appreciated before, were now more apparent and i liked it. i felt people noticed my face more and not all the hair i had. I barely wear makeup so that didn’t change but i did take to wearing big bright earrings at first and when my hair grew into a big round afro. my hair was hard to miss in… Read more »

Caramelcurls
Caramelcurls
6 years ago

I honestly didn’t try to compensate when I big chopped two years ago. I’ve always liked natural looking makeup and mid-sized hoops. That hasn’t changed!

GoodIdeaAdia
GoodIdeaAdia
6 years ago

Any time I had short hair I felt the need to compensate

Lola
Lola
6 years ago

I don’t know if compensating is good or bad… but the pictures of the girls in the post are simply gorgeous!! So, I’m all good for anybody who wants to compensate!

lex
lex
6 years ago

I bc’d in 2009 too and I actually resisted the urge to wear extra accessories. I still wore what I normally wore, but I didn’t wear headbands, flowers at all and I didn’t wear dangly earrings every day. I didn’t go out and buy stuff except a hat since it was dead winter when I cut my hair. I definitely wasn’t heavily into makeup then unless it was to cover up blemishes. Personally, I hated and still hate that advice that girls give to play up your natural hair if you big chop. To me “compensate” screams trying too hard.… Read more »

curly .
curly .
6 years ago

I think that most TWA naturals compensate when they are in their beginning stages. We’re used to our hair being long and straight down, now it’s coming out of all directions. It’s something that we can’t control, so it is something that we can control. And also, we probably don’t feel pretty enough. I know that when my hair was shorter, I would always have an accessory in my hair. I didn’t feel up to par with my hair all wild and nothing around my face. With a combination of it being longer and the effects headbands have on your… Read more »

Likewaterforchocolat
Likewaterforchocolat
6 years ago

This is an interesting persepctive. I never thought of it as compensating. When I went natural, it actually made me feel like I could take makeup and style risks that otherwise wouldn’t when I had relazed hair or weaves. In other words, it made me more fearless. I only started wearing red lipstick when I went natural, lol. Somehow, I feel that being natural allows me versatility with my look as I don’t think certain things would look as good if I had relaxed hair. My angle is more “I CAN do this because I’m natural, as opposed to “I… Read more »

Chandra
6 years ago

I no longer do but I did! When I first chopped in 2009 my hair was so short and cottony I felt like I needed to girl it up, a lot!So I wore a full face of make up, and earrings during my twa phase. Also as time went on I felt like I always needed an accessory in my hair to jazz up my look. I am definitely over that now. I rarely wear make up or accessories! Back then I felt like it was my way of saying, “see, I’m still cute!?” lol.. But now I understand that… Read more »

Zinoubia
Zinoubia
6 years ago

My hair is just below shoulder length and I definitely compensate for being natural. I was used to long straight thick hair before I cut my hair and went natural. It was extremely difficult because I dont wear make up and I cannot stand huge bows or earrings so I always just rock a bun. Its easier and I haven’t yet learnt to properly maintain my natural hair so its the go to for me.

shakera
shakera
6 years ago

love the topic, can totally relate. i bought make up too… Also am glad to know its not wrong!! lol

AC
AC
6 years ago

Nope, I never compensated but some people felt that I needed to and I knew what they meant. I felt great with no makeup, studs, and my twa just like I feel comfortable now no makeup, studs, and my in-between-stage hair. Different strokes for different folks.

Lisa
Lisa
6 years ago

I did buy more earrings. I didn’t necessarily go for any particular style or size. I personally can’t stand how some ladies tend to go heavy on the makeup and wear large and loud earrings. I’m sure they are trying to scream I am woman. I like natural hair with a natural looking face (light makeup if desired) and simple yet cute accessories.

Antoinette
Antoinette
6 years ago

can i just say i think this lady is effin GORGEOUS! and that red lipstick is BEAUTIFUL!

Looker
Looker
6 years ago

Well I think that if you write an article about over compensating when you went to natural hair, it may have meant that you thought your natural hair is less feminine than straight hair? Many people believe that when it comes to black women for some reason? Some how they copy our features lips, eyes skin tone and butt but for some reason we are considered less “feminine” even though we are the most shapely women in the world with the MOST feminine features. I also want to know why are they always copying our look if we are “unfeminine”?… Read more »

Primmest Plum
Primmest Plum
6 years ago

When I was getting ready to BC, I also went out and bought a slew of headbands, hair bows and earrings. I also stepped up my makeup and skin care game. I didn’t have any hair to hide behind anymore I began to work out and cut down on sugar, processed foods and sodium because I felt it would help my hair grow faster. I wore more dresses and tried to go for an overall more “feminine” look. Well, I guess you could call it “compensating” but I feel it was that AND trying to figure out your new style… Read more »

Primmest Plum
Primmest Plum
6 years ago
Reply to  Primmest Plum

*twa-self and *bsl-self

ShinyPinkNails
ShinyPinkNails
6 years ago

I don’t think is compensating if you’ve recently had a bc and you wear lots of make up and stuff. If any woman of any race recently chopped her hair off they would do the same thing too it’s not about colour just about womanhood

najeebah
najeebah
6 years ago

This is an interesting article. I do find that when I went natural, I did like to wear earrings that were more prominent as well as a little makeup that pops. However, I don’t agree that its compensating for having natural hair. I think that when you wear your hair shorter, it can help balance your look when you wear bigger earings. I would do this whether my hair was short and natural, or short and relaxed. I also do sometimes wear adornments in my hair, but not because im compensating, but because it looks so cute to have a… Read more »

Charm White
Charm White
6 years ago

Lovely article

Karjiana
Karjiana
6 years ago

I somewhat agree . I usually wear my hair in an up-do or wear beanies because I’m lazy and have been wearing short-term (1 week) protective styles to grow out my hair. But lately I’ve been wearing braid-outs and whenever I do, I feel like my hair doesn’t look “done” unless I add a headband in my hair or on the perimeter of my hairline.

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lesliemac23
6 years ago

I definitely started getting into headbands & flowers because of my big chop. I never thought of it as compensating, but rather working with what I had which was short curly afro that looked nice with a headband &/or flower in it. I am 3 years into my natural hair life & have past shoulder length hair now & I still use my various headbands, flowers & large bows. They simply look nice on me and match my personality. One of my ministers told me the other day that they always look for my flower from the pulpit on Sundays —… Read more »

Alyana
Alyana
6 years ago
Reply to  lesliemac23

I agree with you. I also wear a huge flower in my hair, but I did this before going natural. I think the hair accessories are cute and show individuality & personal style.

Chrissie
Chrissie
6 years ago

I think I wore more makeup and fancier accessories on a more consistent basis before I started trying out new natural hairstyles. I used to either wear my hair out in a simple wash n go or ponytail it, nothing taking more than 2 minutes really. But now I find I’m more creative with outfits because it balances out and compliments the creative hairstyles. Not always heavy makeup or bold accessories, but always creative.

Sheila
6 years ago

Great article Amma! Congratulations!!!

Dana
Dana
6 years ago

Short hair is unforgiving whatever the hair type. Check pictures of Maggie Gyllenhaal with both short (the honourable woman)and long hair (trust the man). In Western culture (and all countries influenced by it), long hair is an essential attribute of femininity. It is no coincidence that this website is calles “black girl with LONG hair”. We all know the power of long hair. So let’s be honest about it. Lupita looks fabulous with her hair but not everyone can rock short hair like that. And not everyone should be expected to. TWA is not compulsory for transitioning divas. There is always the… Read more »

Hannah
6 years ago

I see what she’s saying but I don’t really do this. My hair is generally a statement look loool! Get my afro out and then never even bother with make up.

Helga
Helga
6 years ago

Women who have had the big chop and then go out and buy lovely earrings and make up aren’t compensating for being natural. They are compensating for having really short hair. I know from experience that when I did the big chop, I felt a bit boyish, and I still would have felt boyish if I had really short relaxed hair. Having natural hair has nothing to do with it.

Jei
Jei
6 years ago

Personally, when I first got a short cut I liked that it was so different and edgy but it also felt more masculine (especially for my face) so I wanted to soften it with more feminine accessories. Now that it’s longer I still accessorize but don’t feel like I have to try as hard for my look to still be feminine ^^ For me the accessories were more about the length than it being natural.

Tiffani
Tiffani
6 years ago

I think this is way more about redefining feminine style when one of the primary markers of femininity-long hair-is gone than it is about discomfort with the transition to natural hair. I think feeling like you have to try harder to look like a girl when your hair is short transcends hair texture and cultural identity. I’ve also felt the need to wear more jewelry or be more feminine in my clothing choices when my hair has been short but it was strictly due to the length, not discomfort with it’s texture. Discomfort with my texture came during the 2… Read more »

indie
indie
6 years ago

In my first BC I hid the shortness of hair with braid extensions. At that time I was more concerned about going natural than anything else. That was the big thing for me. Recently and 7 years later I did another BC because although my hair was down my back it was unhealthy by my standards. I was excited at first to see my hair short I loved it! Yet as time has gone by my hair is reaching a stage where it’s too short to twists yet too long to just put gel in it. I had a moment… Read more »

Alexia
Alexia
6 years ago

I don’t think it’s compensating but more so complimenting your new look.

Claudette
Claudette
6 years ago

I’ve been natural for more than ten years. I never did a big chop, I was terrified of how I would look with short hair. Now I re-enthused about natural hair and I buying lots of hair accessories. Not to compensate but because I’ve fallen in love with my hair again. I only went on Youtube to find some new natural hairstyles and found a whole community of natural hair vloggers. I had already decided to stop pressing and blow drying my hair but following the regimen of water and sealant has changed the way I care for my hair.

Sweetamix3
Sweetamix3
5 years ago

When I started my SL’s they were short and I definitely compensated by wearing large dangling earrings, full face of make-up (including fake lashes) everyday..

Nei
Nei
5 years ago

When I first went natural back in 1998, I was a young teen around 13 or 14. No one in my community was natural, there was no Internet support…that I new of anyway. I knew I was tired of perms and chemicals, and hot irons to boot. I wanted to learn how to take care of my own hair but couldn’t stop feeling uncomfortable due to the comments I received, especially from my mother. She constantly warned me that my hair texture wasn’t “what I was thinking it would be” (3b‑c I’m assuming is what she meant ) and how… Read more »

Imade Iyamu
4 years ago
Reply to  Nei

Wow such a beautiful story. So many unexpected things happen on this journey called life. Glad you turned out just fine.

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