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Are Naturals Blind to the Versatility of Short Hair?

• Mar 6, 2014

By Apryl‐Joi of sisterswithbeauty.com

When it comes to natural hair, there’s a lot to talk about—products, hair regimens, washing techniques, moisture retention, and many other things, but one thing that seems to shoot to the top of the conversation charts is achieving and maintaining long hair. Before you give the infamous deep sigh and skedaddle over to another page, let me advise you that this isn’t your typical post about how to grow your natural hair to BSL (that’s bra strap length, in case you’re new to this) and 10 different styles you can rock with your 18 inch hair. Nope, that’s just not about to happen.

I will say that many of us drool, hoot, and holler over Tracey Ellis Ross’s big, bold curls, Ledisi’s luscious locs, and Corinne Bailey Rae’s amazing mane, but for many of us, the road to having these beauties’ hair length is extremely long. The ultimate question is why should you sit, dream, and wait until the day that you can rock amazing styles, when you can enjoy it now? I know, I know….you’re rocking a TWA…there couldn’t POSSIBLY be anything more than a wash‐and‐go on your hair styling menu. Well I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. Let’s take the 31‐year‐old Lupita Nyong’o as a prime example.

photo-courtesy-of-www.politicsandfashionblog.com_

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86th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

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This Mexico‐born Kenyan actress sheds a whole new light on short natural hair. By rocking a side part, 2 middle parts, a brush cut, a tiny curly fro with tapered sides and lots in between, she proves that short natural hair can be just as versatile and fly as any long coiffure. Her hairstyles are proof that sexy comes in all different shapes, lengths, colors, and it doesn’t need anyone’s permission to be fabulous. However, no matter the length of your hair, it can only be as fabulous and fly as you allow it to be. Let’s face it….we’ve all seen a natural or two with a head full of long tresses who does absolutely nothing funky or exciting to it. You wish it were yours and she’s totally disinterested in it and wonders why you’re so pressed to have long hair. While you’re sitting there wishing, waiting, hoping, and dreaming about styling your long hair, you’re missing out on the beauty of having short hair and the amazing things you can do with it.

I encourage all my short naturals to take the breaks off. Let it roll! Let your imagination and creativity take your hair to all new heights without having to wait until it grows. Have some hair confidence NOW…don’t wait until later. You don’t want to look back and regret passing up the opportunity to rock the most amazing TWA you could’ve conjured up. Embrace your hair NOW and get on the Lupita flow to rocking miles of sassy styles that punch the idea that short hair isn’t versatile right in the face. Check out all of the ways Butterfly Lupita has styled her hair. Can you still sit and say you can’t do a thing to your hair at its current short length? As many praise Butterfly Lupita for her outstanding talent, beautiful skin, intelligence, grace, and overall beauty, we can’t deny that she is a great example of rocking your natural hair and styling it no matter the length.

Have you made having short natural hair a deterrent to doing amazing things with your hair? How have you jazzed up your TWA in the past? What do you do to get over your “long hair dreams”? Leave your comments below—we promise we won’t judge you.

Butterfly Apryl‐Joi has a true passion for natural hair and fitness. When she isn’t crafting up original content for www.sisterswithbeauty.com, she’s training clients on new fitness workouts and knows how to meet the demands of both the body and hair with hard work and dedication.

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Ellipsis
Guest

I know this article is about her hair but can we take a minute to admire her LUSH FLAWLESS skin. OMG!

LBell
Guest
LBell

*gasp* I can’t believe BGLH is actually addressing the possibility that short hair needn’t be a style death sentence… 🙂 Women will give every excuse in the book to avoid wearing short hair. – “I don’t want to look like a boy” (what are those two puffy things on your chest, exactly?) — “I don’t want to be mistaken for a lesbian” (because all lesbians wear short hair *rolling eyes*) — “I have a big head” (trust me, it’s not nearly as big as you think) Etc., etc…and of course the topic this article addresses, which is “I can’t do… Read more »

Elle
Guest
Elle

what are those two puffy things on your chest, exactly?” *DEAD*

Naturally Lovely
Guest

Yeah, if you have the face for short hair.

Jc
Guest

I do not know why Naturally Lovely’s comment was thumbed down because it is the reality! Not all faces suit TWAs, mine included! If you want to transition fast, then you do have to get comfortable with a TWA for a while but this does not mean that you will think that a TWA is for you and this is fine! I think to me the core message should be that short hair should be something that you arrive at because you intentionally cut your hair. This is as opposed to thinking that your hair cannot grow past neck length,… Read more »

LBell
Guest
LBell

Oops, I missed that one, lol. All right, I’ll bite:

Would someone care to explain or demonstrate what the “right” face for short hair looks like? Pictures, though not necessary, would be appreciated. (Lupita’s pics don’t count.) 🙂

Also, piggybacking on Jenni’s comment below: Is there a “wrong” face for long hair? keeping in mind what “long” represents when we’re talking about natural Afro‐textured hair versus natural hair of other textures, of course.

chalise
Guest
chalise

should i contribute my face under: wrong face for short hair lol. i can’t think of celebrities for whom this would apply but i know my face would be a sure contender. I have a longish, angular face. not a soft, baby round one. I think soft baby round ones are the most ideal, but the person’s features play a part too. i don’t have sculpted brows (kinda sparse and uneven) and i don’t have any other features that would play up the hair cut in a flattering way. if i had a short do’ i’d feel like i had… Read more »

NubianPrize
Guest
NubianPrize

Just as some people don’t have the face for big hair, some don’t have the face for a twa. All faces & bodies don’t go with all styles ! Why else do you see ads for eyeglasses /hairstyles for round faces, heart shaped faces,long faces, thin faces,etc ? And styles made to bring out your best features & fashions for women who are top heavy,bottom heavy, boyish figures, plus size, very thin,etc?? I’m one of those who DOES NOT have a twa face. When I did the BC & saw how it looked, I got a wig immediately. My BFF… Read more »

Elle
Guest
Elle

@LBell
Loved your response!

Jc
Guest

LBell — Actually YES there are faces that do not suit long hair or simply look significantly better with short hair. An example — Halle Berry. She can wear long hair (and she has worn long curly hair) but short hair emphasises her facial features, so she is much more suited to short hair (MY opinion, emphasis on MY) In my eyes, a face which is round with full cheeks and angular at the chin, suits big hair. Gabrielle Union (not a natural but her face matches my description) simply would look much cuter with a big afro. It would… Read more »

kaila P
Guest
kaila P

Might I just add that the whole long hair thing isn’t as fun as it seems, my hair has grown a lot and I’m not sure if I like it which is weird cause I’ve been coveting long hair all my life

JENNID
Guest
JENNID

I’m of the opinion that short twa don’t really look good on everybody BUT neither does long hair. My biggest issue with growing long hair is that saddley many have went natural just cause they think that’s the quickest and best way to do it. This now means we get a mixed bag of folks who don’t really like natural hair but are ” suffering” through just so they can grow it long and flat iron it to death. This is a hard topic to do because many will feel attacked for their preference. My thing is preference doesn’t matter… Read more »

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

This now means we get a mixed bag of folks who don’t really like natural hair but are ” suffering” through just so they can grow it long and flat iron it to death.” Absolutely Jennid!! You ae speaking the absolute truth!!!

Jacqueline
Guest
Jacqueline

I have long hair past bra strap length. I started cutting my hair short before I went natural. Now that I am natural, I have just had a second big chop. I love my twa and have plans on keeping it..

Nappy4C Rocks
Guest
Nappy4C Rocks

Jacqueline you are a RARE natural

Hyspin
Guest
Hyspin

I love long hair. I had short hair a couple of times and both times I hated or grew tired of it fast. I find that awkward length far more diverse (with or without the use of heat) than short hair. Because with my level of shrinkage combined with my type 4 hair, I can easily fake a short style, and then stretch to creat a medium style. I would like to see short hair do that, not going to happen. Also I know I just don’t have face that looks good without framing. But commend people who look great… Read more »

CC
Guest
CC

Lupita is one of the reasons why I’m rocking short hair I swear. She looks so regal and I look put together in my uniform.

Kezzy
Guest
Kezzy

I do agree with this article however as someone who has never had ‘long’ hair (longest I’ve had was shoulder length) and has never been able to grow my hair long I can understand why people dislike short hair or perhaps are fed up with having it. I don’t know if I’m alone on this one but it’s just from my own experience, I would love longer hair. However there’s is nothing wrong with short hair, as I have come to realise. Long hair doesn’t make you beautiful.

chalise
Guest
chalise

darn, i’m part of the crew that really, really, really, really really wants long hair 😛 I’ve had every hair length from TWA (one inch) to 18 inches MBL, and i’m pretty sure that in my case short was never a good look. While i’ve been told i’m pretty, i know for a fact i don’t have the face to be able to pull off hair that short. I didn’t like my hair short when it was short, and i didn’t really become comfortable with my hair til it was long enough to pull into a convincing sock bun at… Read more »

JENNID
Guest
JENNID

I would be very careful with this line of thinking. The “I or she would be so much cuter if she did this or that”. If you don’t think you look good no matter what where does it end? I would hate to be stuck in a self confidence hell for months and years cause my hair is short. Beauty is not all about hair. We women do have other assets to focus on. Also its always assume all look good with some length. Just as you have see real life naturals who could use the length I have seen… Read more »

Tabatha
Guest
Tabatha

But at least with hair if you mess it up you can cut it off and start again. It’s an Artist’s never ending canvas. Its a great way to express who you are. Well unless you are in the military like I was then you had to tone it down until you get out. lol

chalise
Guest
chalise

well it’s a perception thing, of course. i’m not saying i thought they were ugly with short hair. i simply imagine longer hair would flatter them more because i’m biased to longer hair in general, and pretty much always have been. you’re right that long hair doesn’t have the Cinderella effect on everyone, particularly if it’s not healthy or if it’s improperly styled (though the latter one could assert of short hair) I feel as though hair is merely an accessory, a complement. It’s my opinion that short hair like pixie cuts and buzz cuts and the like don’t complement… Read more »

Tabatha
Guest
Tabatha

I hear ya. I have had really short hair and I felt that my hair was just too round to wear it, so I can rock short, but not really short. It just doesn’t work with me. How ever My hair was a bit rougher to deal with when it was rougher. I don’t know why, my hair is a rebel. I couldn’t do wet and goes and just keeping my hair from locking up and was a nightmare, so when it grew out the curls started to relax more I guess cause now there was some weight to it.… Read more »

chalise
Guest
chalise

i’ve noticed that about some icons and YTers, that when their hair is shorter it appears tighter and then with length their curls appear to loosen. i’m not sure if this is just a visual effect of it looking looser than it is, or if the hair in fact does weigh the curls down.

Annnsow
Guest

This is totally me… Unfortunately it doesn’t seem that my type will ever be able to show length the way I want it.

Made in Africa
Guest
Made in Africa

I look back at my TWA days and realise I was SUPER gorgeous but I didn’t realise it then cause I was too self consious about the new(different) look, but now I’m absolutely sure some day I will rock my TWA again(unashamedly) but first let me see if these kinks can reach BUM length lol.
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/IMG_20140118_0071446.jpg[/img]
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/IMG_20140106_00144233.jpg[/img]

anastasia
Guest
anastasia

Hey Made in Africa…you INDEED look gorgeous w/your TWA! But I hear ya about the “first let me see if these kinks can reach BUM length lol”. LOL!! So many ppl have made excellent comments and provided food for thought, but I had to give a shout out to you and your pics!

chalise
Guest
chalise

awesome pix! I favor the second pic, but you look nice in both. Thanks for the added perspective. It def makes sense that at the time you don’t see yourself clearly through the discomfort of looking different. i hadn’t thought of it that way before.…in my case, even when i look back at pictures.…lol

Made in Africa
Guest
Made in Africa

Thank you Anastasia and Chalise 🙂

Ms. Vee
Guest
Ms. Vee

Meh. Natural is natural. Whether you have the world’s biggest Afro, longest locs or a cute fade do you. It’s not that serious. There are 10 001 different ways to wear natural hair. What might work for one black woman might not work for another. Know what suits your face and curl pattern as an individual and represent Team natural.

Maisha
Guest
Maisha

What am getting from this article is to be creative with your TWA. A lot of us are not creative at the twa and are not embracing that stage. i know I didn’t at first even when I got used to it I didn’t do much. I now past the TWA stage but plan on chopping it off in 2 years when I complete my masters. When I do I’ll make sure to be more creative.

Youngin girl
Guest
Youngin girl

I love short hair. It can have versality. I thought this revelation was about celebrating your own hair and doing what you can do with it. Look at this lady:
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/image-7.jpg[/img]
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/image-8.jpg[/img]

anastasia
Guest
anastasia

Another beauty w/ a TWA! Werk!

chalise
Guest
chalise

i’ve always loved the short look on chrisette michele. she looks fabulous. if i were to TWA she and lupita would be my role models! I actually have that first pic of chrisette saved to my computer, come to think of it lol

Tabatha
Guest
Tabatha

If you have super short hair there is a lot of cute stuff that you can do sure, but I’ve had short hair since 2007 its not a crime to want a longer length. I’m not saying butt crack length, but just a little longer. I want to try some of the styles that you can do with longer hair its not a crime.

SA
Guest
SA

Natural hair is versatile no matter if its short or long. It really boils down to a persons level of creativity and confidence, not about having –the right face– and all that jazz.

Honeybrown1976
Guest
Honeybrown1976

Do you!!! If you want short hair, rock it until you can’t anymore. If you don’t, do the same. I cut my hair once when I texturized (way before going natural). While I enjoyed it, I got over it because I missed my long hair. So, short hair was a short affair back in the day for me. I love it; but, I knew it wasn’t what I was looking for in the long run. It’s a matter of loving you and what you like.

Diana
Guest

Thanks so much BGLH for re‐posting the blog. Truly appreciate you for seeing quality content from SistersWithBeauty and sharing it with your followers..:)

Butterflies UP
Diana
Head Curl in Charge
http://www.sisterswithbeauty.com

Tameka
Guest
Tameka

Thank you for this article. When so many ladies go natural the first thing they want is long hair. I have never really liked long hair so I don’t let my hair go past shoulder length. Many people that have seen me for years now ask me why my hair isn’t long do have problem growing my hair. My answer to them is no this is the length that I like and is manageable for me. Everyone has to do what is comfortable their lifestyle. My hair is currently shoulder length straightened about ear length with no manipulation.

Diana
Guest

You’re welcome..:) we share many of the same feelings about it.. Be sure to visit http://www.sisterswithbeauty.com ..:) Butterflies Up.. thanks #BGLH

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

I personally enjoy short and long natural hair. But in my opinion short hair of any kind is work and if you don’t have the time or the funds to keep it up it can prove to be more trouble then intended.

RB
Guest
RB

I want to point your attention to black men (those other black people with natural hair). Your statement that short hair requires time and funds is illogical. The trouble that you speak of is really limited thinking and a very corrupted aesthetic. I’m confident the longer natural hair is seen and explored this will all be corrected. Keep it natural ladies!

mary
Guest
mary

This is all well and good but not everyone has the had for a twa. I have a really high forehead and it looks like my hair sits way back on my head, so no, I will not be rocking a twa. I am extremely jealous of anyone who can rock one though and i wish daily that I could.

anastasia
Guest
anastasia

I bet you are BEAUTIFUL! Ain’t nothin’ wrong w/ a “high” forehead =)

Chandra
Guest
Chandra

People can wish and want for whatever they want. Not a fan of the title but I get the point of the article.

Andie
Guest
Andie

My motto as it pertains to natural hair is, “to each its own.” Some people just don’t like short hair on themselves–to me, it comes down to what YOU like and how YOU see yourself. I know that I prefer my hair at the length that it is now versus when I had a twa but that doesn’t mean that my face wasn’t suited for a twa, I just prefer longer hair on myself. I have a friend who refuses to grow her hair past 1–2 inches (MAX)because she’s in love with her twa. That twa is going nowhere!She’ll probably… Read more »

Jacqueline
Guest
Jacqueline

I agree. My sister want longer hair for the variety of styles. I want to keep the twa because I love it. To each its own but the majority of the articles that I see are discussing long hair. It’s nice to read about twa once in a while.

Pat
Guest

This is why I keep my hair shaped up anyway and when it grows out too much, I always get it cut/trimmed up. I love it because it’s so easy to care for and on me just looks better.

PMS
Guest
PMS

Def if I ever have to big chop again I’m doing it Lupito style for a year before growing my hair out!! She is gorgeous!!!

robin josey
Guest

I firmly believe it stems from a comfort level and what is seen as feminine. That coupled with the fact that if their hair is long they “must be doing something right,” and are therefore seen as more credible in the natural hair community, which is hogwash. Genetics, diet and health are all determining factors for hair growth. I’m personally done with my shoulder length hair. It’s flat, takes entirely too long to do at just about two hours, and, just doesnt have the shape I want. just because my hair ain’t down my back, doesn’t mean I don’t know… Read more »

Karen
Guest
Karen

Love it!

Kristel
Guest

I love lupita! I wish she was around when I went natural 9 years ago. 🙂 Then maybe I wouldnt have transisioned, but just shaved it al off. I didnt knew you could do so much 9 years ago,there were no examples like Lupita. But I dont think only natural girls want long hair. I think its a woman/girl thing. I mean look at Al those ANTM cicles when the make over episode comes: Even the white girls with the long manes who can “easy” grow long hair are afraid to get the short hair cut. 🙂 And I think… Read more »

sasha
Guest
sasha

It has been years since I had a boy cut. I enjoyed it. It takes a level of confidence and boldness to pull it off. I found out just how prettyy face is. Plus I learned out quickly hair actually grows.

Naturalbeauty
Guest
Naturalbeauty

I’ve been natural since ’97/ ’98, so I’m a veteran who has been trying to give advice for a while. My advice to ALL naturals has been to find at least one or two styles that work for you at each phase of your hair’s growth. That way, you are less likely to want to revert back to a perm, and when you are in that everlasting middle stage, you are less likely to want to cut it back down. Our hair is so beautiful and versitile and its frustrating and disappointing when naturals see their hair as a problem… Read more »

lablooplah
Guest
lablooplah

The less I care about length the more I enjoy my hair. Nice to see a fellow Kenyan pictured in this post.

Tysh
Guest

Short or long,rock it as you want. Don’t forget it is just Hair !!

http://blossomcotton.blogspot.fr/

JAgirl
Guest
JAgirl

The picture with her in the red dress!!!!!!!…I love everything about her look in that picture.

Néhémie
Guest
Néhémie

sooooo true about naturals with long tresses who do absolutely nothing with their hair. when I started to regain some length, I went online looking for hairstyles and found nothing but “dry” wash and go dos that I have no time to detangle lol or exquisite cornrows I’d only see in hair shows. I gave up and decided to style my hair my way 🙂 ..Hair accessories work wonders for all hair length

Cryssi
Guest
Cryssi

I love short and long hair. I’ve cut all my hair off before, and right now my long hair is in a faux big chop style. I had to utilize my 80% shrinkage to get the look, and I love it. Still love my long hair, I just don’t want to cut it.

Tyler
Guest

I agree with what others have said. Not everyone has the face for short hair, and besides I have worked very hard over the years for the length I’ve achieved and I enjoy it very much.

Tyler
http://onelittleblackdress.com

the gypsy life
Guest
the gypsy life

Cosign the author. It seems like a lot of naturals are obsessed with length. Black people have more excuses for why they can’t do x, y, & z with their hair, instead of just admitting that they’ve been indoctrinated with what it means to be beautiful and feminine‐ which is long hair. I remember big chopping a little over 2 years ago, and there were hardly any YT videos with black women w/ short hair. It’s almost as if they keep their hair hidden, or transition, in hopes of achieving that bsl or waist length hair. When I big chopped… Read more »

Jacqueline
Guest
Jacqueline

I agree with gypsy life. After having long hair the most of my life and now I am in my fifties I feel beautiful and cooler in my twa. I love it and I owned. I was beautiful with long hair and I am beautiful with my twa. We must learn to love our hair regardless of the length.

Michelle@Radiant Brown Beauty
Guest

I personally look at hair as a God given gift…your crown and glory. I realize not everyone believes that or feels that way and you are entitled to your opinion. You can wear your hair short or long. I think it’s personal preference. Like many have said short hair doesn’t look as flattering on everyone. I prefer long hair. I just think it’s beautiful, especially when it’s natural.

Kerl
Guest
Kerl

I wish there were pix of others with twa. Liputa is gorg but honestly she’s is one in a million with the look that gives twa such a classic graceful style. As many have said to each his own.

Naturalbeauty
Guest
Naturalbeauty

OMG!!! As I see it, you couldn’t be more wrong. Lupita is not one in a million. I see beautiful sistas like her all of the time. There’s nothing special about her face that allows her to look good with a twa and not anyone else. I hate when women say, “you can wear that…you have the face for it.” Nonsense! You don’t know what you have the face for until you try it. I’m so sick of Black women putting ourselves in a restrictive box before anyone else. It will be a lovely day when we finally wake up… Read more »

Blahc
Guest
Blahc

I feel like these articles have to tear someone down, just to let those ‘TWA’/‘Short hair” girls to feel better. You’re tearing down the people who actually have worked hard for length or maybe didn’t have to work as hard. I will never cut my hair, due to religious reasons. Good job for you people who can cut you’re hair, your cookie is in the mail.

Primmest Plum
Guest
Primmest Plum

I remember when I BC’d and had my hair at about, 1 1/2 in — 2in, I loved the freeing experience of short hair. It was a cute look, and because of the short hair I had to adjust and experiment with my overall look. There’s something about short hair that made me carry myself differently, it gave me more poise, I held my head up a bit higher to show off my neckline. Short hair allows for subtleties that go unnoticed with longer hair. Your profile, décolletage, neck and even your nape can become very elegant and graceful. I… Read more »

Crystalc
Guest
Crystalc

I know this is old but I loved everything that you said!

Joki
Guest
Joki

I find this article humourous based on the fact that this site BARELY has any info or cute styles for women with less than 3–4 inches of hair, and most of the articles are about length retention and whatnot. Or they highlight mostly long or medium haired naturals. but whatevs.

Ja'Nae
Guest
Ja'Nae

THANK YOU!!! LIKE FR FR. HOW THEY GONNA TALK!

NubianPrize
Guest
NubianPrize

I am so very tired of all this drama about why people want long or short hair. I personally like long hair & was on my way there…like I had when I had my curly perm.… till I had to do hard trims last winter due to split ends & breakage. Went back to using old school grease on my ends, then started Carol’s Daughter anti breakage Monoi line in June. Right now all my hair is about 6″-7″ long & I’m wearing my usual summer KinkyCurly do which looks nice. I personally LIKE long hair on me; it looks… Read more »

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

I have just did BC #2 yesterday, and I must say…I am soooo loving having short hair! I had very long hair all my life and the first time I went natural, I didn’t really appreciate the versatility of short hair. Three years later, I was feeling very uninspired and even cutting my hair to neck length and coloring it still didn’t do anything for me. So when I BC’d this time, oh wow, I love this look on me! My high cheekbones look stunning and my short neck FINALLY looks graceful and longer. Even my fiance love this look… Read more »

Mokki
Guest

I’d really like there to be more love for the in betweener’s I’ve started to hate my hair because I feel like there’s nothing I can do with it. Which I’m sure is not true. There’s just not much mainstream ideas and it’s a hell of a lot MORE work when it’s not that short but definitely not long enough. And let me not get started on salons. Why would you charge me the same amount as someone who has 3 times my hair?? Help a sista out!!!!!

unbeweaveable
Guest
unbeweaveable

I love Lupita and the standard of inimitable beauty she represents for black women around the globe however her hair is relaxed in a few of these pics. It is not natural. Yes she looks jaw dropping and freaking stunning but she’s not repping attainable styles for natural women. I have a twa and had braids put n out of frustration. It honestly appears as though the ole wash n go is the only real “style” for new naturals. I wish we had more alternatives to motivate us on this journey.

Von
Guest
Von

As someone who used to have waist length locs for nearly two decades & recently chopped down to a TWA, IMO long hair is SO overrated! I was just going to start over with a healthier head of hair, but I’m loving the freedom of my TWA so much I’m keeping it short! Also I was one of those nervous about chopping because I wasn’t sure if I had the head or face for short hair–but I look so much better in it than I thought I would (actually better than with hair, lol–who knew)? Even though we say we’re… Read more »

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