“I think most people still don’t understand that it’s truly just hair. They still project their fears and insecurities onto others- that it’s not possible to look good with short hair, that having long hair is so crucial to beauty, that one shouldn’t rock the boat when blessed with ‘good hair’. We need to move past this, seriously, hair is only hair… Short or long hair doesn’t change who you are…” ~Zara


So I’ve featured Zara several times on the blog. And it’s always been with hair. For example;



But she recently chopped all her hair off. I talked to her about her decision.

BGLH: Your cut is gorgeous!! Why’d you do it? What sparked it?
Zara
: Thanks!! I was hoping it would come out okay, and thank heavens it did! I’d been considering chopping all my hair off for a while, it was either that or go blonde. I tried blonde and it came out as ginger (!) but I got a great cut out of it, so I was pretty happy.

After a few weeks, I realized that I’m way too lazy to take care of delicate hair. Poofy [Zara’s name for her hair] is normally strong as can be (obviously, since she never fell out on her own, despite the color), but with all the processing, she needed more care than I was willing to give. I’ll say though, she wasn’t damaged, just more delicate and I could tell that I was a few steps away from having damaged hair if I didn’t start moisturizing her more, doing more deep conditioning, etc. But like I said, I hate having to do a lot to maintain my hair, especially as I never had to do much back when she wasn’t colored. I’m spoiled, lol. So, I had fun with the color and the cut, then I chopped it all off.

BGLH: Who did the cut for you?
Zara
: My dear fiance, Lobster, busted out the clippers and went to town on it. He was mostly worried that I wouldn’t like it, but afterwards, he said he could see how happy it made me, and he was glad I did it. In fact, he finds that his hands keep rubbing my head involuntarily- I think he’s having more fun with it than I am.


The other day, he tried to convince me to go skinhead! According to him, “not many men can say that they shaved their woman’s head”. I kindly refused, lol, he’s become clipper/razor– happy.

BGLH: You told me that the cut sparked controversy; Why, and from whom?
Zara
: From some of my family, first of all. I didn’t tell many people I was going to do it, just because I knew I’d hear the same arguments from when I did my first big chop- your hair is so nice, why cut it, it’s too extreme, etc. My mother allegedly had sleepless nights when she found out- cutting hair is a sign of psychological turmoil to her, I believe. I got some messages commending me to the Lord from her, lol.

I think most people still don’t understand that it’s truly just hair. They still project their fears and insecurities onto others- that it’s not possible to look good with short hair, that having long hair is so crucial to beauty, that one shouldn’t rock the boat when blessed with ‘good hair’. We need to move past this, seriously, hair is only hair. It grows back. Short or long hair doesn’t change who you are, it’s just a transient characteristic.

BGLH: Is the plan to keep it short, or will you grow it out again?
Zara
: I intend to grow it out again, I miss having Poofy in ridiculously large power afros. Once she got colored, her texture became more spiral, which most people would love. But it also meant that she flopped down and grew down instead of out. I don’t want spiral curls that gently fall to my shoulders, that’s not me. I want big strong hair that grows up to the sky, nappy as can be =)

BGLH: I know you are getting married soon… what’s the wedding hair going to be?
Zara
: Well, the wedding’s in a year, but I’ve been told that time flies like you wouldn’t believe. The hair will be pretty simple actually, I’ve got a ridiculous amount of jewelry for the wedding because I’m getting married in a sari (my mum’s tradition) and there’s quite some bling scheduled in the outfit. I’ll need a style with a center part because part of my jewelry is a tikka piece that goes on the center part down to the forehead.

A tikka piece


I still want the fro out in some form, so the front of my hair will be slicked down and the rest can explode from the back 🙂 I’ll have pictures of the wedding jewelry up at http://purplelacegloves.blogspot.com/

BGLH: Our graphic designer Shari is considering doing a big chop. Any advice for her?
Zara
: Go for it. If I had the choice between transitioning from long straight hair to long natural hair, I would pass. I’ve had so much fun with short natural hair, with the freedom of not having to stress about styling, jumping in and out of the shower, having people notice exactly how pretty your face is, lol. And I’ve seen Shari’s pictures, she’d look great with short hair. It’s a lot easier to adjust than you’d think, and you learn to love yourself for yourself, not because of rocking long hair or whatever.

I read in her interview that she’s been told that her hair is her beauty. I’ll be frank, honey, that’s some bullsh*t. Who you are on the inside is your beauty, not what grows on your head. Bump those dudes that tell you you’re not beautiful without your hair, because you are. Having natural hair is about being free, free from those who say that straight hair is better, that long hair is better, free to be yourself without other people forcing their ideas of beauty on you. Let go of the fear and cut off those relaxed ends!! You know we all got your back. It’s a good journey to be on, growing out your hair. I wouldn’t be doing it a second time if I didn’t believe that.

Amen! Zara is an AMAZING blogger and you can find out more about her hair escapades at http://leaveinthekinks.blogspot.com

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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32 Comments on "Zara // Natural Hair Style Icon"

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backlinks

Wow! This could be one particular of the most helpful blogs We’ve ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Excellent. I’m also an expert in this topic therefore I can understand your effort.

jacqueline

y did u cut off ur hair my hair was that long

Anonymous

this is anon 7:30 i think

I appreciate the comments, it really made me think about beauty and what it realy means.

i want to one day be free and not care what others think
but for now the journey continues

I am young(19) still growing and learning everyday

and yea the most black men like long hair thing is an awkward generalization

I think for me being young, the men that i date perfer women with long hair themselves as they are also young

but as they get older, they do seem to not care

Liza

@shones – I completely agree! Our men sometimes get bad-mouthed regarding natural hair, but I've been natural ALL my life and never had a problem dating black men. I married one and he loves my curly mane and has only seen it straightened once; to that he said "it looks OK, but its too flat".

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair

@ shones… thanks for that! i notice that black dudes get bashed a fair amount on this site. on the one hand, i recognize that a lot of BGLH readers have had bad experiences with black men as it relates to their natural hair and are speaking from those experiences. on the other hand i am dating a black guy who has been 100% supportive of my natural journey. it's hard to walk that line between expressing feelings but not stereotyping all black men — just as we as black women don't want to be stereotyped.

Shones

"also long hair is a preference to most black men so that is also an important aspect when it comes to dating with black women who wish to marry a black man."

This is a generalization. My African-American husband wasn't interested in asking me out UNTIL he found out I had a natural under my head scarf. I think you look best when you are most confident, regardless of your hair style.

Z
@Naturally Leslie, thanks girl!! I better practice that wedding hair as soon as it grows out, lol @Anon, that's odd, hate to hear there've been problems viewing pix. I hope it hasn't continued? Thanks for the compliment! I got that Halle Berry song in my head now, lol @song4ochun, isn't it so freeing?? Hope you're enjoying the short hair! @Trecia, girl you got some characters in your name my keyboard doesn't have, lol! Glad you like the blog 🙂 @Patricia, thanks so much! Yeah, he's a big old sweetie, lol @M, I always seem to be going through a big… Read more »
Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair
@ Anonymous… I see what you're saying. But honestly I think the whole 'it's just hair' thing isn't really about beauty or ugliness. It's about viewing your hair on your own terms. I've seen plain women who have the 'it's just hair' attitude and will chop their hair off if they feel it is becoming too labor intensive or simply because they prefer a short look. I do think black women hang onto hair whether it be a relaxer, a weave or even a big fro, because we are told that it is our last great hope for attractiveness. The… Read more »
Liza
Anonymous (7:32 and 7:33), I can see what you are saying. I've noticed that a lot of times its always the women with long hair that grows rather quickly who say things like "its just hair". I wish I could say that, but to me, its way more than just hair. All of the time, money, and effort I put into caring for my hair (plus the hours of searching through blogs, youtube videos, fotki albums, etc…) shows that it is way more than "just hair". That being said, I couldn't do a BC now…not unless my hair was damaged… Read more »
Miss Malorie
I love all the comments! And Zara, you're fierce girl! Love the short cut… if I ever cut again, I wanna go really short 😉 And anonymous: like everyone else has told you, you are beautiful, and once you know that for a fact, no one will be able to stop that light from shining inside of you. It comes from inside, believe that. And as far as the "long hair" standard for black men: don't ever be caught up in someone's standard. If someone is still practicing their version of "love" by saying they want a person that has… Read more »
uhua

Speak on it JadedPoet….That's real talk right there….Anon you are beautiful…don't let nobody tell you are not. They told me in high school I had big lips and I was ugly…now that my hair is natural, it's like my appearance just fell in place the way God intended. The same folks who made disparaging remarks about me now look at me in disbelief because my light shines because I let it shine when my natural hair became free. Yes Zara is beautiful but everybody with life is beautiful as well-just let that light shine, doll….

Da Jadedpoet

@ anon- once you perceive yourself as beautiful despite others opinions than of course you are. Other people's opinions of you don't make you beautiful its what you see. You can look like Gabrielle Union, Alicia Keys, or Erykah Badu if you don't see yourself as beautiful then you won't be…especially no matter how many times people tell you you may be.

Zara your cut is the hotness btw!! 🙂

Laurel

She looks beautiful with the cut and that red lip looks very good on her! I totally agree with all she said esp, in the last paragraph..lol @ her mum..she'll get over it..
Congrats on the upcoming wedding, lady..:)

Anonymous

it is always someone who is beautiful who wants to talk about how beauty is not such a big deal…if you only knew.

Anonymous
I really hate when ppl say that it is just hair, its not. never has been for black women and never will be. also long hair is a preference to most black men so that is also an important aspect when it comes to dating with black women who wish to marry a black man. i think that zara looks amazing with or without hairi do believe that it should define who you are but truth be told it does effect your appearance take me for example, i get many looks and compliments from ppl when my hair is out-long… Read more »
Shari

Zara, your new cut is HOT & FIERCE!!! And thank you so much for the words of wisdom. I think I will be doing my big chop VERY soon 🙂

Anonymous

So true! I transitioned for over a year and never had the privilege of having a short cut because I was scared of what other people might think. Now that my hair is long and thick, I care less about popular standards of beauty but love my fro entirely too much to cut it lol. If I had to do it all over again I would have cut it and enjoyed the freedom. Maybe I still will ;).This post is a reminder that it is never too late to BC. Well done.

Cris Simone

Beautiful article! Great celebration of AA beauty.

Marilie

Stunning! I love it! Whether they loved her hair or not, I think the people who know her got so used to her with that massive Afro, that this would definitely be a shock. But I'm all for doing what you feel. I took some kinky twist extensions out in September 2007, and I was not happy with the state of my hair. I went to the barber during my lunch break at work the next day, and had him chop it off (though not as short as Zara's). Sometimes you just have to do it!

M

For me cutting my hair was me starting fresh. Both times I cut I was going through some things. I NEEDED to do it. It was so liberating and my whole attitude changed for the better afterwards. More power to you Zara.

Patricia Grannum

She's amazing! I love her energy and her message about beauty. It's true that it comes from the inside.. Isn't it so sweet that her man did her big chop!

http://womanofcolour.blogspot.com

?reciä

Its more of holding on to what those who are within our own race then outsiders. I think outsiders are more willing to accept it (forget the dumb media)

great post.. and blog Z has. Love it when women are proud for who they are… Looking forward to the wedding photos as well

?reciä

Its more of holding on to what those who are within our own race then outsiders. I think outsiders are more willing to accept it (forget the dumb media)

great post.. and blog Z has. Love it when women are proud for who they are… Looking forward to the wedding photos as well

?reciä

Its more of holding on to what those who are within our own race then outsiders. I think outsiders are more willing to accept it (forget the dumb media)

great post.. and blog Z has. Love it when women are proud for who they are… Looking forward to the wedding photos as well

?reciä

Its more of holding on to what those who are within our own race then outsiders. I think outsiders are more willing to accept it (forget the dumb media)

great post.. and blog Z has. Love it when women are proud for who they are… Looking forward to the wedding photos as well

?reciä

Its more of holding on to what those who are within our own race then outsiders. I think outsiders are more willing to accept it (forget the dumb media)

great post.. and blog Z has. Love it when women are proud for who they are… Looking forward to the wedding photos as well

?reciä

Its more of holding on to what those who are within our own race then outsiders. I think outsiders are more willing to accept it (forget the dumb media)

great post.. and blog Z has. Love it when women are proud for who they are… Looking forward to the wedding photos as well

?reciä

Its more of holding on to what those who are within our own race then outsiders. I think outsiders are more willing to accept it (forget the dumb media)

great post.. and blog Z has. Love it when women are proud for who they are… Looking forward to the wedding photos as well

song4ochun

awesome interview. i especially take the very last paragraph to heart. i've clung to my shoulder length hair all my life. whether straightened, braided or in dreads i've always shied away from short hair, until recently that is. & it was such a freeing decision for me. the length of my hair could never define my beauty…how silly! 🙂

Anonymous

I read her blog Leave In The Kinks , BUT i couldn't view the new pics of her short hair. I LOVE it, and in the pic with the yellow top she has a strong resemblance to Halle Berry.

Naturally Leslie
This is fantastic BGLH! I love the short hair and I LOVE that her man cut it for her. I think women who worry about men not liking them with short hair need to widen their range a bit and will surely see that there are plenty of people who love it either way. I think as AA people we hold on to so many fears about what "outsiders" will think of us and we frame ourselves through a perception of what we think will please them or not rock the boat, thereby limiting ourselves in the process. So crazy!… Read more »
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