How Shaving My Head Bald Changed My Life

How Shaving My Head Bald Changed My Life

I never would have thought in a million years that I would end up shaving my head bald, but it happened. I wouldn’t change it for the world because the day I decided to let go of my hair was the day I truly learned to love myself.

It’s odd how something dead (like hair) can have such a huge impact on our confidence and overall feeling of happiness and sometimes I feel a bit conceited for being so “into my hair”.

On October 28, 2011, I shaved my head and the impact it had on me was more intense and sudden than I ever thought possible.

Although some emotions are negative, the effects of shaving my head weren’t all bad!

My Self-Esteem Did Drop To Zero

Even with constant color changes and the obvious damage that came from lack of care, I was one of those people that didn’t mind as long as I wasn’t bald. Now, here I was with no hair. I’m pretty sure my mom said I had more hair when I was born.

I no longer felt feminine. I thought I would look ridiculous in a dress and heels because I didn’t have my favorite accessory: my hair.

That night, after shaving my head bald, I cried myself to sleep and I think part of the reason for that was because I felt like I’d lost a part of my soul.

I know, it’s a bit dramatic, but I’m just keeping it real.

I felt ugly, I felt a huge pang of regret and it wasn’t until I felt my bare head that I realized there were other things I could have done to avoid the trauma and shock I was feeling at that time.

I Started To Appreciate My Hair

See? Told ya it wasn’t all bad. This was definitely a big one for me because I used to hate my hair. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the reasons I decided to shave it off in the first place. Once my coils were gone, I definitely started wishing I could have my hair back faster.

Once it started growing in, I began to get “hand-in-hair syndrome” because not only was this confirmation that my hair would grow back, it was also super soft, the softest it’d been in years!

As a kid, I was a tomboy. I hated having my hair combed (and not just because it was painful) and would often go days without combing my own hair once my mom gave up the task. I didn’t care about what my hair looked like and I’d always been that way.

That was, until I had no hair and couldn’t figure out what else to do other than put on a hat.

I Became More Hair Conscious

Once I learned to appreciate my hair, I wanted to learn as much as I could about how to take care of my hair so I could not just get my hair back, but to get my healthy hair back.

It really made me start thinking about what I was eating as well as what kind of products I was putting on my hair.

It Forced Me To Get To Know Myself

Without hair, I had to do some serious soul-searching to figure out what was so great about me as a person because I was starting to get tired of being sad all the time. Digging deep allowed me to find beauty within myself that didn’t require the presence of hair.

I’m naturally a social butterfly so isolating myself for weeks at a time was starting to eat away at me mentally. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I needed an outlet.

I started meditating and doing yoga in order to ditch a large amount of the stress I was feeling.

I learned why I was so frustrated with my hair (it was super hard to manage and would take me hours to do even when it was short) and learning this allowed me to begin searching for solutions.

Overall, I’d become more proactive when it came to my hair care as well as more proactive on a daily basis, no matter what I was doing.

I Realized I Wasn’t Alone

A few months after shaving my head bald, I relocated to an area where there were more African Americans. When I got there, I realized I wasn’t the only one rockin’ natural hair! (Gotta love the East Coast)

For the first time in months I didn’t feel alone or like what I’d done was only something a psychotic person would do.

For the first time I realized that being natural wasn’t just a fad… it was a lifestyle. Being natural (apparently) was about more than looking cute. It was about embracing your hair as part of yourself as a whole and learning to be proud of it instead of using chemicals to hide the true texture of your natural hair.

It was a good feeling when another natural would nod in approval as they walked past, like some unspoken pact. It made me feel welcome instead of being shut out and that was such a strong feeling that I officially decided to continue on my natural hair journey.

Not sure what makes hair care a journey? Check out the post, “What Is A Hair Journey?”

Would I Consider Shaving My Head Bald Again?

Considering something and actually doing it are two completely different things. Although I no longer regret shaving my head, I don’t think I would actually do it again, but IF (strong “IF”) I did decide to shave my head again, it most definitely would NOT be during the freezing West Coast winter months (sometimes it starts snowing as early as September).

I won’t ever say never, though, and only time will tell whether I’m going to feel bold enough to take the plunge and shave my head again.

What emotions did you feel after doing your big chop? How has the view of your hair changed for you as a result of your big chop?

Leave your comment below! Your story may inspire someone and help them on their hair journey!

Here’s to your fantastic 4 kinks!

Aria Len

Sharing my natural hair journey with hopes to inspire you to find what makes your hair happy in order to reach your hair goals.

8 thoughts on “How Shaving My Head Bald Changed My Life

  1. I can relate to this. Not that I have a lot of hair, I am white and my hair is going through the normal aging process that happens to a lot of white guys, It goes grey and thins. When I go to the barber and she asks what I would like done I say ” just cut out the grey ones and leave the brown ones” . It doesn’t happen though, she cuts everything the same.
    Other times I say ” I will leave it to you to experiment”. I have been threatened with all sorts of things. She once threatened to send me out of the shop looking like a parrot. A bit of blue, some green, a touch of red.
    I don’t want to give you any ideas here, and I fully understand your African hair DNA. My trips to the supermarket with my partner in life include buying a Brazilian conditioner, which she uses, depending on her mood to flatten her hair, or not use it to tease it up, or have corn rows, or some other style.
    Sometimes I have to look around to check I am in the right house, the woman in the house looks very different to the one who was there in the morning.
    One afternoon there was a bald woman in the house. She had been out and lost her locks in support of a cancer project.
    I prefer she doesn’t accompany me to the hairdressers, because I know I will walk out with shiny clean fingernails and toe nails.
    For a guy this is not a good look. She will have a smile for weeks afterwards when this happens.
    Awesome posts on this blog, to say girls and hair keep things interesting for us guys would be an understatement.

    1. Hi Michael,

      You sound like you have yourself a natural hair journey going on.

      I used to think my hair wasn’t that important to me, but once I shaved it off I realized it was my crown. A part of who I am.

      Years later, I’ve learned that less is more and technique is more important than products used.

      I think at a certain point we all have to realize that everyone’s hair is different, even if we share similar textures. At least, it seems to be something we’ve forgotten in the African American culture.

      We do so much to our hair with hopes that we’ll stumble upon some magical hair potion that we end up breaking our hair and wondering why it’s not getting any longer.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on natural hair and your experience with your graying.

  2. What a wonderful and enlightening journey, it may of taken shaving your head but you got a tight one on your shoulders for sure! When I was younger, I had long hair and for a guy in a small redneck town a lot of people called me dirty, a hippie, blah blah. So I cut it down and right after, found more appreciation for what I had. 

    I know some guys who had a similar technique of self-inquiry, but with their beards! The hair that grew after that shave was the softest they (and their wives) have ever felt! Cool that you dug deeper and started eating healthier foods, because after all we are what we eat. It’s amazing how our bodies can tell us things that only we the observers can hear or know. It’s best to always just go with that flow 🙂

    1. Rowan,

      Oh yes, I’ve had plenty of male friends that I grew up with that decided to grow their hair out and as soon as they did, the name calling and isolation can begin.

      It’s disheartening to think that people can be so cruel to others just because of their hair so it makes it really easy to start to desire the appearance of hair of those that are considered socially accepted.

      But, doesn’t it ever make you wonder about the people who have hair that doesn’t naturally have the ability to be straight, curly or whatever is popular in a particular geographical location?

      I don’t think people realize how they act because if you think about afro textured hair for example, it’s never naturally gonna be straight, so what is society asking us to do? Chemically alter our hair to fit in?

      What about guys that like giant beards or wanna rock (pun intended) long locs or a man bun? 

      The key is being happy with your own hair because, like with everything else, you can’t please everyone and there’s always going to be that person or group of people that have a problem with you being you.

      So you may as well do what makes you happy and forget the rest, right?

  3. Hi there. I understand the dilemma in shaving off hairs. I once do that but not because I had bald hair but because of an awful dandruff which I wanted to get rid off. I tried so many cream and shampoo but the dandruff won’t go and that’s why I came into conclusion of cutting it off. During the first months of cutting off my hair, I also lost my self esteem where I have to put on hat all around. But I later got used to it . It was that moment I realized how important hair is in our look and beuty. I always thought cutting hair will worsen baldness. Are you able to concur baldness and grow your full hair again?

    1. Hi Stella!

      I’ve not had any issues growing my hair back. I’ve never experienced balding, I simply didn’t want to get chemical relaxers anymore but didn’t know how to manage two textures on one head.

      I doubt shaving your head will make baldness worse, though what is causing the baldness in the first place should be learned before deciding how to go about correcting it.

      I hope this helps! I’m so glad you were able to accept your hair and regain your confidence! 

      Wishing you the best on your hair journey!

  4. Dear Aria,

    Thank you for this elaborate write up and sharing your experience. Your article means a lot to me & I can relate it to the things that happened in my life.

    Because of having thin hair, I decided to shave my head. As you mentioned in your article, shaving our head is like losing a part of our soul. Also, in the part of the world where I live there is a custom people shave their head when their parents or very close relation dies.

    So if I shave my hair everyone will ask what happened to my parents. So I was thinking a lot. Finally, decided and determined to shave my hair. I did it three times in a row every fortnight. I applied a lot of coconut oil to my head daily. This yielded great results. Shaving my head developed great confidence within myself. I am thinking of shaving my head again!

    Wishing You Great Success!


    1. Paul,

      I’m so glad you were able to find comfort in shaving your head as I can’t imagine how confusing that would be coming from a culture that puts so much emphasis on hair.

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience and thank you for the well-wishes!

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