Big Girls & Short Hair: My SisterLocks Install at Sabine’s Hallway (Natural Hair Salon NYC)

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Is there a myth somewhere that big girls shouldn’t have short hair?

I’ve been thinking about getting SisterLocks for a long time and last week, I finally took the plunge and began my journey. While, I’m super happy with how they turned out, I was surprised that having “short hair” made me feel more vulnerable about my weight. In the past I’ve always added the hair I wanted for my ideal length with braids, weaves, etc. but I never thought about hair as part of my body image until I started rocking my natural hair at its current length.

Long Weave to Short SisterLocks

I know I prefer long hair in general, but I’m wondering if any of that has to do with body image. Like the longer hair is easier to hide behind or something? I dunno…

Anyway, committing to love my hair at the length it is now while I wait for it to grow longer feels very similar to committing to love my body as it is now, while I work to become my healthiest self.

(Watch me go from Kinky to pressed to SisterLocks in the video below)

Going 100% natural feels right for where I am in my fitness and self love journey.

Oddly enough, I’m not supposed to put any product on my hair. This means that in order to keep my 4C hair hydrated, I have to make sure I’m drinking enough water. Taking care of my hair from the inside out is right in line with my plus size fitness goals, so here is yet another reason for me to eat supportive foods and take care of myself.

My install was done at Sabines Hallway in Brooklyn (www.sabineshallway.com). It took 3 days to finish my hair, so having a nice ambience made the experience comfortable. We had NetFlix, Wifi and good company. I couldn’t ask for anything better!

I’ll have more details on my hair soon, but if you have specific questions leave them in the comments and I can answer them for ya!

I can definitely say this is another piece added to the puzzle of loving myself as I am now, and I’m all for it!

sisterlockson 4c hair 2

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  • http://www.thatmakessense.net/ Pam

    So interesting that you post this. I was contemplating doing a blog post on this very subject. My co-worker and I were talking about losing weight and she made the comment that she couldn’t be big and be bald-headed. I didn’t take offense to it, but it made me reflect on how women of size tend to hide behind hair as is a form of hiding their bodies. The pic to the left is a sew in, a protective style that I used for my photo shoot. There were times I wondered if people would look at me differently (differently = attractive; people = men) if I didn’t have the hair. It took a long time to get to where I am and truthfully it is a daily journey. I’ve been rocking my short twist-out and I love my look and have never felt more beautiful. I think I’m going to do that post.

    • CeCe Olisa

      Hi Pam!

      Your comment is helping me process this… I wonder if its a femininity thing? Being larger can sometimes make people see us as less “girly”, so maybe hair is something we hold onto for that purpose?

      • http://www.thatmakessense.net/ Pam

        I think culture has played a huge role in how we see ourselves with and without hair. There is so much I can say. Its funny because my co-worker loves that Lupita rocks the short hair, but doesn’t believe a woman of size can do it. To my co-worker it doesn’t look pretty or feminine. I won’t use the phrase she used, but she likened it to being a lesbian.

        • CeCe Olisa

          Augh– how much of our identity (gender/sexual/race/etc.) is tied up in our hair… How much of how people judge us is based on how we style our hair? …and we don’t even know it until we do something drastic to it!

      • Orleanas

        I do think it is a femininity thing (as well as a black woman thing, imo). In general, I think hair is one way that females express femininity. In our society, big or long hair is how that femininity is showcased for sexual appeal. When you’re a big girl, all of those factors play a role in body image.

        I agree with Pam in that “culture has played a huge role in how we see ourselves with and without hair,” to the point that when I cut off my hair to Samira Wiley of Orange Is the New Black level out of necessity, I was super conscious of needing to exude a more feminine image so that I would not be mis-perceived to be a (butch) lesbian. Big earrings, flowers and other accessories in my hair, along with skirts and dresses was my way of dealing with that.

        • CeCe Olisa

          omg yes… its like we carry these social stigmas and dont even realize it!

  • Orleanas

    Congrats, Cece, on your Sisterlocks! I also am Sisterlocked, going on two years this November. Getting Sisterlocked is the the second best decision I have made regarding my hair because I am one of those girls who is clueless and uninterested in spending time styling my hair. (The first was to have maintained my natural hair throughout my life…I’m in my early 30’s). My locks have lessened my stress about hair styling and make me feel extra sexy. I hope you end up loving your whole Sisterlocks journey.

    …I found your site last week and took some time this weekend to catch up to the point of checking repeatedly for new posts. I got quite a few laughs from your dating experience posts, for you write with humor and authenticity. At the same time, you also write with depth and wisdom. From what I’ve seen of your site and your videos, you exude a positive, fun energy; have a beautiful personality; and a welcoming, bright smile.

    Lastly, I commend you on the design of your website, an important element for me in sites that I frequent: It is clean, easy to navigate, colorful, and professional. Keep up the great work.

    P.S: Your installation took three days?! How many locks did you end up with?

    • CeCe Olisa

      Thank you so much for your kind words… it means a lot!

      I didn’t count my hair, but I have thick hair and the women in my family have an abundance of hair at any length, so it was 3 long days… maybe I’ll ask my honey to count them for me lol

  • Genevieve

    Being a bigger girl i always thought that it was unfair that I did not have long hair. To me I felt why did other plus girls have long hair and I did not. It always made me think it would make being plus size more comfortable. At that stage in life I hadn’t realized I needed to take care of my hair in order for it to grow. Now I am natural and loc’d and on the way to long hair with patience :)

    • CeCe Olisa

      Ahhhh Patience… I’m so impatient, I think this will be a good lesson for me in many ways lol

  • mary d

    you mention 4C hair….what does that mean? and why did you cut two inches before starting, and how did you chose upon sisterlocks, instead of dreads, twists or just curly natural…

    • CeCe Olisa

      Hi Mary– good questions. I’ll do a post next week explaining in more detail… is that okay?

  • Ally P.

    CeCe I applaud you on your personal decision. I just you and all of your readers to remember that it is a “personal” decision. If we want to wear weaves, wigs, etc. these are personal choices that we make and should be accepted by families and friends. All the best to you on your journey. I am wearing the denim dress that you recommended months ago for plus size girls! Thanks

    • CeCe Olisa

      YAY @ the denim dress… I bet you look fabulous!

      I 100% agree with the personal choice part… in the end, hair is just hair lol ;-)

  • Lona nods

    this looks really nice on you. very pretty.

  • Juliette Mitchell

    I loved this conversation! I love that you challenge readers to examine their perceptions of self and the dictates of society. I have seen many instances of long hair being almost a requirement for “attractiveness” and have had a number of plus size friends who would NEVER consider shorter hair because of their size! Even seeing it in writing – it looks crazy written down to me! But everyone has to make their own journey and learn what love of self is for them. By the way, I LOVE the short hair – the brightness of your eyes and joyful smile are really highlighted in a way that longer hair kind of obscured. But you’re gorgeous no matter the hairstyle Ms. Cece!

  • supri_supri

    Hi! I don’t usually post though I’m such a fangirl! But I had to cuz this question is so near and not-quite-dear to my heart. I say “not-quite-dear” because I have struggled with this issue for pretty much all my adult life. One second I’m angered at the “skinny girls can rock anything, the rest of y’all can’t” double standard. The next second I feel wretched about not having lusciously thick, long hair.

    As a result of PCOS and my super special genetic cocktail I’ve lost a lot of my hair via diffuse thinning. I’ve kept it short and sometimes super short for about 20 years now. In my worst moments I curse everything and feel miserable. In my best I get out my arsenal of tools and create the best edgy look I can… Lack of visible cheekbones be damned! 

    For me it’s about conventional femininity and heterosexuality, absolutely. If I’m not thin, well obviously every other aspect of me has to be girly and pretty to make up for it! As if long hair would make me instantly sexy and glamorous, despite the fact I don’t have a culturally ideal body shape (more watermelon than hourglass).

    Jumping topics, for a while the only (white) fashion world references to short hair were Twiggy, Audrey Hepburn and Mia Farrow… Not only not fat, but the thinnest of the thin. Like in order to carry off short hair in a feminine way, you have to be super delicate. 

    On top of that I also come from a family of Indian ladies who as young women had thick-ass ropes of braids down to their butts! So my hair texture and choice to keep it short have made me feel like a bit of a black sheep at times.

    Anyhoo I could dissertate on forever about this! The happy ending is I know I can rock short hair even though I need to battle self doubt. Hell I’ve even just ordered myself some big old square glasses even after mom asked me if they’d make my face look bigger (she means well, sigh)….skinny hipsters, eat your heart out, I got face for days and weeks.

    And the happiest ending is your hair is gorgeous and chic. Curly, wavy short hair is so romantic and fresh-looking! 

  • Amelia

    I can understand this feeling. As a PSP with long-ish hair sometimes I feel as if wearing my hair long and straight is the only way my face is framed nicely. As I get more confident with myself I am becomming far more secure with wearing my hair up and natural styles. I am no longer a slave to Eurocentric hair. Yes, I have chubby cheeks. Yes, my chin has a twin ;) No, I don’t have to hide them But I am learning that embracing my own beauty means to love it in all its forms.

  • Char Walker Young

    I cut my hair 2 years ago after wearing locs for 8 years. It wasn’t until I cut my hair that I realized I was hiding behind my long hair. I went from locs down my back to a TWA….teeny weeny afro. My face became front and center and I was very uncomfortable with it. I tried to hide in bigger clothes and accessories. I wrote a blog post about it (http://myjourney-fromfatto40.blogspot.com/2012/08/8712-wheres-my-hair.html). It took me a few weeks to adjust to it. I love rocking my fro and its so versatile. I can wear twists, bantu knots, braids, a cute puff or even straighten it. Your Sisterlocks rock and you look fabulous as always.

  • http://Inspector33.com/ Inspector33

    I like the locks on you. Looking forward to seeing more on how you style them and evolve with the look. I don’t think that hair length has anything to do with having something to hide behind – well, maybe for some people it might – but I think it has way more to do with the shape of your face and what complements it. For example, if you have a very round face having longer hair balances it out and elongates. For me, as I put on weight I can get a little double-chinny so I keep my shape where the widest part is at cheek/cheekbone level to draw the eye up. Sometimes I think I would love to rock a shorter cut but I don’t think it’s the best look for my face. As a Fashion Designer and artist, for me, it’s all about the aesthetics.

    P.S. Much props for having the commitment and stamina to sit in a chair for three days. You look great.

  • payless4brands

    I don;t know where that myth comes from, but I love short hair! And honestly, looks very good on bog girls!!! You are gorgeous! http://www.payless4brands.com

  • Anyanwu

    This is my first time reading your blog and I must admit that I fully enjoy your writing.

    • CeCe Olisa

      Wow thanks!! xx

  • Fatima Burgess

    Your hair looks amazing!!! I can’t wait to see it grow and all the styles you can do with it:) Also, I’m going through that same thing. I have naturally curly hair, and my curls are very tight. So my hair, as of right now, straightened is about shoulder-length, but curly looks about 3 inchs long. I’ve been relaxing my hair since I was little and stopped about a year ago. I’ve been straightening my hair daily, but now my hair is getting so damaged that I promised myself I wouldn’t straighten it for the rest of the summer. I’m struggling with the fact that I can’t hid behind my hair and that my hair makes me stand out more than I already do. But, I guess its a comfort thing and its good to get out my comfort zone.So, its all worth it in the end:)

  • http://lifeloveandleslie.blogspot.com/ Leslie Randolph

    I totally understand the dilemma with chopping your hair off. As a girl, our hair is one of our most prized features. We cling to it because it makes us look “girly”. It’s been a huge part of my identity my whole life and I’ve always wanted long, beautiful hair. It’s almost as though it gave me something in common with skinnier girls or the models I saw in magazines. If I couldn’t be their size, maybe I could have the same hair. I struggled with chopping my hair off but I did a little over 6 months ago! It’s lighter, healthier, easier and I’ve grown to LOVE it! Sure, if I style it just right, I look like a guy which makes me self-conscious sometimes but I feel fierce rocking a short ‘do’ and it has some great perks! My get-ready routine has become shorter and the summer has been great because I don’t have hair hanging over my neck (my head sweats like crazy and I have thick hair). I feel empowered because I took the risk. You don’t need a strong jawline to pull it off either. I’ve noticed my face looks rounder because of cutting my hair but you know what, I don’t care! I’m so much happier with the health and feel of my hair now than the damaged mop I had before. Don’t listen to all the stupid “rules” and do what you want!

    • CeCe Olisa

      YOU ARE STUNNING!!!

  • Nytasha Smith

    Hi! I started following your blog about 8 months ago and I must say we are very much alike. I saw your YouTube video and I was like’what’ Cece got sister locks! Congrats and welcome to the family.I too work in a corporate environment.(midtown) I too have sisterlocks and am plussize. Prior to my install I wore wigs and weaves to achieve big hair. Noone in my officwe was ready for the switch including me. But I needed to do it, was rejoining the dating world and was not comfortable doing so with the wigs, I also live in Brooklyn (walking distance from sabines no less). I am , ahem, a little older than you and I am still evolving into a more comfortable skin. Everything you said about hiding…all you said about dressing more corporate. ..it’s all familiar. I am two years into my sister lock journey and I can tell you, Ive been there and you will not regret it. Hang in there and bets wishes on your journey.