I refused to wear my natural hair out in public for about a year, and I covered it in curly wigs...
Victoria McCutcheon is a Philadephia native and hairstylist specializing in natural hair. She previously shared her professional story in an AQUIS Unfiltered blog.
Around 5th grade, I remember having the nerve to tell my mom I didn’t want her doing my hair anymore because it looked too childish. At the time my hair was “healthy” by my standards (I had just started getting relaxers so it was easily manipulated) and I guess that’s what made me feel like I was old enough to do more mature styles on myself. Looking back, I was wrong. But I’m impressed with my confidence. And that was the first time I was really aware of my hair.
Favorite Curly Wig
Several years later, in my adulthood, after deciding my hair could handle being platinum blonde (spoiler alert: it couldn’t) I realized it was damaged beyond repair and in need of a big chop. I was already a hairstylist at this point, but I wanted someone else to cut my hair. So, after extensive research, I found a stylist in Philly I liked. Now I knew my hair was damaged, but I had a plan. I wanted to gradually cut the damaged pieces out rather than cutting it all off and starting fresh and I was secure in this plan. Evidently, the stylist did not agree. She insisted she needed to cut more than what I was comfortable with and I would thank her for it later. She cut all of the length she felt was damaged and then cut the remainder of the hair into a wearable style. I was devastated. I refused to wear my natural hair out in public for about a year, and I covered it in curly wigs after protective styles after curly wigs. To date, this is the only time I ever left a stylist’s chair upset about my hair.
When my hair was finally at a length I felt comfortable with, I felt like it was foreign to me. I had become so comfortable styling my wigs that it was almost as if I had to relearn how to style my own natural curls. I tried many different styles to see what I liked best for me and my curls. One time I tried a Flexi-rod set. My natural curls were still in the beginning stages as far as health, so they required a little bit more manipulation than a traditional wash and go. The Flexi-rod set came out beautifully if I do say so myself. It was a new look for me, but I loved it, and I got a lot of positive feedback from people around me. The positive response from everyone wiped away the insecurity I felt that morning. It truly gave me some encouragement I needed to feel not only secure but proud of my natural hair. Unfortunately, it also rained that day, and the humidity turned my hair into something resembling a ball of cotton. So, up until that point, it was a perfect hair day that still stands out when I think about my hair journey.
Flexi Rod Set
Thanks to my handy curly wigs, I have been able to avoid too many bad hair days. I would purchase an array of wigs with different personalities for different looks. One day I wanted to spice up my look a little, so I put on a blonde hair curly wig that came mid-way down my back. I got so many compliments on this look! I was at a department store buying makeup and at the counter, someone told me I looked like Beyoncé! Queen Bey. Sasha Fierce. Now, I am completely aware I do not look like Beyoncé in any way whatsoever but that day I could not be told any different. I told all my friends, anyone, who would listen, about this wonderful moment. To this day, my friends still joke about this. I even have a group chat with my best friends titled “Destiny’s Child” because of that compliment. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the only time someone told me I looked like Beyoncé (still have no idea why) but none of them have been as special as the first time.
In my journey, I feel like my hair is the healthiest it has ever been. I can honestly say I am my own hair goals. While length is nice to look at, I have always been more concerned with the way it feels, and it finally feels and looks good. It has the shape and movement I have always wanted. "Journey" is definitely the most appropriate term to use regarding my hair progress, but it did not happen overnight. Just like everyone else it took years of ups and downs, trial and errors, heartbreak, and finally love to get to where I am. Unfortunately, being a hairstylist does not excuse me from all of the downs but I can honestly say I have enjoyed seeing my hair change and flourish. As cliché as it sounds, the journey can be more important than the destination.
To find out more about Victoria and her work as a stylist specializing in natural hair, see her AQUIS Unfiltered blog post here. Follow Victoria McCutcheon on Instagram @torididthat.