Black Women in the Military: Wearing a TWA Within Guidelines
I entered the military with the common misconception that your hair had to be straight to look professional. I expected every black woman to have either permed hair or braids. But, to my surprise, there were also a lot of black women who chose to wear their hair in TWAs (teeny weeny afros).
Women wear TWAs for different reasons. Some wear them because they are cute, easy, and can be very becoming. Others wear them because they just did the "Big Chop" (B.C.) and are in the process of growing out their natural hair. Whatever the reason, TWAs are a great choice for women in the military.
The military has strict guidelines for uniform and grooming. It is very important for each individual to make the military look good as a whole. Any actions you take reflect back on the military, and if you look bad, you make your branch look bad.
For an afro to be worn in uniform, the rule of thumb is that it must look good under a cover. Your hair cannot stick out in front of your cover, and it cannot prevent your cover from fitting your head properly. For specific rules, I would check with your chain of command or look in your guidebook.
TWAs Are Easy to Maintain
In February 2012, I decided to go natural. With a pair of scissors and a rush of adrenaline, I cut off my permed hair, leaving a small fuzz of hair on top of my head. From the beginning, I loved my TWA. Washing took minutes, and at its short length, it took absolutely no styling, just a quick run-through of the comb. I followed a simple routine of washing, conditioning, and oiling, which kept my TWA soft and beautiful. It's hard not to love a hairstyle that is so easy to maintain.
How to Care for a TWA
When I had a TWA, I spent a lot of time researching the best way to care for my curls and to get them to grow as healthy as possible. After a lot of research, I decided that the best way was to do the following:
- Wash with shampoos free from harmful sulfates.
- Treat my hair with protein and conditioner every 4 days.
- Oil my scalp regularly.
After researching different products, I found my “miracle.” I started off using Dr. Miracle’s 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner and quickly tried and loved their other products. Having a good washing and moisturizing routine is crucial for healthy hair, whether you plan to grow your hair out or not. In order to keep your hair healthy, you should find you own wash, condition, and moisturizing routine that works for you.
Styling Your TWA
Styling your hair can be really fun. At first, you may think that there isn't much that can be done with such short hair, but you actually have a lot of cute hairstyles that can be achieved depending on the length of your hair. I experimented with a lot of different looks, and my favorites are twist outs and two-strand twists. Have fun with your hair and try out some of these cute looks.