By cutting off the hair I mean to about an inch long. There are some advantages to cutting off your hair:
1. Short hair is extremely low-maintenance. You will save enormous amounts of money, time and energy because you no longer have to braid, weave, plait, or chemically process the hair. All you have to do is wash the hair with a good shampoo and keep it moist with a good moisturizer or oil. You save on all the accessories as well.
If you decide to keep it short but continue processing it chemically, you still save on time and money on braiding and so on.
2. Short hair is healthy for the body in general and especially for the scalp. All manual styles like braiding and plaiting apply some pressure to the scalp.
Chemical processes like perms stress out the scalp even more, and have not yet been proven to be completely harmless in the long run. Obviating all the above by keeping short hair reduces chemical and physical stress to the scalp and the body.
3. Short hair can be very chic and stylish. It can be very flattering if one has the right type of face, for example by giving the impression of elongating the neck. Short hair can be spiced by using high or low lights or colour rinses.
If you decide to cut your hair short but keep it chemically processed, you are more free to try out daring styles with tong-curls or gel, since you are less worried about breaking the hair than you would be if it were longer. This could turn out to be a plunge into a whole new type of elegance and chic.
There are also many variations of a short hairstyle; for example layered - like really short at the back but longer in-front - or a very short bob or a uniform length.
For the head-tie-wearing type of woman, short hair does not interfere with your head-tying habits.
4. Keeping short hair can give you time to take a break and reconsider your personal style. The gains in time, money and energy saved and the feeling of freedom can give a psychological boost as one reconsiders one's style, one's image and one's definition of beauty.
5. Short hair is reversible. Short hair is not for everyone. If you hate the look, or it does not suit you, you can start to re-grow your hair immediately. You will be an experience richer.
Wait! Before you reach for the scissors, a word of caution:
Short hair does not suit everyone. It may suit women with round or softly square faces. It may not suit women with very heavy features or very long faces. To be sure, try it out first using a wig or a short weave. If short hair does not suit you, there is no need to put yourself through what may be an unpleasant experience.
Take time to decide how valuable or important your hair is to you before you cut it off. Take time to consider the idea calmly and imagine yourself with short hair. You may even want to try a wig first, as already mentioned.
If you have spent a lot of time and energy growing your hair, then cutting it off may be too painful, especially if it is healthy and luxuriant. Cut off your hair only if you can really live without it.
I personally think every African woman should cut off her hair at least once in her life. It is such a freeing, and very different experience. It allows one to view oneself from a very different angle, with resulting acquisition of new insights about oneself and one's self-concept.
But of course, that is every woman's personal decision.