Big Chop or Transition, Take Your Pick

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-Toni Sutton, Contributor

So, you’ve decided to go au natural and stop relaxing your hair. Now the real question is, are you planning on “transitioning” or will you go for the “big chop”? Transitioning will allow your natural hair to grow out before cutting off the relaxed ends, and a big chop provides a fresh start with a complete trim. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Both options offer pros and cons. Be sure to carefully read through and weigh your options after knowing what to expect from both methods.

The Big Chop

One of the most alluring advantages to cutting off chemically straightened hair is the consistency of texture and all of its conveniences. You will instantly have one texture to deal with and will be rid of the daily hassle of finding the perfect style to complement both your blossoming coils and straggling relaxed ends. This is especially true, if you’ve fallen victim to relaxer breakage. Once you have applied your products of choice and combed, brushed, picked or palmed your mane, you’ll be all good to go. Your styling routine pretty much will be cut down to a few minutes!

Freedom from water anxiety is another added benefit to consider. With summer in full swing, beach days, lounging at the pool or even getting caught in the rain and having it mess up your hair will be a thing of the past. Once your big chop is complete, you may actually find yourself “singing in the rain” and ditching your rain caps.

For many women, the teeny tiny length of a Big Chop can prove too uncomfortable and intimidating. Factors such as the shape and size of the head are popular deterrents. For some, simply the idea of short hair is an absolute no go. Also, styling options can be limited. The teeny-weeny afro is the staple look, post big chop. For women that love switching up their hairstyles reasonably often, a tapered cut, use of kinky clip-ins and even wigs are recommended.


When it comes to transitioning it may seem like the easier way to go, but just like the big chop it has its advantages and drawbacks.
A major pro is that you won’t be taking the plunge and cutting all of your locks off at once, so for all you ladies that love your length this is the perfect route for you. Another perk is you will be in complete control of your length. You can decide when you want to cut your hair, and experiment with an array of styles without having to make a huge commitment.

However as mentioned, by transitioning your hair will be comprised of two different textures. As your curls start growing experiment with products that will work for both your relaxed hair and new growth. It’s essential to keep both textures of your tresses damage free. While it may be challenging, heat application is not suggested. Transitioning is the opportune time to familiarize yourself  with your natural curl pattern and getting a leg up on heat-free styles and techniques.

Big Chop Transitioning Hair

If you have already been transitioning for a while, and are ready for the big chop? It will take some time to get adjusted and learn about your hair once you have decided to cut it. It will take time to create a regimen, and at first, it may be a little time consuming, but think of your hair like a plant. You have to show it love by watering it, watching it grow, singing to it, etc. and you will have to do the same for your new natural hair. You will have to invest time in maintaining and protecting your natural curls as part of your upkeep. Don’t worry it will come with time.

Healthy Hair Afro’s Julie Oli offers a thorough timeline of her transitioning process and big chop. Check out this video if it’s about that time for you to take the big chop plunge!

Remember, this is your hair journey and that both routes are great but may be filled with pitfalls or setbacks. Whichever direction you take to make sure that you’re caring for your hair properly and look forward to a beautiful transformation

Photo Courtesy: Pinterest

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