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To Big chop or not? That’s the question

To Big chop or not? That’s the question

Solange's big chop

You have finally made the big decision to go natural. Enough of all the relaxers, straighteners and everything that involves altering your natural hair. Here comes the next dilemma? Should I big chop or slowly transition? Which of the two is the best option? And most importantly, which one fits you and your lifestyle?

Ultimately, the best choice to make is your own. Chose whatever makes you the most comfortable. But we are not here to try to convince you which one is better than the other. Instead, let’s talk about the pros and cons, and the ins-and-outs of the big chop. That way if you do choose to big chop, its an informed decision that you won’t regret after your first cut.

Definition

The big chop is the act of cutting off/shaving off all your chemically treated or pressed hair to start fresh with natural hair. It’s the preferred choice of everyone who wants to go natural without having to ever deal with their treated hair again. One decision, a pair of scissors or hair clippers and in a matter of minutes you’re natural. It does sound intimidating but there are a lot of people who opted for that decision: Solange Knowles, Viola Davis and Sanaa Lathan among others. What made them choose the famous “big chop”?

As every decision in life, there are a few reasons that can convince you to do something but you still have to explore the pros and cons of your choice: the big chop is the same.

Reasons to do it

Reconnect with your hair texture after a big chop

Once you go through the big chop, the first thing you’ll notice is the difference in your hair texture. Indeed, the big chop will bring you a drastic change from relaxed or pressed hair, to your natural texture of coils and curls. You basically learn to reconnect with your hair texture and it’s empowering.

It can take time for someone to get used to their original hair texture, but it’s very manageable because your hair is still short. Once you’ve seen your hair texture and have managed to identify what type of texture you are [picture below], you can now buy products that are appropriate to your curl pattern and start your natural and healthy hair journey.  

Hair textures chart from 2A to 4C

Healthier hair strands

After going through the hair chop you will notice that your hair doesn’t break as much because you haven’t treated or straightened it. Relaxers, presses and keratin treatment might be convenient, however on the long term they will make your hair dependable and lead to hair breakage. You’ve probably noticed that your hair kept breaking if you took long to relax between protective hairstyles. This is because the hair that’s growing from your roots and the rest of the hair strand are different textures. Since your roots are natural, they are thick and the length is really fragile because it was altered which will lead to hair breakage. It’s a vicious circle really, so, the easiest way to put an end to it is to rip the band-aid: BIG CHOP.

Pros

On top of the reasons we previously gave you, we can think of a couple pros to doing the big chop.

Have you ever heard that a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life? Well, it might not be entirely true but there’s definitely something therapeutic about chopping your hair off. You feel more empowered because you’re no longer just defined by the locks on your head, you feel like a renewed person. It’s like having a fresh start and who can’t use a fresh start?

Besides, you just feel free because no more pressing and relaxing and any other form of burning hair in the name of having straight flowing hair. One less thing to worry about. Plus, no more pain, your head will thank you for that.

Cons

Are they truly cons to the big chop? Well yes, just like everything else in life, there’s the other side of the coin.

Well for a starter, short hair doesn’t suit everyone. If you do decide to go through the big chop and you find that you’re one of those people, it can be demotivating. But worry not, wigs and braids were made before the whole concept of “big chop”. We would advice you to just go for a protective hairstyle until your hair grows to your desired length. It’s not an immediate solution, it’s more of a mitigating measure. Hair grows so the problem is only temporarily in any case.

The most frequent question you’ll ask is what can I do with short hair? There are enough hairstyles for short hair to fill an entire encyclopaedia. You can make small twists, short hair waves or even play around with a hair sponge to make small stylish curls. It can be quite overwhelming to do these hairstyles if you’re not good at doing hair but luckily, the community is filled with inspiration. Just look up T.W.A (teeny weeny afro) hair inspiration and you’ll get more ideas.

Establish a routine

Be attentive to what your hair responds to, it gets harder as your hair grows longer. Starting a routine when your hair is still manageable will save you time and money. Read our article on natural hair for newbies to get you started.

And remember to stay positive and love yourself because not everyone has the same journey!


  1. Veroncah muchangi

    31 August

    Is it weird that am reading this after my big chop?? Well hoping to reconnect with my hair this being my second big chop see you people on the 7th for heritage chronicles

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