When considering embarking upon a natural hair journey hopeful naturals have to ask themselves a very important question: “To Transition or To Big Chop?” Personally, I’ve never struggled with that question. It was a no brainer for me. But for other hopeful naturals the decision is not always that easy.
“Do you have to shave off all your head to become natural?” The answer to that question is “Of course not”. But do you have to “Big Chop” in order to become a natural? The answer to that question is “Yes”. At some point during your transition you have to relieve your hair of the relaxer in order to fully embrace and experience the joys of being called a natural.
In order to go natural one of the first things you have to do is make a conscious decision to return natural and then STOP relaxing your hair. This means no touch ups. Throw out the relaxer kits.
There are basically only two ways to return natural: 1) the big chop 2) transition. There is no magic product that will take you form relaxed to natural overnight. So forget about it. LoL!
What is the BIG CHOP (BC)?
To BC is the fastest transition ever. It simply means cutting off your relaxer once you have gained minimal new growth. You can also BC after several months of transitioning and have gained a decent few inches in new growth.
Pros of doing a BIG CHOP
Not having to deal with two textures
This can be one of the most frustrating things ever. It may even tempt you to get a relaxer, completely defeating the purpose of your decision to go natural. One texture is so much easier to deal with.
Products work better
This ties into the point above. When dealing with only one hair texture, you get a better understanding of how products work for your hair type.
When you BC your journey starts immediately. You don’t have to wait for your hair to grow out or install weaves or braids. The deal is sealed and you get to watch your lovely locks grow from the root up.
If you love makeup and accessories it’s time to bring out the makeup kit and jewelry box. Long hair can sometimes detract from the accessories. Once you big chop your accessories will stand out more and will accentuate your natural beauty.
Cons of Doing the Big Chop
Dislike Short Hair
Ok so you love your long hair and can’t bear to part with it. The big chop is definitely not for you.
Limited Style Options
When it comes to styling your options will definitely be limited and you will be left with a teeny weeny afro (TWA). And that in between stage where your hair has gain some length but still too short to pull in a pony tail can be just as stressful as the enemy line of demarcation because you will have no idea what to do with your hair. This would be a great time to get creative. Another option would be to wig or weave it up until your hair grows out.
What is Long Term Transitioning?
To long term transition is the process where you wait patiently for your relaxed hair to grow out to a length where you are comfortable enough to trim the relaxer off. This process can be as long or as short as you want it to be.
Pros of Transitioning
You get to keep your long hair
If you love your long hair and can’t bear to part with it, transitioning is definitely for you. You get to keep your relaxed hair for as long as you want. When you’re comfortable enough you can do the big chop.
You can wear your hair straight
It is still possible to wear your hair straight by flat ironing the new growth but be careful not to do it too often less you heat damage the new growth.
Cons of Transitioning
Can’t tell your real curl pattern
Because the relaxed ends of your hair weigh down your new growth you won’t be able to tell the real texture and curl pattern of your hair. So until your rid your hair of the relaxed ends there will be some uncertainty.
Breakage at the line of demarcation
The hair is prone to breakage where the two textures connect which is actually the weakest part of the hair. The hair becomes uneven and you may end up losing more hair than you wanted to and eventually have to end up doing a big chop much sooner than you anticipated.
You might be tempted to relax again
Once there’s new growth there comes a point when the two textures become a bit difficult to manage. At this point it’s easy to get frustrated, give up and revert to the creamy stuff.
Products don’t work the same
The products that work for your relaxed hair may not work for your natural hair and vice versa. This makes choosing hair products difficult and it becomes a lot of work to maintain the two textures.
Comments from people who transitioned please. Or tell us why you chose to big chop. Thanks dolls!