Big Chop Vs. Growing Out: a case for transitioning hair

Hair Care

Big Chop Vs. Growing Out: a case for transitioning hair

So in case you are wondering what to do about yours, you really don’t have to go through an aimless winding journey like I did, here is a rundown of the 2 methods with their pros and cons so you can make an informed decision and know what to expect along the way...

Are you thinking about starting your natural hair journey, and are wondering where and how to start? Think you have to start from ground zero and are scared to do so?

confused woman

Let me tell you a story:

When I decided I wanted to go natural I had the same questions, if not more. I didn’t necessarily want to start from scratch but I did want to start. So I went searching for answers, and I found a few. I basically had 2 options; to do the mighty, frightening “Big Chop” or to grow out my hair for a while. While cutting the hair all off seemed daunting, growing it out looked even worse. It looked like bad hairdo’s and a bucket of patience, both which I didn’t have the time or resilience for. I decided to do a bit of both. I grew out my hair for about 5 months, all the while doing protective styles and trying to navigate styling my own hair, periodically getting a big trim just to test out how it would feel. In April I went in for the big snip. It wasn’t that bad, save for the look of utter shock on my mom’s face when I presented myself to her. I kept getting discouraging sentiments about how hard it is to take care of natural hair, and at that short natural hair, but I had made the commitment already there was no stopping a young nigga.

The issue came with the exact things people had warned me about. When my hair had outgrown the sponge roll, I was left in limbo to decide whether I was going to keep it short for a while or I was going to continue growing. At the time I thought, “I have short hair, while it’s short I can do whatever I want with it and it won’t be detrimental because I can just cut it all off again” and I went on and acted a plum fool with it. I cut my sides, making the look (barely) tapered, then another time I walked into a salon and asked them to tint the hair gold. The tinting process hurt more than I expected it to so it was washed out while still (barely) at the tips. So juggling two complexes at the same time was funny to experience and to watch. I constantly had to go for a shape up, and some barbers wow, I know why men stick with one specific barber. When I noticed the middle of my head was ready to fly, I let it, and allowed the side hair to join in. I started scouring the internet for tapered looks until the end of time. Eventually it showed up and I’m here now.

So in case you are wondering what to do about yours, you really don’t have to go through an aimless winding journey like I did, here is a rundown of the 2 methods with their pros and cons so you can make an informed decision and know what to expect along the way.

Big Chop:

This is where you decide once and for all that you will cut off your hair and start afresh. This usually is done with relaxed hair but also, heat damaged hair is cut off. You can big chop after growing your hair out a bit, or just be a mad woman and start afresh. It usually looks 100% dope.

Pros:

  • One texture to work with
  • Super low maintenance
  • Interesting look
  • Freedom to explore with looks
  • Literally 5 minutes in the mirror on your hair

Cons:

  • The comments! Oh the comments! Brace yourself
  • You might have a funny head shape (or think you do)
  • Impatience will kill you
  • Each hair length stage is a challenge
  • No puffs for months L
  • You can’t hide it in braids, unless your stylist is REALLY skilled, or just get a wig.

Growing out /Transitioning:

This is where you quit the relaxers and continue to grow your hair with that “growth” underneath. The hair will show up as 2 textures and can be grown for as long as you feel comfortable. Usually when the growth is at a level you can live with, the limp relaxed hair is then cut off and the natural crown is lifted. Many times it is cut gradually over time.

Pros:

  • That length mama
  • You have time to learn how to care for your new hair
  • You are in control; how often you cut, how much is cut
  • Protective styles. Protective styles everywhere!

Cons:

  • That meeting point between your relaxed hair and natural? Very fragile.
  • You’re dealing with both relaxed hair texture and natural. I salute you
  • You might be more tempted to do retouch. (DON’T!)

Hope this gave you some perspective on the route you are going to take when embarking on this natural hair journey. If it confused you more… sorry lol. I only hope you stay like this chick despite it all:

If you are already a naturalista, please leave a comment and tell us how you went about becoming one. Was it simply the only option you had? Did you cut off your hair in the midst of a bad breakup and ended up with natures gift? Comment below.

With love,

4C Mami.

2 Comments

  1. Hi Lynn
    This is Zahara from Taibah
    Anyway I am transitioning to natural hair though I still have my relaxed hair on
    I am scared and terrified to chop it off
    I haven’t done retouch ever since the year begun.
    Anyway thing is I came to conclusion that my hair is weak for relaxing creams and my hair feels strong and good the growth I mean
    I appreciate your posts
    I keep reading one after another
    Thanks for encouragement
    Been of good help

    1. Hey Zahara,
      Congrats on your natural hair journey! I’m so glad you noticed how much better your hair is on this side of things. I hope to one day see your hair once it has fully gone natural. Thanks for reading 🙂

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