To Transition or Big Chop to Natural Hair

Getting tired of that relaxer? Then I guess you are thinking of growing back your hair to the natural state. The big question is should I go through the process of transitioning or just take the risk and do the ‘big chop’ (start fresh). First, let me define and explain the differences of transitioning and big chop for you.

What is Transitioning?

Transitioning is a process of growing out your relaxed/permed hair to become its natural form. Transitioning can be difficult to manage since you have to deal with two different textures of hair. Special attention should be taken to new growth to prevent breakage.

What is Big Chop?

Don’t be scared of this process, just embrace it. Big chop is the result of moving pass the transitioning stage by cutting all the perm/relaxed sections off into a short or low cut hairstyle.

I would like to help you decide by sharing some tips on what would work better for you: to transition or big chop to natural.

Transitioning from Relaxed to Natural

If you are worried about how you look with short hair or you prefer to retain your length then transitioning to natural hair should be just right for you. If you choose to transition then you will have to deal with two (2) textures (new hair growth and relaxed hair) which sometimes not that easy to manage. One should also take into consideration how long they want to go through the transitioning phase to be completely natural. A trim is recommended during this stage and it can be done every 2-3 months or every year. These tips will make your transitioning journey way easier than you had thought.

Read about My Transitioning Journey

Wash and Detangle

Use a wide tooth comb on wash days to detangle. Apply as much conditioner and start from the ends and work your way up to the roots. The hair will feel more manageable and easier to comb through. The weakest point of your hair is where the natural hair meets the processed hair. Be gentle when detangling and styling the hair to prevent breakage. To better manage my hair I would do a mixture of conditioner with olive oil. This method made my hair much easier to manage. Hair can be washed with any shampoo of choice or one that specifically rids the hair of build-ups from old products. Also, follow up with a deep conditioner and do a protein treatment every 6-8 weeks. Applying the LOC method to seal in moisture is required after every wash if you want to keep your hair healthy and strong.

Styling During the Transitioning Stage

When styling it is best to avoid head at all cost. If you choose to use heat make sure to use a heat protectant. At the transitioning stage the hair is already fragile and can be easily damaged; therefore, low manipulation styles that does not cause much tension on the hair is needed. During my transition stage, I wore mostly box braids and often after a wash day I would do a flat twist style that would result into a flat twist out after wearing for several days. It is important to choose a low manipulation style that does not require daily styling and maintenance. To also protect your edges use a satin bonnet.

The Big Chop

If you just want to be free from the relaxer or you prefer a low cut hairstyle then the big chop method is your best option. By doing the big chop it allows you to start fresh by allowing your hair to grow from a short phase. This process will help to thicken the hair and allow it to grow evener. After the big chop process, you might need to figure how to maintain your TWA (tweeny weenie afro) short hairstyle if you haven’t done so already.

Get a Professional Hair Cut

Even though some naturals choose to do the big chop on their own, it is recommended to have this done by a professional, so that you can get a nice clean cut to achieve the best result. After the haircut your hair grows back eventually, so don’t be scared to rock your twa.

TWA Wash Day

Wash days for TWA should be super easy. There is not much need for detangling. If the hair is short but of length I would consider washing and deep-conditioning once every week to remove build-ups. Daily moisturizing is necessary to prevent the hair from becoming dry and brittle.

Styling Natural Hair after the Big Chop

There is not much styling options after the big chop. It is possible to try styles such as finger coils, mini bantu knots, tapered cut, sprucing with a hair color of choice etc.

Which method did you choose? Transitioning or the Big Chop

Whether you choose to transition or big chop the main idea is what works for you. While some prefer to big chop and skip the long transitioning process both will end with the same result. I went through the transitioning stage and I also did a mini-chop when my hair reaches the utmost stage of the transitioning journey.

How did you achieve your natural hair after relaxing? Why did you choose to go back natural? Leave your comments down below.


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No comments

  • Ty Knighten

    I have always had an interest in those people who have done the big chop and all the stuff they have to do after. While I've never done it, this is great info. Thanks.

    February 8, 2017 at 1:46 pm Reply
  • Kenya Rae

    My daughter is currently having this debate with herself. I personally couldn't transition. I am a big chopper. I do it often too. Lol

    February 8, 2017 at 2:52 pm Reply
  • Chante' Burkett

    I been through all of this probably twice. Right I'm in love with my natural hair it's growing soooo nice

    February 10, 2017 at 10:34 am Reply
  • Jonna, Naturally Glam LLC

    I tried to transition but it only lasted 5 months. Then I big chopped and kept it pushing because I just was lost.

    February 10, 2017 at 10:34 am Reply
  • Kim S.

    I didn't big chop. I just grew out my perm. Now that I've grown it out, I am thinking about doing a big chop. Backwards, right?

    February 10, 2017 at 10:34 am Reply
  • Mimicutelips

    I am a big chopper for sure, I'm drastic and I love a bald head. I also don't have the tolerance for a transition.

    SN: Really cute banner.

    February 10, 2017 at 10:34 am Reply
  • Kirstin Fuller

    Great article. It has given me a lot to think about. I would definitely prefer the transitioning method to retain some sort of length.

    February 10, 2017 at 10:34 am Reply
  • Latoya Scott

    I can't remember how long I transitioned. I think it was a year before I finally got fed up and did the big chop.

    February 10, 2017 at 10:34 am Reply
  • Stacie Raye

    I've tried to transition/ big chop three times in the last year. It's a battle I continue to have.

    February 10, 2017 at 10:34 am Reply
  • Tanya Barnett

    Girl for the big chop. It's just hair!

    February 10, 2017 at 10:34 am Reply
  • Ramona

    Thanks for sharing your story. I'm still relaxing my hair, but have considered going natural. If I was to go natural, I would prefer the transitioning method. My hair is long and I would want to maintain the length.

    February 11, 2017 at 12:20 pm Reply
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