Going Natural: A Bit About Big Chop vs Transitioning
Overall the last decade, we have witnessed the Natural Hair Movement sprout wings and take flight as millions of relaxed ladies all over the world eagerly and some skeptically abandoned the chemicals that they were once so loyally bound to. This movement is not exclusive to one race or nationality but is spanning all demographics and hair types throughout the world. Many have simply decided to embrace their very own texture and curl pattern to see what lies beneath!
Deciding to go natural is a personal decision that many make for various reasons. Some have experienced chemical damage from relaxers resulting in hair breakage and scalp burns… Some simply want to eliminate the costly monthly expenses of maintenance associated with having a relaxer. While others simply want to explore and enjoy the natural texture and volume that may allow more versatility and styling options than previously afforded with their relaxed straight hair.
The process of transitioning or “going natural” can be a little bit intimidating to put it lightly if you’ve been relaxed for as long as you can remember. But it doesn’t have to be… First things first, decide whether you want to Transition or Big Chop.
Big Chop: While many of us are in a constant pursuit of longer and healthier hair, the thought of chopping years of growth and length off in one big whop can bring on some pretty serious anxiety. So the big chop option may be best suited for those who in the past have always toyed with the idea of rocking a really short, fun and edgy cut. This is your perfect chance! You would to enlist the assistance of a professional to do the cut or at least a friend with some good scissors skills. After the cut is complete, the fun can begin! To add a little pizzaz to your new look, you may want to play with statement pieces like sparkly head bands, chunky jewelry, bold and dramatic eye makeup and fun lip colors will compliment your new style well. Can we say dressed and ready and 10 minutes! And let’s not forget the benefit of going out and caring less about the forecast. What Frizz??? Gotta love that! With the Big Chop, you have the benefit of learning every little detail about your texture and falling in love with each unique coil and curl as they grow back in. Whatever you do, own it and just have fun with your new look!
Transitioning: Is the process of no longer getting “touch ups” or chemical relaxers and allowing your natural hair to grow back in without cutting all of your relaxed ends off at once (This is the anti-big chop). You can choose to go the short term transitioning route, which will allow your natural hair to grow in a few inches before parting with your relaxed ends. Or you can choose to go the long term transitioning route which is the process of growing your hair out to a comfortable length; be it shoulder length or longer before you trim off your relaxed ends. Either way, the transitioning option may be best suited for those who are emotionally tied to longer hair or who feel that their face may not be as suited for really short hair styles. But be prepared, transitioning takes some extra TLC, some patience and commitment if you want to keep ensure that both your new growth as well as your relaxed ends stay in optimum condition.
In transitioning, the line where your new growth (natural hair) meets your relaxed hair is know as the line of demarcation. This point on your hair will be the most fragile and must be cared for delicately in order to avoid excess breakage and damage. This is why many transitioners opt for the beloved protective hair styling options.
Protective styles allow for the hair to be in a protected state which protect the ends and length of your strands from damage due to daily wear and tear and daily manipulation. These styles are usually free of heat styling and the ends are concealed. A protective hair style will allow the hair to grow and retain length a lot easier than if the hair is worn down on a daily basis. This is because it is shielded from breakage due the hair rubbing on the shoulders and clothes, snags, winds that create tangles, uv sun rays, daily combing and detangling, etc. All of those things can lead to split ends and breakage which travel up the hair shaft resulting in the appearance of no growth or stunted growth. Have you ever said or heard a friend say, “My hair doesn’t grow past my shoulders or ears.”? Well, the reality is that all of the factors above can lead to hair breakage leaving you mystified about why you can’t gain and retain more length. If the hair was being properly protected and cared for externally (and let’s not forget internally), this plight could easily be avoided and eliminated.
So whether you decide to do the Big Chop or Transition, embrace it and own it every step of the way. There’s no one right way to “go natural”. A lot of nourishment and a little tenderness goes a long way! As always, the goal, whether going natural or not, is to grow the healthiest and strongest hair that you possibly can. Healthy hair is beautiful hair be it long or short, natural or relaxed. So take care inside and out and watch your hair blossom like never before! Happy Growing