Big Chop Tutorial: Use This Step by Step Guide to Get Started Immediately

big chopIf you haven’t heard the term big chopping before, let me explain exactly what it is. The big chop is the act of taking your natural hair journey from transitioning to officially 100% natural in a matter of minutes. The term “big chop” is the act of cutting off all of your relaxed hair, leaving only your beautiful new growth – which is natural hair.

This is the quickest way to go natural and extremely unlike the alternative – transitioning from relaxed to natural hair. It’s not only different in physical approach, but it’s also different mentally.

To big chop you have to emotionally detach yourself from your hair’s length and also being a little sporadic helps. There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to a women’s hair length. Clearly, one length does not fit everyone. For those of you who decide to take the plunge and big chop – there are many benefits.

Top 5 Benefits of the Big Chop

5. Immediate Gratification

As you know, we now live in a world where many people want immediate gratification. We no longer want to wait for our hair to grow and would rather install weave to have immediate length. If you’re one of these people, then the big chop is definitely for you. When you big chop, your natural hair journey starts immediately. You begin your natural hair journey with whatever new growth you have at the time.

4. Superstar

Have you ever wanted to feel like a superstar? If so, you should definitely big chop. Everyone who knows you will want to discuss your new teeny weeny afro (TWA) hairstyle. People you know will be amazed at your new cut and will probably view it as a badge of courage.

3. Products work better

Listen up – product junkies. One of the biggest benefits of big chopping is that you only have to deal with the texture(s) of your natural hair, instead of your relaxed hair texture also. It’s very difficult to cater to both relaxed hair and natural hair textures. Many women decide to big chop because of this issue, since dealing with multiple textures can be frustrating to many women. With only natural hair on your head, you will have a better understanding of how products actually work for you and your hair.

2. Girl Power

Don’t you just love accessories? What about head bands, slinky earrings, eye catching lip gloss and cute eye shadow? Big chopping allows women to accentuate their natural beauty which can be covered up by our hair at times.

1. Confidence

To big chop a woman needs to carry a great deal of confidence and fierceness. Need I say more?

Kira’s Big Chopping Experience

When I spontaneously big chopped, I chopped off a chunk of my hair on the left side of my head.

My logic was to cut my hair in an even afro. However, once I began cutting, I felt the urge to cut more and more. I was cutting chunks from the same area, and there was a dent in the front when I picked out my natural afro.

To make the chunk of hair that I cut out less noticeable, I simply patted my afro down, extra tight, and I also wore afro puffs.

My mistake can make your journey easier. Spontaneity can be an excellent quality to have, but in hindsight, I needed a plan that explained how I was going big chop.

I needed to understand what tools to use and a visual guide to ensure that I didn’t cut off more hair than necessary. So, I needed a gauge that helped me determine when I had chopped off enough; so I could put the scissors down and back way.

After giving it much thought, I came to the determination that I could’ve used rubber bands to aid in the big chopping process. Below I’ll explain how to use rubber bands for your big chop.

You will need the following:

  • Freshly washed hair that has been allowed to air dry. We don’t recommend blow drying, flat ironing or stretch your hair before big chopping because you will need to see the line of demarcation clearly. The line of demarcation is where the natural hair and relaxed hair intersect.
  • Rubber Bands are needed so that you can easily mark the line of demarcation.
  • It’s important to use quality hair cutting shears. Please do not cut your hair with dull scissors. Dull scissors or low quality hair cutting shears may damage your hair.
  • It’s helpful if you can see your hair from different angles, so I recommend using two mirrors. Having one hand held mirror and a one wall mounted mirror is optimal to achieve the viewing angles needed to easily big chop.
  • You’ll need a wide-tooth comb to make parts as you section off your hair.
  • Butterfly clips or duck bill clips will help keep your hair together when you section through your hair.

Items:

How To Do the Big Chop Yourself

Step 1. Using the comb, section off your freshly washed hair into four large sections using the diagram below as a guide. Remember to leave the plastic cap on the areas of your hair not currently being sectioned.

  • Part or section your hair from ear to ear. Use the blue line starting with 1 and ending with 2 in the diagram below as a guide.
  • Next, using the orange line starting with 3 and ending with 4 in the diagram, part your hair down the center from forehead to nape.
  • Use the butterfly clips or duck bill clips to keep each section separated.
    big chop diagram

Step 2. After the hair has been separated into four sections, working from the right front section just above your ear, make two parts so that you will have three equal sections. Use the diagrams below as a guide.

how to do the big chop yourself
Step 3. Working within the three sections, starting on row one, section your hair into square parts and place a rubber band right above the new growth. The new growth represents your natural hair. The size of each square is determined by the amount of new growth you have. If there is very little new growth the squares may be smaller. If there is a lot of new growth, the squares may be larger. The goal is to have each square sectioned off with a rubber band so that the line of demarcation is exposed above the rubber band. Having the line of demarcation visible allows you to use it as a guide as you cut the relaxed ends off of your hair.big chop now what
Step 4. Continue to rubber band the entire right front section. Keep in mind two things: (1) If you want uniform hair, align each rubber band with the one beside it. This will make all the rubber bands even. When banding a new section, be sure to use a previously banded section as a guide. (2) If you are not concerned about having even hair, then rubber band the hair just below the line of demarcation. This way, you have the greatest chance of cutting off all of your relaxed ends. Once you finish, there may be a need to go back and snip a little.

Step 5. Repeat steps 2 through 4 for the remaining sections of your hair. Remember to use the mirror so you’re able to see the back of your head as you create sections.

Once your entire head has been sectioned off into banded squares, cut off your relaxed hair, including the rubber band.

118 Comments

  • A big chop was the best thing I did.. though I didn’t have a choice but to do it.. I am glad I did.. I agree with all the benefits you listed :).. Don’t be afraid to cut it all off..lol ;)

    • Hi Jinese –

      I hope you’re doing well today. Just curious – when you say you didn’t have a choice but to big chop, what does that mean exactly? If you don’t mind sharing your story that would be great.

      – Kenneth

  • I’ve been growing my hair out for a little over a year now and I want to do my big chop before I start school in the fall. I’m a bit scared because the hair in the back of my head is always short verses the hair on the top of my head. Any advice??

    • Hi Autumn,
      Did you big chop? My advice – you can always big chop and keep the hair even with the slow growing section in the back. Use the back hair as a guide.

      Keep the community posted on your journey!

  • JUST DO IT!!! I did it 3 weeks ago and at first…i was like “What have I done?!!!” Now, it has grown on me and i love. Difference is, I had no new growth. Matter of fact, I had just permed my hair 2 weeks prior. My decision was a quick one but i rationalized: hey, it’s just hair. I t WILL and has started to grow back already. People will look at you crazy BUT i get more attention from men than women. Men’s reactions are wat better than women. Even family members have NOTHING good to say. Fine with me. It’s about knowing who you are and loving that person. That’s all.

    • Yes I notice men look at me way more than before. There are some people who don’t like it but I love it. My hair growing already and it haven’t been a week. Now I want to cut it again because I’m loving the wash and go.

  • I stoped relaxing my hair five months ago and today i woke up an decided it was time i cut it off so i did the big chop i cant keep my hands out of my head i stay in the mirrow or when i pass the mirrow i have to go back an look i have not gone outside yet with out my wig r wore my natural hair to work yet im not ready for all the crazy looks and im getting use to the look myself i still cant belive i did it but its just hair and my hair grows like wild flowers i wonder does my hair grow at the same pace with out the relaxer

  • Hello,

    I just did the BIG CHOP on 9-12-11 and I feel great; my only concern is I had balding edges prior to and I am wondering if these will grow back in with the rest of my hair. I completely cut off all my hair due to severe damage as a result of a relaxer:(

    • Hi Su- Trauma to the scalp, malnourishment, certain medicines and genetics all play a role in hair growth. If you are relatively healthy, I would think that your edges will grow with the rest of your hair. Keep me posted on your progress. Happy hair journey!

    • Ive heard JAMAICAN BLACK CASTOR OIL is suppossed to help with the re-growth of edges but do your own research before you try it, good luck!!!!!!

  • Today is the day. I have been ready to go natural for some time now but have struggled with deciding to do the “big chop”. My hair is pretty long and I’ve been really anxious about losing all the length that it took me so long to get. But today I just feel empowered, confident and ready for change. So here I go…

    • I plan on doing the big chop as well sometime within the next few weeks im only doing it because ive already tried to go natural twice and was having a difficult time dealing with the two textures and i ended up relaxing. So in order to just have a smoother journey id rather just chop it off and start fresh. At this time i am not concerned with the length of my hair but the over all health of it. I believe once its healthy it will then grow accordingly.

  • I did the big chop on October 12th, 2011, which was my 27th birthday and I am happy I made the decsion and will never be going back to relaxed hair……

  • I have braids right now, but plan on doing my BIG CHOP!! Dec 15, 2011 I would love to post some before and after pic to share with your all on my journey!!!
    Alot of people keep asking me WHY am I doing this? are you sick of your hair?? I think my hair is sick of me LOL!!! I have dyed it, fried it and all thee above.
    What I can tell you is that I’m ready for a change!! and ready to be natural, so I’m so looking forward to my journey wish me luck all.
    Thanks in advance,
    Cathy

  • Big Chopped (for the THIRD and FINAL time lol) On Oct 19, 2011. Best thing I ever did. Time to relearn my hair and have fun! It even inspired me to repearce my ears so I could wear cool earrings :)

    • @naturallydee35 you hit the nail on the head, relearning or learning your hair is fun! No repiercing the ears- I don’t know about that one. I got a 2nd hole in my teenage years and quickly realized that my 1st hole that my mom did when I was about 6 weeks old was enough… LoL

  • Hello,

    I stopped relaxing 3 years ago. I never relaxed my hair every 6-8 weeks. I trained my hair to go at the least 3 months. Do you have to do a BC? I have my hair trimmed every 6-8 weeks. It appears to me it is all reacting the same way to the products I use. Does going natural mean you dont wear straght or flat ironed styles? Thanks!

    • Hi TS,
      No, you do not have to big chop :) *breathe easy* However, if you have not had a relaxer in 3 years, you have done well. I think if trimming a little every 6-8 weeks will get you to your goal, stick with it.

      You will find that different people define being natural differently. However, we define being natural as having relaxer free hair. Kenneth wrote a great article called “Chemical Free Hair Is a Myth’ http://bit.ly/tF7K6X I think you will enjoy it. To answer question, I think women who choose to flatiron or wear their hair straighten are still natural. What do you think?

      • I think that as long as your are relaxer free, then you are still natural. I just did the BC and I plan on wearing my hair curly and straight once it gets long enough, and I’m a licensed Cosmetologist. Because I certainly will continue to color my hair!

  • I had decided to go natural on my 40th birthday many years ago. For me, 40 wasn’t getting here fast enough FYI: I’m 38). So over the summer of 2011, I decided to get a head start on my natural hair journey. I figured by the time I hit 40, I should have a little length action going. I began researching like a college student/ paralegal. Sometime during the first half of August, I put my last relaxer in my head (that crack was calling me, lol) and began the transitioning process. The battle of the tresses were easy to deal with at first. Then on October 30, 2011, those 2 types of tresses got the best of me and I got the big chop that night. I have been loving and embracing my 1/4″ natural ever since! The journey continues.

    • Hi KeiKey! That is awesome :) I am so excited for you. I pray that you continue to be excited and on fire through your journey… LOL Please keep the community updated on your journey.

  • im 16 and i did thee big chop a week ago, i have tracks in my hair now but i think this was the best way for my hair to grow..becus i stopped permsin january & my hair grew but it was stilll daamaged n ikindof jus wanted a “fresh start”

    • im the chick above i just wanted to
      (add on) , um what suggestions do u have that i can use on my hair when i don’t have weave in it. i don’t wear braids, (haven’t since i was in seventh grade because it took my edges out) , and i also havent worn weave in my hair for like 2 years so i always had my real hair out , in a ponytail because i dont like my hair down but now that i have tracks i9n my hair i wear it down, etc. … How long should i keep weave in hair , glued in tracks or sew in are better? and what products are good for my hair, alsoo now that i’ve done the big chop..Hair Mayionaise , maybe..? By the Way , right now i have glud in tracks because i dont know how tosew them in but im going to learn how and put them in for now on because wen i did the “big chop” mainly it was because the glue was so messy in my hair and just Would’nt come outt properly , and also tht was just a good way for me to really start over. I dont have alot of glue in my hair this time and my hair is alsoo braided while the tracks are in so even if ihave glued in tracks cant my hair still grow or is sew in just a better way for it to grow all together..?

      Thanks for Your help & hope you reply back to me ASAP (( :

      • Hi Brianna-

        I apologize for the tardy reply-

        What you do with you hair when you do not have weave in will be a personal decision and is based on things like are you able to style your hair, what are you comfortable wearing and your current length are just a few to get you started.

        Braids are a great option when you are in the in between stages with your hair. They give you a break from manipulation and having to be concerned about styling day to day. Here is a great article for you to read. The one thing that I would highly suggest is to request that your edges are not braided tight. Also, request that the braids around your edges are a little bigger than the rest. These are ways to preserve the delicate hairline.
        http://naturalhaircommunity.com/braiding-hair-for-growth

        I would not suggest keeping any extensions in longer than a month and a half (6 weeks) I would definitely suggest deep conditioning the hair before and after installing any extensions. Also, keep in mind that although you have a weave in, you still need to keep your hair real hair maintained. So, for me, since I have come accustomed to washing my hair weekly, wearing a weave for only a week would probably be a waste of money and wearing a weave for a monthly and skipping my weekly poo sessions will be something I would have to give some real deep thought about. Also, I would suggest you think about a full weave vs. a partial.

        Which is better? Well, by default, both can cause damage if installed incorrectly. However, if I had to choose one, I would choose a sew in or to have the weave clued to a stocking cap (hair would be covered with paper) t my hair. From experience, having glue stuck on your hair is no fun, it’s stressful and makes the experience not worth it.

        Here is a list of products that we recommend: http://naturalhaircommunity.com/natural-hair-resources

        Im not sure what your question is concerning the hair mayonnaise. If you can clarify it for me, I can better answer it.

        Hopefully, I was able to help. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to @jael :)

  • I’m on the fence if I should big chop or not. I have 4 full months of new growth and my relaxed hair was never damaged to begin with I just want my natural hair. My mom won’t let me chop it off until I hit a year in August 2012 but I think she will let me mini chop (half of my hair). I wear rod sets most of the time and I’ve managed my hair so far but the relaxed ends are becoming a hassle and shedding. Ugh.

    • Hi Andrewnet Cain – Thanks for commenting. Let us know if you have any questions leading up to your big chop in August 2012. Take care.

      Kenneth

  • I have been wanting to go natural for a while now. I miss my natural which was pretty manageable before relaxers. So I’ve decided to go with the big chop and I think the ideal date for that will be my 27th birthday,01/28. I hope all goes well on my natural hair journey.

  • Hi I did my big chop on 11/09/2011. I got tired of spending $90 dollars for relaxers just to sweat out when I work out. Im not looking back. At first I thought my hair what have I done but I love my hair. I never knew how my curl pattern really looked until now. Any suggestions for cute styles, other than the traditional fro?

  • Im 20, I started my transition 4months ago. I decided to go natural after watching the documentary “Good Hair”. The transition has been difficult to maintain so today decided to get The Big Chop, an I love it! I need some pointers on how to take care of natural hair, what should I use to help it to grow at its best? Any advice would be appreciated. Thank!

    • Hi Autumn,
      Congrats on your big chop! Take comfort in knowing that as long as you are relative healthy, no major trauma has been sustained to your scalp and you are not taking certain meds that shift your growth cycle into the resting phase, your hair is growing. A great place for you to start in taking care of your hair is http://www.naturalhaircommunity.com/natural-hair-101

      This is a great question,

      Jael

  • this is so helpful… Im a newbie to the community, I recently been trying to become natural! for the past 8 mounths Ive been been wearing sew-ins due to me being tired of relaxing my hair. I never knew half of what Im learning now about going natural, so for 8 mounths I jus wore sew-ins to avoid relaxers. I wear natural part sewins so for the past 8 months I have relaxed jus the top of my head. the last time I relaxed the top was january 2012 right after I put the relaxer in my hair i stumbled across a natural hair video on accident and ive been hooked every since. I wanted to big chop but i was scared of cutting all my hair off so i installed another sew-in. It was in for 2 months and when i took it down the new growth in the back of my head was a good long length however the top wasnt nearly even so I went today and got a partial big chop cutting all the relaxed hair in the back and jus cutting the top until it was even with the back with sum relax tips.. I HATE IT ! The two textures at the top is so evident and wont curl where as the back of my head is all natural and is curling.. Im so confused on what to do I really wanna just cut it all even without the relax but the unknown is so so scarey to me just wondering if you have any suggestions for me cause im in that stage where I feel like I made a mistake but i do really want to be natural.

    • Hi Shantel,
      Welcome to the community! Im happy that the information was helpful. My suggestion is to stop wearing partial weaves or sew-ins and wear a full installment. Honestly, I would not cut anything right now unless you are completely comfortable with short hair. Now, if you are comfortable with having short hair and styles are not an issue, cutting your hair down to the new growth in the top is definitely an option.

      But again, you must be comfortable with whatever decision you make. To get you started on the right path, do not apply any more relaxers to only part of your head, that makes growing out your hair uneven and can be very difficult to manage. You can definitely continue with what you are doing with the sew-ins, just wear full installments instead of partials.

      I hope this helps and I definitely want to keep up with your journey, so stay in touch :)

      Jael

      Also, check out http://www.naturalhaircommunity.com/natural-hair-101

  • Hi!
    I’m a senior in highschool and will be attending college in the fall and I have had enough of perms! I’m becoming a young lady and I’m fnding myself and in this process I’ve learned that I love doing things naturally! My last perm was 2, almost 3 months ago and I’ve been having weave for the past month. I’m really anxious about letting my hair go natural but the only thing is I don’t want to spend 2 years transitioning and I definetly don’t want to do the BIG CHOP. My hair usually doesn’t take long to get nappy and I can already see most of my roots are natural! I’m planning on putting braids in my hair for the next 4-6 months before I go to college and I was wondering is that a good way for my hair to transition? Also, any tips and information you can give me about transitioning would be much appreciated!

    P.S.
    How do I know when my hair is natural or when the relaxer is still lingering?How will the natural hair look and feel?

  • When I read this article, I felt as though you all were reading my mind, because the 5 benefits that you all mention were exacly how I was feeling when I did the BC 6 months ago, my shoulders squared up, my nose went in the air(not in a snobby way) but as if I ruled the world. I always had shoulder length hair or longer , so as you know that was a big change for me. One thing I do know for sure it made me realized that I am not my hair… LOVEMESOMEME.

    • I’m happy that you were able to connect with the article. I would love to hear how your journey is going thus far.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Jael

  • I did my BC today and I LOVE IT!!! I have wanted to go natural some time now but my family and friends were discouraging. So far this has been one of the best decisions I’ve made…Looking forward to my Natural Journey :)

  • I just did the big chop on my hair today and I’m not happy with it. Hopefully I’ll learn to love it eventually. :(

  • Should I go to a beautician to get my big chop since its difficult to see in the back to cut and it seems as if my new growth is uneven?
    thanks

    • That is really a personal call. If its bothering you, maybe you should consider going. If you do decide to use a salon, don’t go to just anyone. Be sure you are able to communicate to them exactly what you want and what you expect the result to be.

  • I did my big chop 3/25/12 after 1 yr of transitioning and I am so in love with my natural hair. It just feels liberating, I didn’t go to a stylist, I simply wet my hair and added conditioner because it helped to separate the two textures of hair. Of course, I’ve had some naysayers, but I did this for me!!!!! and I’m so happy I did. I will never get another relaxer. If you’re considering going natural, do a lot of research, and be comfortable with you!!

    • Veronica – Congrats on your decision to go natural. You’ve been natural for a couple of weeks now; I hope things are still going really well for you. I can sense your excitement in your comments.

      Take care
      Kenneth

  • Hi, I am 54yrs young and I decided to go natural…….It’s a great feeling at this age….I don’t care about natural hair haters…. I was tired of relaxers and hair dyes which is very damaging to the hair…As one get older, your hair start thining and with the use of dyes and weaves that makes the hair weaker. natural is the way to go. Young black women should learn to embrace their naturalibilty…..God BLess the NATURALS!! JUST TAKE CARE OF YOUR NATURAL HAIR

  • I did the BC on March 24. Been wanting to go Natural for awhile and I love it, after doing relaxers for so many years it feels really good to be free of chemicals.

  • Today is BC day! After 6 months of transitioning I am so READY to be free. Free from relaxers, free from letting a hairstyle determine my exercise routine, free to embrace my natural beauty. This is another step in the journey to becoming me. :)

    • I last relaxed my hair Nov 2015. After giving birth in march 2016 , I removed my braids to discuss that half of my hair is gone only left with the undergrowth. So with anger I took a scissor and cut off the whole hair. It was difficult at first but I am glad I did. My hair is really growing fast looking forward to seeing my hair grow so long and healthy.

      • Hi Darlintina,
        With patience and care, your hair will grow. Even when you think it isn’t.
        When you cut off the relaxed or damaged hair, it’s less to worry about. You only focus on the new (under) growth and it makes the journey easier.

        Kira

  • Let’s see! My hair was relaxed about 6 or 7 inches long however it wasn’t very healthy the top was longer than the back. and then I decided to give a short relaxed cut with a bang. And I didn’t like it so I wore a half wig. And before you know it the back of my head is ALL broken off! Now I’m thinking to jus cut the relaxed ends off.. And jus start growing my hair natural and jus wear a wig while my hair grows. Good idea?

    And other suggestions on what I should do?

    • Hi Nicki-

      I think cutting the relaxed ends off would be beneficial to you especially, if you are going to wear your natural hair. What do you think could have contributed to the breakage? If you think it was the wig, I would reconsider wearing it over your natural hair if you decide to big chop the relaxed ends.

      How you choose to wear your hair as your transition or when you are 100% natural is a personal liking to your style and lifestyle. So chopping the relaxed ends and learning how to care for your natural hair is a great option. If you haven’t already, join our newsletter and download our free ebook that is a great place to start.

      Jael

  • Okay. I’m 14 and transitioning I start my first year of high school this fall. I’ve been transitioning for four moths and my mom wants me to do the big chop before school. I kind of want to do it but I’m extremely nervous of what its going to look like. I have an egg head and I don’t exacally think a little fro would support it.

  • Hi Kortney!
    I think it is great that your mom is supporting you! Way to go mom!!! I will definitely suggest that you big chop when you are comfortable. If it’s possible, can you wear braids for a few months as you become comfortable with the idea of big chopping. Also, if short hair is not your thing, wait to big chop. The average persons hair only grows 1/2 an inch per month and if you big chop now, your hair can end up looking shorter than it really is.

    Up until you decide to big shop, you should start using words that positively describe your head; whatever shape it is. It’s your head and I am sure it is beautiful. Be careful how you describe yourself because others will describe you the same way. So always think of yourself, your hair, your ability, your everything in a positive light and carry yourself as such.

    Check out these article:
    http://www.naturalhaircommunity.com/the-mental-transition
    http://www.naturalhaircommunity.com/7-simple-steps-to-going-natural
    http://www.naturalhaircommunity.com/natural-hair-101

    Is your mom natural as well? I would love to get her perceptive on you big chopping :)

    Jael

  • Hello I am wanting to do this big chop I have read a lot of post but I’m nervous about
    What my natural hair looks like. I don’t want to get it cut in public so what do I do?

  • I did my BC one week ago today, my last perm was on March 25th. I started weaving July 2nd and decided I am tired of weaving and I dont want to deal with two texture hair. I am so happy I made that decision I have been wearing it proudly. I was nervous about what my hair would look like but after watching youtube and with the help of this website which help to build my confidence I decided to proudly step out in who I really am and wear proudly the hair and texture God gave me and I am loving every second of it. I coiled it for the first time on Sunday(sept 23, 2012), it was so short I didnt know I could do it. For me this is a true experience. I was perming for 25years and thank God I am FREE! No more chemicals.

  • I just did the BC in Sunday…10/22/2012. I am still in shock but I am happy that I did it. I just hope that the maintenance is not going to lead me to relax it again. I have had a relaxer every four to six weeks for the last 20 years. I need help on how to maintain it. Pray for me…my journey begins!

    • Ruth Q. – That’s awesome. I’m really happy for you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help. Also, as you can see, we provide information on the site that we hope can you also.

  • Hey I’m thinking of going natural after having relaxed hair for the past 15 or 16 years now. I have asked my sister what is the best way, should I do the transition way by having both textures. She advised me to do the big BC because its just hair and it will grow back since she has done it 2-3 times already. My fear is that it won’t look right with my head because I don’t have a memory of how my natural hair looked when it was short. If i was to do the BC and it doesn’t look right, what other options I would be able to do until it grows in?

    • Hi Sandia!
      Deciding to big chip is a decision only you can make for yourself. If you want to have to manage to textures, transitioning is def an option. Plus you keep your current length when done properly.
      If you don’t mind having short hair, big chopping may be the way for you to go. If you big chop and you don’t like it, you can always wear braids or weaves until you are comfortable with your hair.

  • I did the big chop several years ago (the 60’s!!) This time I haven’t had a relaxer since June of ’11. I am trying to hang in there until I get a little more new growth so I can wear a fro. Can’t wait. Can’t bc now, too much forehead that must be covered!!!

    • Hi Mary!
      Congrats on your transition! It seems like you are itching to big chop soon :-)
      We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and its true we are our own worst critic. Do what makes you beautiful and whatever you decide, wear it proudly!

      Happy transitioning!

      Jael

  • My 19 year old daughter did the big chop 2 days ago after 5 months of transitioning. Although I’m super nervous, I’ve decided to do the BC on my 45th birthday on this coming Nov 1st. My last relaxer was April 25th! I’m hoping to have at least 4 or 5 inches of natural hair. Is that a good time frame to possibly have that much new growth? I have senegalese twist right now.

  • I big chopped by accident. I had relaxed…well transitioned mid back length hair. My hair wasn’t unhealthy but it wasn’t perfect. I get sew ins and when I took my sew in out and washed my hair, my length got SO tangled with my natural texture. It was horrible. Not to mention I hadn’t had a relaxer in a whole year. I was slowly contemplating the idea of big chopping the whole year, however I really didn’t have the guts to do it. Well on that day when my hair tangled so bad, I grabbed the scissors and cut off my relaxed ends. After I did it I felt so proud of myself I felt so liberated. The next day I went to get my sew in as usual but I felt as if I was no longer emotionally connected to hair I had all my life and worked so hard to grow. It felt like a new start a clean slate. It feels so freeing.

    • Hi Hope!

      Some of the world’s best creations were “mistakes”: penicillin, chocolate chip cookies, corn flakes and the microwave are just a few :-)

      So congrats on the best mistake you could have made- LOL!

      Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions.

      Kira

  • Hey,
    I’m in the process of transitioning my hair. I am tired of having damaged hair that tends to remain at only neck length. The last time my hair was relaxed was on 30th May, 2014. Since them I’ve started my transition process and have been braiding my hair (medium sized braids), keeping them for up to 6 weeks then deep conditioning and reinstalling. I intend to continue transition for up to a hair before doing the big chop, since I have a graduation coming up and I don’t want the bother of trying to style very short hair for that big day.

    Do you have any suggestions as to how to help in my transition process, products I can use and if it is healthy to braid hair constantly for an entire year?

  • Hi I am African who always had an Asian textured hair. I’ve had perms for 15 year. Now, at 30 I’m thinking of going completely natural because I had hormone inbalance & lost a lot of hair when I had my baby last year July. I really don’t know where or how to begin the process, but I really do want to go natural irrespective of what people may think. My last perm was the first week of September. Any advice for me? Thanks.
    Rachael
    New mum

    • I think u should just big chop the chemically processed hair off personally. As a person that has tried to transition from relaxed to no chemical manipulation several times it was a relief to just b spontaneous and cut it all off. As far as your texture is concerned once u start taking care of your hair properly I hope u will c the beauty.I have been lucky and have somewhat of a curl pattern already where as my friend only has strings of hair no coil. just b patient and love your new hair do it will all come together

    • Hi Rachael-
      Congrats on being a new mom. I after my last child, I experienced alot of shedding, my hormones were all over the board :-) With time, approximately 6-8 months, everything finally balanced out back to my normal.
      There is tons of information for you at our Natural Hair 101 page http://www.curlcentric.com/natural-hair-101/ that can set you in the right direction.

      Keep us posted on your progress!

      Kira

    • Hi Sammar,
      Congrats on your big chop!!! There are a few reason as to why your ends are coarse. My initial response is that the ends are probably have high porosity. High porosity hair needs to filled with a protein conditioner or a protein treatment. Think along the line of Aphogee 2 Minute (conditioner) or Aphogee 2 Step (protein treament). If you experienced coarse hair before you big chopped, more than likely, the coarseness you feel is left over relaxed ends. A good way to tell if it left over relaxed ends is to wet your hair to see if it behaves like your new growth.

      I would love to know how things turned out, please keep me posted,

      Kira

  • I just big chopped 4/1/2015 and I feel great I tried transitioning but dealing with my relaxed hair and new growth was very frustrating and difficult to look descent to me. I Love My New Do

  • So I’m seriously considering “going natural” with my hair. I’ve never gotten a perm but it’s always been pressed since I was a child. At 19 I’m ready for a change but I don’t want to go through the whole transition process, I’d rather do a big chop. Would it be better to wear braids for a few months to allow some new growth before I chop? Or does it really matter?

    • Hi Erinn,
      To be honest, it doesn’t matter.
      It’s a personal preference dependent upon what you are comfortable rocking!
      If you feel like you can rock a brush cut or Caesar, don’t delay.
      If you feel like you need a little hair to cover your head, wear braid for a few months until you get the new growth you need.
      If you feel like you need longer hair, prepare to transition for the long haul.
      It is completely up to you. I’d love to know what you decide and why?

      Keep me posted,

      Kira

  • I just big chop yesterday…..a part of me feels great,and d other feels like ‘what have I done’?
    But am excited ave just started my natural hair journey.

  • I’ve been wearing sew-ins for the past year. The last sew-in there was leave out. So, after not using a perm for a year I permed the front of my hair. Now the back of my hair only have a couple of permed strands but the front is straight in the middle( except for the 1/2 inch of new growth. I has made me feel like giving up on this journey but I feel I have come too far. The other concern is I do not know how to care for my hair at all. I never did. I don’t know what products works best with my hair. I know this is sad and I am ashamed but I am tired of not knowing what to do and I am trying to get on the right path please help!!!!!!!

    • Hi Ciera,
      1st- join my newsletter, right now!
      You do not have to go through your journey alone, nor do you have to give up.
      You have unconventional options that may appear counter to the cause but it’s not.
      For instance, since you have relaxed a portion of your hair and have very little new growth with the relaxed portion,
      you can relax your entire head to even your hair out. However, you don’t plan to stay relaxed
      but to put your hair on even playing field, this is an option.
      Another option, non relaxer route, is to big chop to the lowest point of new growth you have, which is the 1/2 inch that has grown in since you last relaxed.
      Third, continue getting braids and retaining your length and allowing your front to grow in more. Once your front grows long enough for you, big chop to that length.
      This option will leave you with more growth but you loose any other the previous years’ growth from the back. But the plus is that you now have a comfortable length that you
      can work with.

      Listen, Ciera, be sure to join the newsletter and I want to hear from you as soon as you do.

      Kira

  • Had my stylist big chop me today and I love it! After 3 short months of transitioning, I was ready to get those permed ends off. I’m so happy with my decision to just do it and I’m looking forward to my journey of growing a head of long, thick, healthy, NATURAL hair.

  • Hey! I did a big chop back in 2014 at the end of November. It was super exciting for me because I loved cutting my hair, I did it myself. I cut it to about a cm in length. My friend had to come even it out for me, but it was the best decision I have made. I think it is actually one of the best things to do when going natural. There will be times where you feel self-conscious in the beginning but after a while you begin to feel more confident and have more sass if you know what I mean. I really didn’t have a concern to state I just wanted to give my opinion.

    • Hey Briana-

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience! It will definitely help someone who is on the fence that is looking for the next step.

      Kira

  • I cut my hair on june 16 ,15 and my hair is very dry and I only condition & deep condition o & leave in conditioner.. My hair always growed slow even with relaxers. I hope my natural hair grow faster. My hair need help and I think my hair type is 4B but I can’t tell because it’s short..(Maybe 2 1/2 inches ). I use Jamaican black castor oil and coconut oil on my hair.. I probably should try a shampoo with my condition..

    • Hi Shakina,
      Congrats on your cut! There are different things that lead to dry hair.
      It’s possible that you need to use a clarifying shampoo to clean the
      slate and remove any build up. Product build up can cause dryness.
      I will also, suggest incorporating protein conditioners or protein treatments
      to your regimen as well.
      If you are interested in our list of recommended products, join our newsletter
      to see what we suggest.

  • I’m 14 years oldand I’ve always been a relaxed headed (if that’s a thing) but I get tired of it. Its hard to maintain. So, I’ve been having all this crazy new growth (1 inch) and I’m thinking of asking my mother for the big chop. I just want natural hair, I want to flat iron my hair without been all stiff and puffy. I hate it. So, I’ll definitely do the big chop. Also though of transitioning. But I don’t feel like it.

    • Hi Elizabeth,
      Relaxed head is a common term used to label someone who use relaxers to chemically straighten their hair. So, I completely understand what you mean :-)
      You didn’t mention your current length but an inch is about XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX long. Generally, new naturals experience a significant amount of shrinkage once they
      big chop because the relaxed hair adds weight and helps to stretch the new growth. Also, keep in mind:
      natural hair + heat + humidity = puffy hair
      If your natural hair starts to act like relaxed hair, especially when it gets wet, more than likely, that heat damage. And heat damage carries it’s own set of issues.
      You should really ask yourself, “Why do I want to go natural?”

      Thank you for your comment,

      Kira

  • My hair is very uneven in the center of my head. Do you think that the big chop is best so that my hair will grow evenly. Or do you think that over time my hair will eventually even out.

    • Hi Keyera-
      If you decide to big chop, that will make your hair even until. However, it will not keep your hair even. Each hair follicle has its own growth cycle and some hairs just simply grow faster than others.
      However, if you decide not to big chop, the slower growing hairs will eventually play catch up to a decent length. Then you can decide to cut the longer pieces to even it out. That is, of course, pending good hair habits.

      I hope you find this information helpful in your decision. I’d love to know what you decided. Join the newsletter and keep me posted.

      Kira

  • Hello, this blog is really fantastic, as I’ve been feverishly reading all I can about transitioning vs the big chop. I was wondering, if I could simply shave off all my hair, and wear wigs and scarves in public, and just let my entire head reboot. I started getting Just For Me perms when I was really young, and then I was doing too-tight braids all through middle school and that really messed up my edges. I’m hoping that shaving it all off and starting all over will help sort of reset my edges as well.
    Anyhow, what I want to know is if shaving and wearing scarves and wigs while the hair grows out would be an ok idea. I would of course make sure to wash and moisturize my scalp as this process starts up. However if you think that simply chopping my hair to the start of my new growth would be best, I would appreciate your take on the situation. thanks. :)

    • Hi Marsai,
      Thank you for your compliment. I am happy that you are finding the information helpful!
      You know what… if you want to shave off your hair and start your journey from their, that is perfectly ok :-)
      Because growth is an internal process, the best way to “reboot” your entire head is by making healthier decisions that affects what you eat, what you do (exercise), your stress and your overall health.
      You are already heading in the right direction because you realize what things you were doing that caused more damage than good- ie tight braids.
      As you will come to know, your natural hair is about your style. You wear it the way you want to :-)

      Be sure to join the newsletter and keep me posted on your journey.

      Kira

  • Hi, I have been transitioning my hair for about 8 months. Now the first time I started I went without a relaxer for 10 months, the relaxer didn’t take. I am dealing with two types of textures. So now I see some breakage in the back. I want to do the big chop, but I am hesitant because I have a lot of relaxer in the front of my hair. I always had long hair and I am not sure how I would look with short hair. Please help.

    • Trinetta,
      Based on you comment of having two textures, you are probably experiencing breakage at the point between your relaxed and natural hair. Whenever possible, try blending the different textures into one. The blending will help reduce the texture difference and breakage.

      Kira

  • I just did the big chop 2 days ago! I feel great about actually doing it, but only because I’m so excited about the fact that I’m anticipating growth & I was just glad to finally get rod of all that terribly damaged hair! I also can’t wait to see my true texture. I’ve had perms since I was a young girl & experienced a lot of damage. Within the past 4 1/2 years, I’ve had to go under anesthesia twice after having 2 c-sections & as a direct result of that, my edges were completely damaged & balded. I’ve had some growth back on my edges since then, but I can tell, its not 100% & they are still very thin. I can even tell so after shaving my head. What can I do to fully help & heal my edges & get them to grow back just as healthy as the rest of my hair now that I’ve shaved my head? My only concern really is that I’m not prepared to actually wear a bald head out in public or to work. I have kids who are very active in sports, so my husband & I are constantly out supporting them at their games & events. I also work in the corporate setting, so I’m not quite ready to wear my bald head into the office until I get more growth. My question is will my growth be stunted in any way if I decide to go with wigs until I can get a more comfortable length? Is there any specific advice and/or suggestions that can be offered with one who chooses to wear wigs while transitioning?? Pls help & Thnx!

    • Hi, Gena-

      Congrats on your big chop!

      What a great question, and generally, you should be able to wear wig or braids.

      Your goal is to take care of your transitioning hair as-as well as taking care of your hair while under the wig or in braids.

      Transitioning with wigs is a great way to give yourself a break. My number one suggestion is, regardless of how you transition, take care of your hair. Wash and condition it regularly.

      When it comes to detangling, you will see more than the average number of strands in the comb because you aren’t combing your hair ever day. Don’t be alarmed, just be gentle.

      If you find that your hair is breaking, don’t be afraid to use protein treatments. We recommend Aphogee 2 Minute (http://amzn.to/1PoRrW4) or Aphogee 2 Step (http://bit.ly/1KZLEKq). We also recommend using the conditioner afterwards: Balancing Moisturizer (http://amzn.to/1BDtUfO)

  • Hello. I did my big chop a few days ago. I love it, but I can’t seem to do anything with it other than wet it and put a product on it to help “activate” my curls. I’m not sure if doing this daily will cause damage to my hair. Does anyone know what the daily routine is after doing the ” big chop”?

    • Hi Z,
      A daily routine after big chopping can include a variety of steps like using L.O.C method and styling, co-washing and styling. You can experiment with clays like Bentonite Clay or Rhassoul Clay. The best thing that you can do is start your natural hair journal at the beginning.

      Kira

  • When I big chopped, I was really concerned about length, but now I don’t really dig long hair again, since I went natural, I’ve cut my hair twice to maintain the shoulder length and I love it so much. When you really take care for your hair, you’re proud of it and nobody’s discouraging words or actions can really drag you down

  • I am debating the big chop
    Not sure if I am brave enough to go thru with it!!!
    Help
    I am tired of the chemicals
    In the winter I have dry scalp and my hair never seems to maintain moisture

  • I did my final big chop in 2011. At the time, I was 59 and had worn my natural hair almost bald before so cutting it was no issue for me. Prior to cutting my hair, my relaxed hair was just below shoulder length. Now I get so many compliments on the fullness of my natural, although it does not seem as thick to me as it was in my youth. Sometimes we are our worst critics.

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