If you’ve been considering your natural hair journey recently you’ve likely heard the terms transitioning and big chop. Perhaps you’re like many of us and confused about what these mean, their purposes, and which is best for you. Today we are tackling the ends and outs of both!
Both the big chop and transitioning are terms used in the natural hair community to signify a person’s decision to embrace their natural hair patterns and typically stop chemically processing their hair. It signifies a new start for one’s hair journey whether that be a decision to stop using heat, stop adding color and more.
What is the big chop?
The big chop is the term used for the action of cutting off one’s hair. For many, this means cutting off all hair that is chemically processed or damaged. This can be a major hair cut but for many is a commitment to shaving one’s head completely to start from scratch.
The big chop is by far one of the most popular ways to begin ones natural hair journey. With this method, you are able to jump right into your new hair care regiment without worrying about multiple patterns or past damage. The hair typically grows back healthier and stronger as it begins anew without the influence of chemical processing.
Things to be aware of when doing the big chop is that everyone’s hair grows at different rates. The average is about 6 inches per year but it may be slower or faster than that. This method takes patience with re-growth. Also, relearning how to take care of your hair can have its ups and downs.
Taking care of your hair after the big chop will look different than before. It’s important to keep hair moisturized as it grows. Focusing on scalp health and moisture retention are super important so that you can retain all of the length that you’re working so hard to grow. Consider investing in the healthy hair bundle to maintain moisture levels.
What is Transitioning
Transitioning is another method of committing to a new leg of your natural hair care journey. Transitioning refers to the action of letting one’s natural hair continue to grow out from the root without cutting or continuing to process the hair. This results in a person normally having two textures for a period of time.
The benefits to transitioning are numerous. It allows a person to maintain their length while also growing out their natural hair. It is a less extreme change to ones hair and hair routine. Often times you are able to keep the same styles you are used to while transitioning. If you’re nervous about the TWA stage, then transitioning is the way to go!
Things to be careful of when transitioning is that the hair can be very fragile at this stage. The point on the strand where the curl pattern changes is very sensitive and can break easily. Also in this stage having two different hair patterns can pose a challenge for styling and product use. It can be done but may take a bit of extra time.
In this stage we recommend focusing on low tension and low manipulation. It may be tempting to style your hair every day but the hair is very fragile as it is transitioning so to avoid unwanted breakage, focus on low manipulation. Properly moisturizing the hair and keeping new growth soft is also important. Consider investing in a scalp oil to help with this process.
If you're nervous about your journey we want to remind you to be encouraged! Every person's journey is different and full of trial and error- that's why it's called a journey! Our CEO and Founder Ameka Coleman has written about her experience from the Big Chop to waist length healthy hair. You can learn more her best tips, learning experiences, and more in her Ebook.