Is the Big Chop For You?
Are you thinking about going natural and not quite sure how you are going to do it?
The two main options, for most women, are transitioning from chemically treated hair to your natural curls or just doing the big chop. For the women that choose to transition, it is because they don’t think that they could pull off the short look. However, there are tons of big chop hairstyles to choose from.
This thought we have in the back of our head is understandable because as girls we are usually raised to believe we should have a certain length of hair to look feminine.
Well, for those of you who are thinking about doing the big chop but aren’t sure if you can pull it off, I'd like to share the benefits and drawbacks of doing the big chop.
I’ll also give you some inspiration by giving you examples of beautiful women who rock their short looks.
What is the Big Chop?
If you aren’t sure what exactly a “big chop” is, it is cutting off all the damaged or over-processed hair.
When I decided to take the plunge, I got the instant satisfaction of becoming all-natural. Doing hair is completely different with a big chop. This cut usually results in very short hair or, in naturalist terms, a TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro).
The alternative to doing the big chop is transitioning your hair over a more extended period. With this process, you would trim your processed tresses over time.
When I did the big chop, I got more and more nervous the closer the scissors got to my hair. Afterward, like a lot of women, I felt empowered when I saw my hair 100% in its natural state. I really enjoyed my TWA natural hair! Turns out the big chop wasn't as scary as I thought.
I was excited to start my journey of healthy hair, and I’m sure you will too.
Benefits of The Big Chop
One Hair Texture
Doing the big chop makes getting used to your hair texture so much more comfortable. Big chop hair is manageable and simple.
Compared to transitioning, it gives you only have your one hair texture to manipulate. Whereas If you decide to transition would have to learn how to manage two different hair types, possibly three if you count the scab hair.
The scab hair is the hair that starts to grow right after you stop getting relaxers. This hair is very fragile and is prone to breakage.
You won’t avoid the scab hair when your big chop, but it is easier to manipulate if you don’t have over-processed ends.
Better Product Results
Another great benefit of going entirely natural is that it is easier to find the products your hair loves.
You may become what is called a “product junkie,” but when you are starting your journey it is essential to experiment with different products to find what works best for you!
It's usually a little more challenging to see what works best for your hair while transitioning.
Finding products that cater to both hair textures is not easy, that is why many women choose to do the BC.
Easy Hair Care
Every woman I know that has a shortcut loves it. Twa hair is so easy to take care of! They get more sleep and their stress levels in the morning become dramatically lower.
If you are afraid to do the BC because you are not sure how it will look on you, think about sleeping an extra 30 minutes to an hour in the morning. Sounds great, right? Having a shortcut is low-maintenance, and it is easy to care for.
This style only takes an average of 10-15 minutes depending on how defined you want your natural curls to be and how long your hair is. To style a TWA all you should spray your hair with water and apply the products of your choice.
If you want a defined look, you can section your locks off to use your product in sections. Utilizing a raking motion would yield the best results, or if you prefer to use a styling tool, the Denman brush would be your best friend.
It will help keep your hair detangled so you will not have to worry about breakage and your hair will retain length.
Many women think that cutting all your hair off and starting fresh allows your hair to grow much faster than if you were in transitions.
There hasn’t been any scientific evidence to prove if this is true, but I do think that there is some truth to it. I have a story that will serve as my evidence.
I have two roommates who are both natural. One of my roommates did the big chop, and the other decided to transition, so she wore weaves and braids to grow her hair out and just gradually cut off her ends.
They both started this process during their freshman year of college. Here we are, four years later, and my roommate who decided to do the chop has the same progress, if not faster, like my roommate who started to transition freshman year of college.
I do think there is a reason my roommate's, who decided to do the big chop, hair seemed to grow at a much faster rate than the one who chose to transition.
When you determine that you want to transition, your hair is more prone to split ends and breakage. Versus when you do the big chop, you get rid of all the damaged hair altogether.
Myth About the Big Chop
There are many myths that surround the concept of the big chop. One major myth is having fewer styling options.
Many people believe that once you go super short, there is a limited amount of style you can do. I am here to break that myth.
With the new wave of protective stylings like braids, weaves, and wigs there is no limit to what you can do with your hair. There are also a few styles you can do with TWA depending on how short it is.
Listed below are a few of my favorite go-to hairstyles when you want to change it up a bit.
Classic Wash and GoThis look is probably the easiest to achieve out of the list! To get this look, you will need:
- Shampoo (Preferably silicone and sulfate-free to retain moisture)
- Your favorite moisturizing conditioner (This can be a regular or deep conditioner)
- Leave-in conditioner
- Styling cream or milk
- Styling gel (optional)
After you wash and condition your hair to your liking all you should do is detangle your hair thoroughly with your leave-in conditioner.
When you’ve thoroughly detangled, just rake your styling cream through your hair. Some people stop at the styling cream or milk, but if you want that extra definition going through your hair with gel is the way to go.
Twist Out or Finger Coils
This style gives you a chance to experiment with a different curl pattern. Twa styles don't have to be difficult.
I would suggest that your hair be at least 2 inches to achieve the desired look. Finger coils have better results with at least 2 inches of hair, but a good twist you would need at least 3 inches to get a good grip.
There are a couple of different types of twist outs you can try including two strands, three strands, or a flat twist out.
To get the best results you would need to wash your hair using the steps for a wash and go, but instead of leaving your curls in their natural form, you would take an extra styling step.
I would try to explain how to do them, but I find that these styles are more comfortable to learn if you watch someone demonstrate.
You can find a multitude of videos on YouTube to achieve these hairstyles, but here is a list of my favorite videos.
Hair Braids and Weaves
If you are not feeling the short hair on yourself yet and want to get some length sooner than later, there is always the option of getting a weave or braids.
This choice is excellent because you have a little to none hair manipulation keeping your hair healthy while still having some length. If you decide to get a weave, I would suggest a full wig, closure, or frontal protect your hair from any heat damage.
Big Chop Inspiration
If you are still not convinced by now that the big chop is for you here are some women to give you an idea of how you can rock the look.
Here is a queen who rocks her TWA with class and grace.
She is better known for her role in the controversial film 12 Years of Slave, which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Lupita was the first Kenyan-Mexican actress to win an Academy Award. She rocks her TWA with no apologies on red carpets and countless magazine pages.
We all know this actress from her famous starring role of Professor Annalise Keating on How to Get Away with Murder.
The most shocking scene on television was when she tore off her wig on national tv, letting her TWA free. She is also a recipient of multiple awards including Academy Award for Best Actress.
Solange is an artist who has made a substantial name for herself.
When she released an album A Seat at the Table in 2016, Solange celebrated natural hair in full force. Solange has shared her natural hair journey with the world through social media and even on the runway.
Follow her on Instagram if ever need to see kinky-coily hair from an art perspective or if you want ideas for a bold natural hairstyle.
Issa Rae is the writer and star of the HBO series insecure which was from a concept of her earlier YouTube series Awkward Black Girl.
She started off the series in 2016 with her short hair and with every episode and season we get to see her hair grow and flourish.
She indeed is an inspiration for many ways to style TWA hair.
So far I’ve only given celebrity inspirations for BC.
Here is a YouTuber who has been more than an inspiration for growing and maintaining healthy hair after a big chop. Her videos show her journey of becoming natural.
She has even posted her big chop video and every video after are full of helpful tips and tricks for your natural hair. Hannah has grown her hair immensely within a year.
The evidence of her growth you can see in her pictures, and it is impressive.
KeKe has always been bold, blunt, and beautiful.
She has been in our hearts since Akeelah and the Bee, and she is all grown up now. In the summer of 2017 Ms. Palmer leaped and chopped all her hair off, and it was beautiful.
She is the inspiration for the women who like the super low cuts. She switched up her low cut by dying her hair vibrant reds and purples.
KeKe proves that you can still be feminine with a “boyish” cut. K. Michelle also rocked a similar look.
If you weren’t sure if the big chop was for you, I hope this post helped and gave you some clarity on what exactly the big chop is.
Every woman’s natural hair journey is unique. The inspiration above is not for you to copy there looks but to know that women are still considered beautiful even without long hair.
More and more women are redefining what the beauty standard is.
Transition With Style
Whether you do the big chop, transition, wear a weave, or any other protective style it doesn’t matter.
What matters is that you are doing what makes you feel beautiful and confident. If you want to do the big chop but are afraid of what others may say, this post is for you.
For you to know that if you did cut your hair as short as a buzz cut, you would still be a baddie. Even if you do the big chop and you want to change it up, there are plenty of options. You can be versatile.
So ladies, whichever path you take to become natural enjoy every second of it.