big chop turned into a mess

Damage Be Gone: The Big Chop Turned into A Big Mess

Big Chop Overload

Cutting your hair for the first time can be nerve-racking. What should you do if you end up not getting the style you envisioned?

Doing the Big Chop

The big chop is the most efficient route in the transition to completely natural hair. Chemically processed hair and excessive heat or coloring to hair can result in thin, brittle hair. Getting rid of the damage is best for anyone looking to continue to grow long, healthy hair. The big chop is different for everyone; it can be cutting off the damaged ends only or completely starting over. For some, cutting hair can be exciting, while for others it is scary. Most women neglect to cut their hair because they cannot imagine themselves without length. They like long hair because they feel like their head shape will not favor short hairstyles. Some also prefer longer hair because of more options to style it. However, we tend to forget the versatility of shorter styles compared to those of longer ones. By understanding our different facial structures and hair types, we can choose styles that complement our features.

My Big Chop Story

So let’s say you build up the courage to finally do the big chop. You’ve been looking on Pinterest for styles, and you’ve saved some looks to show your stylist the exact hairstyle you want. As nervous as you were before, you’re finally excited that you’re making this big step for the first time in your life! Imagine going through all of this preparation just for the hairdresser to give you an actual mohawk. Yep. That’s exactly what happened to me when I did my big chop. I was truly mortified and had to end up shaving my head and then going to a barber to shape it up. While it did not end up how I expected, I ended up falling in love with my bald head.

Fixing Up My Big Chop

The infamous reason as to why most people end up hating their big chop is because the final look isn’t as they thought it would be. You can either sit around and hate your hair until it grows, or you can turn it into something better than what you expected. Just like me, a lot of people go through the big chop and are not completely satisfied with the look for various reasons. That shouldn’t stop others from doing the same because there are many ways to fix it according to the “damage.” I’ve come up with five different ways to make the most of the style depending on the situation:

Scenario A

If you had cut it yourself, consider going to a professional to shape it up for you. It’s always best to let a stylist or barber cut your hair for you because they are equipped with the proper tools and techniques to give the desired look you wanted. Plus, they can see your entire head unlike you. I know these YouTubers have us out here thinking we can do everything at home on our own, but to be safe and to ensure the best quality, go with a professional. Experts recommend always going to a professional for any significant cuts, like the big chop!

Scenario B

Maybe you went to a professional, and they didn’t quite meet your expectations. Don’t be like me and go home thinking it might grow on you because if you hate it at the shop, then you’ll hate it when you get home. Try asking them to cut it into a different style to highlight any prominent features. If there’s not enough hair to cut, consider starting over as a baldie! Adding designs can also help enhance a look. It’s always cool to see girls rocking partly-shaved heads, undercuts, lines, and other edgy patterns. Even with short hair, you can still wear hair extensions, and short hair is even the best for wearing head wraps and scarves. If you truly cannot find a short style that you’re comfortable in, wear protective styles as you keep experimenting. Remember, the point of the big chop is to get rid of any damage so as long as you continue to take care of your hair, it doesn’t matter how soon you get into wigs/weaves.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice doing different short natural styles. Now, this is where YouTubers are helpful! So many people are teaching how to achieve defined curls with different methods. A few you can try are finger coils, finger waves, Bantu knots, twist outs, wash and go’s, and more! Working with short hair is great because it is low maintenance and it allows you to easily see your true hair texture(s) to be able to find all the products necessary for strength and growth. Maybe it’s not the hair per se, but sometimes we don’t feel as feminine or as beautiful with short hair. Accessories go a long way! Having your makeup done, wearing bigger earrings and necklaces, or dressing up can help you feel more like yourself and just as beautiful.

Choosing the best look for me

Once you have cut your hair, it would be nice to avoid having to redo a style completely. To ensure that you are choosing the best style for yourself, take into consideration your face shape and hair type.

For smooth face shapes, such as round, oval, or oblong

Since these shapes are smooth all around, tapered cuts are best because they bring definition and shape to your face. With volume on top and shorter sides, it frames as well as highlights cheekbones and profiles.

For rigid face shapes, such as square, diamond, or heart

Pixie or cropped cuts are best for these shapes because since your face is already defined, there’s no need for styles that add definition. We are enhancing our features by choosing cuts that are even all around to frame and mimic the natural shape of your head.

For kinky hair (type 4s)

If you have kinky hair, when you cut your hair make sure you have enough hair (or not too much) for the style you’re going for. If you have 4c hair, a wash and go might not be for you if you want more defined curls. If you wish to rock your natural afro that’s cool too! Just make sure you’re choosing styles that can be done reasonably without doing too much to your hair.

For curly hair (type 3s)

For curly hair, choose styles that will last throughout the day. Just like for any other hair type, make sure the style you want matches your texture so that it can be done. What may work for some may not work for others so, pay close attention to your hair’s behavior. Looser curls already have the definition, but if you want more that’s perfectly fine!

Switch Up Without Damage

One of the best things about being a naturalista is being able to switch up whenever you want, but also keeping in mind your hair’s health. We can still have straight hair, enhance and change up our curls, and color our hair all in safer ways:
  • Straighten with silk wrap (not to be confused with silk press). It avoids a large amount of heat to the hair.
  • Besides doing braid/twist out styles to achieve prominent curls, curl with flexi or perm rods overnight to avoid using heat for the bigger curls.
  • To avoid any color damaging, consider coloring hair with natural products rather than chemicals. Have you tried coloring hair with coffee, tea, lemon juice, or even walnut shells? All possible and 100% natural!

Relief From A Big Chop

No matter how you feel about your big chop, be happy that there is no more stress and your hair is healthy again. Length doesn’t equate to health, so enjoy the cut life. On the bright side, you don’t have to worry about your hair in the rain, and shorter styles are easier to care for! Don’t be afraid to make the change this year and to experiment with the endless short styles available. You just gotta learn what works best for you and what you like the most. There’s something for everyone!
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