“The Big Chop:” How To Transition The Right Way


Lately, there have been a couple of celebrity women who have made the big chop or shaving their head bald, look good. Actress and singer Keke Palmer expertly did it. Singer Keke Wyatt did it to support her daughter. Beautiful actress Sanaa Lathan has also cut off her hair for an upcoming role about natural hair called, Nappily Ever After. And now singer and soon-to-be divorced Tamar Braxton also did the big chop.

So if you’re thinking about taking doing the big chop and either starting over or just going for the clean shaven head look, here are a few questions you should answer before you do.


Does one have to do the big chop when going natural?

You do not have to do the big chop in order to go natural. You can go about going natural in a slower process called transitioning. Transitioning is when someone with relaxed hair lets their natural texture grow in and slowly cuts off the chemically treated ends. The key to transitioning is mainly just getting regular trims and keeping the hair as healthy as possible. One problem a lot of clients find when transitioning is the hair breaking where the relaxed and natural hair meets. In some cases, depending on texture and severity of chemical processes, these two textures cannot coexist.  Trims once a month are vital. The faster the chemically treated hair is gone the better.  Relaxed ends are also prone to break because of the extra heat that will be needed to maintain the new growth. Dealing with two textures on one head can be difficult, but don’t give up or give in if being natural is your goal. Women that choose to transition have to really give the hair extra TLC to maintain healthy hair.

What happens after the big chop?

All women react to the big chop differently. Some feel free and liberated, others feel uneasy and self conscience. Some women even feel all of these emotions at once. All I can say is don’t be discouraged. Going natural is a beautiful thing, embrace it! The big chop is extremely drastic and in most cases a huge change which is scary. If you do all the right things to maintain your natural texture and have a little bit of patience before you know it your hair will be longer, thicker, healthier, and more beautiful than you ever imagined it could be.

Your Skincare Routine Should Be on Point
It may sound shallow, but it really isn’t. With no hair, your face is truly front row, center with nothing to hide behind. Many of us have had bangs or a bigger hairstyle to hide behind. Once the big chop happens, you realize that yes, everyone can see that huge pimple, that dark spot or the blemish on your skin. Naturally, it’s to your advantage to up the ante on your skincare regiment incorporating more masks, toner, and the occasional peel.

the big chop cover

What products should be used when going natural?

Often times when going natural one will find that the natural texture can become dry initially. The natural oils the scalp produces are less likely to reach the ends of coily hair. Moisturizing products will need to become your best friend. Jojoba oil is also a great moisturizer. This oil is most similar to the oil that our scalp naturally produces. This product is great for keeping the scalp moisturized and will also add shine. Coconut oil, since your hair is shorter, can be used as a natural conditioner. If it was longer, we may say to stay away from it as it traps other oils and usually produces build up. But by using it sparingly, it has molecules small enough to penetrate the hair shaft allowing it to deeply moisturize the hair. This can be used as a deep conditioner or a leave-in.

When is the perfect time to go natural?

There is no “perfect time” to go natural. Going natural is a journey and not always an easy one. It can be scary to make such a drastic change especially in a society where we are brainwashed to believing that long straight hair is the only way to be looked at as beautiful. Once a woman has made the decision that she wants to embrace her natural texture she should just go for it. There is so much education and support for woman that make this decision. Knowing that you are not going through it alone truly helps you get through the journey.

How can you stimulate you hair to grow when it is natural?

You stimulate your hair to grow when it’s natural by keeping it moisturized and keeping the ends trimmed. Maintaining healthy natural hair can be a challenge. Because our natural texture can be dry keeping it moisturized will make or break your hair, literally. Also detangling can be a huge challenge. One that is natural has to be careful in the technique that is used to detangle. When the hair is in its natural state it should only be detangled when wet. It also is a huge help to completely saturate the hair with a conditioner before using a wide tooth comb to get through the hair. Getting regular trims will also help the detangling process and also prevents unhealthy split ends from creeping up the hair shaft.

Post courtesy of BlackDoctor.org.

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