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Should I Transition or Big Chop?


I’m honestly surprised at how often I am asked this question by future-naturals. I love being asked for advice and helping when I can, but this question is so personal it’s really hardly my place to say. In the past I have answered this question with something evasive yet friendly…but now that feels like too much of a cop out. In my first go round as a natural, I did a big chop after a 6 month transition taking me from below bra-strap length up to a little afro. In my second (and final) conversion back to natural, I did a long transition of almost 2 years.

While it’s true, only YOU can determine whether you should transition or do a big chop, there are some important things to consider when making your decision.

How do you usually wear your hair?

If you’re constantly keeping your natural hair braided up under wigs or weaves, or you wear braided extensions for the majority of the time, then you could easily transition this way or do a big chop (depending on your natural hair length) and be fine either way.

If you wear your hair out mostly, straightened or in various other styles without added hair, or without hiding your hair regularly, then you have a big decision to make.

How much energy are you willing to put into your hair?

If you enjoy washing, detangling, deep conditioning, applying treatments, moisturizing, braiding, twisting, and otherwise styling your hair and are patient enough to delicately handle both textures as you grow your relaxed hair ends out, then I’d say go for the transition.

If you are impatient, and hair-lazy, or not confident in your styling skills, then I’d say hide your hair for your transition or do a big chop.

Do you have length issues?

This one is a no brainer. If you are not ready to deal with short hair, go for a long transition. If you’re excited for a new look and short length, BC!

How patient are you?

If you’re anxious to (re)discover your natural texture and type, then by all means BC. If you can wait, and are happy with your relaxed ends weighing down your hair pattern while it grows out, then transition to fully natural.

Other questions to ask yourself before you pick up the scissors are:

Do I know enough about hair care to make a big change? – If the answer is no, then read and research before doing anything drastic.

Do I want to go natural for ME? – If the answer is no, think hard on it, journal your feelings, list the pros and cons for you, and reconsider your motives.

Do I have a backup plan? – Even if you’re 100% gung ho, and you do a big chop, you may be in for a shock. Do you have a backup plan in place? Wigs, scarves, a hair braider you can trust? etc.. Be sure to know what your plan B is before you big chop.

These are just a few of the relevant questions that come to mind when determining whether or not a BC or transition is right for you. Only you can determine what’s right for your lifestyle and your temperament. I know people say “it’s only hair” but this is a big decision and should not be encountered lightly.

Best of luck on your journey!

Did you BC or Transition? Are you happy with your decision?Check out my Youtube Channel!
(Does this sound look familiar? I wrote it for CurlyNikki and published it there first)

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J. J. Nelson

Sunday 14th of October 2012

Hello. I've visited your blog a few times. I've been fully natural since December 2010. My last Wave Nouveau (after 19 years) was in January 2010. After almost 2 years, I still don't have the length that I want. I just got a trim, although this time with a flat iron also. My hair grows longer in some areas than in others. I also notice very small broken pieces when I comb my hair. I wear my hair down--my head is too large for braids or twists. Wigs are out also--I can't find any that will fit me. What can you recommend for length achievment? Thank you for your help. Don't cut you hair--it looks great.


Friday 5th of October 2012

Hi Dani! Love your blog! I too am a natural girl(almost 4 years now) and will NEVER go back to chemicals, lol! I found you on the FB page of Black Girls Blogging and wanted to stop by and say hello! BTW, do you have a Twitter account(didn't see one here on your page)


Friday 5th of October 2012

Thanks Michell! My twitter is @daniellefaust

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