To Big Chop or Not- 5 Tips To Help Make The Choice To Transition Long-Term or Big Chop

To Big Chop or Not: 5 Tips To Help Make The Choice To Transition Long-Term or Big Chop

By: Danielle Faust

To Big Chop or Not- 5 Tips To Help Make The Choice To Transition Long-Term or Big ChopI went natural for the first time in 2005. I’d never had short hair, so my plan was to do a long transition and snip my texlaxed hair away slowly. Instead, after 5 months I gave up, and took my fathers clippers to my head and did an impromptu big chop. I had no idea what to do with my natural texture and wasn’t used to seeing myself with hair that short. Somehow, despite a steep learning curve, I made it work. If I had known then what I know now, I likely would have waited a bit longer.

Read: 5 Things People Think When You Big Chop

Are you on the fence about doing your big chop or holding out for a long transition? Deciding to do your big chop can be major especially if you’ve never had short hair, or were very young when you began chemically altering your texture. There are many factors to consider as it regards to your personal head of hair.


If you’re about to make the choice whether to transition long-term or do a big chop to a short length, consider these tips:

1. List Your Pros and Cons

As a life coach and an avid list maker myself this is often my first piece of advice to anyone making a decision of any kind. List all the positive and negative aspects for you for making the big chop. The reasons listed can be as big or as small as you wish. What’s important is that they are compelling items for you.

2. Decide on the “Hair Lifestyle” You Want

By Hair Lifestyle I mean, how much (or little) effort do you intend to put into your hair care regimen. Are you into the quick and efficient routine, or do you prefer a long, drawn-out, multi-step (or even multi-day) regimen? If you prefer ease, you may want to BC sooner and enjoy your hair at a shorter length for a longer period of time before deciding to grow it out. If you enjoy long, luxurious regimens then you may want to hold off on the BC until you have grown a bit more length for you to enjoy.

3. Assess Why You’re Holding On to the Permed Ends

Sometimes the decision to big chop requires a deeper level of introspection. The journey to natural is physical, mental, and emotional all at once. Think on the real reason why you want to hold on to the permed ends. Are you not ready to commit to being natural? Are you nervous about having short hair? Do you hold certain ideas about hair length as it relates to beauty? Or perhaps you simply are unsure about caring for a TWA. Deciding why you’re really holding on to your permed length will free you up to make the decision whether or not to do your big chop.

Read 5 Ways To Style a TWA

4. Make Your Choice and Be OK With It

There is no right or wrong in your natural hair care journey. It’s a journey and there are many roads to take to your destination. While making the decision to do a big chop can be anxiety-inducing, remember that the choice is yours and whatever you decide is the right answer. Not chopping at all? Chopping in a few months? Hauling out the clippers right now? Either way it’s what’s best for you right now and you should never feel any guilt or regret about your choice.

5. Remember There is no Rush or Timeline to Follow

Decisions with a deadline are always tougher to make. Good thing your decision of whether or not to do your big chop is deadline free! There is no need to feel pressure to make your decision. There is no rush or timeline for you to follow in your natural hair care journey. Take your time and make the decision that is right for you.


6. Put Your Hair’s Health First

I’m adding this bonus in just to be clear. The health of your hair should be priority number one, whether you decide to big chop or not. Don’t hold off on creating a healthy hair care regimen until you make your decision, and be sure not to sacrifice your hair’s health by allowing splits to run up the shaft forcing you to cut when you may not be ready. The last thing you want is to have to big chop when a longer transition may be what’s best for you. Alternatively, if your hair is in very poor condition, with splits all over, you’d be doing yourself a disservice holding on to the length. An immediate chop may be what’s best for you. Hair health first.

The natural hair care journey is different for everyone. You will have several decisions to make along the way. Keep these tips in mind as you work your way to your decision whether or not to do your big chop and hopefully your choice will become easier to make.

Read: 3 Reasons You Should Consider The Big Chop

What Helped You Decide Whether To Transition Long-Term or Big Chop?



4 thoughts on “To Big Chop or Not: 5 Tips To Help Make The Choice To Transition Long-Term or Big Chop

  1. nappy headed black girl

    I think my decision to transition was mainly out of fear. That and I was having fun learning everything I could before I chopped.

    In hindsight, I wish I’d not transitioned at all and just did the chop down to a fade. Now that I’ve been in the game for a minute, it’s a style that I want to try. However, I’m no longer as worried about haveig short hair as I was before, so when I chop again it’ll be all the way down.

  2. I Chase My Destiny

    I don’t regret transitioning at all. I initially decided to transition for a year before I b.c.’d, but blending those two textures was frustrating. My last relaxer was in April of 2012 and I ended up transitioning for 10-11 months before spontaneously doing the B.C. this past March. Since my decision to transition, the personal goal I had was to grow my hair long enough for it to be braided, so I wore, and still wear, protective styles. When March 2014 rolls around, I will start wearing my hair out more.

  3. ChayaChew1

    I big chopped because my hair was stressed that and broken from the nagging that I went straight for the big chop. Stress left me with complete bald spots all over my head. It is hard because even after I cut my hair off those same spots have now begun to grow different hair textures. I am better off starting from scratch because this time I can see the results as I go along. I love it so far. I hope that the stress doesn’t make me start from scratch again.

  4. Ciera

    Do you have to transition first then do the big chop? I cannot find my curl pattern in the front of my hair, mostly on the sides. I see them in the back and middle. Also I can see where my hair should be cut at but im very scared that when I do ill have no curl pattern in the front. Should I let my.. hair transition then cut? I had my last perm in 2012, dyed my hair 2 months ago and my ends are very brittle; can see right through them. I don’t put heat in my hair alot last time I did was about a month ago and when I dyed my hair. I do a lot of twists and never take them out unless I redo them, idk how often I should wash my hair… im all messed up!!! Help I have 3b/3c/4a hair any tips???


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