3 Tips for A Successful Big Chop


Time and time again, I’ve heard the big chop horror stories. Uneven. Cut off too much (not just relaxed ends). Tears. And more tears.

Not to mention the criticism one may receive. There are usually 5 typical responses to your big chop that you can read here.

Fortunately, I was not subject to a negative big chop experience.  About a month ago, my sister –who has been transitioning for 14 months — finally took the plunge.  To ensure that she had a positive experience, she took heed to my big chop advice. Here are my tips for a successful big chop:

Big Chop When You Are Ready

Too often, transitioners place a time frame on when they will big chop.  But in all honesty, you’ll KNOW when you are ready.  It’s important to plan, but it’s also important to know that plans change. (That’s advice that doesn’t just apply to hair.)  My sister originally planned on big chopping for her birthday in January 2015. It’s August.  It’s clearly not snowing outside and the temperature is 80 degrees.  As time passed, she was realized that it would be much easier to manage one texture as opposed to two.  With two textures, her twist outs didn’t last as long. Besides, summer is perfect wash and go weather and she didn’t want to miss out.

Do a Mini-Chop (or More)

If you have always had long hair, a big chop may be too extreme for you.  Instead, try gradually cutting every few months.  My sister regularly cut an inch off as her natural hair grew in.  That way, she had a reasonable length (for her), when she made the full transition.  For some, seeing long hairs fall to the floor is too “traumatizing”, but an inch or two every few months is more manageable.

Seek A Stylist You Trust

Whether your “stylist” is a professional, a friend, or you… you should trust the stylist with your hair.  Make sure that you consult with your stylist so that he/she is aware of your big chop goals.  Do you want it shaped or do you simply want to clip the relaxed ends? Also, make sure your stylist is aware of your different curl patterns. For example, my sister and I both have wavy hair in the front. Because the rest of our hair is tightly coiled, it could easily be mistaken for relaxed or heat-damaged hair.  A simple conversation with a trusted stylist can make a world of a difference.

The big chop is a BIG deal! Make sure you exercise due diligence in the big chop process.  Follow these steps and you will be on the right path for happy natural hair journey.

What are your tips for a successful big chop?



10 thoughts on “3 Tips for A Successful Big Chop

  1. Laura

    I am having the hardest time keeping my hair moisturized, dealing with shrinkage and styling my TWA…HELP!!! 😦

  2. Kesha

    Great tip I’m trying not to do the big chop because I don’t want to cut my hair lol yeah I’m one of those people:)

  3. felicia

    My stylist did a consultation first, showing me how much hair needed to be cut off. Then when she did the big chop, she gradually cut inches off, allowing me to look in the mirror incase I changed my mind, I even asked her to go lower, she said adjust to the big chop and then come back if I wanted more chopped off.

  4. Lynetta

    I have been without a relaxer since Feb’ 2014 but didn’t get the big chop now I want curls but ends are straight what to do??

  5. Yvonne


    I started to transition April of 2014. I noticed in the past months my hair went from curls to two different hair patterns. I was wondering would it be beneficial to BC?

    1. Rachel E.

      It is easier to manage if you BC because your Line of Demarcation is EXTREMELY fragile and if you don’t take care of it correctly, then it will more likely than not break off and cause damage to your natural hair.

  6. jurrichandler@gmail.com

    Ive bern natural since 2009. My hair has grown tremendously and i didnt do BC. However my hair is very thick with tight coiks. Im considering doing a BC. Will a BC now damage or help my hair?


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