This post is a little long, but we had to pack it with a lot of information. We’ve been getting a lot of questions about going natural. A lot of people tend to fear the “Big Chop” but guess what? It’s not necessary. The “Big Chop” is one option but you can also “Transition.” Once you make that commitment to go natural, the choice is yours.
THE BIG CHOP
It’s exactly that. You make an appointment with a barber or your friend who can cut hair and cut off the permed hair. Usually people do the Big Chop about a month after their last perm so there is a little bit of new growth left once the perm is cut off. But by all means if you don’t mind the bald look, don’t wait, just do away with the perm. Just make sure whoever is cutting your hair can do a good job.
Pros of the Big Chop:
1. Instant: You go from permed to natural immediately…well however long it takes to cut off the perm.
2. It’s Simpler: Once you cut off the perm, there is only one texture to deal with (your sexy natural hair). You don’t have to deal with two different textures as you would if you transitioned.
3. It’s Liberating: Short hair is easy to manage. You can just wash and go (I don’t mean that literally :) please take a little time to slap on some moisturiser). And you will not have to run for cover when it rains.
4. Puts you in the Frame of Mind: Your hair is now natural and fewer people tend to turn back because the Big Chop usually provides some measure of finality to the decision to go natural.
5. Get to Know Your Hair: It gives you a chance to learn your hair and texture before there is too much of it to control. This is the time to be a product junkie and determine how your hair behaves with various products.
Cons of the Big Chop:
1. Not so Sexy: You may not like the way you look with short hair. For example, I decided against the Big Chop because I was nervous about the shape of my head and the short hair making me look unattractive, but Didi rocked it. I think, make-up and certain earring choices (usually big/dramatic ones) help.
2. Few Styling Options: Your styling options will be limited until you get some length. For the most part, people just cultivate their curl and wear it in a short fro. You can also, try braids and weaves once you attain a little length or wigs to give you a break from the short fro.
3. People Talk: Everyone is going to have an opinion, and usually they won’t be positive about your choice to cut off your perm, especially if it was long and healthy.
This is the gradual process of going natural. Once you make the decision to go natural by transitioning, you have to stop using all chemicals and try to stay away from heat as much as possible. Typically, transitioners will let their natural hair grow, and gradually cut off the permed ends. This takes as long as you want it to. You can transition until all the permed ends have been trimmed off or you can cut off the permed ends once your natural hair reaches a length that you’re comfortable with. With this option, keeping your hair well moisturized and treating it gently is important because you will have two very different textures. Note: Please remember to comb your hair from the ends to the roots or you will pull it all out.
Pros of Transitioning:
1. No Shock: You can ease yourself into going natural. The “Big Chop” can be a little traumatising if you are not mentally prepared. You have time to learn your hair type and the regimen it will respond to.
2. More Styling Options: Since you’re likely to have more length, you have several styling options. Twists, Braid Outs, Twist Outs, Buns, Updos, Weaves, Braids, Wigs etc.
3. Control: You have more control over the length of your hair as you will determine when you want to cut the perm or trim. Or you can just maintain your length i.e. when you grow an inch of hair, you cut off an inch of the perm. And if you decide that you don’t want to go natural, it’s easier to change your mind (no don’t go back).
Cons of Transitioning:
1. Two Textures: You will have two textures and have to make sure you care for both or your hair will break. The products that work for natural hair may not work for your permed hair. This option requires more care and patience from the get go.
2. Breakage: There is a lot of potential for breakage at the point where your natural hair meets your permed hair.
3. Inconsistent Texture: Although you have more styling options available to you, you will still have to be innovative with styles such as twists outs because the permed part of your hair will not achieve the same curl as the natural part. You can resolve this by using curl rods or rollers.