Big Chop vs. Transitioning

12 Dec

Once we make the decision to go natural, we each have to find the path that works the best for us. I’ve experienced transitioning and the big chop.  Before I did my big chop, I transitioned for 7 months. At that time, I didn’t even know the name for transitioning. I was giving myself a chance to decide what I wanted to do with my hair. I think there are pros and cons to both, and it really depends on what works for the individual. The big chop was the right move for me. If you are considering making the leap, you have to figure out which strategy is the best for you.

I posted the question on my Facebook page. 44 people answered. 17 transitioned and 27 did the big chop. Of the group that big chopped, a few initially intended to transition but big chopped due to frustration.

Big Chop


  1. Cutting your hair off is refreshing, and it really sets you in the frame of mind that you are making a change.
  2. Starting from a short haircut gives you time to get to know your hair before there is so much of it. This is a good time to do trial and error to see what works for you and what doesn’t. You may change products as your hair gets longer, but it gives you a place to start.
  3. You get to start fresh with healthy hair.


  1. The shock of having short hair can be challenging for some people, especially those that have not had short hair before.
  2. You may experience more backlash from people in your life because it is a sudden change.

Here are some comments from people who chose to BC:

J.E.- I BC’d…it was summertime and I was bold lol

N.W.- I did the big chop!! Why? 1. Because transitioning would take to long. 2. I didn’t want to try and manage two different textures of hair and, 3. I wanted to have natural hair as soon as I possibly could!!!

Dr. M.M.- I did the big chop. So glad I did!!! Longer, thicker, healthier hair!!

J.E.- Big Chop. I went natural in 03 and I didn’t know there was another way 2 do it. LOL

H.C.- Big Chop! I was anxious and I didnt really have the patience to transition. I wanted to be natural right away. Plus shaving my head would be a completely different look from what I and everyone was use to…and I liked that.

T.M.- BC it was freein at the time and enough was enough

C.E.W.- I just did the big chop on the 15th of october it was a spirtual thing for me the most high gave us beautiful black women hair like this for a reason mainly because nobody else has hair like us for me it’s embracing a part of myself a spirtual self I know that may sound weird to some but it means everything to me I so Love my hair I can’t stop touching it and looking at and thinking to myself THAT’S MINE THAT’S MY HAIR..REAL HAIR 🙂

J.A.- Tomorrow will make it one month since I did the BIG CHOP! 70% was a spiritual thing and the other 30%, I just always wanted to go back to my natural state. And finally I grew a pair and did the unthinkable by many black women! Boom pow! 🙂 It’s a BEAUTIFUL and LIBERATING thang! :))



  1. Transitioning gives you an opportunity to ease into being natural.
  2. You can wear many of the same styles that naturals wear.
  3. You can maintain the length of your hair by cutting it slowly and deciding when you want to get rid of the relaxed ends.


  1. It can be a lot of work to maintain two drastically different hair textures. The products that work for the relaxed hair may not work for the natural hair.
  2. There is a lot of potential for damage at the line where the two textures meet.

Comments from people who chose to transtion:

N.A.L.- Transitioned. I have always had long hair and wanted to retain my length.

S.C.- I transitioned because I didn’t want to go to having extremely short hair all of a sudden.

S.W-O- Transition with mini chops over a year or so…..I did it because 1 I’m vain and like my length and 2 I love short hair on other people, just not my head.

J.W.D.- Transitioned. Was too scared to chop.

What do you think the pros and cons are for both?

Follow me on Twitter @naturalbyl


19 Responses to “Big Chop vs. Transitioning”

  1. Celeste December 12, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

    I big chopped. Best decision I ever made. I never regretted my decision.

    • ~L December 12, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

      I agree.

  2. Keke December 12, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

    I tried to transition too, but it got to hard. And my hair started falling out. I gave up and chopped.

    • ~L December 12, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

      I’ve heard that from a lot of people. Managing two textures is a challenge.

  3. Loren December 12, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    I transistioned for approximately one year with corn rows with fake hair and then did the Big Chop and immediately had my hair in two-strand twists for locks (2 inches long). I kept the locks for a couple of years and then transitioned to Sisterlocks. I’ve had the Sisterlocks since ’02!!!

    • ~L December 12, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

      Wow, 8 years!! I went immediately from a big chop to starting traditional locs. Then I big chopped again.

  4. ~L December 12, 2010 at 1:21 pm #

    Comment from FB:

    S.C.- I transitioned for 4 months then BC’d

  5. zainab1 December 12, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    I big chopped and it was soooooo refreshing! If I had to do it all over again , I would indeed do it the very same way big chop! loved it :))


    • ~L December 12, 2010 at 1:48 pm #

      I would do it the same way again too. I’ve already done two big chops.

  6. nappy headed black girl December 12, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    I transitioned for a year with braids. Always wished I would’ve chopped, especially after reading these comments.

    • ~L December 12, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

      You never know, you may big chop at some time in the future.

  7. ~L December 12, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    Comments from FB:

    L.W.- NO BC for me, I did have to cut some though because of micro braids

    K.W.- the perm 18mos ago had my hair like the parted red sea…I had no choice but to do the bc next month will be 1yr strong!!

    A.C.- For me I transitioned, now I know what it means. I had really long hair and didn’t want to chop it all off so my last relaxer was Aug 08 and I just kept it braided up. Finally in April this year I had enough length and finished cutting the rest of the relaxer out. I’m now two stranded it and I love it, I don’t even miss my long relaxed hair.

  8. Brenesha December 13, 2010 at 6:02 am #

    I am Transitioning! Friday the 10th made 10 months! I have no difficulty and my hair is healthy!

  9. Latashia December 14, 2010 at 8:25 pm #

    When I decided to go many of us..we were uneducated about hair.. about the big chop,about trans. everything.From July to Dec of 09 I wore the two textures..then in Dec I got some of two text trimmed off. Then in Feb/Mar 2010 I just said the heck with it..I want all the perm gon.. it was a low I look back on pics..but I feel it’s whatever ur comfo. with

    • ~L December 14, 2010 at 8:29 pm #

      I agree Latashia. There is more than one option, and people should choose what suits them.

  10. CarmenShanell December 18, 2010 at 8:00 pm #

    Natural 11 years now, I think, or twelve. Whatever. I BC’d at a time when not a lot of people were doing the natural thing accept for in certain circles. No regrets, got a lot of flack. My mom was like “ummmm….what are you doing??? trying to find your self or something?” My cousins teased me. But it was LIBERATING. My grandmother and great grand mother had been natural ALL their lives. So to me it was no big deal. I think it is bold, brave and becoming of our brown skin tones and earthy features.

  11. Nisha December 22, 2010 at 4:23 pm #

    I transitioned for 11 months. Wearing roller sets, bantu knots, flex rods sets, & finally braids. Every 4 weeks I cut some of the perm off and now I have been natural for 1 month and love it.

  12. CL February 10, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    I’m in my 9th month of transisting and I have not had any problems with the two textures or breakage. I admit that I love my natural curls and really get excited when I wash y hair and see them. I thought I was going crazy one day when after I washed my hair I was looking in the mirror admiring my curl pattern, I had been trimming my ends so sissors where laying on the countertop. I was home alone but all of a sudden I hear this voice say, “CUT IT, CUT IT”!!! I looked around to be sure my husband had come home. After I finished laughing at myself I quickly put the sissors in the drawer because I’m not ready to BC yet. LOL

  13. Lady choppy June 24, 2011 at 1:28 am #

    I was speaking with my aunt and she said ” was transitioning for atleast 4-5 months and thought my hair had grew so much but to my surprise it only grew about 2 inches with the permed ends still attached to my new growth. Surprisingly enough in the same time spand 4-5 months my aair fro has grow tripple!!!!”I saw that with my own eyes is it because you have a full head of just natural un damaged hair ??? I see alot of people ask does having the big chop grow your hair faster? after seeing so many people go through the previous situation its hard to say no to that question!

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