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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


Brenesha Celebrates 7 months of Transitioning

26 Sep

Brenesha writes:

So I am so happy to say that I have been in my 7th month of transitioning.  I just wanted to update you all on my progress and fall hair plans.

Currently I have cornrows in my hair that I had braided about a week and a half ago.  I’m loving the fact that I can moisturize, seal, and go.  I’m really not looking forward to taking them out but I am going to give myself a good hotoil treatment, shampoo and condition and follow up with bantu knots or a braidout.  I also plan to give myself a trim as well.  It’s been about 3 months since I trimmed and it’s long over due.

In October I will start back with my cornrows or may possible do micros. My regimen for the fall will consist of more hotoil treatments because my scalp gets so dry.  I am also going to add about a cap full of Olive Oil to my shampoo and conditioner to help with moisture.  I will do co-washes more instead of shampoo to keep my hair moisturized and not as stripped as shampoo leaves it.  I am using Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo and Conditioner and I really like them both.

Something that I am really looking in to getting is the Caruso Steam Rollers.  I have been watching quite a few youtube vids on them and I love the results.  The hair is set with steam.  I have asked around to many Naturals and they really like the results as well.  So I plan to get a set and I will definitely tell you how it goes.

Thanks for sharing Brenesha. Visit Brenesha’s group “Transitioning to Natural”. The link is on the sidebar under “Great Sites”. If you have a story to share, send it to

Guest Blogger: The Nappy Race-The Beginning

20 Sep

Tania writes:

A little bit of breakage here, a little bit of breakage there – And that’s how it starts. “Well maybe a treatment will help,”  you think to yourself. After a few treatments, trims, a weave, some Dominican blow outs, a couple headaches, and few pain relievers (need I go on) your hair screams, “Enough is enough, I’m going natural.” However, the look on your face is not that convincing.
Yes, the idea of going natural can be scary and confusing. A laundry list of questions began to ring in your head as you consider how the change will affect you. Of course, you see the wonderful pictures of ladies with healthy, natural hair everywhere. From the latest black hair magazines to GAP commercials, curls & kinks are in. But as you dig a little deeper, you find that there ARE even more options with wearing your hair natural. From a natural ‘fro, to locs, double-strands, coils, straw sets, pressing, and the list goes on. Through your research, you discover a cool idea of ‘transitioning’. Since everyone told you that the only way to go natural was to India Arie it, your relieved to find options (there goes that word again).

The transition either viewed as a wonderful inner beauty experience or a plague. This phase is only the beginning but the hardest obstacle to overcome. Unfortunately, this is the place were many of our sistas decide to drop out of the nappy race to Their Natural Wonder. But for the sistas who hang in there, put their boxing gloves on and go comb-to-comb with their coils get a greater reward, confidence and higher sense of self to match that beautiful healthy hair.

About the Guest Blogger:
Beauty is the business of Tania Chandler. With over 10 years experience in the industry, she has been recognized as the natural hair care expert. Specializing in caring, styling & repairing locs, double strand twists, pressing, weaves, & her favorite – easing clients through the process of transitioning back to Nappyness 😉 . She prides herself on staying educated & keeping up with the latest trends. Her work has been featured in film/TV, print, runway, and everyday beauties such as yourself! She currently services clients in Baltimore, MD & Central PA.

You can visit Tania’s site HERE

Thanks for sharing, Tania. Check back next week for Chapter 2-The Real Beginning. If you would like to be a Guest Blogger, contact me at

Protective Style for Transitioners

9 Sep

Brenesha writes:

On 9-10-10 it will mark 7 months of transitioning.  I wanted to share my new braided style.  I am going to keep my hair braided for a while to retain length and to protect my ends.  This is similar to how I had it braided the last time I shared with you, however, this time the braids are up into a ponytail rather than to the side.  I prefer not adding hair extensions because it tangles my hair when it is time to take it down.  My stylist braids the ponytail to have a braidout look.  I want to encourage the ladies who are transitioning to do more protective styles.  I started at shoulder length in February and now I am at mid shoulder blade length.  I am almost to bra strap length!  I am so excited. 

Visit Brenesha’s Group “Transitioning to Natural” by clicking the link in the siderbar under Great Sites.

Thanks for sharing, Brenesha. If you would like to share  hairstyles, photos, et…send them to

Follow me on Twitter @naturalbyl

Protective Style: Cornrows with a Side Ponytail

30 Aug

Brenesha writes:

I wanted to share my cornrow style.  I bought hair to add to the cornrows, but ended up getting the wrong kind of hair.  I was disappointed, but my stylist assured I would still like the style.  I have been transitioning for 6 months now.  The last time I got cornrows with added hair, my hair was so tangled.  I think this was a blessing in disguise because I really didn’t want to deal with taking out the cornrows with the extensions.  She braided the same exact way I wanted it (pic included) and just braided the ponytail so when I take it out, it will be wavy.  To all of the transitioners, I suggest you find someone who can braid and braid your hair every once in a while to give your hair a break.  My hair has grown a great amount since I have been putting my hair in protective styles and have not used any heat besides my hooded dryer when I do rollersets. 

Check Out My Transitioning Website:
Transitioning To Natural (You can also find the link in the sidebar under great sites)
Transitioners, Naturals, and All are welcome

Thanks, Brenesha

If you have a protective style that you would like to share, please send it to

Yarn Braids~Protective Style Tutorial from Keke52284

18 Jul

Keke52284 shows how to do one of her protective styles: Yarn braids/ Genie Locs. Check out the other videos on her YouTube Channel.

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More Tips for Transitioners and New Naturals

15 Jul


Thanks to everyone who left comments and tips for Courtney yesterday.  They were all thoughtful and helpful to anyone who is transitioning or newly natural.  Even those of us who have been natural for awhile can use the extra encouragement from time to time.

This post came from one of the comments that was left yesterday. Mesha gave great advice and style ideas.  (I added links to tutorials for some of the styles that are already on the blog.)

Mesha Wrote:

So many of us fear our natural hair texture because society tells us that it is unprofessional, unkept and unbecoming. The very first step in transitioning is realizing that “transitioning is 90% mental and 10% physical”. Your physical will catch up with your mental as you go through your journey.

Styling options are abundant. You can try:
1. Flex-Rod Set
2. Double Strand Twists or Twist-out with the ends rodded –TUTORIAL HERE
3. Braids or Braid Out with the ends rodded
4. Bantu Knot Out- TUTORIAL HERE
5. Cornrows with and without hair added (Just be sure to have the feed-in method used. This will help reduce the tension of the synthetic hair and the braiding at the hairline.)
6. Spring Twists – See EBNBHair on youtube for pics

Check to see if there are any natural hair meetup groups in your area. These groups have get togethers of women with natural hair and discuss hairstyles, their natural journeys and other tips and tricks for caring for natural hair. The website is, and search for “natural hair.”

Finally get a journal and record your journey. Record your feelings, products that you’ve tried and how you feel about them, useful websites, etc. Re-read it if you ever feel like giving up.

Good Luck in your Journey!

Quote from the book “The Knotty Truth”

18 Year Old Transitioner~ Courtney

14 Jul
First off my name is Courtney, I’m 18 years old, and I’m trying to transition from relaxed to natural hair. However, so far it has not been easy. My last relaxer was about 2 months ago, and my whole family is trying to make me straighten my hair. I feel like I have no support, and I’m scared because I feel like I’m alone. My mother suggested that I straighten my hair with a hot comb because my hair is so thick (it’s like they’re afraid of my nappy hair!) I’m going to need some serious support to get through this!
1. Are there any styles that I can try? I don’t know how to do cornrows. 😦
2. When is a good time to trim my hair (i.e. when it’s wet or when it’s dry?)
All my life I have been forced to believe that the best thing about me was my beautiful, STRAIGHT, hair. Now that I am transitioning, I feel like I’m going against everything I’ve ever known. But I am a strong girl, and I’m going to stick with this! I know it’s going to be hard.
I’m sure Courtney will appreciate any guidance and support that we can give to her.  Thank you.

Bantu Knot Out Tutorial with leeoramassengill

13 Jul

These two videos show leeoramassengill deep conditioning her hair and doing a bantu knot out.  Check out her YouTube Channel.

PART 1-Deep Conditioning

PART 2-Bantu Knot Out Tutorial

Homemade Deep Conditioners

11 Jul
Hot Oil Conditioner
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup boiling water
Combine ingredients then warm on low heat. Massage mixture into the scalp and hair. Wrap hair in a hot towel for 15 minutes. Shampoo & rinse out
Hair Regrowth Conditioner
3-4 drops of Rosemary essential oil
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 egg
Blend all ingredients. Apply to hair. Leave in hair for 15 minutes. Then rinse.
Coconut Honey Deep Conditioner
4 tbs Coconut oil
2 tbs Natural honey
Place coconut oil and honey in a small plastic bag and place the bag in a hot cup of water for 1 minute to warm. Apply to hair, wrap hair in a towel for 20 minutes. Wash then dry hair.
Dry Hair Hot Oil Conditioner Recipe
15 drops Rosewood
5 drops Geranium
5 drops Sandalwood
5 drops Lavender
1/2 ounce jojoba oil
Place oils  in a small plastic bag and place the bag in a hot cup of water for 1 minute to warm. Apply to hair, wrap hair in a towel for 20 minutes. Wash then dry hair.
Courtesy of