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When a woman with chemically processed hair decides that she wants to go natural, she may consider doing the big chop.  To ‘big chop’ or ‘BC’ is to chop off the majority of one’s hair, which is relaxed, while leaving only the new growth, which is natural.

Although many women of color are deciding to do the big chop, it is not the only option for those wishing to grow healthy and natural hair.  Short or long term transitioning from relaxed to natural hair is also a popular option.

I tried transitioning for a little over three months, but I am incredibly happy with my decision do my own big chop a few weeks ago.  And if you are thinking of doing the big chop, here are a few tips on how to make your experience less stressful and more enjoyable.

1. Ask an encouraging, supportive friend to join in on the fun. Positive energy will put you at ease, and every experience is better with a friend to share it with.

2. Research hairstyles for short, natural hair beforehand. After you big chop, you will probably be left with a TWA (teeny weeny afro).  And if you have to go to work, school, or anywhere else the next day, you will definitely want to already have some ideas of hairstyles that will work for your new hair length and texture.

Bye Bye Relaxed Hair, Hello Natural Hair!

3. Buy necessary products before cutting your hair. Unless you don’t mind going out with an untamed mane, be sure to have moisturizers, styling products and utensils, and other materials already on hand.

4. Ask someone you trust to cut your hair. Whether it be your stylist, a relative, or even yourself, make sure that you communicate how important this haircut is to you.  Determine and share your vision for your cut and style to ensure a good outcome.

Why Can’t Black Women Do Their Own Hair Anymore?

5. Remember, it’s only hair. It grows back, so try to enjoy your short hair while it lasts.  And hair doesn’t define your beauty — you do.  So go ahead and rock your natural hair!  But keep in mind that it’s what’s on the inside that counts.