After my big chop, I remember I was so confused as to what to do with what was left of my hair after cutting off my relaxed tips… Box braids to the rescue. I didn’t know what to do so I quickly put my hair in a protective style.
The big chop is the way to go if you want to return back to your natural hair texture right away. It has the benefit of giving you a fresh healthy start by allowing you to have one consistent texture and the removal of dead ends. However, if you are not use to having shorter hair it can be a big piece of work. You also have to figure out fairly quickly how to maintain your TWA (teeny weenie afro). Read the pros and cons of the big chop here.
These tips will be vital to big chopping with confidence, and being armed with information will help you navigate the first stage of your hair journey.
Follow these steps to go natural using the big chop method:
- GET A CLEAN PROFESSIONAL CUT FOR THE BEST RESULT
If you are thinking about the big chop and haven’t actually done it yet, this is your first step. We can’t see the back of our hair, so getting hard areas like this may prove difficult. Go to a professional and have them cut all of your relaxed chemically processed ends off to have a more desirable result. Remember you may be dealing with only 1 to 2 inches of hair afterward so if you think you may feel uncomfortable with this consider transitioning. Already cut your hair on your own? Well if you feel like it could use some cleaning up take a trip to the salon.
- BEAUTY GOES BEYOND
For those who are not use to having a short cut the first thing many of you will feel is that you don’t appear feminine enough. It’s silly but true. Many of us are taught to associate short hair as being masculine. When it really isn’t all about your hair, it’s the way you present yourself. You can still look super chic flawless even with your very short natural hair. To feel more girly wear statement jewelry, stylish earrings, try your hand on some makeup.
- CREATE A REGIMEN
|An example of a natural hair regime|
After you’ve made up your mind to chop, be sure to take the time and develop a regimen for yourself that works. Because a TWA (although thick) is not tons of hair to play with, selecting products that work well at keeping your hair moisturized, strong, and growing will be key. The TWA stage is the best time to experiment with products for moisturizing, nourishing, and styling the hair because if you don’t like a product, doing a 2nd or 3rd wash day in a row won’t be a terrible nightmare. Enjoy that product experimentation now, because as your hair grows, detangling, washing, and styling will become more time consuming.
- WASH YOUR HAIR AS OFTEN AS YOUR LIKE
At this stage tangling is not an issue, so you can wash as often as 2-3 times a week if you like. As your hair gets longer once per week is more realistic because it will be more of a process. I know it sounds funny especially if you have been relaxed most of your life, but this only helps to keep your hair moisturized. Also since you will be moisturizing daily you will need to remove product buildup so your hair can receive the moisture you are putting into it. To avoid dryness after washes use shampoos that do not contain sulfates. Using conditioner only (co-washing) instead of using a shampoo can also alleviate dryness issues.
- CLARIFY, STRENGTHEN, AND DO DEEP TREATMENTS
Get right into caring for your hair with various treatments. Caring for your newly natural TWA will involve much more than washing and moisturizing. Make sure that at least monthly, you are using a clarifying treatment or shampoo to thoroughly cleanse your hair and scalp to remove buildup. Deep treatments will be useful in helping to nourish, moisturize, and strengthen your hair as it grows.
In the beginning depending on how short your hair is, you may not have too many styling options. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This means all you have to do is moisturize your hair with a product that will help your coils pop and just go. Many women like the ease of this and purposely keep their hair short for this reason. However, if your goal is to grow out your hair, most women find that within the first year their hair grows out pretty fast!
- MOISTURIZE YOUR HAIR DAILY
Very soon, you’ll get to know that moisture is the best thing that could happen to your hair. Just like plants and trees, natural hair needs moisture.
Moisture is going to play a key role in having a more desirable look. Although the TWA is less hair, depending on your hair type and how well your hair retains moisture the moisture from it evaporates quickly. Daily refreshers with a light water-based hair moisturizer or spritz is ideal and will keep your hair hydrated between washes. Some may only need to moisturize every other day but in most cases every day is a good starting point. What you need to use is a water based hair product. Oils, pomades, and greases alone will not moisturize your hair. You will need to use a water based product first and then oils/pomades can be used to help seal that moisture in.
- PROTECT YOUR TWA AT NIGHT
Satin bonnet, cap, pillowcase is a much needed item as you embark on the journey. If you aren’t a big fan of satin bonnets or scarves, at least sleep on a satin pillowcase. No need in drying out the hair prematurely, and cultivating bad hair habits now!
- HAVE FUN!
Once you’ve got your regimen together and your no-no products and tools out of sight, you’re ready to have some fun with your TWA. The TWA presents a unique opportunity to be fashion forward, edgy, and daring with bold prints, bright colors, and eye-popping designs. Even if you aren’t a fashionista at heart, there are certain accessories and pieces you can use to amp up the flavor and feel gorgeous –like super cute earrings, a studded headband, or dazzling statement necklace. And don’t forget the makeup! You can also use your TWA time to experiment with colors and hair dye that will add richness and dimension to your cut especially as it grows out.