The Big Chop vs. Transitioning. Which is Better?

The Big Chop vs. Transitioning. Which is Better? | June's Journal

I did the big chop. ¬†Three years ago. ¬† But is it better than transitioning? ¬†I think each woman has to search within to decide which is better for her. ¬†Transitioning is ideal for some. And the big chop is ideal for others. ¬†Below I list the reasons I did the big chop. ¬†I will follow it by ideal reasons to transition. ¬†Oh, and if you don’t already know, the big chop means cutting all your relaxed hair off in order to go “all natural” (no chemicals or excessive heat). ¬†And transitioning is another way of going “all natural” without cutting off all of your hair at once. ¬†Women instead let their new “natural hair” grow in naturally and they trim off their relaxed hair slowly over time. ¬†So there never is a sudden change in the length of her hair.

Why I Did the Big Chop

1. ¬†Wanted to Be Natural. ¬†Once I understood how harmful and “unnatural” relaxers were for my hair, I didn’t want another strand of relaxed hair on my hair. ¬†The quickest way to this means is to cut it all off.

2. ¬†Instant Gratification.¬†¬†I don’t know if I have the patience¬†to transition. ¬†I wanted to see what my hair looked like in its all natural state, and I wanted to know and experience it as soon as possible. ¬†All my life I¬†believed¬†my hair required relaxers to look decent. ¬†I would run to the drugstore for a relaxer hair when I would feel my kinky roots grow in.

3. ¬†New Hair Style. ¬†I never wore my hair short before. I always wore it long. ¬†I’d get my hair done at the hair salon (my bi-annual perm/relaxer–which used to be every month when I was younger) and wear my hair “out” for a good two-weeks. Usually with a part down the middle or side. ¬†Then, after two-weeks, my hair never looked right wearing out or down. ¬†It lost its salon look (and I didn’t know how to do the salon look). ¬†So I’d wear it in a pony tail for the most part. ¬†That or in braids.

4.  New Season.  About four years ago I had overcome a big crisis in my life.  So chopping off my hair off a year after that was over was a memorial of sort. Something I was doing outwardly to signify the change inside and in my life.  A statement of my new season.  My husband did the same thing with his dreadlocks.  He had dreads down to the middle of his back.  He cut his locks about a year after I did my big chop.  We both felt our experience of cutting hair was freeing and liberating.

5.  Mature Look.  I am often told I look way younger than I am.  On top of that I have a very small voice and sound younger too.  So the short hair made me look a bit more mature. At least I like to think so.  I loved it!

But not long after I did my “big chop” I was dying to know what my natural looked like “long.” ¬† I never had long “natural” hair, only long “relaxed” hair. ¬†So I opted to let my ¬†TWA (teeny weeny afro) grow. ¬†And after two years my hair was pretty much back to the length it was before I did the big chop. ¬†When wet and stretched it out that is. ¬†(When it dries, it shrinks up like a sponge and doesn’t even reach down to my chin. ¬†Common for my hairtype.) ¬†I have people insist my hair grows fast. That I have so-called good hair. ¬†But I think two years is a pretty average rate for as long as my hair grew during that time.

But enough of that. Let me now regale of you of benefits or reasons that some women may prefer transitioning over the big chop.

Reasons to Transition

1. ¬†It’s Gradual. ¬†It’s sort of like being pregnant. ¬†You ¬†gradually prepare mentally and emotionally for the baby you’re about to have. ¬†Thankfully babies don’t just pop out the same day or next day after you have sex. That’d be a surprise! ¬†In like manner, many women prefer a gradual transition.

2. ¬†Family Members.¬† ¬†You won’t hear your mom or grandma say, “Oh Tameka, why did you cut off all of your hair? ¬†¬†Seriously. ¬†Older generations taught women¬†to covet long hair. ¬†It’s why women still today get extraordinarily long weaves or braids.

3. ¬†Longer Hair Preferred. ¬†Some women frankly don’t think they’d look good in short hair. ¬†So the big chop is taboo for them. ¬†Transitioning allows them to keep¬†their length from beginning to end. ¬†Some husbands prefer long hair too and ask their wives not to cut their hair.

4. ¬†The Working Woman. ¬†Transitioning is¬†preferred over the big chop in certain job situations. ¬†Yeah, yeah. I know. It shouldn’t matter. ¬†Who cares what people think, right? ¬†Um, wrong. ¬†Whether we like it or not, people in the workplace judge us. Even our hair. They shouldn’t. ¬†But they do. ¬†At some jobs it doesn’t matter how you wear your hair. ¬†Bu att other jobs it might. So transitioning is a preferred route.

5.  Practice.  Transitioning gives you a chance to practice natural hairstyles before your hair is all natural.  Once you do the big chop, you are left with nothing but natural hair, so you kinda have to do something immediately, whether you are ready or not.  So transitioning affords the ability to do hair experiments right away.  Most women transitioning twist or braid or otherwise camouflage their new growth while transitioning.

6. ¬†Carol’s Daughter Transitioning Kit. ¬†You can get a very cool “transitioning kit” from Carol’s Daughter. ¬†Click here to learn more about the kit or buy one.

At the end of the day, do what’s best for you. What makes you feel more comfortable. ¬†It’s your hair. ¬†If you prefer transitioning, don’t make people who do the big chop feel bad. ¬†I’ve actually read articles online where people who totally diss big choppers. ¬†That’s not fair. Those women may have had¬†legitimate reasons for doing the big chop. ¬†Like me. ¬†To each her own I say. Likewise, ¬†if you did the big chop, don’t talk bad about people who prefer to transition.

Both methods, the big chop and transitioning, get women to the same place: natural hair. ¬†That’s the goal and both routes do this.

What do YOU THINK?  Which method of going natural is best?  Transitioning?  Or doing the big chop?  Click here to leave a comment.


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  1. Lisa on Aug 21, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Very good blog June! i already had a very short hair cut and only had a little amount of relaxed hair. I stopped getting relaxers in like Feb. and when i took out my braids at the end of last month, i just chopped off the few bits of relaxed hair i had left. people thought i did a Big Chop but i was like “remember i had no hair” lol. my back (nape) was completely shaved already so as it grew in it grew in new. the two different textures would have drove me crazy. i also would have feared it breaking my natural hair because it wasnt healthy. so there you have it :-) im learning and growing and this whole process i know is going to be fun!

  2. Charrisa Coulibaly on Oct 14, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    I did the big chop twice. Once on purpose, and once as a necessity. Both times it was very liberating! I have locs now that brush at the top of my Recenty, I’ve contemplating either cutting my locs or combing them out in the future. We’ll see!

    • June on Oct 21, 2012 at 2:09 pm

      I love your hair! You and your hair are gorgeous. I’ve thought of doing the big chop again myself. First trying to see if I can rock some natural hair styles that require longer length But I think it’s easier to manage (and I look better) just to keep it cut short. We shall see!

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