My Big Chop Experience, And Why I Wouldn’t Do it Again

woman with a smirk on her face
Go ahead and big chop they said, it’ll be liberating, they said…. well nobody said that it would be the hardest part of my natural hair journey to date.

Before I big chopped I was transitioning for about 8 months. Transition wasn’t hard for me because I always wore my hair in some sore of protective style, so my natural hair was never really exposed for long periods of time.

I thought if I cut off all of the relaxer I would speed up the growth process, so that’s what I did. I scheduled my appointment, and the day of my appointment I took a shot because I was a bit nervous to do what I was about to do.

When I got to the salon and sat down in the chair the stylist took a look at my hair and then asked me if I was sure.

I gave her a quizzical, yes. I mean, obviously if I made it that far then I was sure. She then proceeded to warn me that I would be shocked at first because of shrinkage. She said if I wasn’t used to seeing myself with a short haircut then I needed to be prewarned.

I thanked her for the advice, which did nothing but kill my buzz and make me even more anxious. I told her to just go ahead and cut it all off because I was already in the chair and was tired of going back and forth. So that’s just what she did.

When she was finished I had a mix of emotions. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to cry or scream or both. The stylist literally cut off all of the relaxer, and didn’t try to shape it into a style or anything.


I mean, granted, that is what I asked for, but I just wasn’t expecting it to look so blunt, the shock of it all was literally an understatement.

In hindsight, I probably should have just kept protective styling a bit longer until my hair grew out a bit more to where the big chop wouldn’t have been so ‘big.’ What is your big chop story? Was it everything you expected or less? Comments below!

About Brittany Waddell


Just a Southern girl taking life by storm in NYC! Oh- and I'm natural too:) Be sure to check out my posts to learn some tips and tricks on how I tame my natural hair!

About Brittany Waddell


Just a Southern girl taking life by storm in NYC! Oh- and I'm natural too:) Be sure to check out my posts to learn some tips and tricks on how I tame my natural hair!

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Soraya HarrisonErica SmithTorn CarterSonya MooreRetei Red Recent comment authors
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Celeste Jackman

Good article. Getting used to short hair isnt easy.

Michelle Palmer

I loved my experience I felt freedom from pain burns and scabs which would not heal properly and when my perm would grow out the perm would be placed right back on the scab which did not heal. Everyone is different about hair and some take thier time to feel out the transition. Personally I got fed up and I just sat in that chair with my long hair which reached my shoulders and just said do it chop it off I am DONE and the hair dresser asked if I was sure And I said I am ready. The stylist was nervous as hell but she did a good job and I was happy and free as bird.

Demejah Addison

???????? I have seriously been thinking about a perm friend. I just can’t deal with this hair ???? maybe it’s not for me

Patricia Johnson-McGinty

How long has it been? Ur hair don’t look bad.. U know I tried it and didn’t last 2 mos????

Demejah Addison

It’s been 4 months ????but it seems like eternity ????

Patricia Johnson-McGinty

????????

Daysha Meredith

I did it twice!!!

Catheryn Pusey-Gayle

Always go to a Barbar!! your gonna have to do some checking to find one your comfortable with but its worth it

Valerie Vallion

I’ve done it twice with different people. The first time it was just a cut. Exactly what I asked for. Lesson learned from the first time is to let the person know you want a style. Communication made my big chop look awesome.

Monica Thornton-Anderson

I did it twice…AND cut a big ole chunk out my head when taking my braids out. This head has put me thru ALL my emotions… I love it, tho #NATURAL!

Quennie Dixon

I did it 4 times in my life and I think that this will be the last

Stacey NM

You articulated your experience beautifully in this article. It sounds a lot like my experience. Same emotions and thoughts ran through my head as well, but like you said, I asked for it! That said, I am in a much better place with my hair and wouldn’t change a thing!

Amelia
Amelia

I didn’t have a choice…not if I wanted to restore healthy hair. I was only about two months on the natural hair journey when I did my big cut so my hair was really low. But the options of protective styles or braiding would not work. My hair was super brittle, falling from the root and the styles didn’t last long. I couldn’t think of braiding (adding weave to it) because since my hair was breaking, this would make it worse. No treatment worked – protein, deep conditioning etc (whether homemade or by the salon. My hair wasn’t even growing much. My hair was just misbehaving and so I was left with one option – chop it off. So for me, it was liberating. I didn’t like how I looked but I somehow didn’t care because I knew it would be temporary. I could wash and treat and style without worrying about the permed ends. Then it started picking up speed in growth so I was good to go!

Marsha Buchanan

Yay Meli! ???? I have much respect for all ladies who have the guts to do a big chop, especially when there’s barely an inch of hair to work with.

Marge
Marge

My big chop experience was scary. I had thought about it for months before I had the audacity to go through with it. Once I made up my mind, I made an appointment with a my hairdresser, Sharon. Thankfully, Sharon advised me to bring in some pictures of styles I liked. I thought that was an odd assignment since I only had about 2-3 inches of new growth to “work” with.
Before Sharon started the task of cutting out the relaxed portion of my hair, she asked me if I was sure about the decision I made. I nodded yes. I brought a washcloth in my makeup bag with me just in case I cried off all of my makeup and needed to reapply. I felt like if I didn’t like my hair, my face had to look good.
When the deed was done, I just sat there in awe of just seeing “face” and nothing to hide it. I couldn’t believe that I did it. Although I did find freedom in my new “do”, I didn’t know what to do with it. I eventually started asking women that wore their hair natural for advice and did some research via Pinterest. I experimented with different products and oils until I eventually found what worked for me.
I have learned to develop a thick skin regarding comments from my now ex-husband, family, friends and colleagues. Although the negative comments were hurtful, I continued on my natural hair path. A year later, I have learned to truly appreciate my hair. I love the curls and the fact that it is a part of me that I totally embrace, well except major shrinkage. It has truly been an enlightening journey that I do not regret starting.

Anonymous

So you were mad at the length of your hair after the cut

Anonymous

Well sometimes you have to cut to grow back healthy and strong

Anonymous

I get it I did the transition like 3 times the first time I did do the big chop, the second time I just did protective style and cut as it grew, however with each transition I learned something… no matter the length of my hair ( which is chin length now unstretched) I’m a dark skin women who is very thin with natural hair… people call me sir all the time, Women think I’m a lesbian… it doesn’t matter if I wear makeup and I could have a full ball gown on..( I never experienced being called sir with a weave or relaxed hair ) it’s the unicorn factor there are not many black Women that look like black men… it’s an emotional and psychological bridge that some black Women have to cross especially in America … the journey of just being

Anonymous

I did the Big Chop when I turned 40 (a change I’ve been wanting to make since i was 35) & OMG….I Feel Revived….My hair Never defined who i am as a Woman but the Big Chop gave me LIFE…so I Love it…I change the colors and I go to the barbershop with my husband…He Likes it so I’m Loving it…Easy to maintain as well lol..but Hey Short cuts aren’t for everyone..so Whatever you Like That’s What you do

Ali Hendrix

Thanks for sharing. I’m 7 months in transition. I’m allergic to weave so I do bantu knot outs or twist out. As long as I’m able to put my hair in a ponytail, I’m good. I couldn’t bare doing a BC.

Brenda Baltazar

Sweet

Retei Red

I did the big chop after 5.5 years of locs… But it was also 5.5 years of pain, mental and physical when I looked back. I am still adjusting to it bc I don’t necessarily have the “face” for a twa, however I am loving me. Eyeliner, mascara and lipstick 💄 and you can’t tell me nothing😂🤣😂🥰

Sonya Moore

I just stopped relaxing my hair and gradually cut off the permed ends of my hair until I was completely natural. I washed and deep conditioned my hair every other week and I would cut like half an inch each time. I definitely don’t have the head for a TWA so I wore my hair in a ponytail or bun (clip on)

Torn Carter

Make no sense and there is no need to cut off all your damn hair to regrow it. Cut the damaged, repair and regrow.

Erica Smith

What kind of hair stylist doesn’t give you at least an even cut! I really get annoyed when they shape my hair! It’s not what I asked for! And it doesn’t fall the way I want! And my trim becomes a cut! Being my hair grows pretty healthy! I now have whatever shape I did not ask for a long time. My big chop wasn’t that bad for me. I just wanted to start with nothing permed. Then I discovered my hair would remain straight and kind of spikey on the top for about 5 years. I love my natural hair.

Soraya Harrison

Done it twice 19yrs old & 34
Epic both times. I would do it again.