I am 11 months post-relaxer and decided early on to tough it out not do the ‘big chop’. For those of you not familiar with the terminology ‘big chop’, it the process of cutting off all relaxed hair/ends to return to the hair’s natural texture. Believe me – it was extremely tempting to do the chop around month five. Months five and six seemed to be the most difficult for me…too much perm remaining and not enough new growth to successfully achieve the natural styles that I viewed online. I didn’t do the big chop because I just wasn’t sure if that style would be flattering on me. The style looks very nice on so many people – especially with a hint of color – but I just wasn’t willing to take the chance of not liking it. There is no ‘undo’ option once it’s done. I often wonder if I made the right decision.
Instead of doing the chop, I have alternated between two-strand twists and flat-ironing- both eventually resulting in an up-do hairstyle. My concern is that flat-ironing the hair is damaging due to the level of heat needed to straighten my type 4 hair. I have yet to master two-strand twists on my hair so I often flat-iron my hair since it makes it easier to work with. I would have to assume that if I had big-chopped my hair and not applied heat to the hair for the past 11 months, I would have seen even more progress in terms of growth. I can honestly say, I am TIRED of wearing my hair up but it’s the safest option for me until all of the relaxer is out of my hair. I continue to cut the ends to help the process along. Since I am trimming my own ends now, my hair is not as even as it should be so the up-do hairstyle hides this unevenness.
To anyone thinking of going natural and debating between the big chop and transitioning, I would recommend the big chop if you will be comfortable with the style. The big chop maintenance would be a LOT easier than maintaining the hair during the transition process which can take up to two years depending on the length of the hair. If you’re a little unsure and still opt to do the big chop, I would suggest purchasing a wig that you like prior to doing the big-chop so that you have a plan B if you don’t like how the TWA (Tiny Weeny Afro) looks on you.