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Article: The Big Chop Journey and All Its Stages

Big Chop TWA Natural Hair

The Big Chop Journey and All Its Stages

Big Chop TWA Natural Hair

What is "The Big Chop"? 

It's a way to cut off all - and we mean all - of that damaged hair you may have from relaxers, too much heat and/or too much colour in order to release those beautiful curls that are hiding within. It's a pretty big decision, but almost all of the naturalistas you know have done it. Us included. 

Pre Big Chop.

Damaged hair.
Coloured hair.
Weak hair.
Shall we continue or you get the picture? At one point we all thought that straight/flat hair or wavy hair was the best thing ever. It flowed (maybe, or maybe it just stood straight) and brushed your shoulders. Or maybe it never quite made it past your shoulders because it always broke off. And for sure you needed a trim, but you didn't want to let go of that length. Oh the length. Whether it was from constant relaxers, flat ironing or playing around with colour just a little bit too much, we've all been there. At this point you find yourself wondering what your curls even should look like. 

Natty from CurlShoppe - Straight Hair - Pre Big Chop Row from CurlShoppe - Relaxed Hair - Pre Big Chop
Natty (Relaxed Hair - Pre Big Chop 2013) Row (Relaxed Hair - Pre Big Chop 2008)

Stage 1 - Preparation/Transition Phase

This is where you keep going down the same path of unhealthy hair OR you start to make a change. You start to transition, rather prepare your hair to be healthier. Start putting more moisturizing products in, less heat and chemicals, more "curl friendly" styles (no heat styles), etc. Your straight hair slowly turns into waves, a little more curlier. You think, damn, I have the best hair ever! You're hesitant to let go of any length, because I mean how bad can curly roots with wavy ends be? It's pretty bad, which you're probably starting to find out and we just know from experience
Natty from CurlShoppe - Transitioning Hair - Pre Big Chop Row from CurlShoppe - Transitioning Hair - Pre Big Chop
Natty (Transitioning Hair - Pre Big Chop 2014)  Row (Transitioning Hair - Pre Big Chop 2009)

Stage 2 - Maintenance/Exploration

I mean your new found "wave" is great, but it's simply not enough. You want curlier hair! You're starting to see potential in your hair. Starting to envision a huge mane of healthy, flowing curls (yes, past your shoulders), that everyone will envy! Or maybe you're just starting to get annoyed of the half curl, half wave you thought you'd be able to endure. So you take out your scissors and EXPLORE! What will this little strand of hair in the back REALLY matter? I'll just *snip* *snip* *snip*. And you release beautiful tiny ringlets, they're just the cutest!
Natty Row from CurlShoppe - Semi-Big Chop
Natty (Test Cutting - Pre Big Chop 2014) Row (Pre Full Chop - Kept some length 2009)

Well now you've done it. It's only a matter of time before all of your is hair mysteriously gone. Whether you book that appointment at the salon, or brave it out in your bathroom facing no one but you in that mirror. 
One of the biggest decisions of your life is about to be made. Yes that sounds dramatic, but you never really know how attached you are to your hair until it's time to cut it all off.

Stage 3 - THE BIG CHOP.

You know what you want, and that's healthy hair. Beautiful curls that are your own.

Natty from CurlShoppe - TWA - Big Chop Row from CurlShoppe - Big Chop
Natty (The Big Chop 2014) Row (The Big Chop 2009)
Your beautiful face will shine with the curls you were born with. This is your hair. You can finally say, this is #MYCURL and no one else's! Not a weave, no extensions, just your hair. What a feeling to run your fingers through your head full of curls. And yes, they may be small now, but with patience, your curls will grow, grow, grow!
With some patience, especially during that dreaded "Awkward Phase", both of us can say we made it to our dream hair. Full, Thick, Healthy and Curly!
Natty from CurlShoppe - Full Curls - Post Big Chop Row from CurlShoppe - Full Curls - Post Big Chop
Natty (Full Curls - Post Big Chop 2016) Row (Full Curls, Prior Colour 2011)

Now that you've seen our journeys, you know that growing natural hair and having beautiful curls is definitely possible! There's no magic tricks, just patience and care. You'll get there.
If you're interested in reading our full stories and why we decided to go natural, check out our About page :)


How long will it take to grow my hair after the Big Chop? 
Hair typically grows half an inch each month. So expect about 6 inches for the year!
How long after the Big Chop will my hair be shoulder length? 
It will be about 1.5 years to 2 years. Yes, it sounds like a long time, but trust us, you'll get there before you know it!
Do I have to go to a salon to cut my hair for the Big Chop? 
Nope, you can do it at home yourself or maybe have a friend do it. But you may want to go to a salon that caters to natural hair in order to get the right shape you want. Make sure you love you hair cut and will rock it proudly!

What is the "Awkward Phase"?
You'll find with curly hair, there is a stage between that sleek short cut and that manageable bob, that your hair is neither here nor there. It's sorta in the middle and it's getting a little more tricky to style. Be patient, it may seem like this phase will never end, but once you're past it you'll never have to look back.

Is there an alternative to the big chop?
Yes, there is. It's called Transitioning, which we showed during Phase 1. Instead of chopping your hair after your roots start to grow in like we did, you can actually continue to transition to keep your hair length. You might need to get creative with hair styling since you'll be working with two very different hair textures, but many people will do this in order to avoid the Big Chop. When transitioning, try not to add heat or any other chemicals to your new growth because it should be your goal to keep it as healthy as possible as it continues to grow in. Be sure to maintain your trims and soon your roots will catch up to your length and you'll be able to snip off any remaining straggly unhealthy bits you may have left.

Shop this post.

Why Shop the Butter Milk Leave-In? While transitioning pre big chop, your hair needs all the moisture it can get. It's dry and need some love. This Butter Milk is just what you need. Use it before blow-drying or with no heat styles. Why Shop the Butter Balm? If your hair is currently straight, use this balm to help your ends to not be so dry. This will add some shine. Use it with curls to seal the ends and retain moisture.

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