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Deciding to go natural is a big step, but trying to figure out if you should transition or big chop is a tough decision. When I decided to go natural in 2012 I made the drastic decision to big chop. I had a few up and down moments wondering if I had made the right decision. I think the worst part was the emotional roller coaster during the first 6 months. I’ll be honest the beginning wasn’t easy but I had to learn how to embrace and love the new me. Based on my experience I want to share 5 things you need to know when making the decision to big chop.

1. Missing Your Old Hair

If you are use to having long hair you will miss it. For me, my hair was already short but I missed not being able to create a nice bang swoop or having my edges to lay down. I was going through gel as if it was going out of style, but once I got comfortable not having slick edges I stopped using so much gel.

2.Texture Shock

It took about 6 months for me to realize my true texture and boy was I was shocked! I thought my hair was going to be at the time what I considered “good hair” because of the texture of my relaxed hair but that wasn’t the case. So please be prepared and embrace your hair’s true texture.

3. Less Styling Options

Your styling options will be limited when you big chop, but this is only temporary. I also consider this phase to be less maintenance versus having long hair. Depending on the length of your hair finger coils or small twist are great styling options.

4. Dealing with Shrinkage

After washing and conditioning your hair be ready for shrinkage. I know a lot of women have a difficult time with shrinkage but that comes with natural hair. Several options to consider if you want a little more length is to stretch the hair. Methods such as banding or braiding the hair in sections and allowing the hair to dry for a few hours will help reduce shrinkage.

5. Embrace the New You

This might not happen with everyone but your big chop experience may come with a new attitude and new you. And if it does embrace the moment and love your hair.

When you made the decision to go natural did you transition or big chop? Let me know. Leave a comment below.

Nicole Patrick, founder of is an online hair care resource for women of color with natural hair. To learn more visit or contact her at

The Big Chop – 5 Things You Need To Know  was originally published on