While I’m happy to see more and more women doing the big chop (BC) left right centre, I sometimes question the motive behind the radical decision. Is it a new hairstyle? Did she do the BC because she’s tired of all the wigs, weaves and all the upkeep that comes with Black hair? Is she going through changes in her life in which a change of image is necessary? Did she do the BC to follow a trend or to go Natural?
Rather than assuming and asking myself questions which I should be asking others, I would sometimes ask women why they decided to make the bold move. Unfortunately the responses I’ve gotten have always left me with more questions, because some of the answers don’t make sense to me. To give you a few examples, I might get someone tell me they just had the urge to chop it all off because they were tired of their relaxed hair and nothing was working. Sometimes they tell me they had a lot of damage and just had to let go of the damaged ends or that short hair is easier to comb and manage. While all these responses are valid, I feel most of the issues they were having could have been resolved had they taken the time to really learn about Black hair basics. And so I think some people do the BC out of ignorance.
Depending on my relationship with the person, I might continue the “interview” with them by asking them about their past regimen and what they intend to do with their hair moving forward. But most times, I just end up giving them my blog card and would tell them that all they need to know about Black hair care is on the blog or can be found on YouTube. Black hair care takes A LOT of time and can sound very complex when explained to a clueless newbie, so I feel it’s best to let the person go search for the knowledge on their own time rather than me forcing it on them.
So is the BC always the solution to unhealthy, damaged hair? or the key to a stress free hair?
Chopping one’s hair gets rid of the problem temporarily, it won’t however eliminate future neglect and mistakes you made in the past. So instead of grabbing a pair of scissors, I suggest you go to an EDUCATED stylist to get a consultation on the state of your hair and ask questions on how you can properly take care of your new growth so that you don’t end up doing another BC 2years down the road. You can also look up the various resources online on Black haircare, but keep in mind that the advice given may be conflicting and even damaging to the overall health of your hair.
I believe simple changes in your regimen and lifestyle can improve the overall health of your hair, even if its relaxed hair. Changes such as frequent washing, conditioning, deep conditioning, moisturizing and wearing loose protective styles can truly bring your hair back to life.
So do I walk around with damaged hair?
Once you’ve acquired sufficient knowledge on your hair and you’ve actually put some of the principles into practice in which you are now starting to see some difference both in the old lifeless hair and the new growth, then I think you are ready to go chop off the damaged ends. I recommend working and getting to know your hair for at least 3 months before doing the BC. This allows you to get enough practice with your hair in terms of styling, washing, combing, deep conditioning, trimming and generally getting a feel on how to work with your hair when it grows long.
If you happen to do the BC because you didn’t know how to take care of your Natural hair once it grows longer than 3 inches, then I suggest you read the following posts
1. To comb or not to comb your hair?
2. 5 reasons Black hair shouldn’t be combed often
3. Wash day basics: 7 steps