Hey Beautifuls! In this week’s Healthy Hair Tips Corner, we will discuss transitioning vs Big Chop. The decision to go back to natural should be a choice made after a considerable amount of inward contemplation and research. I loved the idea and will never go back to chemically processing my hair. I decided to go back to natural because I was tired of my hair looking thin and unkempt. It was partly due to my love for weave, but that was because of the state of my hair, do you see the cycle?

So, for our newbies and those in limbo. There are two very different ways to achieve natural hair, transition or big chop. Either way will get you to the same end point. Big chopping your hair, however, will get you there faster. Before we get started let me explain the difference between the two techniques.

Big Chop is as it sounds. It is cutting off all of the processed hair at once.
Transition is gradually trimming off the processed ends until all of the chemically treated hair is gone. The transitioning may take a considerable amount of time. It is becoming the most popular technique due to it allowing women the option to keep their current hair length throughout the process.

The type of technique used boils down to the individual’s preference either way can be beneficial to the individual. When I decided to go back to natural, I initially tried to transition. Lol, I say tried because one day I said I am going to stop perming my hair and then I put a sew-in in my hair. At the time I thought it was a good idea. The plan was to take out the weave trim my hair and then put the hair back in, and I was to do this for roughly a year or even a year and a half. Sound goo, right. No!!! Within the first month the hair I had matted up after I put some kind of product in it. Now I know it was not the hair because I used that particular brand before.

But long story short I took it out and tried to transition but my patience was low and my disdain for heat was high. Lol I did not like the two different textures and continually flat ironed my hair so it would look presentable but that did not last long. To be exact it lasted two weeks, and then I beg my mom (beautician) to big chop but she would not so I convinced her to cut off all of the split ends, and she did. That lasted about a week or so, and then I begged her again, and she said no. Finally, I threatened to chop off my hair and then come to her to fix it. Lol At that point she knew I meant business and big chopped my hair. Then I immediately put micro braids in my hair because I was not used to the extremely short hair. I believe it was six months before I officially debuted my natural hair to the world, and everyone loved it. That was a great feeling!

So things to consider when going back to natural

Texturizers are chemical processes
FYI a texturizer is a chemical process, it will alter your hair’s composition. They do not do as much damage as a relaxer, but it alters your hair nonetheless. It will even make the journey to becoming all natural a long drawn out process. For instance, most people use texturizers to get some kind of curl pattern but it hides your real pattern. Unless you plan on using texturizers for the rest of your life, it prolongs the inevitable of discovering your true hair personality.

Time you are willing to wait and invest
If you do not decide to big chop and you prefer to transition, determine how long you want the process to last, six months, a year, or longer. Keep in mind you may change your mind in midstream. Let me put it a different way, you have the right to change your mind. As I implied, dealing with two different textures is a task in itself. The most important thing is keeping your hair properly and sometimes overly moisturized to ensure minimal to no breakage. Another thing you should think about is having realistic milestones that you can work to obtain. For example, if you know your hair grows a half an inch each month, determine how much new growth you want to see in a six-month period. Or you can use body parts once your hair reaches your ears that can be an obtainable milestone and so on. Goal setting can help you to have little victories throughout your journey. It is an awesome feeling to reach predetermined goal.

Trims
When transitioning it is crucial to make sure your ends are trimmed regularly. Normally trimming your end would be dependent on the amount of manipulation your hair endures, this is not the case for transitioning hair. Just as having two different textures can be a hassle having split and damaged ends can be as well. Split ends can hinder your hair growth by causing your hair to break off and continue to damage healthy strands. Basically null and voiding all of the hard work you ar3e doing to have a successful and healthy transition.
Now I will always suggest to anyone who wants to cut or trim their hair go to a beautician. The worst feeling in the world is cutting or trimming your hair improperly, and when you finally go to a beautician, they have to cut more of your progress (hair) to fix what you messed up. Another benefit is a beautician will know what type of scissors to use which will ensure the integrity of your hair.

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
Trimming your ends are critical in the transitioning process. Equally as important is moisturizing your hair. This is the single biggest problem that will guarantee your hair to become damaged and break off. Now that your hair has two textures it is prone to breakage. It is as if the two textures are competing with each other. Lol While you are transitioning it is important to make sure you have an exceptional conditioner and leave-in conditioner, along with a cream base moisturizer to apply daily or as needed. It would be beneficial if you developed a routine to ensure your hair stays moisturized. You may need to deep condition more often than you are used to because the chemically treated hair is fragile, and the new growth will require more moisture. Curly hair has the tendency to become dry quicker than straight hair because it takes the naturally secreted sebum oil longer to travel from the scalp to the ends of the hair strand. Because of this the further you are on your journey the more you will realize keeping your hair moisturized will be an asset to maintaining healthy hair.

Heat… Just say no
If you are going to transition, try to minimize your usage of heat. I know it may be a problem initially but to ensure the health of your hair you do not want to cause any unnecessary damage. I know the struggle I could not do it, hence why I big chopped prematurely. Lol There are styles you can do to your hair to help both textures coexist with each other.
Ok so here comes the weave lover in me… Lol My all-time favorite way to transition is to bind your hair up in some way that you are unable to see it for extended periods of time. When people ask me about my hair and what is a good way to transition because they do not want to transition, I always say do something so you cannot see it. We have been conditioned to love straight hair. When you chemically processed your hair, you knew once you saw those kinks and could not put your fingers through your hair it was time for a relaxer. That same feeling will come back while you are transitioning (GUARANTEED). What I suggest is to put in a sew-in, braids, or something that would help take your mind off of how it looks.