Carol’s Daughter Answers: The Big Chop or The Grow Out?

May 2, 2012  |  

So you have decided to transition to your natural hair…. Congratulations! But you may find yourself asking “now what?” Contrary to what many may think, and obviously these women never attempted the transition, this IS a big deal. Don’t get overwhelmed; we are here to help!

There are two ways to approach your transition process: the Big Chop (BC) or the Grow out.

Think you are ready for the Big Chop? The whole thought of saying good bye to pony tails and hair tosses may scare the living day lights out of you. It’s ok, put the hot comb down. The BC is not for everyone.

Ladies, before you chop, wear your hair back, up and off of your face for at least one week. This feeling of being exposed is one that you should be completely comfortable with before you chop.


If you are still alive and in one piece after completing this task, I say go for it! Make sure you have a decent amount of new growth, no less than 1-2 inches to play with before you cut your hair. This way you have an option to play with shape or go a tad bit shorter if you are feeling bold.

Also, keep your eyes open! What I mean is, if you see another fabulous BC woman on the street and you like her hair cut, stop her and ask “who cuts your hair?” There are many barbers and stylists out there, but not all of them are comfortable cutting women’s hair or natural hair. Do your research!

If the BC is not for you, roll your sleeves up and get ready to play. There are tons of great accessories for hair and fun styles that you can try to make this a smooth process and not look like an experiment gone wrong!

How to care for your new growth and old length

As you grow out your natural hair, it is important to recognize that you now have a clear line of demarcation between old and new growth. This is a delicate point along the hair shaft, and can lead to breakage and damage if hair is not properly moisturized. Take the time to deep condition and moisturize the hair- especially at this line. Also, please try not to manipulate the hair so much and pull it every which way. You will slowly find that some of your old styles may no longer “work” and it is time for new tricks.
Something new for your ‘do

There are many fun hats, scarves and styles that can take stress off of your tresses. Summer is here so find a great straw hat or pageboy cap to add a little personality to your look. Plus, this protects your strands from the sun and its potentially harmful drying effects to your transitioning hair.

Colorful scarves as headbands are also great for camouflaging two hair textures.

Flat twists and straw sets help to give the effect that you have one cohesive texture. This also gives hair a break from excessive heat.

There is a ton of information out there, and remember you are not alone. Ask an expert and be sure to check out the blogs and style guides such as Carols’ Daughter

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  • Siobhan

    I have done the whole bc twice. But each time I end up relaxing my hair after a few months. I love my natural hair but my husband and many others really discourage me. In fact my husband went out and bought me a relaxer, he destroyed my confidence completely. I really want to do it again for me. Lost? :/

  • vern

    i did the big chop march 27 have to say great at first but now at six month i am miserable, i work in a professional field and its hard to find things to do with my hair, it has grown an awful lot and i am lost as to where to go next with this new lengthl

  • Ananda

    I did the big chop March 2 of this year and I love it.  Actuallly I shaved my head, completely bald and two months later my hair is growing back in just fine.  It’s fairly easy at this stage.  I wash at least once a week and saturate my hair with aloe vera juice and cover it with a plastic cap to sleep at night.  So far, I use a sulfate free shampoo, a nice leave in conditioner and olive, jojoba or some other light oil.  I also tie my hair up every night, even though it’s really, really short.  At first, I was kinda in shock and thinking that my hair will be super short forever but I keep reminding myself that not only did I big chop, I completely shaved my head so, from being bald to where I am at 2 months later is kind of a big deal.  I’m so excited about my hair in its natural state and learning about my maintenance and upkeep and growing healthy hair.  I have type 4 (c) hair too by the way.

    • This is great, Ananda. I know you will be happy with the end result.

    • Immapray4u

      Congratulations! I went natural in March also on the 14th after growing my hair out for 8 1/2 months. My hair is growing so much I love it.

  • I like the idea of the grow out. It allows a transitional phase. One of the drawbacks, though, is that you might change your mind and give up. If you know that natural is for you, I say chop it off!