Pros and Cons of the Big Chop on Black Hair

Is the Quick Path to Natural Hair Right For You?

Models with short natural hair
Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini - Backstage - Milan Fashion Week/Matteo Valle/Getty Images

Once you make the decision to stop chemically altering your hair, you need to decide how you're going to go about it.

Will you transition to natural hair? This process can take anywhere from weeks to months, depending on the length of your hair and how quickly it grows. Or, will you choose the quicker route and go with what's known as "the big chop"?

There are pros and cons to cutting off all your hair at once. Before making your decision, be sure to carefully weigh both options and know what to expect from the big chop.

Pro: One Texture

When you cut away all of your chemically straightened tresses, you instantly have only one texture to deal with. It may be short, but it eliminates a lot of hassle.

Transitioning women often have a difficult time working with two different textures, particularly if they're markedly different. You may spend hours on your "wash day" every couple weeks washing, conditioning, and styling your hair. It's something that you need to plan and set aside time for. You may also spend a significant amount of money trying to find the right products for both textures.

The big chop eliminates all of that because you have only one texture to style. It may not be what you were expecting, but it's yours. Whichever products and styling techniques you use, you'll get uniform results with your 100 percent natural mane.

This is also a great time to really get to know your natural texture. You'll learn what your natural curl pattern is and have a better understanding of how to care for it right from the start. This bit of knowledge and experience can be very helpful in the future as your natural hair grows.

Pro: Easy Care and a Time Saver

Super short cuts are very low maintenance and easy to care for. In many cases, your styling routine will be cut down to mere minutes. Apply the products of your choice and brush, comb, or pick your hair and you're good to go. You can also spritz your 'do with water if that helps in the styling department.

You may have to find new products for grooming, such as water-based gels and mousses. It's also important to be prepared for drier hair than you're used to. However, shampooing and conditioning should also be quick and simple once you eliminate all of the combing and detangling.

Pro: No Weather Worries

How many times have you had to run for cover when it began to rain to protect your relaxed or pressed hair? Do you have a collection of plastic rain caps, umbrellas, and raincoats at the ready? Once you do the big chop, you may find yourself "singin' in the rain" because water won't ruin your style.

This can be extremely liberating. In addition to no longer worrying about the weather forecast for the day, you can feel free to swim anytime you like because your 'do won't suffer when it gets wet.

Con: A Dislike for Short Hair

Not every woman loves how she looks with short hair. Some women feel that their heads are too large or not the "perfect" shape for such a short snip. Other women simply prefer how they look with long hair.

It's a matter of preference, and if you like long hair, there's very little anyone will be able to tell you to change your mind. If you hate short hair, the big chop may not be the best option if you end up being unhappy with your appearance.

Con: Few Style Options

The big chop is a shock because your hair will be cut so short. It also doesn't leave you with a lot of options when it comes to styling.

After a few months, your options will increase as your hair has some new growth. At first, though, the teeny weeny afro will be your only choice. For women who love switching up their hairstyles nearly every day, this lack of versatility may feel confining and boring.

You can, however, choose to change things up with wigs from time to time. This is also a good time to experiment with makeup, eye-catching earrings, and to play around with headbands and scarves if you get tired of looking at the same style day after day.

Con: Negative Attitude from Others

It's your hair, right? Unfortunately, as some women who have big chopped discover, everyone has an opinion about it. This could be your parents, significant other, siblings, even strangers on the street!

Many women who cut their hair ultra short will face some negativity from someone in their lives. The trick to getting through it is to remain strong and confident in your decision. At the end of the day, it is your hair and no one else's. Still, if you need to practice your responses in case you catch any negative vibes, try doing so in front of a mirror or with the assistance of a sympathetic friend.

Weighing Your Options

Before making the appointment at your salon or reaching for the shears yourself, carefully weigh the pros and cons of such a big decision. The big chop is a significant change and one you have to be prepared for.

Some women are pleasantly surprised to find that they love their new short cut. They may also appreciate the wash-and-go aspect that shaves minutes off their daily grooming routine. Others may find the negative attention from those closest to them disheartening. There's also the possibility of negative internal feelings like regret or sadness.

Whichever road you choose when you decide to stop relaxing your hair, it should be the way that works for you, your lifestyle, and your hair's health. If you're confident in your decision, you will be as beautiful as ever.