by Sabrina Perkins of SeriouslyNatural.org
Going natural is a wonderful journey to take. It’s a personal one too that each woman must determine how she will go about doing it. I get tired of many saying the journey is hard, long and full of pitfalls but honestly, isn’t life? I’m just feeling we need to be truthful about going Natural and taking care of our hair whether relaxed or natural.
One of the first choices to make going natural is the path you choose. There are two main routes to take and neither is better than the other.
Big Chop (BC) – Cutting off all relaxed hair immediately and starting fresh with only natural hair. This method allows you to use products for one type of hair (natural) and most women start with the TWA or Teeny Weeny Afro. Understandably, this may be a daunting prospect if you have never worn your hair cropped before but many ladies have described the experience as freeing so if you are brave and impulsive, this is the path for you.
Long Term Transitioning – Allowing the relaxed hair to grow out for a while before cutting the relaxed ends off. Here, you will be left with two textures to work with (relaxed and natural) for the duration of the transition. BHI
Many feel long-term transitioning is harder as you are working with two textures, well actually, three when you factor in scab hair. Scab hair is the unscientific term associated with the newly grown hair that comes in after one stops using relaxers. It’s very fragile, dry and prone to breakage but may not even remotely resemble your natural tresses. Now, BC’ing will not keep you from dealing with the scab hair but you don’t have to worry about the relaxed ends along with it.
Women who are interested in the BC
- Not wanting to deal with their relaxed ends. If you are over your relaxed hair and just want to ditch it then the BC is for you!
- Women who love the freeing feeling of going short. Many who BC say they LOVE the experience and see it as a way to start clean at going natural.
- Women who love short hair. Hey, there are all kinds and if you love short hair cut it off and have fun with the tons of accessories around to do it up anyway you see fit and that includes added hair.
- You have severely damaged hair. This may be the best route for you. Start with a clean slate by doing the BC and know that you can bring your hair back to being healthy.
Women who are interested in the Long-Term Transitioning
- Women not ready to cut all of their hair off. It’s not for everyone and going natural has to feel comfortable for you. If keeping your tresses is going to make that transition easier than by all means do it!
- Women who hate short hair or hate it on them. It takes some of us longer to get those longer tresses so don’t feel like you have to sport a TWA for anyone.
- The woman whose significant other (SO) needs time for adjustment. Or maybe you need the time to adjust. There are several women who complain their SO doesn’t want them to go natural. Well, you can slowly go into it and give all parties involved a chance to see just how beautiful this journey is.
- The woman who wants to practice on styles. Yes, there will be more styles to work with as a Long-Term Transitioner since you will have more hair to work with. Curlier styles work best when long-term transitioning as it’s easier to blend relaxed, scab, and natural hair on curlier styles than straight styles.
Remember…this is YOUR journey. No one else can take it for you so let’s keep it as positive and pleasant as possible. Both routes are great but may be filled with setbacks or pitfalls. Reason being, this is something new to you AND your hair. Patience, love, gentleness and knowledge is necessary for you to succeed so first things first…pick your route and look forward to a beautiful transformation!