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A Guide to Going for the Big Chop (Natural Hair)

Updated on October 7, 2019
Tashaney profile image

Tashaney Hibbert-Jones is a student studying fashion interested in helping others love their bodies by sharing her personal experiences.

My big chop
My big chop | Source

There's all sorts of hair colors, textures and lengths that we now have the possibility to choose from.You are not forced to follow fashion and trends when it comes to what you grow out of your scalp. It's totally up to you, which is actually a bit nerve wracking as any damage that you inflict on your hair can't necessarily be blamed on what's trending.

The ultimate decision of the nest you have upon your head is yours. So explore the variety of options. Just have fun; hair is not the be all and end all of your life. There's always the option of wigs (if necessary).

Why Are You Considering the Big Chop?

The first thing you want to ask yourself is why are you cutting your hair off; what is the end goal of making this significant decision? For example, you might decide the big chop is a fundamental solution to happy, healthy hair. Things such as:

  • Heat damage (which is damage catalysed by heat from straightening/blow drying hair often, causing dry hair and a destroyed curl pattern)
  • Color damage (caused by dyeing hair incorrectly and not treating colored hair properly, leading to dry and thinning hair)
  • Hair Loss (can be caused by a number of chronic illnesses)
  • Transitioning (from relaxer/texturizer to natural curls)

May be reasons as to why you're going for the big chop. However, your reason could just be pure boredom, and you might be looking to spice up your life.

There were a few reasons as to why I decided to shave my hair off. One was my hair had irreversible heat damage, so I was not able to experience the beauty of wearing my natural curls out in the open. Another reason was that I was becoming extremely bored of having mundane blow dried hair, and knew my juicy curls wanted to be presented to the outside world. The only way to have healthy hair was to surrender to the big chop.
Whatever your reason is for cutting your hair off is personal to you, so just take a moment to sit down and truly think about what the benefits would be.

What's the Best Haircut for You?

The hardest decision in my opinion, is finally putting a finger on the perfect hairstyle for your head. The thing is, no matter what hairstyle you choose, it might not be perfect until you allow yourself time to grow in to it. So you should really consider a vast variety of possible hairstyles.

Consider The Texture Of Your Hair

Is your hair in the 2's, 3's or 4's when it comes to curl pattern? How thick is your hair? How large are your hair follicles? These are all questions that need to be considered when making this massive decision.

What I mean by the "2's, 3's, or 4's", is the category your hair belongs to. Hair is too in depth to simply describe it as straight, wavy, curly, and kinky. To break it down further, we've been able to use numbers and letters to figure out our true curl pattern. For example, (a is less curly, c is more curly):

  • 1a, 1b, 1c (Straight hair with slight bounce as you move towards c)
  • 2a, 2b, 2c (Wavy hair with slight curling as you move towards c)
  • 3a, 3b, 3c (Curly hair with slight kinks as you move towards c)
  • 4a, 4b, 4c (Kinky hair with a zig zag curl pattern as you move towards c)

Your curl pattern determines the final look of your hair cut; how your hair sits on your head. A very helpful addition to finding your perfect haircut, is to create pins on Pinterest, with models that reflect the curls you have on your head. Pinterest was my life saver. I created a compilation of photos with the 'tapered cut' on 3c/4a hair, and was quite pleased with the numerous options for my hair type.

Link to My Tapered Cut Pinterest pin:

Book A Hair Appointment

So once you've made your final decision you can book an appointment at the hairdresser/barber shop! It's such an alleviating moment when everything falls in to place, and you know what you want. The first thing to consider when booking an appointment, is to find the right hairdresser. You want a hairdresser that is quite experienced with natural hair, easy going, and open minded. This is because you may just change your mind during the process of how you want things to look, or you might start tearing up because it's an uplifting change. Consider recommendations from friends, family, or even work colleagues.

The key is to do your research!

Tips to Keep In Mind When You Go for Your Appointment:

  • Show your hairdresser the pictures of your desired haircut
  • Ask your hairdresser what they are going to do throughout the appointment
  • Make it known to your hairdresser how much hair you want taken off
  • Consider your hairdressers advice (you don't have to)
  • Ask necessary questions throughout the appointment
  • Conversate with the hairdresser (this is not necessary, however it might make you feel much more comfortable)
  • Enjoy the process

Once you surpass the fright of going for the big chop you're bound to enjoy the appointment.

Experiment With Different Hair Products

Once you've settled down with your new haircut, go wild with experimentation of hair products. There's a whole word of curly hair products available to you. Ranging from curling cream, curling gel, leave in conditioner, to lotions and sprays. Different products do different things and acquire different methods. There is a large platform of natural hair gurus on YouTube that you have access to. Make sure you follow them to learn more about your hair, and the types of products that may suit your hair needs. Have fun with it!

Retailers such as Boots, Superdrug, and Holland & Barrett sell amazing hair products at a reasonable price that I can honestly say will do your hair juicy justice. Invest in a good shampoo and conditioner, as these are the bases of healthy hair before you even think about conditioning and moisturizing. Even if you're planning to still straighten your hair, make sure you invest in a good heat protectant so when you do want to rock them curls they'll still be healthy.

Here Are Some Products I Use For My 3c/4a Hair:



I often wash my hair with Dr.Organic's aloe vera shampoo and hair conditioner. The shampoo doesn't dry out my hair to the point of it becoming susceptible to breakage. It simply just removes dirt, and excess oils.

The aloe vera leave in conditioner completes my wash by softly moisturizing my hair.

As I Am


I can honestly say I'm in love with this brand. I had visited an African Fashion Week exhibition, and was given a sample of different As I Am products to take home. Since trying it out on my hair for a wedding I've been purchasing the 'Curl Defining Gel', and 'Leave In Conditioner'.

The As I Am, Leave In Conditioner is perfect for light curl definition without the heaviness of a thick cream as it has more of a gel texture.

Shea Moisture


My Godmother actually introduced me to Shea Moisture, and since using their products I've been pretty pleased with the curl definition. My hair always smells sublime after applying the product to my hair, and the moisturization is great, leaving me with soft curls (as stated in the brand name).

Rock That Short Hair!

Lastly, once you've completed all these steps, go ahead and rock that head of hair. Whatever decision you make, it's right. It's your hair so you own it with pride.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Tashaney Hibbert-Jones


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    • Tashaney profile imageAUTHOR

      Tashaney Hibbert-Jones 

      5 months ago from London

      It's amazing to be able to explore with hair I swear. Also Shea Moisture caters for low and high porosity hair, so even if the product I suggested doesn't work for you, the others probably will. (I have low porosity hair by the way.)

    • Teszra profile image


      5 months ago from Hawaii

      When I did the big chop I went for a Mohawk! Loved it. I've heard great things about Shea Moisture. I'll have to give it a shot. I'm looking for serious moisture.


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