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NEED TO KNOW: When Should I Do the “Big Chop”?

Short Afro Natural Hair

Every transitioning naturalists struggles with the decision of whether or not to do the “big chop”  (i.e. cutting off all of your chemically-treated hair and starting anew with your natural texture). It’s a bold and daring move for some, especially for those who are used to having a lengthy mane. While it’s possible to transition to natural hair sans scissors, it’s best to weigh the pros and cons of the big chop before making your decision.


  • Fresh and healthy start to a new hair journey
  • Easier to manage than working with two different hair textures
  • Low-maintenance hair for a few months to a year (score!)
  • Promotes a healthy and strong growth journey


  • TBH, it takes some time getting used to, but I assure you even the tamest folks who have braved the big chop, never regretted it.
  • If short hair is not your thing, the chop may result in crying over loss of long locks.
  • Limited hairstyles
  • You’re going to have to relearn your hair which means new routine, new products, new tricks.


Whenever you feel like it! That’s the honest answer. But technically, it’s ideal to do the big chop if your hair is damaged, if your hair textures have a harsh contrast (straight, relaxed ends with kinky, coarse new growth), and/or when you’ve reached your desired length.


  • Install a protective style. If you’re unable to, install some braids! A protective style will protect your precious new strands from damage, give you weeks of no-fuss hairstyling, and will add some length (in case having short hair freaks you out).  
  • Watch A LOT of YouTube videos: YouTube is a treasure trove for hair enthusiasts. Find a vlogger whose texture is similar to yours and learn some of her tricks.
  • Rock it! Or you can totally do nothing at all and just rock your beautiful new coils and curls. While some may be freaked out by the big chop, others will find this cut incredibly freeing. Embrace the carefree TWA days.

Short Afro Natural Hair

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