What to do After The Big Chop

by - Saturday, July 29, 2017

Chidinma Ekile after the big chop

I did the big chop now what? The big chop is one of the ways to change your hair's journey entirely. Some women prefer to transition gradually while others take a straight, direct go at it- they get rid of everything. It's a big decision, I am telling you. 

Chopping off all of your hair will spark a lot of reactions and questions. It's your hair right? But oh well, it ain't that easy. People want to know why and what you intend to do with the hair later. If you are in this position where you have just done the big chop and you are facing a lot of negative reactions concerning it, there is an article here on the blog that talks about dealing with negative opinions about your big chop. You might want to read it. 

Sometimes cutting all of your hair may just be the best bet. A friend of mine had such a stunted hair growth. No matter what she did, the hair just didn't seem to grow anymore. All of her front hair line was receeding and it hurt so bad because she took extra time to care for that hair. 

I gave an amateur advice, I say amateur because I wasn't yet used to all of this natural hair, big chop matters as at the time. She took the bold step, cut it all off and where we are today as regards her hair is lush. 

I am not saying this is the only way out of your underperforming hair problem but it is such a legal option. There are other reasons women do the big chop. Some are just tired of hair and its struggles. Some other women are crazy busy and oh well, cutting the hair is just going to be a big relief. 

One major advantage of going the big chop way is that you have just only one hair texture to deal with. That's right, only one hair texture and this makes it very easy to manage as compared to having two different textures on your head : the natural strands and then the chemically relaxed strands. 

Another advantage of doing the big chop once and for all is that you get to grow your natural hair from the start. You quickly have a grasp of your natural hair, the texture and what it wants and needs. You are able to understand the true nature of your natural hair and after just a few trial and errors, a few experiments, you know what to do with it, how to manage it, what to never use on it, how to style it and treat it right. 

There is also that immediate feeling of 'on top of the world' as soon as all of your hair comes off. You know that new look feeling right? The big chop will give you such immediate gratification. I felt that as soon as all of my hair was off. Some people say what happens after the big chop is a deep feeling of loss. I can partly understand that if it had to happen without choice. 

People have had to go cut all of their hair because they were sick. If it isn't terminal, there is usually a relief because some burden has been lifted but if it is for some reason like cancer, it is usually saddening. Don't worry, you can start all over again if you are in this position and have the best of hair. I promise you this one. 

One of the disadvantages of going big actually is the rude shock on people's faces. Sighs. You don't want me to start to explain what I had to go though in order to assure my folks that I was as sane as white. Many of my friends were just uncomfortable for reasons I still don't understand. It's my hair, and why they were vexed, I couldn't explain. I understand the concerns though. 

You see, in Africa, a lot of things are tied to cutting all of your hair. It's either you have been recently widowed, you are terribly ill, you have backslided from the Faith, hence the need to look worldly or you have just gone crazy. So you can imagine all of those notions put into one and I had to discern which combination of them caused the stare and questioning. 

Another disadvantage of doing the big chop is that you are in for some tough hair journey if you have never had anyone close to you manage natural hair. It might become very difficult if you eventually come to find out that your hair texture is very hard, too curly or just entirely difficult to manage. 

Then you also have the fact that you are limited to a few styles just after the big chop. I want to mention here that this is where you explore your creativity. This is where we know how creative you can be even with little resources. Okay, kidding... But you can pull this off and this totally depends on you. 

Let's assume that after consideration of transitioning vs the big chop, you went for the big chop. Yeah, you chose the go-getter approach. You are definitely going to want to continue reading this blog post because there are a few tips to help you on this journey at your natural hair stage. By the way if you need help on how to do the big chop all by yourself, there is an article I found very informative on the Internet, find it here - It's on how to do the big chop without going to a barber or hair stylist. 

So, now that you have done the big chop, you are asking- what do I do next? Where do I go from here? I asked these questions when I ‘shaved’, so many other women now with voluminous natural hair asked when they did theirs, so you are not alone. Plus, you are asking the right questions. There are a lot of tips on the internet to help you care for your Teenie Weenie Afro, so relax.


Embrace your style

This is first of all the next big thing to do after the big chop. So, before we start talking about grooming, growth and styling, let me ask you to own your style and be confident in it. There are going to be a lot of opinions about your hair cut. If you therefore are not girded and confident enough; biased, shallow-minded folks will ruin your esteem. 

If you want to be more confident in your TWA, you can do the big chop at a barber's shop and ask for your hair to be styled a little. I did a little side cut and it was nice on me. So, you have to first of all be comfortable and confident in your new hair lifestyle. 

Test and know your hair porosity 

Knowing your hair porosity will help you decide what products will work best on your natural hair. Here is how to check the porosity of your hair. Fill a cup with water. Take a few stands of your hair and insert into the water filled cup. Wait for some minutes, say 3 to 5 minutes. If your hair stands sink to the bottom of the cup, your hair has high porosity. If it floats, then it has low porosity. If it stays in the middle, it is of medium porosity. 

The point of this is to help you know how well your hair will absorb moisture and products. You can go to Google to check out the types of products that will fit your hair porosity type. 

Experiment

You are going to be learning how to be comfortable in your new look; establishing a new hair routine and checking out what’s best and looks good on you. So do not be afraid to experiment, make your own mistakes and grow your hair. At this early stage, I advise that you choose natural products over commercial products. Of course, you should once in a while experiment with commercial products until you get it right. Shea butter, coconut oil, cocoa butter are excellent products to try on your hair.

You can click on the natural hair segment of the blog to read some other beautiful articles on managing your natural hair. You get to see different TWA styles too. 

Establish a routine

Soon, your hair roots and scalp begin to get comfortable in your new lifestyle. Establishing a routine after a lot of experimenting and researching will help to quickly make your hair grow and be nourished. Washing, moisturizing and usage of styling products are routines you need to get accustomed to. You will need to decide how frequently you want to wash your hair, in what order you want to apply these products on your hair, etc.

The LOC method is a good routine to form expecially at this stage of your hair growth. LOC is a process and it means your apply your Leave-in conditioner first, Oil later and then Cream. Check here to know what LOC is all about. 

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

Moisturizing is very important. Like many other women, my natural hair dries very quickly. Just like l did, I will advise that you get a good moisturizer. I also have my wash bottle with me most of the time. I got that after I did my big chop and contains a mixture of water, coconut oil and a protein based liquid leave-in conditioner. I spray on my hair whenever it becomes dry and cranky.

Protect your hair

When you are going to bed, wrap your hair with a scarf, of satin material preferably. This helps to retain moisture. If you do not like to tie scarves to bed, get a satin pillow case. This helps to prevent hair breakage. To protect your hair, you should also think of making braids when they are grown enough and fix weave-ons.

Protective hairstyles will help you keep your natural hair strands and ends out of sight. Harsh whether conditions like heat, extreme cold, too much dust and all of that will have very minimal effect on your hair. I also understand that you need to give your hair some time to grow some inches before you go on protective hairstyles. 

Style

Women do the big chop for various reasons and this affects how we style our hair. If you cut your hair because you are totally done with hair and hair care as a whole, it may make you reluctant to style your hair. If you are however deliberately transitioning into the natural hair, styling comes naturally as you journey on. There are so many styling products available in the market today. A simple styling gel can do as much as curl up your hair beautifully and hold it in place.

If you get tired of rocking only your TWA all the time, you can invest in wigs. There is a blog post here on how to make your wigs last longer, make sure to read it. Buy a few good and quality wigs and use them until your big chopped hair is old enough to take in braids or cornrows. 

Calm down on the growth anxiety 

Just after the big chop, the next question I asked myself was when it was going to be all grown. Laughing. You need to calm down after you have 'shaved', take each day as it comes, one step at a time. What you should do is to enjoy the present length of your hair. Style and rock it the way it is. 

If you worry too much about growth, I suggest that as soon as the length is appreciable enough, make braids on it.  You have your braids to style for more weeks than worry yourself sick about your hair length. 

Get hair accessories, plenty of them 

Heck yeah, you need a lot of hair accessories for your low cut. Remember that I said that you have to be creative. This is part of learning how to style your hair. Get colourful pins and hair ribbons. Coordinate colours with your outfit and search for ideas on the Internet. Go to YouTube to see how people style their TWA. You'd be surprised how much inspiration you can get. 

Filter natural hair advice 

Let me tell you a story, a joke perhaps. An older neighbour of mine was desperate to grow her hair. She was on chemically relaxed hair though. So someone had suggested that she use okro and eggs together and some other things. Of course, it sounded absurd and ridiculous but in her desperation for lush hair, she went on to take the hair advice, hook, line and sinker. No editing, no filtering, just like that. She afterwards struggled to wash the okro off her hair. It was so difficult, she kept on washing away the okro for days. 

She got too tired at a point and decided that she was going to cut all of the hair. She came over to our house and we encouraged that she keep washing. It was finally off and oh well, she swore to date wisdom. Listen, while some things may sound good and true and even seem to work, you have to be able to discern what you want to do with your natural hair. 

There are going to be a lot of products. A whole lot of them will be shoved in your face. Buy this, it will make you hair grow, buy this, it will do that. If you are on a budget especially, don't be too quick to buy everything. Ask for reviews from friends who have also done the big chop or have natural hair. Ask your hair stylist too, well, provided that she is not the one pushing the products. 

So, here you go. What you need to know about the big chop and what to do after you are done cutting. Did you do the big chop, share your experience. What did you do after the big chop? How do you maintain and style your natural hair?

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