Natural Hair Blogger talks about the big chop

Natural Hair Bloggers Mahogany Curls,  Simplyounique, Naptural85, and CharyJay talk about the big chop after making the decision to go natural.  I'm sure there are some other natural hair bloggers that are your favorite, but these are mines.  Theses ladies have made my transitioning for the last 20 months possible.

source/Youtube Left to right Naptural85, Simplyounique, CharyJay, & Mahogany Curls
If you are at the point of deciding why you should go natural, hopefully these ladies can inspire you and share some light on why you should.

My transitioning straight look hairstyles (left to right):  My hair was long relaxed.  The day I decided to put other people's hair in head (yep! weave) it broke off.  The second picture is me wearing weave again during my transitioning, but with weave clips.  The last three looks is my hair grow straighten.  I would say I had about 3 inches of new growth. 
How I went from a relaxer to transitioning my hair
My story begins when I decided to go natural in 2012 after having a really bad experience with other people's hair in my head (yes, I mean weave).  I've always had long and healthy hair.  I always get compliments on it and as far as getting a relaxer, I am only got those once a year.  And that was, because I felt like I had to get one.
By blowing out my hair, I can really tell the thickness, texture, and length of my hair.
At a young age, my mom took me to a beauty shop to have a relaxer put on on me and my sister's hair.  Her hair is a totally different texture than mines, so her hair always had a lot of body and bounce to it.  Especially after relaxing it.  The effects of a relaxer on my head resulted in it being slick on my head and straight.  It was even hard to apply a curl with a curling iron, once my hair was relaxed with a perm.
This was good ole faithful hairstyle after I couldn't wear my pompadour anymore.
Well, growing up around that all my life, when I turned 18 I just continued on getting relaxers in my head.  When I got married in 2012 I decided I wanted extra hair in my head to make my hair look fuller.  I guess my hair filled for a divorce, because immediately when I took the hair out of my head, my own hair starting falling out.  It became so bad, people starting asking me, did I cut my hair.  So, from there my decision to go natural was made.  And there wasn't anything no one could tell me to make me change me mind.
I am now hook on flexi rods again.  Remember I am still transitioning after 20 months.
I did not do the big chop.  I have been transitioning for the last 20 months.  Call me crazy, but I am just too scared to cut my hair.  And being that right before I made the choice to even go natural, most of my long hair had came out of my head anyways.

 How I got through the first 20 months of transitioning
Throughout my many months of transitioning, not only has my hair grew, but I have learned to change styles as my hair starts to grow longer.

My first couple of hairstyles was simply curling my hair with flexi rods.  Being that my hair was still more on the straighter side, than curly side at the very beginning of my  journey, my hair took well to the rods.  When I out grew that hairstyle, I started wearing my hair in a pompadour with a high ponytail.  This was a great style for the summertime.  Staying in the south where the temperature can reach a 100 degrees and where we have a lot humidity, the ponytail made life a lot easier.  I soon out grew the pompadour, because my new growth was showing more and more in the front of my head, so then I begin to just slick my hair all back in a high ponytail.  After, I grew tired of that look, then came a couple of twist out styles, but being that my hair was still relaxed at the end, the styles didn't look right on me and I had no confident in them.


So, then I kind of started easing my way back into flat ironing my hair.  I was not applying a lot heat, but maybe just about once a month.  I knew that I didn't want to keep flat ironing my hair, so after about two months I jump right back into the ponytail.  I would keep it moisturize by shampooing, conditioning, and using water as a daily moisturizer until I figured out what my next style was going to.  I did try other styles during the process, but most of them was a an epic failure.  This lasted for several months.  Until one day I tried a braided twist out on my head and my hair looked descent.  I even started my flexi rods again on my hair and it still looked good.  So, this is the point of my hair journey where I am now.  I feel like I can now style my hair more.

Doing one occasion I did put weave in my hair for a wedding, but it was put in with weave clips.  My advice to someone transitioning, or trying to do the big chop is to do what works for you.  I use YouTube videos as a guidance.  I look to see what styles they are wearing and I create ideas from other natural bloggers.  I'm not sure when I will be cutting the rest of my relaxed hair off, but until that time I am going to do what makes me happy.  That's what Mahogany Curls, Simplyounique, Naptural85, and CharyJay are all messaging you to do. 

Natural Hair Term & what they mean
GOING NATURAL 
 It's basically letting go of a relaxer or being chemical free.  Most women who are natural use natural hair products.
TWA  
Teeny Weeny Afro.  This is usually how your hair will look after the big chop.

WASH AND GO'S 
Most people who do the big chop in the beginning use this styling method to style their hair.  All you're doing is shampooing, conditioning, and applying other products to finish the look off.

COLD WASH  
This involves washing your hair without any shampoo. 

PROTECTIVE STYLING FOR NATURALS 
Protective styling is where you wear your hair in a ponytail, a bun, or twists. 

Mahogany Curls, Embrace Your (TWA) Teeny Weeny Afro!
Once, you have done the big chop, embrace your teeny weeny Afro, Mahogany Curls said.  When you have twists on short natural hair and you don't feel comfortable, because the twists are not long enough, just find a way to be comfortable, creative, and embrace it.  Bobby pens are your best friend too.
source/curly nikki and mahogany curls:  Jessica Lewis also known as Mahogany curls did her big chop in 2009.
It's a shocker when you first make the big chop.  You're like what did I do? But it's okay.  At first you feel liberated and you feel good.  Just feel comfortable, regardless of what people say.  Some people say they are not doing the big chop and may try to scare you from it.  But let people eat those words.  Just feel good about yourself, that's all I'm trying to say.

When your hair is growing out, all you're going to be doing is wash and go's with a TWA, if you don't wear wigs.  It's going to be boring, repetitive, and annoying.  It's takes so much discipline, but it take discipline with hair anyways, no matter how it is.  In the beginning I did wash and go's everyday.  For those of you who know how to twist little bitty hair, then go ahead.  I just can't.  You have to do what's best for you and have confident with your TWA.  People will admire you for that and that will help with your self esteem.

Another piece of advice is set a regime.  I didn't do the big chop, because my hair was damage.  Every Sunday while my hair was relaxed I would shampoo, roller set, and wrap my hair.  That was my regime every Sunday.  And it should not be any different when you go to natural hair.  It should be the same thing.  Natural hair is more delicate than relaxed hair.  You want it look good and look nice.  When you put the time and effort into taking care of your hair it shows.  People see it and they look at you and say she is on point.

You should also take pictures.  You may not think your hair is growing, but when you look back, you're like wow my hair has really grown.  You really have to think about things and take your time and don't focus on what others are doing.  You should use YouTube as an education practice.  If it doesn't work don't beat yourself up about it.  I have tried things and it doesn't work, but you have to adjust it to your needs.

As black women our hair is like our crown.  That is what we are known for. So, you don't want to not take care of your hair.  Just, because it's natural, it does not mean it takes less time and patience.  You just have to be patient with it and pray and hope the Lord's will work, and that you are able to see your hair growth, two years from now.

So what I am trying to tell you guys is start doing your hair now while it's short (after the big chop), get in the habit of doing it, because once it's gets longer, it's not going to be hard, you'll just need to adjust your regime. 

Simply Unique, Keeping the Confidence after the big chop
In this video Simply Unique is loving her hair experience two months after the big chop.  She says her hang up was the length of her hair.  She says she loves long hair and wasn't sure how short hair was going to fit her.
Simplyounique did the big chop and shares her tips about adjusting to the new look
When she first cut her hair she was not in love with it and for the first three days she wore a wig to work or anywhere she went.  But after the third day she was like,  what was the point of cutting my hair, this just doesn't make any sense.

I was like I need to stop worrying about what other people think and appreciate me for me.  Having that mindset, is what made me take off the wig and show how my hair cut looked.  The first person to see my hair, was my brother and he was like why did you cut your hair.  You have to take in consideration that when you have length and you cut your hair really really short, a lot of people are going to be in shock.  But if they care about you and love you then it's going to seem like just a hair cut.

After, my brother saw it, he was like you know I don't like it, but he is the same person that said, I like your hair and you are working it.  The initially shock is to be expected.  You are going from long hair to short hair and it is a shock to everyone.  But eventually people may say hey I can see your facial features more and it's going to continue to grow on them, so don't worry about that.

Honestly, I haven't had any negative responses about my hair and maybe that's because of my confidence.  Before I took off the wig I was like the only people I want in my life are the people who love me for me.  no matter what.  Whether my hair is long, short, curly, or straight.  That is the mentality I had.

But I know I am beautiful and God made me.  Take me or leave me.  I guess that came across to other people and in turn they received the confidence and were like hey you look great.  I know everyone experiences are different, but I am just sharing mines with you.  Everything isn't for everyone.  If you know in your heart this isn't for you, than just transition.  Honestly, to do a big chop, you have to have a lot of confidence.  For me doing the big chop really did boost my confidence.  Before the big chop I would wear wigs or I would hide behind the hair I had.  And now people are seeing more of my face and features.

In the beginning I kind of became a product junkie, but you don't need to.  Just find something that works for you.  I've been doing wash and go's everyday until my hair grows a little longer.


Naptural85 gives us her top 10 tips on growing long natural hair
Naptural85 did her big chop in January 24, 2009.  She says the first look at her new self was scary.  So, she had her mom to braid in some hair, but after having an incident where the weave fell out in a room full of guys for all to see, she notice her hair was rejecting the weave.  From there she had to figure out how to wear her hair and soon begin fully loving her curls and did not care about those who didn't.
Naptural85 did the big chop and her hair is super longer almost 5 years later
I took some hints from YouTube tutorials and put my own spin on them.  

These are the top 10 things that I think are most important when you are trying to grow your hair healthy or long.
Keep your hair moisturize day and night
Basically, your hair needs water just like your body does.  You need to keep it hydrated inside and out.  I spritz my hair day and night with just a little bit of water.  It's  not going to allow your hair to puff up uncontrollably.  You can seal it in with a  oil base seal, Shea butter or mango butter.  It's not something you can do for a month and all of a sudden your hair is moisturize from that day on.  No, it's daily moisturizing.  Just like you need to drink water everyday, you need to moisturize your hair every day.  By the end of the day my hair is usually dry, but I usually just spray it again, before I go to bed at night.
Trim when necessary
Obviously trimming your hair is important for your hair health, especially if you get split ends or single strand knots in your hair.  But I say trim when necessary.  Some people trim every month and they are on this specific regime.  And that's great, you are keeping your hair healthy.  But I don't think doing it every month is necessary.  Just pay attention to the health of your hair and trim when you need it.  I trim my hair every 8 months or once a year.  If you are trimming every month, you may just be cutting your length, if your goal is to grow your hair long.
Don't over shampoo
Cold washing is really great.  When I go to the store I buy three bottles of conditioner for every one bottle of shampoo, because I like to cold wash more often than I like to shampoo.  Shampoo stripes the oils of your hair and  that's why you have to put the conditioner back on your hair to re-moisturize.  So, it's very drying to hair and I don't think it is necessary to shampoo every single time.  You can cleanse your hair with a conditioner alone and it's a lot more moisturizing.  Think about adding more cold washes into your routine if you use shampoo and conditioning.
Low Manipulation Styling
I think this is really important, because our edges are so fragile, our hair is fragile.  It is really important to not tie your hair  too tight into ponytails, don't slick your hair back, or if you braid in styles, corn rolls, or twists just be careful.  Loose ponytails and loose up do's are ideal.  I wear my hair out a lot more than I wear it back, because the hair benefits from just being free sometimes.  If you don't like to wear your hair up, just  keep it loose.  If you are using ponytail holders, just wrap it around hair once.  Keep everything nice and loose to let your roots breathe.  
Protective Styling
I wear my hair out a lot, but my hair does get dry.  There are times when I stay spritzing my hair with water every day. When that is not working and it's more dry than usually, I know it's time to do protective styling.  I do a protective styling every once in a while but you can even wear your hair in protective styling forever if you want to, but I think incorporating them every once in a while is important, just to give your hair a break from the stress of styling and to protect your ends.
This is kind of a silly one but it's important
Don't do your hair when you are stress out or when you are mad or anxious.  You are going to be more impatient and much more rough on your hair if you were angry.  If you don't feel like doing your hair, just throw a plastic cap on it to lock in the moisture, put a satin bonnet on it, and head to bed and do it another day when you feel better. 
Be mindful of the accessories you put in your hair
I didn't start using ponytail holders until my hair hit my shoulders.  A lot of the times I used bobby pins, hair pins, claw clips, or plastic clips.  The reason why I waited to use ponytail holders until my hair hit my shoulder, because I didn't want to be pulling my hair too tight to get into a ponytail.  So, if your hair is really short and you want to get it into a ponytail, than just put it back with bobby pins and claw clips.  Also, avoid accessories that have metal, because that can rip out your hair too.  Just be very careful with the accessories you put in your hair and how you put them in.  Just be very gentle.
Avoid brushes and combs if possible
I used a wide tooth comb, and wide plastic brush.  I use to use a lot of combs and brushes, but lately I have cut that out.  I do a lot more finger detangling.  I think that helps with not a lot of hair being pulling out. 
 You are what you eat
Eat a lot of protein.  Your hair has protein. 
This is not a race or a marathon
 Just ignore the fact you don't have a lot of hair.  You are going to wake up one day and there's going to be a lot of hair.  Basically, the fact that I wasn't paying attention to my hair growth, made a difference.  I get wrote a lot and girls state they are going to put creamy crack back on their head, but it takes years to see the growth, because of the shrinkage.  I do length check maybe every 8 months or once a year.  I don't think about my length.  It is what it is. 

CharJay, celebrates her first year of being natural by showing pictures of her many hairstyles
On August 7, 2011 I celebrated my first year of being natural.  I transition a year, before doing the big chop.  In 2006 my hair was the longest it had ever been and I was just in loved with my relaxed hair.  The only thing I didn't like about having a perm, was the thin hair.  I hate that it stuck to my scalp and the look of it.  So, eventually I got layers in my hair, which I loved, and I thought they were really cute.
CharJay transition to Natural
When my stylist started going through a divorce at the time, she ditched me and I had to go to someone else.  That person was not in agreement with my hair.  It starting breaking off and my hair became rather short and did not grow pass that length.  Around that time I was finishing my internship with Black Magazine and during that time I encounter so many beautiful professional women that had corporate jobs and were natural.  And it gave me the encouragement to go natural.  I was in a different place in my life, where I wanted to try something different.  So, I decided to go ahead and start transitioning.

Straw sets were the only transitioning style I saw on YouTube at the time.  At first I wasn't successful, but after doing it a couple of more times I got the hang of it and I loved this style.  I started playing with bobby pins, starting pinning my hair up in the back, to the side, I started putting different accessories in my hair.  I was really getting into my natural hair journey and I was only within the first two months.  I even had a little bit of new growth.  I was all excited about that.

In the September and  October months I was still doing the straw sets.  Even when they got old I was rocking Afro puffs.  But of course, I ended up getting pretty bored.  So, I decided to go to roller sets.  I had twists on rollers and the outcome was horrible.  So, I decided to start rolling my hair without twists.  I got some many compliments and this style lasted me unto the December and January months.

Around the time I got my MAC BOOK PRO and I started making YouTube videos and I started with Bantu Knots.  I was really busy around this time, taking 17 credits and had two internship.  When I didn't have time to do my hair I would take the front portion of it, flat iron it, and swoop it to the side and put everything else into a beeny.

But by January I couldn't do that anymore, because my new growth was on the grow.  I was like wow.  I was getting mad growth.  I didn't want to take a chance on flat ironing my hair, because I was definitely afraid of damaging my new found curls.  So, I went back to roller sets and I also went to Bantu Knot outs, but still didn't like them.  I was really getting tired of my hair lasting 2-3 days.  I was too busy.  I was like I have to do my hair every 2-3 days.  This is ridiculous.  But if I didn't it would look like crap.  

So, now it's March and my hair is continuing grow.  I even have a little hang with my new growth, which was exciting.  But what is really exciting about this time, is this is the month I learned how to flat twists.  I tried flexi rods sets too, but they didn't last a hot second.  Not even a day.   This is also around the time I started doing things with my roller sets.  Using beeny, playing with scarves, and hats.  I was having a lot of fun with my hair.

At the end of March beginning of April I notice the new growth was taking forever to dry when I was doing styles.  So, I started drying my hair and doing Bantu Knots.  I was using low heat, but it didn't last at all and plus I was at the gym a lot.  I then decided to do twists in my hair.  They took a long time to do, but I can't believe I am saying that, because it takes forever now.  but I really like the style and I was able to transform them into different style.

So, after all those styles my hair started to break off.  and I saw more of my new growth just showing in my pictures.  I then started protective styles.  I was in love having my hair out of face.  Plus it was the summer time.  Again, I could transform the style being in face or doing a curly look.  August marked my year of transitioning and I also did my big chop.  I was so nervous, because I had never got my hair cut...never.  

Conclusion
I want to thank Simplyounique, Mahogany Curls, Naptural85, and CharyJay for their YouTube Channels and for all of their help.  It's satisfying that no matter what time of the day or night it is I can log onto my computer to get simply ideas for my hair.  It also helps that you have someone who has been in your shoes when transitioning or doing the big chop, to provide you with a world of encouragement.  Remember, do what's best for you.  Do what's good for your confidence and show the world that natural girls do rock.

Read More about the big chop and transitioning hairstyles from

http://rollingout.com/black-hair/how-to-curly-girl-style/











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