Your natural hair is beautiful, and maybe you’ve only recently begun to embrace that. Women’s curls have a complicated history in our society, and many have pondered whether they could ever let their hair grow naturally without trying to relax, straighten or otherwise time their amazing locks.
We personally love the natural hair movement that’s been booming since life in lockdown. Quarantine prevented women from accessing salons and many of the treatments they previously relied on to keep their curly hair straight.
Without much of a choice, millions of women let their curls grow however they wanted to, and to their surprise, they actually loved how free they felt (and how fab they looked).
After a few months of letting your hair grow on its own, you may be ready to go fully natural. But it’s a big change, and you might not be sure if you’re ready to make such a drastic move. It’s such a meaningful decision that there’s even a term for it: the big chop.
In this guide, we’ll be taking a close look at this process, including some tips on how to prepare for yours and decide if this is the right call for your hair.
Table of Contents:
- What Is the Big Chop?
- Curl Types
- Big Chop Hairstyles
- How to Define Your Curls After the Big Chop
- Should You Big Chop on Wet or Dry Hair?
- Is the Big Chop Worth It? (A Stylist’s Perspective)
What Is the Big Chop on Natural Hair?
The big chop is the process of removing any chemically treated or processed hair to reveal your natural hair texture underneath. For many women, this is more than just bidding farewell to some overly-treated locks. It’s a symbol of self-acceptance and celebration.
The big chop literally removes the hair that you may have struggled to love for many years. Now, you’re saying goodbye to all the treatments, relaxers and other ways of masking your curls. It’s all about letting them grow freely and embracing your natural beauty.
Usually, curly hair that’s been treated should be allowed to grow for a few months prior to the big chop. This gives your stylist enough hair to work with, so your final look isn’t too short. It will also ensure enough healthy, natural hair has grown, so you’ll be able to get your new curly girl life off on the right foot.
A Bit About Curl Types
There are so many amazing variations of curls. The type of curls you have will influence what products are best for you, as well as what styles you’re most likely to enjoy with ease.
Let’s face it, some styles just aren’t worth the hassle if they require bottles upon bottles of products, expensive treatments and hours of styling just to achieve.
Instead, to get the best look for your locks, you need to know your curl type. The curl pattern types come in three variations, each with three sub-categories to classify its level of curliness.
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- Type 2 curls are loose waves (2a), wavy (2b) or deep waves (2c).
- Type 3 curls are soft curls (3a), curly (3b) or ultra-curly ringlets (3c).
- Type 4 curls are Afro-textured and range from (4a), zig-zag coils (4b) or tight coils (4c).
Your curl type should only be nourished with products specifically designed to respect your hair’s texture. Zotos Professional All About Curls line has products formulated to enhance, de-frizz and bolster your curls’ natural bounce and volume.
What’s your type? Find your curly hair type with our Curly Hair 101 guide.
Big Chop Hairstyles
When you let go of your treated hair, it can be a big transition in terms of styling. You may have previously worn your hair long and straight, worked with extensions or gotten used to a weave. When you cut off your hair, it will take time for the natural curls to grow in their own pattern. But that’s all part of the beauty!
The big chop can be suitable for any face shape and hair type. It’s all about finding a style that suits your tastes and allows your natural hair to do its thing.
Here are some of our professional stylist’s top suggestions for natural hairstyles.
A Curly Pixie Cut
Pixie cuts are cute, stylish and sassy all at once. Depending on your personal style, they can enhance a bold, edgy aesthetic or give you an ethereal, fairy-like appearance. Pixie cuts are also great big chop short hair cuts because they only require a few inches of natural hair.
A Side Part
If you have Type 3 or 4 curls, then a side part can help your natural look take a bit of shape. To part curly hair, you can use your natural parting line or make a new one. For a curly side part, use a rattail comb to move from the arch of your preferred side’s eyebrow to the top of your head.
Gently separate your hair to move as much as you’d like over to the side. Make sure you move from the roots, not the tips of the hair. You may need to clip your hair and wash it a few times in this parting before it takes hold.
Curly Curtain Bangs
If your natural hair is already full but you want a more structured look, you can add some face-framing curtain bangs into the mix. This trendy style is easy to maintain but instantly adds more shape to your look.
How to Define Curls After the Big Chop
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Your curls may be damaged or weak after a long period of being chemically treated. To help restore their natural volume, we suggest using All About Curls for your curl type. A nourishing shampoo and conditioner are crucial to healing hair and letting it grow healthy and strong.
You can also use a styling product to both defrizz and enhance your curly hair. The All About Curls High-Definition Gel infuses your hair with moisture while boosting shine and eliminating frizz. It’s a great product for styling after your chop.
Should You Big Chop on Wet or Dry Hair?
We suggest letting a stylist handle your big chop, but if you decide to do it alone, then you will want slightly damp but not wet hair. Water lengthens curls, so they’ll appear longer when you cut and ultimately shrink when it dries. This can result in an uneven look that’s far shorter than you wanted.
Dry cutting gives the most accurate results, but it’s also not easy without professional experience. If you decide to go this route, we suggest using a spray bottle to lightly mist your curls before snipping.
Go slow, and keep your cuts short. You don’t need to hack off a lot of hair at once. In fact, only removing a little bit at a time could be ideal if you’re still on the fence.
Is the Big Chop Worth It?
From a stylist’s standpoint, the big chop is a fantastic way to help long-treated hair begin to thrive. Natural hair is beautiful, and it needs room to grow without being weighed down by products or over-styling.
That being said, whether or not it’s worth it is entirely up to you. If you’re tired of relaxing your hair or managing two hair textures, then a big chop could be the hair reboot you’ve been looking for.
If you have questions about curly hair and styling, we’ve got your back. You can chat with a licensed stylist online or through our hotline. Click here to connect with us!