A few weeks back, we started a quiz series on the myth of natural hair, where we look at popular myths and misconceptions about natural hair in greater detail.
True or False: One way to transition to natural hair is to let your relaxed hair break off on its own?
Before we get into why this is false, let’s first get one thing straight – Breakage is NOT cool!
I once read a comment somewhere where the person gave an advice to a newbie ‘transitioner’ that she should let her relaxed hair just fall off like hers did when she transitioned to natural hair. To tell you that I was shocked would be an understatement because I couldn’t understand why anyone would think committing “hair suicide” (Yes, you read it right) is right; talkless of them advising someone else to do the same thing.
So what are the proper ways to transition?
There are actually three different routes that you could take to becoming a Naturalista, giving you more choices to choose from.
1. Big Chop
This is when you decide to cut your relaxed hair off after only a few months of relaxing your hair. Since it hasn’t been long since you relaxed your roots, you’ll only have a tiny bit of hair, called a TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro) to start with. Women who do the big chop will choose to go through this route for reasons such as freedom from expensive and time-consuming hairstyles, the ability to go through the different stages of hair growth (i.e. TWA->Small Afro-> Big Hair) or an impulse decision to join the natural hair community.
If you choose to go through this route, I can guarantee that you won’t have to worry about dealing with two different hair textures during the initial stages of your hair journey.
2. Transition + Big Chop
This second route is often chosen by women who want to have a sizable amount of hair on their head before cutting off the relaxed ends. This is a great choice for someone who isn’t completely convinced about the natural hair route and would like to wait it out before taking the leap. It’s also a great choice for someone who wants to get a sneak peak into what their natural hair is like, before going all in.
3. Transition + Mini Chop
This third route is often chosen by people who can’t imagine wearing shorter hair, particularly if they are not weave/wig wearers. So to avoid the sudden changes, they will choose to transition for an extended period of time (up to two years in some cases). While transitioning, they will gradually trim about 1-2 inches off their relaxed hair on a regular basis until their natural hair has grown to a length that they’re most comfortable with.
One of the great benefits of going through this route is that it gives you lots of hair to work with when you’ve cut off all your relaxed hair. This method is also great for tracking growth because the curly roots are “protected” by the relaxed ends which normally goes through the split ends and dryness that breaks the hair. And so, they’re able to keep almost all of their new growth, which then allows them to effectively measure their average hair growth rate.
To summarize, the routes you can take to go natural could either be to BIG CHOP right now, TRANSITION for a few short months and then do the BIG CHOP later, or you can TRANSITION for a longer period of time and then do a MINI CHOP every few weeks.
As you can see, none of these routes involves any form of hair suicide, but an active decision to cut off the relaxed portion of the hair at a set time chosen by the person.
Let’s hear from you, which route did you take to becoming a Naturalista?