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5 Reasons Not to Big Chop Again

Avatar • Oct 24, 2013

looking-in-mirror

Are you frustrated and think that your hair needs a cut in order to become healthy? Are you tired of breakage, unable to get products to work well or do you have unexplained shedding? If you are in this group you may just be thinking that the only thing for it is to get rid of the damage and just start all over again. However before you pull out the scissors, consider this:

1. Your hair may not be that damaged
It is a rare thing to have 3–4 inches of split ends without having in some way severely abused the hair. Think, regular high heat , bleaching or regular super rough detangling where you hear strands popping every pass of the comb. If you have not done this, then the likelihood of having inches upon inches of damaged hair is quite low. Your problems with breakage (which some people mistake for shedding) may actually be more of procedural issues such as finding the right detangling method or a decision as to whether your hair may require more/less protective styling.

2. Even if your hair is damaged, it may be possible to hold on to the length
If you are certain that your hair is irreparably damaged, it may still be possible to keep the length and over the next few months do strategic cuts to get rid of the damage. Keeping the length of damaged hair is a good exercise in learning to handle damaged fibres and therefore learn how to be very gentle to your hair. The extra length will also come in handy when it comes to achieving some styles.

3. You may simply just be frustrated
Picture the scene — Over the course of several months you have tried and failed to achieve a particular goal whether it is growing hair to a particular length or cutting down on detangling time or reducing tangling of hair. The bottom line is that when your hair gets stuck, it is very easy to be frustrated and think that the only possible solution is a hair cut. However, a better bet is to really try to address the issue that is causing your hair to be stuck and homing on two main things — when does your hair break the most and secondly what can you do to stop it.

4. Analyse whether you should protective style and what style you should pick
If you have been living in protective styles kept in for weeks at a time and see no progress in the length of your hair, you need to consider changing the type of style that you are doing and the time you spend in that style. For example, twists are almost always the go to style for many naturals but they can be terrible for high shrinkage hair that is washed frequently, braids are a better option. Equally, some hair can actually benefit from little to no protective styling. If you can wear your hair open and have no real need to detangle it on a daily basis, protective styling may not be for you at all.

5. Hide that hair for a while
If all else fails, stop yourself from cutting your hair by hiding it for the next few months. I promote not using extensions, weaves or wigs as a permanent hair style but I think they are useful especially in the case where you may do something catastrophic to your hair. You might not be ready to do all the analysis that you need to do to fix your problems. You may also be very frustrated having tried everything in the book. Simply hide that hair for a while and then come back to it when you have more presence of mind and more patience to do the analysis that needs to be done to fix the problems.

Ladies, have you been tempted to do a second (or third!) big chop? Did you go through with it? Why or why not?

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About The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!

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Titecams
Titecams
7 years ago

I’m french, so sorry for my poor English.
I wish I had read this before I did my second big chop in 2012!
However I learned so much things since my 2nd chop that I know now how to manage bad hair days. Now i’ve got a little shedding due to the fall. So I will rock box braids and that’s it! And I’m sure I will miss my hair so much, as usual.

mimi
mimi
7 years ago
Reply to  Titecams

hey!! a fellow frenchie ! I wonder how many of us are more on english blogs/websites then in the few french ones… Anyway a bit like you, I cannot really stand styles on my hair: I MISS IT THE NEXT SECOND lol

Lydie
Lydie
7 years ago
Reply to  mimi

Another frenchie here. i think we’re all keeping an eye opened to the other side of the sea :p

Miquella
Miquella
7 years ago
Reply to  mimi

Salut ! Je ne suis pas française, mais comme vous voyez, je parle français. J’ai envie de trouver des sites dirigés aux françaises avec les cheveux naturels. Est-ce que vous pouvez m’en recommander svp ? Merci d’avance ! 🙂

mimi
mimi
7 years ago
Reply to  Miquella

Cool !! Sur le site de laManouchka il y a tout un annuaire de sites: http://www.lamanouchka.com/pages/annuaire-des-blogs-capillaires-francophones-4592822.html
J’adorerai en créer un l’an prochain mais je sais pas comment le promouvoir etc. Bon courage à toi!
bYe

Titecams
Titecams
7 years ago
Reply to  Miquella

Bonjour Miquella, tu as aussi un annuaire sur le blog de MissCamaelle. Voici le lien
http://misscamaelle.wordpress.com/annuaire-des-youtubeuses-naturelles-francophones/

C’est clair, ça fait plaisir de retrouver ici des français ou des gens qui parlent français!!

Bises

veronica
veronica
7 years ago
Reply to  Miquella
Titecams
Titecams
7 years ago
Reply to  mimi

Haha I wonder too, that’s great to meet french here.

LBell
LBell
7 years ago

Not counting the first BC that made me natural: — 2nd BC (one year after the first): I had six inches of hair I didn’t know what to do with — 3rd BC (one year after the second): I had six inches of hair I didn’t know what to do with — 4th BC: I’d just picked out locs three months prior and no amount of DC’ing was making it look and feel better so I just said eff it — 5th BC: I had suffered extreme breakage in one spot on my head due to overmanipulation With regards to that last BC… Read more »

NaturallyPhoxxie
NaturallyPhoxxie
7 years ago
Reply to  LBell

You would have had like 18 inches of hair do throw in a bun when you didnt know what to do with it lol.

LBell
LBell
7 years ago

I know right? lol
Oh well, you live and you learn… 🙂

D.D
D.D
7 years ago

I BC a second time because my hair was damaged and I could not figure out why. Now I know it was due to my hair hating protein (in conditioners mainly), sun damage( my hair was sun bleached all over and in on part was almost 5 shades lighter)and detangling while wet with conditioner( my hair hated it I do much better dry detangling and then maybe running my finger through it wet). I could not figure out why my hair was dry and breaking even though I did everything right now I know my hair does not really like… Read more »

D.D
D.D
7 years ago
Reply to  D.D

A year( one year) sorry

D.D
D.D
7 years ago

Also I was bored and wanted something different I have always had hair So I wanted to cut my hair off. I loved it and probably with cut it again on day.

Rae
Rae
7 years ago

I BC’d a second time this past January and not because my hair was damaged (it wasn’t), but because I wanted to experience short hair. It was a mistake and I cannot wait to get my length back. Live and learn though.

Caramelcurls
Caramelcurls
7 years ago

I am a little over 2 years natural. I love the versatility of having a longer length. I don’t think I’d ever big chop again, though I did enjoy the experience of having short hair for the first time in my life, I’m happy where I’m at now!

recey
recey
7 years ago

I let my hair go back natural without ever cutting my ends. All i did was let the perm ends fall off. It is all natural now and real short. Is it okay to get a BC?

Teetee
Teetee
7 years ago
Reply to  recey

What do you mean by fall off? Did the relaxed ends break off completely? Hair doesn’t really fall off it can fall out or break off

Nappy 4C Rocks
Nappy 4C Rocks
7 years ago
Reply to  Teetee

good question

NaturallyPhoxxie
NaturallyPhoxxie
7 years ago
Reply to  Teetee

I would think she meant the same thing.

Soraya
Soraya
7 years ago

I live in Holland and I went back to natural last year. My hair grew and grew until I had like relaxed strands of hair which I had to cut.
So if they just fell off I’m worried for your hair

Lulu
Lulu
7 years ago

ah too late! LOL…I’m realizing my hair issues are probably health related at this point. I just keep it short at this point.

Yas
Yas
7 years ago

I 100% agree with everything in this article.A few lost strands and breakage can be managed with a little education, an enhanced hair care routine, and a simplified styling process. Having had big chopped twice in the past four years, I ultimately regretted the decision — my hair doesn’t really grow fast. My hair would be cascading down my back if I had not big chopped and got scissor happy, so I know now not to cut first and ask questions later. Don’t get emotional about your hair and do something you regret. Some damage can be masked until it… Read more »

Dabney
Dabney
7 years ago

The last one is a big one! I would Always opt to cut my hair when it appeared damaged or when I didn’t know what to do with it. Now that I have more information about how to take care of my hair, I opt to put in braids and give it a break or wear a wig when I want a straight style.

CurlyQ53
CurlyQ53
7 years ago

For me the main reason not to big chop again is to avoid having to go through the in-between stage again. With curly hair it takes FOREVER to get out of it, sheesh!

Kade
Kade
7 years ago
Reply to  CurlyQ53

This stages was the DEVIL!! Loooool!!!

Bobby Ray
Bobby Ray
7 years ago

I never big chopped just let my relaxer grow out! It took 20 months to reach the length I was willing to cut the last remaining relaxed hair and it was the BEST hair decision I ever made. Please research and take your time to see if a big chop is really needed, cause it take time for your hair to grow out. And, big chop is never really needed (IMO) to go natural or to grow natural hair.

Nappy 4C Rocks
Nappy 4C Rocks
7 years ago
Reply to  Bobby Ray

how does a relaxer *grow out*? won’t the ends no matter how long the hair gets still be relaxed?

Mimi
Mimi
7 years ago
Reply to  Nappy 4C Rocks

it naturaly breaks off or you trim it bit by bit.

Bobby Ray
Bobby Ray
7 years ago
Reply to  Nappy 4C Rocks

No, by allowing my hair just grow til my relaxer was gone or only a few inches left. I then cut those few inches none just broke off.

matte blackk
matte blackk
7 years ago

I did my second big chop about five months ago and it was def a smart choice. I have 4c hair, very fragile and dry. When I did my first big chop I experimented with color, diff hair products and using a comb instead of finger detangling. After 3 years of being natural, I realized that my hair was not retaining length due to the damage of overprocesed, dry hair. This time around, my hair is sooooo much healthier ! my texture feels so much better and I experience very little shedding. Here are some tips I learned the second… Read more »

Jesse
Jesse
7 years ago

I agree a lot with this article. I did have a second big chop a few years ago. I think that day I was absolutely frustrated with my hair. Had I just been patient with my hair, deep conditioned it, and put it into a puff, I probably wouldn’t have cut my hair. YET cutting my hair did help me to finally reign in my haircare practices. I had to finally sit down and learn how to take care of my hair. The big chop just made it official I guess. However, I don’t know why people always assume that protective… Read more »

toronto hair meet up. nov 16

I agree with you Jc. Doing a BC is not always the solution, I had to write this post after reading about so many bloggers doing the BC after experiencing a very minimal damage. I think it’s best you figure out what caused the damage, nurture your hair, and once your hair has been brought back to life, then you can chop off the damaged ends. for the blog post similar to this one which I wrote, you can go here.
http://themanecaptain.blogspot.ca/2013/10/doing-big-chop-is-not-always-solution.html

Tasha
Tasha
7 years ago

I did the bc thing a year and a half ago and started getting box braids to protect my hair I started at like 1 inch of hair and it has grown so much, so I think getting your hair braiding constantly and taking care of it is good, well for me it is
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/image-40.jpg[/img]

TWA4now
TWA4now
7 years ago

I chopped off two inches…seems to be growing with castor oil. I just need to focus on moisture.

Anita
Anita
7 years ago

🙂 I could of used this article about a month ago. I wear my hair short on the sides and back and long on top. The top had gotten so long that nothing I did worked twisting, stretching, wash n go nothing. I had frizz that was horrible so I cut the top. I didn’t big chop but I cut enough off. My daughter who is also natural suggested, stop using the aloe juice and water go back to olive oil and tie my hair down instead of using the bonnet. And would you know it worked. I twisted my… Read more »

coffeeandfingernails
7 years ago

Didn’t do a 2nd BC but did cut off a ton of hair that I dismissed as “damaged”. Now missing all that length and wondering whether I didn’t let the stylist get a little scissor happy. But I know it will grow back and it will be stronger as my regimen has greatly improved.

Sweetie 06
Sweetie 06
7 years ago

Thank you for this article. I think it saved me from making a rash decision to chop off my hair because of split ends. Now that I think about it, doing another BC would be too drastic for the amount of damage that I have (2 inches or less). I think I’ll just cut off half or quarter of an inch for the next 4 months (or however long it takes to get the split ends gone). Doing a big chop in the beginning (when I sill had relaxed ends) made sense, now, not so much. It would be different… Read more »

Matlhodi
7 years ago

This post speaks to me! I’m soooo scissor happy it’s not even funnny. each time I do twists and come across what I see as “split ends”, I cut. I feel like one day wearing a wash n go guaranteed TERRIBLE knots I can never deal with..so what do I do…snip snip snip. I can see my hair’s growing becuase I had coloured it a while ago and can notice growth on the uncolourded portion. Everytime i style, comb, wash, detangle I end up with a chunk of hair in the palm of my hand. Off to the hairstylist for… Read more »

Originalone
Originalone
7 years ago

This advice would have helped me two days ago. I just cut off 3–4 inches of what I saw as damaged ends. I wish I had the patience to just trim little by little as it grows but damaged hair really gets to me, I like to just pull the band aid off and get it over with so I can get back to healthier hair. I now know it’s not good to cut while frustrated. I miss my hair!!!

honey
honey
7 years ago

This is one of the most important posts I have read!! I cut my waist length curly hair to shoulder length because I felt it was dry and damaged. In reality it wasn’t even damaged just naturally dry.Once your hair gets really long it tends to change a bit but don’t be irrational and cut it off just because. Do your research before you cut it. Also be careful on who cuts your hair even if they say they are curly hair experts! This is what happened to me. I’ve used clip in extensions the last time I was growing out… Read more »

girl
girl
7 years ago

i’m the best naturalista stoner ever. even when im stoned i still manage to moisturise my hair and put on my head scarf before bed. ^.^/

carley
7 years ago

I wish i read this post sooner. I cut 7–8 inches off my beautiful afro after a horrible heat damage disaster at a hair salon! Everyone told me to grow it out but i couldnt stand the sight of it and just cut it and am now starting again…hair grows and i just recently found out im pregnant so them hormones will help alot hehe xxx

Prod Junkie
6 years ago

Big Chopping was my thing! After color damage, 2nd big chop. After heat damage, 3rd big chop. Then I suffered postpartum shedding… and I considered a 4th big chop. Then I realized that everytime my hair suffers damage, doesn’t mean I have to start over. I hid my hair using protective styles while still taking care of it, and that allowed me to forget about the drastic issue. Before I knew it, my hair had grown back and I had no need for another big chop. Great topic to cover!

Mary
Mary
6 years ago

I did the big chop a little over a year ago when the hairdresser I went to told me that my hair was breaking (which it was). I took the plunge and cut all my hair off. I did all the treatments to protect my hair since that time, BUT my hair has not grown for months. Although I was told by the hairdresser that having a short hair is the “in” thing, to wear make-up and big earrings; it’s just not me. I rarely wear make-up or big earrings. I truly wish I had trimmed the ends and put… Read more »

Regina
6 years ago

All of the above apply to me, however due to protein overload & heat damage I decided to do a 2nd big chop (BC). Although it has been four years since the 1st BC, I’m looking forward to the new journey and to apply all that I’ve learned along the way. 🙂

indie
indie
6 years ago

I did my second big about 2 weeks ago, but I waited about 3 months after I damaged my to do it so I have about 3 inches of hair on most sides. I thought I would feel bad but I feel relieved. This time around I know so much more about hair care and I’m learning to enjoy my hair regardless of it’s length. I’m not stressing with the length and focusing on healthly hair. BUT I don’t intend to do another BC — I still love my hair longer best.

Chanel
Chanel
6 years ago

If only I had read this yesterday before my 2nd big chop. I was a year and a half into my natural journey. I had gone to get a flat iron (not by my usual hair dresser) and let’s just say it was entirely TOO much heat for my hair. My curl pattern had loosened and I wasn’t loving my hair the way that I once did. My hair dresser encouraged me to keep my hair but to just gradually cut it off over time.. Well, me being frustrated, I had her cut it off. I now have a tapered… Read more »

Brownbeauty
Brownbeauty
4 years ago

My

Karma
Karma
4 years ago

LOL, I’ve big chopped 5 times. The last time was December 2014. Now my hair is about 3 inches rough dry, split ends. I’m considering chopping the 3 inches off.

This will take me back to an almost-TWA.

Reese
Reese
3 years ago

I’m thinking about doing big chop #2. I was able to retain length from a hard press back in 2014 that caused heat damage and since then, I manipulated my hair (used hella heat too) way too much where I now have breakage and i’m not a patient person when it comes to repairing hair. I’ve been wearing wigs for some time now and although I love how versatile they are, I miss wearing my hair out and I actually have more confidence when my hair is short. I rocked a fade when i did my first big chop and… Read more »

Sam
Sam
3 years ago

I’ve been considering a 2nd big chop because my tresses have been through so much… I’m seeing the damage and it breaks my heart. I’ve also been going through a rough time and just wanted something new. I’m definitely considering to grow it out and trim it little by little. I think it may be best for me. Thanks for the great article!

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