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By Cas­sidy of The Nat­u­ral Selec­tion

Like many wom­en who decide to go nat­u­ral, I was ter­ri­fied of doing my big chop.  For years, I had rocked my long straight hair with Aaliyah-swoop bangs and had become very attached to the feel­ing of my pony­tail swoosh­ing again­st my back.  Not only had my long hair become a key­stone to my iden­ti­ty, but also a sym­bol my fem­i­nin­i­ty.

The Big Chop, I knew, would threat­en both of those things.  So I did what any nor­mal gal would do: I avoid­ed it!  I tran­si­tioned in braids for over a year so that when I final­ly DID do the chop, I emerged with about 6” of hair on my head.  From that point on, I was focused on grow­ing my hair long, on achiev­ing a glo­ri­ous halo of BIG HAIR DON’T CARE.

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Fast-for­ward two years: my coils when stretched reached far past my shoul­ders and I was well on my way to the fro of my dreams!  How­ev­er, after an inci­dent at a Domini­can Salon, I had to cut 10” off the back of my hair.  It was a very sad moment, but it was this expe­ri­ence that opened my eyes to the extreme val­ue I have always placed on the length of my hair.

After receiv­ing a jazzy lit­tle hair­cut from my styl­ist, Marie of Madusa­lon in San Fran­cis­co, I found myself hav­ing a lot more FUN with my hair instead of har­bor­ing this pre­oc­cu­pa­tion of grow­ing it.  Inspired, I decid­ed to run a series on my blog called “Chop Chop!” that shared the sto­ries of nat­u­ral­is­tas who had gone for a 2nd chop.  I admired the­se wom­en, who includ­ed Celebri­ty Styl­ist Feli­cia Leather­wood, Koils By Nature Own­er Pame­la Jenk­ins and mod­el Tomiko Fraser Hines, for going through the whole ordeal again and envied their smooth, close­ly cropped hair­styles.

As I adven­tured through a vari­ety of hair­styles includ­ing one that incor­po­rat­ed half of my head shaved into a quar­ter inch fade, I always thought about how I want­ed to real­ly go for the 2nd chop myself.  I was torn because at events and on my blog peo­ple were always com­pli­ment­ing me on my great curls while I secret­ly want­ed to just shave them off!  I real­ized that in a way, peo­ple had more of an attach­ment to my hair than I did myself.

I was scared to do a 2nd chop.  I mean, I’m a nat­u­ral hair blog­ger: it’s my job to have hair, right?!  But I couldn’t get clip­pers off my mind.  A few weeks ago, I final­ly worked up the courage and sat in my stylist’s chair while watch­ing my curls fall to the floor.  As I watched the clip­pers glide all around my head, I watched as a new face emerged, one that wasn’t hid­den beneath prod­ucts, styles, exten­sions or long curls hang­ing beneath my shoul­ders.  The face I saw was mine like I had nev­er seen it before.

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The process of going through a 2nd chop has pro­vid­ed me with an oppor­tu­ni­ty to realign my appear­ance with my TRUE iden­ti­ty, one where long hair doesn’t equate fem­i­nin­i­ty, I don’t have to hide behind the dis­trac­tion of my cas­cade of coily coils, and hair isn’t the be all-end all of life, even as a hair blog­ger.  

Cas­sidy is cre­ator and author of The Nat­u­ral Selec­tion.

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­lis­te, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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25 Comments on "The Story of My Second Big Chop"

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Kayla

Thanks for this arti­cle! This is real­ly what I need­ed to hear. I’m going to do a sec­ond big chop because of a BAD braid­ing expe­ri­ence but try­ing to see this as a new start and a way to have fun with my hair and not wor­ry about thick­ness and length. I had real­ly thick 4c hair that is still healthy from being han­dled rough­ly but my ends feel thin­ner than nor­mal. Instead of nurs­ing for length I’m just gonna start over! I’m defined but Big hair or length. Thanks again!

coffeeandfingernails

Know this is an old post but I’m read­ing it at just the right time for me. I too had an “inci­dent” at a Domini­can salon and will have to chop off a lot of hard-earned hair to get rid of the dam­age. I cut a few inch­es of the worst of it myself and am already mourn­ing the loss of length. Using this piece and oth­ers like it to help let go of that long hair obses­sion…

Jalanda

I, too, am con­sid­er­ing a 2nd big chop. I have been nat­u­ral for 5 years. This last year I’ve expe­ri­enced major break­age, a bald spot, con­stant shed­ding, and a change in my hair’s tex­ture. I am see­ing a der­ma­tol­o­gist next week and will more than like­ly 2BC after­wards. I don’t believe I have to “chop” so low, but with the sides and back at 4.5 in and the crown and front at 2.5 it kind of hard to style, any style, my hair.

Tamika

After read­ing what feels like a dozen post, blogs and every­thing under the sun… I did the big chop after 5 months of tran­si­tion­ing. I was a lit­tle unnerved as I watch my hair fall to the floor. I feel like a pluck chick­en but a hap­py pluck chick­en!! Now to fig­ure out how to r

Tamika

That should say how to rock it!! I’m hop­ing that’s the fun part!!

CherishBomb

I actu­al­ly think she looks bet­ter with the short cut and col­or. It gives her more per­son­al­i­ty as far as appear­ance. It’s just super cute.

Lucille
I can’t help but won­der, if you’re get­ting to the stage where you are com­fort­able enough to com­plete­ly chop your hair off a sec­ond time, isn’t it just becom­ing a new type of hair­style for you that no longer holds the sig­nif­i­cance that first BC does? I shaved off all my hair a few years ago for a fundrais­er and kept it less than a cen­time­tre long for two years. After grow­ing it for a year I ditched the fro and am back to a shaved nog­gin and lov­ing it! I def­i­nite­ly wouldn’t say I con­sid­er what I do a… Read more »
Mar'Taja

Thank you for this page. I had my big chop 1 week and 3 days ago. I am still get­ting used to it. There are days where I wish that it would just grow already! But this site has helped me to enjoy the jour­ney as well. I love you! God bless! : )

TildaGirl
This is tru­ly inspir­ing. I as well did a 2nd big chop on 10/1/2012 and it was the one of best deci­sions I’ve ever made. My ends are sooo much health­ier and thick­er and my hair grew back to the length it was in just 3 months. (I’m cur­rent­ly col­lar bone length). It also gave me a 2nd chance to start fresh with a good reg­i­men. When I did my 1st big chop (8/26/2011) I had absolute­ly no knowl­edge on being nat­u­ral or how to prop­er­ly take care of my hair, I just knew that I didn’t want to relax… Read more »
mangomadness

it’s tempt­ing since I got soooo many splits and knots. Also short hair seems eas­ier to man­age.

Izzy

I had a hor­ri­ble expe­ri­ence at a Domini­can hair salon, as well. My hair wasn’t yet as long as yours but it was pret­ty thick and healthy. I regret going to the salon because after I washed out my hair, it fell out in patch­es and I had bald spots. It took almost 1 year for my hair to grow back to the length it was pre-Domini­can salon. Now I’m work­ing on retain­ing length and thick­ness. Wish me luck. You’ve inspired me. :)
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Michelle

Unfor­tu­nate­ly my sec­ond chop came soon after my first BC, due to the fact that I (with my lazy self) blow-dried my hair then pressed the next day … for obvi­ous rea­sons my coils rebelled and broke off so I end­ed up with 2–3 inch­es of new growth instead of the orig­i­nal 5. If it has to be done, it has to be done; no mat­ter how painful.
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Teri

Con­grats!!! I jus did mine about 2 weeks ago..initially I was hes­i­tant because between eczema and relax­ers the hair at my tem­ples had reced­ed a bit so I was scared of how it wud look. How­ev­er I’ve been get­tin a lot of com­pli­ments. Its a lib­er­at­ing feel­in for me…remembering India arie’s song..:)

Jacky

So hap­py for you girl,you rock the look and the con­fi­dence!

Danni

I did my sec­ond big chop 11/15/2012. its the best thing I ever did. my hair was break­ing bad­ly , now its in itts best health ever. I went from bare­ly neck length to shoul­der length in 3 months. So if you are think­ing about a sec­ond big chop do it. and you have a chance to have two nat­u­ralver­saries! :)

Sophie
What love­ly lit­tle coils! And I real­ly liked this sto­ry because I too did a “sec­ond big chop”. My first one was with no knowl­edge about “going nat­u­ral”, and just not want­i­ng to have to go to the hair­dresser when I was in col­lege. The sec­ond was sev­er­al months after get­ting my hair flat ironed/blow-dried/hot-combed to absolute death and suf­fer­ing a lot of break­age and oth­er heat dam­age. I was sad to cut off so much because I liked the length, but I nev­er wore it out because it was dam­aged. It was a nice thing though because I liked… Read more »
Nikki

I am def­i­nite­ly going to chop mines,too much split ends and plus I have parts that’s too short so here go the chop „,

loren

WOW!!! You are tru­ely an inspi­ra­tion to me. I have been nat­u­ral for about 1 year now and i have the urge to chop my hair off again. I have heat dam­age around the board­er of my head.….and im ready for a new start. I nev­er tru­ely enjoyed my short hair because of what oth­ers thought around me. After read­ing this .….…my big chop #2 is com­ing soon :)

Francene Rose
I think the Big Chop was the most lib­er­at­ing expe­ri­ence I’ve ever had. Even though I had tran­si­tioned my nat­u­ral hair out by 6 inch­es, I got bold in that salon chair and asked her.to take it all off. Being the first time I had ever cut my then long hair, I felt so free. And did my head feel light! Every­time I see a TWA now, I fight the urge to BC again. Some­times you do feel pres­sure to keep your ringlets for oth­ers. I Mini-Chop like every sum­mer just cuz I can’t seem to fight thel urge though lol.
Mina

I total­ly under­stand. I’ve nev­er had the expe­ri­ence of a big chop and I’m real­ly feel­ing the itch.

Ev`Yan

Cas­sidy, girl, you are tempt­ing me. The short ‘do, the col­or, your fresh curls—hold me back!

jjac401

Short hair suits you very nice­ly!

zyaran

Her hair is very pret­ty whether short or long :). Just curi­ous is there anoth­er link because the above is not work­ing for the site to vis­it her page?

zyaran

Here it works bet­ter when I do it as this it came up now ~ http://naturalselectionblog.com/

Lia

This is so inspir­ing! Thank you for shar­ing your experience…I was think­ing about big chop­ping for the sec­ond time too, this arti­cle cleared my doubts!

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