For my natural hair journey, I chose to transition for a year and half before cutting my relaxed ends for several reasons. I cut my relaxed ends in January of 2012.
Transitioning Hair: Braidout
In the beginning of my hair journey, my main focus was on restoring the health of my relaxed hair. I began doing research using YouTube and found products, regimens, and techniques that were great guides for my own personal hair journey. While researching, I found out about a technique called ‘stretching’. This was the term used to describe waiting longer periods of time in between relaxers. So, instead of relaxing every 6 weeks, I began waiting 8 weeks or 12 weeks, etc. For my last ‘stretch’ I wanted to challenge myself, so I set a goal to relax my hair in 6 months. During this time a couple of things happened. First, as my natural roots began to get longer, I began falling in love with my natural texture and did not want to go back to relaxers. It was also during this time that I found out I had Alopecia Areata, which is an autoimmune condition that caused random bald spots all over my head. Although I was treated for the Alopecia Areata and my hair began to regrow, I still felt self-conscious. So I made the decision to continue transitioning until my hair was long enough to cover any remaining bald spots.
Also, from what I can recall, my hair has never been shorter than ‘ear length’. So, to be honest, a more vain reason I chose to transition was because I did not want wear my hair super short and I felt like I would not know how to style or care for a twa.
Picture above: 1 month post “big chop”/cutting relaxed ends
I have no regrets about transitioning instead of doing a big chop because it offered a couple benefits. I think this approach allowed me to learn more about my hair and how to take care of both my relaxed and natural textures simultaneously. It also allowed me to practice different hairstyles that could be used while I was transitioning and when I was fully natural. I also enjoyed the perk of having more hair to ‘work with’ after cutting the relaxed ends.
Although figuring out how to care for both your relaxed and natural textures at the same time can be a great learning experience, it also puts you at risk for severe breakage where the two hair textures meet. But, with proper care and maintenance breakage can be minimized. Overall, I would say my transitioning experience was a pleasant one.
Ladies, why did you transition or big chop?