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The Big Chop: How To Prepare For The Big Cut

photo of woman getting haircut in salon
If you’re a curly girl who’s recently gone natural, chances are good you’ve heard of the big chop. The big chop refers to someone who wants to speed up their natural hair transition by cutting off all of their chemically processed hair. These days, it’s not just women whose hair is transitioning who are cutting off their locks. Some women who wear their natural hair opt for the big chop journey in hopes that thicker, fuller, longer hair will grow in its place.

Countless before and after pictures on social media have lead people to believe that if they have the courage to cut off all of their hair and the patience to wait for it to grow back, they’ll be rewarded with the healthiest hair of their lifetime—but is that true?

Continue reading to find out of the big chop is the hair solution you’ve been looking for.


What is the big chop?

The term big chop sounds pretty self-explanatory, but as with most things in the hair world the term has taken on a life of its own. The big chop is when someone with chemically altered hair (think relaxers) decides to cut it all off.

Some women wait until their natural hair has grown a few inches before their big chop. The process of growing out your hair before cutting off your chemically process strands is often referred to as transitioning. However, some women have a little less patience (*raises hand*) and cut off all of their chemically processed hair in order to make way for their new natural locks.


Why do people chop off their hair?

Making the decision to cut off most or all of your hair is personal and there are a plethora of reasons someone might decide to opt for a big chop. It would be nearly impossible to ask everyone why they decided to take the plunge and do the big chop. So we’ve rounded up some of the most common reasons.

One of the most common reasons women opt for the big chop is that they’re ready to stop relaxing their strands. Anyone who regularly relaxes their hair knows that it only takes a few weeks to see new growth and it can be pretty difficult to care for and style transitioning hair. You may have to care for your natural and chemically processed hair with two different sets of products and techniques, if your natural texture is very different from the texture of your hair after it’s been chemically processed. Many women would rather save the time and money that is required to care for transitioning hair and just chop it all off.

Another common reason is that many people have been lead to believe the big chop will leave them with healthier, thicker, fuller strands. This belief is largely fueled by personal testimonials of women who opted for a big chop and felt as though they were rewarded with their best hair ever. Many people who opt for the big chop for this reason feel as though cutting off their hair helps to restart the hair growth process. If this sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. Cutting your hair in no way alters the way your hair grows out of your hair follicles. Continue reading to find out why the big chop makes it seem as though it’ll help you achieve your best hair ever.


Will cutting your hair make it grow faster?

In some far corners of the internet, people claim that a big chop will help your hair grow faster. They claim that after years of sluggish hair grown and an inability to retain the length they were so desperately seeking, the big chop helped them jumpstart their hair growth. The reality is breakage, not sluggish hair growth, may be the reason they’re not reaching their down-to-there-hair dreams. If your big chop gets rid of all of your damaged hair, chances are good your hair will experience much less breakage.

The unfortunate truth is that there’s no real way to make your hair grow faster. Your hair grows in a series of phases: The anagen or growth stage, the catagen or resting stage, and the telogen or shedding stage. Which means how much length you cut off doesn’t have any effect on how long your hair will grow. The only way to make your hair grow faster would be to lengthen your growing phase somehow—and science just isn’t there yet.


Will cutting your hair off make it grow back thicker?

Unfortunately, this answer is also no when it comes to thickness. The diameter of your strands, as well as the number of hair follicles on your scalp, is predetermined by your DNA. Which means there’s nothing—no treatment, hairstyle, haircut, or product—that can alter your strands. There is no way to grow thicker hair, but there are products on the market that can help your hair appear fuller.

If you’re looking to add some volume to your fine locks, we recommend swapping out your regular hair care products for those from the L’Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Volumetry line. Formulated with salicylic acid and HydraLight, the shampoo and conditioner system will make hair look volumized cleansed, and lightly moisturized. For sky-high hair, follow the shampoo and conditioner with the Serie Expert Volumetry Volume Spray. Formulated with Intra-Cylane and HydraLight, the spray provides body and fullness to hair from root to tip.


Will cutting your hair off make it grow back healthier?

The answer to this one is tricky. Cutting your hair doesn’t alter the way your hair grows out of your head. The hair that grew out of your head before the big chop is the same hair that will continue to grow out of your head. However, we’ve all seen those before and after pictures and pictures don’t lie—so what gives?

If your hair seems healthier after a big chop, chances are good it’s because you’ve been taking better care of your hair. The decision to cut off your hair in hopes that it’ll grow back looking and feeling better than ever before is typically coupled with more frequent trips to the hair salon, an updated hair care routine, and a better understanding of your hair. Instead of caring for hair that has already been damaged, you’re now nourishing hair before it’s been damaged by any outside aggressors.

There are still plenty of reasons to opt for a big chop (short hair looks stunning on just about everyone), but you don’t need to cut off all of your hair to have a healthy mane. A healthy hair care routine will make your hair look and feel better no matter how long or short it is.

If you’re not sure where to start, we recommend swapping out your shampoo and conditioner for a system with a nourishing formula like Matrix Biolage R.A.W. Nourish Shampoo and Conditioner. The shampoo and conditioner system is formulated with coconut oil and kaolin clay to feed dry, dull hair and intensely condition for soft shiny touchable strands.

If you feel like your hair needs a little extra TLC we suggest incorporating a weekly deep conditioning mask like Mizani’s Intense Moisturizing Mask into your hair care routine. Infused with cupuacu butter, argan oil, and honey this mask helps restore essential hydration and vibrancy to dry, brittle, and lifeless hair without adding weight.

As always, make an appointment with a trusted stylist if you’re not sure which hair care routine is right for you.

Interested in advice about the perfect hair care routines for you? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.

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