The Big Chop & Why I Decided to Take the Plunge

the big chop natural hair

So if you follow me on Instagram then you already know that I have a new do. I did what’s called “The Big Chop” and cut off my relaxed hair to rock my natural texture. In preparation, I rocked braids for 3 and a half months to transition so that I could at least have a teeny weeny afro or TWA. I took my braids out last night and just took the plunge and did my big chop myself. Now I make it very clear that I’m #teamrelaxed and proud on this blog and if you’ve been reading for a while then you probably remember my post Relaxed & Proud that caused quite the stir. Now all of a sudden I’ve switched to #teamnatural and you’re probably wondering why so here goes.

big chop brush coils

I’ve been relaxed all of my adult life and childhood. In fact, my mom relaxed my hair when I was just 9 years old as I guess my natural texture was just too much for her. I remember spending all day Sunday every other week getting my hair washed, deep conditioned, blow dried, lightly pressed and then braided. Yes all of that. My hair was extremely thick and coarse, and shriveled badly. When my mom relaxed my hair she didn’t know how to take care of that well either and it broke off bad.

I began taking care of my own hair at 12 years old doing my relaxers and braids, flat twists, weaves, phony ponies you name it, when I wanted to switch it up. My hair grew and broke off a lot during this time period as well. It wasn’t until I started going to the Dominicans in HS to get my relaxers and wash & sets on a regular basis that my hair begin to thrive and grew to almost bra strap. I cut it into a bob with bangs after I started college and had cut it into a pixie for the first time when I was turning 21. When I let my hair grow out I once again begin to take care of it myself. This time around I knew what I was doing and I’ve managed to maintain a healthy, well for the most part healthy head of hair.

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I got my pixie cut about 4 years ago and never looked back. The first time I had it cut professionally, but maintained the cut along with my relaxers myself. I never had any problems until about a year and a half ago. My hair started to get really dry and brittle and started to break off in patches. I thought that I had a bad relaxer. So I stopped relaxing as frequently and nursed my hair back to health.

I started to get random spots that would itch really bad. And I’d scratch it and notice that it had broken off to the new growth. My hair was still suffering from extreme dryness and would break a lot, especially at the crown. I started doing protective styling more in the form of box braids to give my hair a break from relaxing. But I found out what the problem was almost a year ago.

I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. An auto-immune disorder in which the body attacks the thyroid as if it’s foreign. It eventually causes permanent Hypothyroidism, which is an under active thyroid. You can find more information on Hashimoto’s Disease here.

My thyroid is still functioning and I don’t have to take medicine as of yet. But I still suffer from pretty much all of the symptoms of Hypothyroidism. One being hair loss or thinning, brittle hair. Since my thyroid will eventually stop functioning and Hypothyroidism is something that I will have to deal with for life… I decided to stop relaxing as the process in itself can make the hair dry , brittle and thin. That is why you must take really good care of your hair when relaxed with proper moisture and protein balance to avoid these things. With my body working against my hair I felt that it would be best to just avoid the chemicals for optimal hair health.

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As mentioned, I have not seen my natural texture since I was a child. And with all the work that my mom put in I figured that it would take some work. My natural hair is still really thick and coarse. And now dry as the desert on top of it all so moisture will be my best friend. I did my research while transitioning. But I know it will take time to learn my hair. As well as find products and a routine that works for me.

I’ve been getting a lot of compliments but honestly I’m still on the fence about the new style. I absolutely love my pixie cut and I have to get used to this new do. Eventually I know the style will grow on me. And I’m willing to do whatever it takes to keep my hair healthy so here starts my new journey. I plan to get it tapered a bit in the back and on the sides. Whew that was long lol.

If you have any tips for a newly natural like me please leave it in the comments 🙂

Erica
Erica

When I’m not hunting down the latest and greatest beauty products, beating a face or lacing a do, you can find me roaming the streets of NYC in my stilettos looking for the next best restaurant. Or in the kitchen trying to outdo myself from the last time.

Find me on: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

42 Comments

  1. Kishia
    01.30.2015 / 1:17 pm

    Haven’t even read your post yet. Saw your pic & immediately thought “so beautiful!” Going to read the post now 🙂

    • Erica
      Author
      01.30.2015 / 2:04 pm

      lol awww thanks Kishia! 🙂

  2. Kishia
    01.30.2015 / 1:24 pm

    My only encouragement is to embrace it! It’s so beautiful and in time you’ll begin to see and celebrate your natural hair and how it complements you. It’s what you were born with. And for you, like the rest of us naturals, you’ll learn that you can rock you like no other 🙂

    • Erica
      Author
      01.30.2015 / 2:04 pm

      Thank you so much for the encouraging words. I really appreciate it 🙂

  3. Charese Mainor
    01.30.2015 / 2:27 pm

    I love it!!! I am as well a stylist and decided to make that transition as well. I haven’t done the “Big Chop” but I do have a pixie cut! Your cut is BEAUTIFUL and you are to!

    • Erica
      Author
      01.30.2015 / 3:53 pm

      Thank you so much, Charese!

  4. Kay
    01.30.2015 / 2:38 pm

    The look is lovely! Thanks for sharing information on the medical condition. It’s very important to bring awareness to something like this. All the best to you in health and wellness!

    • Erica
      Author
      01.30.2015 / 3:54 pm

      Thank you so much. I really appreciate that!

  5. 01.30.2015 / 2:38 pm

    It looks really cute on you. I have a close friend with thyroid issues so I understand where you’re coming from. You know I was a big fan of your relaxed and proud post, because I am relaxed and proud myself. LOL! I’m sure you will get the hang of natural life soon.

    • Erica
      Author
      01.30.2015 / 3:55 pm

      lol thanks hon

  6. Char B
    01.30.2015 / 2:52 pm

    You look gorgeous Erica! There’s really no hairstyle that you can’t rock and you did that! I mentioned in a previous comment that I did the big chop but in all honesty mine was out of sheer curiousity. I wanted to see what my hair texture looked like. I’m proud of you for embracing the curls and shea moistures cocunut and hibiscus line has been my holy grail. I have coarse, thick and dry hair and that line does wonders for me… You can spritz with some water and an oil of your choice(coconut, extra virgin olive oil, etc..) and keep it moving.. And yes, it will take some time to learn what works and what doesn’t, but that’s the beauty of it! Try and have some patience as it grows out…everything else will fall in place! My comment is super long but I’m super proud of you and I love your hair! ~Char

    • Erica
      Author
      01.30.2015 / 3:56 pm

      Thank you so much Char and thanks for the encouragement and the info! 🙂

  7. 01.30.2015 / 3:04 pm

    Girl you look amazing!!! You are fierce with any hairstyle! I know what you mean about being on the fence—it’s a big change for you but you’ll get used to it. And a sew-in or half-wig/wig is an option when you want to switch it up. My only advice is while it’s short to keep getting cool haircuts even though the first thing many people think about after BC’ing is to maintain growth and forsaking style for growth. I think NOT doing that is what made me super bored after I BC’d and made me want to start straightening my hair so often. You maintained great cuts when you had relaxed hair so I know you’ll do so now that you’re natural.

    You’re a fly girl no matter what so I can’t wait to see how you style your new hair 🙂

    oh and we need to do drinks or something soooooon!

    • Erica
      Author
      01.30.2015 / 3:59 pm

      Awwww thank you so much, Dani. I want a cute tapered cut but I’m scared that I’m going to look like a little boy, but on the other hand it’s a little boring right now as is. I found a picture of a cute cut that I plan to take to the barber after work. I hope it comes out as planned! lol

      And YES we need to hang soon. it’s been so long!!! 🙂

  8. 01.30.2015 / 3:17 pm

    I love that you made the decision to do “The BIG Chop”, something I won’t be able to do. I am also a stylist out of New Jersey and I’m in the process of transitioning. I have a short cut, which can be a bit hard to manage but I’m dealing with it. You look FAB in your cut! I love it!!!! I’m sure you will to once you get use to it. Once your hair grow out you can always go back to your pixie love! Your so beautiful, continue to strive for nothing but the best!

    Charlie..

    • Erica
      Author
      01.30.2015 / 4:00 pm

      Thank you so much, Charlie. I really appreciate that. It will probably be a while before I’m looking to grow it long as I love short hair, so I guess this is the perfect time to play with haircuts 🙂

  9. cca
    01.30.2015 / 3:37 pm

    you look great. love it

    • Erica
      Author
      01.30.2015 / 4:01 pm

      Thank you!

  10. 01.30.2015 / 7:07 pm

    Beautiful my Dear,,,I need Words of Encouragement. .my Har is doing 160 0n me because of all the medications im taking . Thinking Hard about the BIG CHOP

    • Erica
      Author
      01.30.2015 / 7:54 pm

      Thank you. I really encourage you to go for it and take the plunge. Not only would it easier for you to manage in your case, but it would be better for your hair right now. You know you can call me anytime if you want/need to talk 🙂

  11. 01.30.2015 / 7:19 pm

    you look great. Take care of that thyroid issue.

    • Erica
      Author
      01.30.2015 / 7:55 pm

      Thank you. I am, my doctor is monitoring it closely 🙂

  12. Bianca
    01.31.2015 / 7:01 pm

    Your hair looks great here. Thick, rich color and lovely well-oiled coils. What creams/lotions or potions are you using in these pictures?

    • Erica
      Author
      02.04.2015 / 1:11 pm

      Thank you, Bianca. I washed with SheaMoisture African Black Soap shampoo followed by the Moisture Retention Shampoo. I deep conditioned with SheaMoisture Purification Masque and applied their Restorative Conditioner as a leave in. I sealed it with SheaMoisture Restorative Elixer then applied a little of their Curl Enhancing Smoothie, water and Olive Oil Eco Styler Gel. I did the coils with a brush. I know this sounds like a lot but my hair was very thirsty when I took out the braids. I’ll do a post on my routine when it becomes more settled.

  13. Lee
    02.02.2015 / 9:47 am

    You look simply Gorgeous!

    • Erica
      Author
      02.04.2015 / 1:12 pm

      Thank you! 🙂

  14. Pamela
    02.07.2015 / 8:23 am

    Check out maxhydrationmethod.com. They also have an instagram. I’ve been doing it since August 2014, did my big chop in September 2011, but my hair has thrived only since starting the method. I’ve previously worn protective styling but only want to wear my own natural curls and coils now.

    • Erica
      Author
      02.08.2015 / 1:07 pm

      Thanks for the tip, I’ll check it out.

  15. ghanaianemprezz
    02.21.2015 / 5:40 pm

    I love your hair and I pray you continue to have faith. Looking forward to seeing your journey.

    • Erica
      Author
      02.21.2015 / 6:32 pm

      Thank you so much!

  16. Mel
    02.25.2015 / 8:24 pm

    I’m so late to this but just wanted to say it looks great! Welcome to the club:)

    • Erica
      Author
      02.26.2015 / 6:06 pm

      Thank you! 🙂

  17. J
    06.11.2015 / 9:49 pm

    How do you feel being hypo? Have you gained lots of weight? Since I know that can be a symptom also?

    • Erica
      Author
      06.12.2015 / 12:32 am

      I’m actually not hypo yet as my thyroid is still functioning for the time being. I get my levels checked every three months. I’ve been eating good and in turn losing weight. Trying to stay on track so that I’m in good shape if/when my thyroid fails

  18. Taniesha
    11.26.2015 / 5:27 am

    Hi Erica…thanks for such great hair and beauty advice..i follow on Instagram, Fb and Youtube. I was wondering if you could do a video, blog etc on fashion or OOTDs with a TWA as I have come to realise that not all outfits (especiallt winter) suits a TWA …thanks.

    • Erica
      Author
      11.26.2015 / 9:44 pm

      You are so welcome and thank you for the support. I plan to get back to doing OOTD posts again on the regular, hopefully starting next week. Stay tuned 🙂

  19. Jasmine
    02.26.2016 / 8:51 am

    I can definitely feel where you’re coming from on this post. I do have hashimoto’s and it took me from noticing a drastic weight gain and my hair falling out in patches (back and sides mostly) to find that out. I may or may not have to take meds for life, but I’ve been on it for a little over a year. Going natural and trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle have definitely been challenges, since I am a college student who’s always on the go lol. Your post was definitely inspirational. If you can do it, I can as well!

    • Erica
      Author
      02.26.2016 / 11:21 am

      I am so glad that my post could serve as an inspiration, and that you found out what was going on with you. Knowledge is the first step on the path to feeling better. Do your best to eat well, work out and get your rest. You’ll be fine! xo

  20. Theresa
    06.06.2016 / 9:16 pm

    Thank you for sharing your hair journey! For someone like me just starting my own journey to natural it means the world to have beautiful black women, like yourself, share your story & wealth of information!

    • Erica
      Author
      06.07.2016 / 12:16 am

      You are very welcome and I am glad that you are finding my story helpful. Thank you for your kind words!

  21. Josephine Fahnbulleh
    12.07.2016 / 7:43 pm

    Hi. Am so glad I found your site. Have been going natural since last year but haven’t seen any progress and I sometimes find it very difficult to continue but when I saw your picture and click on it, it gave me hope to continue. I think my hair is 4c type very thick and get dry very fast. I know it may sound very silly to ask this type of questions but just need a tips on what to do and not to do for my hair to grow. How many times should I wash my hair?

    Thanks in advance

    • Erica
      Author
      12.09.2016 / 12:18 am

      Hi hun. You can find plenty of information on how to care for 4c Natural Hair along with product recommendations under the Natural Hair and Hair Care sections. Good luck on your journey! 🙂

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