The phrase “going natural” implies some sort of excursion or exploitation and in fact, it is indeed an adventure. A journey of sorts; with multiple paths, detours and diversions along the way. The decision to eliminate chemicals from your hair life, is a personal one and can be intimidating, as such, each journey is unique. Let’s examine the two distinctive options:
Transitioning is loosely defined as moving from one phase to the next. Under the natural hair jurisdiction it is a gradual modulation from chemically altered to hair in its natural form. It is a process in which you must be fully engaged in order to be successful.
• The most cited benefit of transitioning is you are afforded the luxury of maintaining length. Hair is cut off over a period of time until all of the chemically relaxed hair no longer exists.
• Provides the opportunity to change your mental state and adjust accordingly to your new mane. This unique shift in dynamic requires a different way of viewing oneself and one’s hair.
• One of the biggest disadvantages is the dichotomy that exists while transitioning. Dealing with the hair that is relaxed/chemically altered and the new natural hair that is growing in presents huge challenges, such as breakage and shedding and conquering the infamous line of demarcation.
• This option does require a lot of time and patience so you must be able to believe in things unseen, in other words, have faith that the outcome will be worth it.
THE BIG CHOP
The big chop refers to the act of cutting all of the relaxed hair off in one fell swoop, and leaving only the new growth. In terms of going natural, this is the “all in” option and is not to be entered lightly. I liken it to pulling off a band-aid rapidly; quick and speedy with no chaser. It is bold and aggressive while still maintaining a sense of vulnerability.
• Satisfies those who hunger for instant gratification; in that the state of natural is achieved instantly
• A clean slate – this allows you the opportunity to start off with a fresh, new head of textured hair with infinite possibilities.
• It is transparent. The option to hide behind your tresses is no longer available.
Curly Nikki Says:
There is no right or wrong way to go natural, however I've observed (from emails and 4 years of blogging) that women who choose to slowly transition rather than spontaneously big chop, are more likely to be happier with their decision and are also more likely to stay natural. This may be because long-term or slow transitioners have the time to arm themselves with styling techniques, natural hair care information and the proper tools... they go into this thing prepared.
But at the end of the day, as with most things in life, do you boo boo! Just make sure, whether you're big chopping after a week, or 2 year transition, that your arsenal is stocked and you're fully prepared 'cause the road can at times be bumpy! God speed!