So You Did the Big Chop, Now What? Tips on How to Survive Your New Natural Hair

Deets after the jump!

Hey boos, in honor of Izzy’s birthday, I wanted to share some tips with you on how I survived my big chop. I know it can be a little daunting for some, but trust me, it’s not that bad!!! Check these tips out, start gathering info, and you’ll be smooth sailing to hair that blocks folks out of pictures in no time. If you have additional tips, please add them to the comments!



17 thoughts on “So You Did the Big Chop, Now What? Tips on How to Survive Your New Natural Hair

  1. K.A.D says:

    Thank you so saved gave some really great tips that i will definitley follow..i got the big chop today!! im excited about my hair journey even more now

  2. Glitter Girl says:

    Thanks for the book suggestions. I’ve ready the Curly Girl book, although I’d like to get the new edition. I’d also like to check out Grow It, since you mentioned it. I checked some reviews on Amazon, and a bunch of people felt like there wasn’t any info in there that they couldn’t have got for free on one of the forums. What are your thoughts? I’m not a newbie, by the way, but as I mentioned in another comment, I’ve been natural for 7 years and my length retention has sucked, big time. I don’t want to start over with another big chop, but I’d kind of like to have a “start from scratch” mentality and focus on the health and retention of my hair. A few months ago I realized that my hair can’t stand a lot of manipulation (gee, I wish I’d figured that out the first 5 years that I was twisting several times a week), and my hair has done a lot better with sticking with wash and gos every 3-5 days.

    Sorry, I’m off topic. Do you think Grow It is a worthwhile purchase for a non-newbie?

    • HB says:

      You can find the information in ANY of these books online or on forums for free. Hair care is not ground breaking or new. However, I like to read the books just for the heck of it, and I like having a hard copy resource I can flip through when I want to brush up, or just for some inspiration. I don’t always feel like doing a Google search and/or perusing a bunch of old threads.

  3. curlybeanLA says:

    Ah your last reply reminded me that my pasadena sally’s doesn’t carry eco blue or pink. UGH I don’t want to pay amazon for something so cheap, and I don’t remember seeing it in my local walgreens either. any suggestions on where to find it on the ground? thx!!!

    • HB says:

      I found it at this random BSS on Pico, but I don’t think they restocked because they told me the olive oil and clear are the most popular.

      • curlybeanLA says:

        Thanks Elle. Maybe i’ll see if Sally’s will do a special order. 😉 Or try the IC Fantasia.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey Elle, off the subject but how did you get your hair to hang more today versus having it fluffy?

    • HB says:

      That’s what my hair does when I use a heavier gel. I can’t remember what I used but I think it might have been the blue eco? I also had not fluffed my hair out like I usually do because my roots were still damp. In the video for the FAQ today I had fluffed my hair out a LOT and it just gets bigger and bigger, lol.

      ETA: Wait I remembered! I used the Loreal Eversleek Leave-In with their serum on top. And I think a wee bit of Knotty Girl for extra moisture.

  5. Latonya says:

    Once again, great video Elle. I wish I had it 13 months ago. I bc’d myself one night and haven’t looked back since. I thought I knew what I was doing but of course I didn’t. I never realized that I had to learn my hair. I thought since I was wearing my natural my hair that it would just BE (no products or styling necessary). It wouldn’t require me to do anything extra to get it to look good accept keeping it groomed. Wrong. Just like with anything, if you want to look good you’ve got to train your hair (or should I say it’s got to train you). Lucky for me within a few weeks of my bc my aunt had purchased Curly Girl and I read it from cover to cover. I haven’t been a friend to shampoo since and I understand how important moisture is to curly hair (black or white). As with other newbies, I was never one to experiment with my hair (natural or relaxed) so once I went natural, I was like….”so now what?” I still have my struggles and longing stares at relaxed tresses but I know I made the right decision.

  6. luvmylocs says:

    good post. i’ve been natural 12+ years and it’s been a lot of trial and error. the newly natural girls are lucky to have you and others that provide so much good information! the only advice i would add is to encourage newly natural girls to take lots of pics and or do videos. looking in the mirror provides one view of your hair but seeing a picture really helps you asses how your hair is looking. plus it’s a good way to track your progress. you don’t have to post or blog about your hair pics, you can keep them to yourself. i wish i’d taken more hair pics along the way, even now i don’t always think to do it but it is a helpful practice as you begin to take greater responsibility in loving on your hair!

  7. shay says:

    Very helpful… So I chopped all my hair off in October 2010 and then immediately went to the Panamanian jungle for three weeks (so I had no idea what I was doing, and only had my old shampoo and conditioner and some Paul Mitchell pomade with me – and no mirror thank god). When I got back from my trip I was shocked at how dry my hair was, how icky it looked (it did not look that way in the salon after I chop’t it). The thing that helped me the most was figuring out (from forum lurking and from that the shampoos we use when we are straightening our hair are NOT the same cleansers we should use when our hair is in a natural state. No more dishsoap shampoo for me!
    BTW, your hair looks fabulous in this video…. what did you do to it?

    • HB says:

      See, my hair always hated shampoo, whether relaxed or natural – I just didn’t know why, except for Creme of Nature. Now I stick to what my hair loves and have no issues. The best thing is that since I rinse my hair fairly often, it’s usually not that dirty and I only need to shampoo once.

      And thanks! I did a wash n go with the Loreal Eversleek Leave-In and their anti-frizz serum. Then I realized my underlayers were gunky so I added some AV gel on top to dilute it. I don’t think the Eversleek has enough moisture though so I need to try it over another leave-in.

  8. Gigi60 says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am a newbie to natural hair and it has been a quite overwhelming. I have not had a perm since December, 2010. I have not done the big chop, but every six to eight weeks I had my ends cut. My hair was already in a short style, so I just let my perm grow out. Right now I wear it in a short curly style or afro style. What I would like to hear is morning on maintenance for a newbie. I know this may have already been discussed previously, but I am confused as to what to do in the morning, what to do at night, do I co-wash everyday. What exactly should a newbie daily routine (day and night) be. I would like to see you do a continued video for newbies on what we need to do to care for our hair on a daily basis. I think I have checked out so many sites, that I am just overwhelmed with so much information, that they are all running together and I am not comprehending anything. I don’t know what kind of hair I have. Its fine, thin, but yet it has a slight curl pattern. I saw your video on dew points, and I am in New Orleans and our dew point is very high here. Right now the temperature is 82 (feels like 92), humidity is 84% and the dew point is 77. Now do I use glycerin products or not? There are so many questions, I don’t have answers to. But, I will continue to look and listen to your video, because they are very informative. I will also purchase some of the books you suggested. Again, thank you.

    • HB says:

      I just did a QOTD on second day hair for twas – Also, have you checked out some of my older posts? I have been tracking and recording methods/regimens since I bc’ed. A good way to find them would be to search the archives and go back to January 2010 and after that. I also have a wash and go routine for my hair when it was about four inches long. As for your question about glycerin, you should test out some products and see what works for you. I know that I can’t use glycerin in a dew of 77, but some people are fine. If you want to be safe, stay away from products that have glycerin in the first five ingredients. I hope that helps some. I understand that people have a lot of questions, but most of the information is already on the site and can be found via search.

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