It’s easy to have big chop envy when we see beauties such as Cynthia Erivo, Eva Marcille, DeWanda Wise, Adut Akech and Franchesca Ramsey walking around with enviable buzz cuts and colorful pixies. And with the mantra new year, new hair floating around, your scissor finger might be itching like crazy. But before you decide to take it all off, and maybe keep it all off, there are a few things you need to consider.
“I think for someone to do a big chop they must truly understand and be ready for the new journey,” says big chop master and hairstylist Mona Balthazar, who specializes in enhancing the beauty of curly hair. “Knowing why you are doing it will make the acceptance easier for your new hairstyle.”
She’s done countless big chops with various hair textures at her salon space The Mona Cut. So we checked in with her for tips on what every woman should do and know before she does a big chop to kick off this new decade.
Enlist the help of a professional.
In 2013 I cut off my locks after 12 years. I took fabric shears and cut each lock individually until it was all down to a buzz. The cut was patchy and uneven, especially in the back where I couldn’t see well. Eventually I had to go to a barber to fix up the shoddy job that I did. I should have gone to a professional initially and throughout the growth process, and my hair would have grown back much healthier.
“Make sure you have a hairstylist to maintain your cut and your style. Don’t just go to a stylist to do your chop and never visit again. It’s a new lifestyle,” says Mona.
Know your face shape.
It makes sense to grab inspirational images from celebrities’ social media pages and red carpet photos, but it has to make sense. If you have a more oval-shaped face, go Jada Pinkett-Smith, or if your face is round, China McClain would be your girl. It can make the difference in getting the cut that best complements your facial features and shape.
“Finding a stylist who is comfortable doing big chops and understands texture will also be able to help create a custom haircut based on your face shape, which most everyone worries about,” she says.
Learn your hair texture, beforehand.
Whether your hair texture is a fine, wavy, curly, coily, kinky, or everything in between, there is a perfect short cut for you. But knowing your texture will work in tandem with face shape to dictate which style you choose. It can be the difference in tapering your sides, cutting evenly throughout, or doing a cute flat-top. And note that there is so much nuance with our hair, even on the most personal level. You might have at least 4 curl patterns throughout your head.
“It’s a new relationship so it will be a bit of an adjustment. It’s not always easy but it’s worth it,” says Mona.
Be open about your product arsenal.
According to Mona, “Products will be fun at this stage. It’s limitless!”
We hear so many stories from women who did a big chop and quickly after began wearing wigs because they felt overwhelmed by the upkeep. Having the right products can alleviate this stress. But your previous toolkit of goods may be ineffective for your new ‘do since curl patterns may not have begun to take shape just yet. The beauty of super short hair is that you can try many different products until your new grow out forces you to choose.
Remember that patience is a virtue.
Whether you’re doing a big chop to begin a natural hair journey, or to make a big change for the new year, it’s an exploration in your curls. Hair needs to be loved on and made to feel special, so don’t rush its flow. Once you big chop, take that time to just let your hair be and enjoy the benefits of a short ‘do for as long as you decide to keep it.
“Doing a chop is not only to cut your hair but to really find a different angle, a different perspective, a different feeling, a different view of your own beauty. It will test your fear of change. It’s growth. It’s taking a chance,” Mona concluded.