Found in Transition: Cipriana Quann on The Art of Big Chopping

Scissors in one hand, doubt in the other—you have decided to take the plunge and go for the Big Chop! If you are thinking about taking the step into the glorious world of natural hairdom, but not quite ready for the big chop, then transitioning is something you may consider. Although I big chopped 6 years ago, I have transitioned two times in the past before my BC (big chop), each time the result was from a chemically treated process that went horribly wrong. With each transitioning experience I learned what worked and why the art of big chopping was such a tremendously beneficial part of my successful hair journey.

Cipriana Quann Jul, 15, 2014

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I always wished I had the confidence to rock a length 1 inch or less each time I big chopped. There is something so powerful and sexy about a woman with super short hair, but I was definitely not one of them. Hair was my comfort zone, which is why I transitioned each time with extensions or weaves. If you are not as confident I would recommend at least waiting 6-8 months until the big chop, which equals about 3-4 inches. This amount gives you room to play safely with extensions and weaves, offering styling options to prevent you from returning to the chemically altered alternative or provide more patience until you achieve the length you desire.

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The very first time I big chopped, my sister was my natural hair cheerleader, rallying her support as I snipped away. The support of a friend or family member may be all the incentive you need, giving you confidence to actually go through with the process. The natural hair journey is a journey, but surrounding yourself with positive individuals who support your choices or at least respect them can make the experience pleasurable or at least bearable. So grab your bestie and have fun!

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I wouldn't call myself an Edward Scissorhand’s, but I did place the big chopping process into my own hands. However, each time I directly transitioned into a protective style of some sort such as extension twists or braids. Knowing my freshly chopped hair would be camouflaged by a protective style gave me the confidence to BC each time. Now if I was planning to rock the big chop look sans a protective style, I would have consulted a professional. Professionals can seamlessly prepare your hair to transition into an appealing shape for all of your growth stages, plus there is a less likely chance of you backing out of the moment with a scheduled appointment.

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If you are comfortable enough with cutting your hair, make sure you are using the proper equipment. Choose scissors that are specifically meant to cut hair, using any other or old, outdated blade can give you split ends. Shears should ONLY be used to cut your tresses, using them for any other task can dull the blade, creating more damage to your strands.

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For many, the thought of a big chop is as mundane as cutting their fingernails. But for others (including me), it represents a past that they are suddenly letting go of. The BC can be a step into unfamiliar territory not only for yourself, but of those who surround you. Take comfort in knowing whatever you are feeling in the moment it is completely normal, fear of what others will think is a powerful motive to back down, but just remember why you grabbed the scissors in the first place—for yourself!

Cipriana Quann is a former model who transitioned 10 years of fashion industry experience into, where she is Editor-in-Chief.