I’m Confused about the Term ‘Big Chop’

I’m confused about the term big chop.  I like to think I know (almost) all there is to know in the online healthy hair community, with both natural and relaxed hair.  I enjoy reading in forums and blogs they way most people watch television.  Most terms, products, methods, and hair tools I am familiar with and when something new comes up, I try my best to learn about it.

Big Chop

However, ‘big chop’ genuinely confuses me and please allow me to explain why.  To my understanding to big chop specifically means when a woman chops off her relaxed length, leaving only natural (unrelaxed) hair on her head.  It does not matter whether the resulting hair was long or short, if you “chopped” of your relaxed hair then you had big chopped.  Well my first confusion came when I saw heated discussions in hair forums over whether a woman could claim she had ‘big chopped’ if she had natural hair of a certain length.  One side staunchly argued that women who transitioned for two years or so whose virgin hair was shoulder length or longer does not big chop.  Another group said even if their natural hair was of a medium length, but they had a significant amount of relaxed hair that had to be cut then she does indeed big chop.  Others stated that if a woman had completed several “mini-chops” (yet another natural hair term) then the final cut is not a big chop so in this theory women who had gradually been trimming away their hair would not qualify.  Later, I started seeing women who were already natural proclaim they had big chopped a second time after cutting their hair short or even shaving it all off.  That caused an uproar because women said you can only big chop when cutting relaxed hair to leave natural hair and that saying you’d big chopped natural hair to shorter natural hair is silly.  I have my own thoughts on all of the above but by these point, I was ready to stop using the phrase big chop altogether because it if was going to cause all of this scrutiny and firestorm!

Tia Mowry Big Chop

Last week Tia Mowry got what I would call a hair cut.  I assumed her hair was natural and she simply wore it pressed, beneath wigs or cornrowed for hair extensions.  So when I saw photos of her new look, I refered to it as a hair cut.  But then I started seeing women re-post her photos in support of her “big chop”.  So now I am thoroughly confused.

Quite honestly, I think ‘big chop’ is much overused anyway!

Please share your thoughts on the matter!

Author: EbonyCPrincess

EbonyCPrincess is a Staff Writer for BHM She is a self-proclaimed hair enthusiast with a love of all things hair as long as keeping it healthy is the #1 priority. Along with informative articles, Ebony shares hairstyles, tutorials, the latest on celebrity hair trends, and much more!

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  1. I personal think any “significant” hair cut is BIG CHOP.

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  2. I watched a episode of Tia and Tamara and I remember Tamara saying that she was thinking about going back to natural. I assumed that her and her sister relaxed their hair at some point, maybe back when they started wearing their hair straight on Sister Sister. This picture I saw of her hair made me think that she big chopped. http://www.hairlista.com/forum/topics/looks-like-tia-mowry-did-the-big-chop-and-going-back-to-natural
    But she could have just had a hair cut. I like it either way. I personally stopped trying to differentiate “natural hair terms”. It’s all in how a person decides to define them. There is no right or wrong answers even though some in the natural hair community will make you think otherwise.

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    • To me, a “Big Chop” is a type of haircut specifically reserved for talking about the process of cutting off a significant amount (I’d say at least half) of relaxed/texturized hair, leaving only naturally textured hair. I think it gets confusing when naturals use the term to mean any significant haircut. If you’re already natural and you cut off most of your hair, you got a haircut.

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