How to Transition to Natural Hair For Your Wedding

Thinking of doing a big chop for the big day? Read this first

Updated 09/27/17

Stanley Babb

As more and more women embrace their natural hair in everyday life, we see that same trend making its mark at weddings. In the quest for healthy hair, some women opt to cut off processed, damaged tresses, ready for the natural curls or coils that will come with new growth. It's true that beautiful veils, headpieces, and statement jewelry can pick up where long locks left off, but don't ask your stylist to whip out the scissors just yet! First, Davide Marinelli of Davide Hair Studio in Manhattan has advice on how to make this drastic move before you walk down the aisle.

Give yourself some time

In some cases, it might be best to wait until after the wedding to do a big chop. If you've spent years of your life getting relaxers, harsh colors, or constant straightening, your curl pattern will likely be quite different than what you're used to. You also might want to keep some length for the wedding.

If you're already set on the decision, Marinelli advises a lead-time of six months for a big chop. "The first thing I ask is 'how fast does your hair grow? And where do you want your hair to be for your wedding?' The rule is, hair grows a half inch per month," he says. "That helps me determine how short, how much texture I can add to the cut, what shape and how bold I can go."

Envision the look you want

If you have a celebrity hair crush or a certain cut that has inspired you, add photos to a vision board (translation: Pinterest). That will help your stylist figure out how to approach your hair.

Marinelli says, "the trick is to look for celebs or people that have the same face shape, similar hair texture to you and ask yourself, 'do I see myself with that look?'" If you've ever been told you have a famous doppelgänger, now is the time to check out the hairstyles they've worn and see what might work for you. Here are a few to consider:

Anika Noni Rose

Anika Noni Rose wears a short cut on the Emmys red carpet

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Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys wears straightened short cut in December 2013

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Rihanna

Rihanna wears finger waves at 2012 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

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Chrisette Michelle

Chrisette Michele wears an ombré short cut on the red carpet

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Zendaya

Zendaya wears finger waves on glaad awards red carpet

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Test the waters

You don't necessarily have to dive into a big chop head-first (pun intended). For a cut with more hang time, or one you'll wear with straightened hair, you can try it out with fake hair.

"There are wig stores all around the country and some of the best in New York City," Marinelli says. "You can always pop in alone or with friends and have a wig party." This is one of Davide Hair Salon's special offers. "I'll have girls come in and they do a bridal blowout with rosé and champagne and we style their hair in different ways they would never wear it, or we can always play with wigs."

Do it for the style

While it's always good to strive for healthy hair, sometimes you just want a new look! If that's your main goal with a big chop, embrace that wholeheartedly—you might be able to play more with color or straightened styles if you're not solely in it to return to your natural curl pattern.

"Short hair is so hot and big right now," Marinelli gushes. "Accessories can really bring a look together and elevate it—you don't have to always get something expensive; you can simply use bobby pins, but pick out a cool color or use fabric, leather or colorful thread. For weddings, I do a lot of bantu knots, braids, and marcel iron finger waves—they are a little modern and have a little more of an edge to them, but still look romantic."

Take care of your tresses

When you do a big chop, especially in an effort to go from processed to natural, you might have to take extra steps to ensure your hair stays healthy and strong. "Hair is what you are on the inside; if you are not living a healthy-ish lifestyle—not enough sleep and over-stressing—that is going to show in your hair," Marinelli advises. "It's very important to add juicing, vitamins and exercise to your regimen, especially leading up to the big day. When it comes to your hair, I recommend getting a dusting every two to three weeks. A dusting gets the dead ends and split ends off."

And a note for brides going on a resort honeymoon: "You should never go into pool or ocean with dry hair. You should always spray it down with water—I prefer Evian water—then follow up with a light-weight leave-in conditioner. Remember, hair is a sponge and it absorbs everything, so you need to coat it before exposing it to water, air, and sun. When showering, you should always finish with a cool rinse—this helps maintain your natural oils, your color, and it eliminates frizz and static."

Get inspired

We love these looks for short, natural hair!

Stanley Babb

Stanley Babb

Stanley Babb

Bride Performing at Reception

Photo by Phillip Van Nostrand

Stanley Babb

Kelly Anne Berry

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