Yes you can opt to have the BC done or you can choose to trim your hair every 3 months, slowly getting rid of your permed ends. I didn't hair the BC done either. When I first started transitioning which was in April 2005 my hair reached the tops of my shoulder. Now, that I have finished transitioning, my hair reaches halfway down my back. It took me a year to transition, but if that is too long of a time for you to wait, then by all means getting the BC would be much easier. That way you could become acquainted with your hair in its natural state a whole lot quicker.
Either way you go about transitioning, I can give you a few tips that will make your whole hair routine a lot easier.
1. Wash and condition your hair at least once a week. And Deep Treat your hair at least once a month with heat. You can use either a microhair cap or one of those hooded hair dryers for that.
2. When drying off your hair a few quick blots are all you need. You can use a regular towel or even paper towels to do this.
3. Spray a liquid leave-in/detangler into your hair and then begin detangling your hair immediately therafter. You can opt to use, your fingers, a comb, or a brush.
4. Apply your styling products of choice to your hair.
5. Let your hair air-dry.
In between washings you can always opt to do co-rinses, if that's what you prefer. VO5 & Suave have a host of $0.99 conditioners that you can choose from just to co-rinse with.
Now here's the skinny on what products you can use in your hair that will keep it moisturized, and that are readily available at Wal-Mart, and that won't cost you and arm and a leg. Smooth N Shine Activator Gel is a very good styling product to use to keep your hair moisturized. Also another good one is Motions Weightless Clear Hairdress. And there is Luster's Pink Protection Conditioning Shampoo(contains 1 low-level sulfate) & RevitaLex Conditioner that you can use to wash and condition your hair with. Also you could try try using Creme of Nature's Detangling Ultra Moisturizing Shampoo, if you want to use a cleanser that is 100 percent sulfate free and has mosturizing propertie to it as well.
Good luck of course transitioning!