This post aims to assist anyone who is thinking about going from chemically relaxed hair to natural hair, but isn't quite ready to do the big chop.
If this sounds at all like you... I implore you, keep on reading! So dear reader, let's get right to it shall we?
You need not undergo the Big Chop if you want to go from relaxed hair to natural hair, this decision is made solely upon ones discretion - I like options as much as the next girl; transitioning from relaxed to natural hair is one way of making the great switch over.
The Transitioners Guide to Natural Hair:
Here are a few reasons to opt for the transitory route:
1. The "shock" factor is greatly reduced as opposed to opting for a full BC. Some women are used to having a certain length of hair and are not quite ready for the short hair look. Transitioning allows you to grow your natural hair out to a length that you are comfortable with.
2. Transitioning also prepares ones loved ones for what is to come... It gives one the time to mentally prepare close friends and family for your new natural look.
3. If the state of your relaxed hair is still healthy, transitioning allows for a variety of styling options as one begins to reach their optimum natural hair length (be it one month or one full year, the choice is up to the individual really)
Human hair is a delicate and fragile thing, whatever state or type. This rings more true for those who are transitioning from chemically relaxed hair to natural hair. If not handled correctly, this period could lead to insane breakage and damaged hair. This is a critical time ladies, caution and care are the natural order. Here are the golden rules; know your products and tools, maintain minimal manipulation, avoid direct heat as well as tight hair styles that cause stress.
Sounds simple enough no?
One must learn how to manage both hair types. This will lead to healthy growth and minimal breakage. It is important to be mindful of the moisture/ protein balance - as is the case with natural hair. The key to balancing on this tight rope is sticking to a regimen that caters for both;
- Moisture -
Infuse as much moisture into your hair by carrying out weekly deep condition sessions. Relaxed hair loses moisture faster than curly hair due to its porous nature. Co-washing is a great habit to adopt right away, wash your hair with a hydrating or moisturizing conditioner as often as possible (2 - 3 a week if you please) take your co-wash sessions as the perfect opportunity to detangle your hair (when saturated in conditioner), detangle from tip to root using a wide toothed comb. Always follow up your shampoo sessions, protein and henna treatments with a conditioning session; this restores some of the lost moisture. Keep your hair moisturized every-other day with a leave-in conditioner and seal it with your natural oil of choice. Water/ aloe vera mix spritz is a great way to add that extra bit of moisture to your regimen.
- Protein Treatments -
Protein treatments are used to fortify the hair against breakage from regular manipulation, detangling and styling. It is advised that transitioners operate on a 6 week protein treatment schedule, this of course varies from person to person. Find out what works for you. Always rinse off ANY and ALL traces of your product thoroughly. Please note: if you would like to use henna, it is advisable to use body art henna on relaxed/ transitioning hair.
- Cleansing -
Some people wash their hair as often as once a week where others stick to their once a month rule. Whatever your preference, make sure you use a sulphate free shampoo. Alternatively, water-down your regular shampoo to minimize the drying effect. Pre-pooing is essential in preventing extreme moisture loss (douse your hair is a natural oil of choice- coconut or olive oil - let the oil sit for no less than an hour, proceed to shampoo). Be sure to rinse out ALL traces of the shampoo. Be sure to follow up a with a conditioning session.
- Trimming -
As you transition, you will find that you will tire of dealing with the two textures i.e. the relaxed ends and the new growth. You can start trimming off the relaxed ends slowly as your new growth comes in. Some people think that just because your hair is natural there is no need to trim.. this is a myth! The ends of your hair can get knots and split ends no matter how well you take care of your hair, this means you have to trim your ends every 6 weeks if possible.
- Styling -
Low manipulation has to be adhered to when transitioning. Avoid styles that cause stress to your line of demarcation, ponytails should beheld loosely and always style your hair with a gentle hand. Many transitioners opt to put in braided extensions or weaves during their transitioning period. Heed caution though, over-dependence on these protective styling methods could lead to subsequent traction alopecia. During breathing breaks (no braids or extensions) you have the choice of roller sets, braid outs, twist outs, and flexi sets, as they require little manipulation to maintain the styles and they blend the two textures seamlessly. If your new growth is extremely course, soak the hair with your spritz mix and seal it with a cap for about 20min, this will leave your hair softer and more manageable during styling.
ALWAYS sleep with a satin/silk bonnet or headwrap. Cotton pillowcases reek havoc on hair, especially transitioning hair, this is because of the friction/ rubbing action that tears away at your follicles causing breakage and nasty split ends.
Product Recommendations for Transitioners
- Organic Root Stimulator Aloe Shampoo - This shampoo leaves hair very soft and you only need to use a little to make sure your hair is clean
- LustraSilk Cholesterol Deep Conditioner - This product is cheap and works so well. You get a bucketful for your money and it works to make your hair soft and strong at the same time
- Organics Shea Butter Hair Lotion for kids - Slip, candy scent and great moisture, this product does it all. Can also be used for detangling because it has such great slip
- Bobby Pins - Updos are a transitioners best friend, best hairstyles for ladies who are transitioning is to start with a braid/twistout then create updo's with pins
- ORS Replenishing Conditioner - This is a great deep conditioner that comes as a god-send to most naturals
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