Transitioning from Relaxed to Natural Hair!
Thinking of going natural? Have you already decided but haven't done the big chop yet? Don't know where to start? Then continue reading.
For some women like myself, transitioning from relaxed hair to natural hair was a very scary thought. Having a small Afro was terrifying to me. Confidence was something that I had to learn. I wish back then, I knew what I know now. Below are some tips to make the transition from relaxed hair to natural easier for you.
Tips on Transitioning from Relaxed Hair to Natural Hair!!
- If you haven't stopped relaxing or texturizing your hair, then stop now. You need to start growing out your hair and keeping your new growth natural.
- Handle With Care. I cannot emphasize enough how important this step is. You have two textures working with on one strand of hair; so you can easily break the hair where the two textures meet. Every time you touch your hair please be mindful of that delicate section.
- Moisturize! Moisturize! Moisturize! You have to keep your
hair moisturized at all times. You might need to get 2 moisturizers (a
thick cream base and a light leave in). What might work for your natural
hair might not work for your relaxed hair. But right now, you have both
natural and permed hair.
A heavy cream like Shea Moisture Smoothie will moisturize the natural part of your hair and make it feel soft and supple. However it might weigh down the relaxed ends and make it look limp and lifeless. For the permed ends you will probably be happier with a light leave in like Shea Moisture style milk or Garnier Frutis cream leave in conditioner or Giovani direct leave in - just to name a few. Always seal the moisture in by applying a light oil on your hair afterwards.
- Co-wash more than you shampoo. What this means is that you will wash your hair as you normally would but with conditioner instead of shampoo. You don't have to run out and spend loads of money. You can buy cheap conditioners like V05, suave and herbal essence. If you are going to be washing few times a week you want to use something cheap.
- Get a good sulfate free shampoo to use when its time to shampoo. If I did not co-wash during the week then I shampoo weekly. If you have been co-washing then a monthly shampoo is all that you need. Learn how to shampoo your hair properly. Shampooing too often can result in dry hair because you are removing the natural oils from your hair. Make co-washing a part of your life. You will thank me. Lol!
- Choose styles that will blend the new growth with the permed
hair. This is the biggest frustration we natural girls faced while transitioning from relaxed hair to
natural. I was scared to chop but styling my hair was dreadful. Dreadful
I say. Lol! Styles best worn while your transitioning to natural hair are braid
outs, Bantu knot outs or protective styles like box-braids, flat twists
or corn rows. Braid outs and Bantu knot outs are great because the
entire length of your hair can have a uniformed texture.
Braid Outs: The key is to braid the new growth as tight as possible without pulling on your scalp too much then braid loosely when you get to the permed section. To make it more curly and flattering, put small rods/rollers on the ends.
Bantu Knot Outs: The key to Bantu knot outs is to make sure they are completely dry before you take them down. Two strand twist first then wrap the hair around and under itself until the end. Wraping under so that the hair slowly look pointy versus wrapping around the hair (this way the hair looks more like a ball) - makes the definition better.
Also styles that hide the relax ends like Flat twist updos. Check out this post on Flat Twists as a great transitioning style.
- Minimize the use of heat. My last relaxer was February 2011 and I
wore weaves until July 2011. I was flat ironing the exposed hair a lot
so that it could blend in with the weave. In July I went to London and the humidity reverted
my hair every day so of course everyday I flat ironed the front. MY
HAIR DIED. In August I decided its time stop this madness and do the
chop. Due to all the heat damage I got in the front I had to cut the
rest of my hair lower to keep it even. I wasted all of that time
transitioning under a weave.
Use heat only once in a while if at all. Don't let what happen to me happen to you. From Feb 2011 to now I should have had a lot of hair instead of having to start from scratch with a TWA in Aug 2011.
- Do your research. Educate yourself on products, techniques and everything natural. Don't just take someone else's word for it. Follow lots of natural hair blogs. Join natural hair forums such as http://www.curlynikkiforums.com/ or mega hair infrotmation websites such as www.blackhairinformation.com.There are lots to learn. Be involved in the natural hair community.
- Never expect your natural hair to look like someone else's. I remember spending loads on hair products to make my hair curly like some natural hair girls. What I failed to grasp then, was that no two natural sista is the same. No other girl's hair is better than the next. That's the beauty of being natural. We are all unique. Accept and love the natural hair springing from your scalp.