So, you have decided now is the time…you’re ready to embark down the path of becoming a natural. I remember having that exact epiphany. It’s an exciting feeling to realize you’re really making a lifestyle change and with patience, time, and care eventually you will see your hair’s real potential. There are two methods to achieve a head full of natural hair, whether you decide to big chop or transition. The first option the big chop is merely cutting off all your hair and waiting for your new hair to grow out. Many people choose this option. You can allow your hair to grow in a few inches first and chop the rest or you can simply just shave it all off. This option is not for the timid but it is a quick way to get 100% percent natural hair and you would be surprised how much faster your hair can grow naturally when cared for properly. The second option is transitioning, which as the name suggests is a process. Transitioning is the act of allowing your hair to return to its natural state by growing out the relaxed hair and trimming off the chemically treated hair as you go. Many women chose this option because its less abrupt and therefore you get a chance to get use to natural hair and keep some length. Personally, I’ve done both. Yes. Both. I big chopped my hair my junior year in college but at the time I had no goals on what to do or even how to care for my hair. I made so many mistakes. After cutting all my hair I still was not comfortable with my natural hair and had no idea how to style it. So, I did the unspeakable. I just straightened it into submission frequently. Years later I knew that if I took care of my hair at that point most likely I would be rocking a sky-high fro with waist-length hair. After having my daughter I was prepared, I researched, and decided to transition my heat damaged hair. To transition smoothly (and I say this with caution) as possible there are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind so that your hair will grow in healthy and with its own curl pattern intact.
Stop using chemical relaxers: This is simple. Throw them away, sell them, give them away. Just stay away from the creamy crack! LOL
Stop using any chemical treatments whatsoever: So, when I say chemical treatments I am referring to dye, keratin treatments, Brazilian blowout treatments, etc. Now I know you’re thinking, “what do you mean no dye?” You may see hundreds of naturals with dyed hair. This is true naturals do dye their hair frequently, and they do it every color under the sun. However, this is not during transitioning. During transitioning your previously chemically treated hair is so much more weak and brittle than your new hair. Also, this new hair is just getting settled into some sort of curl pattern it is highly recommended that you stay away from dyes until your fully natural for some time. (We will go into dyes in a future post)
Use protein treatments and deep conditioners frequently to strengthen and fortify your hair: This also is self-explanatory. Your goal is to make sure your hair is as healthy as possible during this period so your will not only see growth but also optimal results.
NO HEAT: Girl take those blow dryers (or blow fryers as I like to call them), flat irons, pressing combs, curlers and throw them in a box and put them into your closet until further notice. Once you achieve natural hair you can decide how often you want to straighten your hair or if you even want to. However, during transitioning no matter how tempting it may be you should not put heat on your hair. It is just defeating your purpose and it is easy to burn new natural hair.
Trim consistently: As your natural roots prosper and grow you will notice that the chemically treated hair is much thinner and brittle. This is because it is severely damaged. When transitioning you should trim your hair at whatever interval you feel comfortable with until this hair is completely gone.
Wear protective styles: You may be looking at your hair with its starkly different hair patterns and textures and think, “What did I get myself into!” Don’t get discouraged. Every natural you ever stalked (I’m guilty of this) or liked on Instagram, had this thought. The key is to start experimenting with protective styles to keep your hair protected and blended until you can achieve those perfect twist outs and wash and gos we all covet. My go-to during this period was a good braid out. I would wash, condition, and moisturize my hair then separate and braid my hair into 8-10 plaits wear this in ponytail or updo for about a week or so then un-braid a few inches and add permrods and take down after a night and rock this for 4 days. I loved them! There so many different protective styles, and the summer is the perfect time to try them all. Box braids, Havana or sengalese twists, faux locks, French braids, flat twists, crochet styles, etc. I recommend looking online at various natural hair Instagram accounts to find your new go-to.
(here are a few of my faves: @braidsgang, @healthy_hair_journey, @curlfluence, @berrycurly, @bignaturalhair, @onmylevelchey, @curldaze, @naturallyshesdope )
If this posts helps you to make your choice to join the movement I am ecstatic to be of help and welcome you to the movement. If you are happy relaxed and are just reading to get a sense of the options I applaud you also. I think we all are beautiful, no matter if you're relaxed or natural your hair is your hair girl. Rock it, Love it, and Relish in your beauty!!! We are a thing to behold and your crown is yours… 😊