If you read my transition story, you know how jacked up I was. Since then I’ve learned a great deal. And realized how much harder I was making my transition on myself. Looking back I’d do a lot of thing different.
If you plan on transitioning from relaxed to natural hair, never lose sight that your relaxed hair and your natural hair are not going to get along. Your relaxed hair is always going to try to traumatize your natural hair. So don’t give it a chance to.
Here are my tips to help make your transition healthier and easier =)
Be realistic– EVERYONE’S HAIR IS DIFFERENT!!!! So spend time with your hair. Have a talk with it. Ask it what it likes and doesn’t like. And listen. Don’t let anyone convince you to do anything to your hair that you aren’t comfy with, be it expediting your transition or trying certain products. Stop looking in magazines trying to imagine what your hair is going to look like. Dont compare your hair to anyone elses.
The one thing that I can say that annoys me the most….is to hear someone say “I want my hair to look like yours”. Granted I appreciate the complement, but at the same time its disheartening because its not the style of my hair (which I’m lazy so don’t count too much styling going on) that they want their hair to look like, but the texture. =(
Take in consideration how long you want to transition.
It can be something as quick as a few months to a few years. It took me approximately 2 years to fully cut off all of my relaxer SMH. The longer you take the greater that chances you have of damaging your natural hair. In other words hanging on to that relaxed hair just to retain length isn’t exactly doing you any good. This is something to think about for the long run. In the event, you decided to transition over a year and using heat, make for 100% sure you are on point with everything else.
Use less heat OR no heat. Heat causes hair to be very weak and breaks easily.
I highly recommend that if you are going to apply heat to your hair to match the two textures, get a really good flat iron and blow dryer (FHI or CHI). Also avoid those cast iron stove hot irons. They are too hot (if not used correctly) and you stand a great chance of ruining your natural hair texture (victim). When I transitioned I pressed my hair out a bunch and to top it off I was using cheap tools….I was using Revlon flat iron and blow dryer. Ok it worked but not really. My hair took forever to press out which meant way too much heat applied to my hair. And then it would fizz up super fast. I later fixed this by purchasing a FHI dryer and FHI platform flat iron. It was a bit of a splurge for me at the time but man I still have the iron. I blew the dryer out when I was in Korea, replaced it and blew it out again in London. Yes, I’m a retard but to this day I stand by FHI. Only because it was easier to get my hands on at the I’m now using a CHI Rocket. I’m currently 1 year 100% heat free and it truly does make a difference. If I ever decided to apply heat to my hair again at the salon, I will be taking my own tools with me to avoid the cast iron.
Oh you will need to find a BOMB straightening shampoo to help relax your curls. I fell in love with Paul Mitchell skinny and Alterna straight (discontinued but if you can find it on EBay, its the truth). Also a good heat protector ( I used one by Altena but I’m not loyal to it).
Trim your ends periodically to get rid of the relaxed hair. Remember to use hair shears and not regular scissors!
How often is really up to you and how fast you want to get to your natural hair. If you’re motivated get a good trim each month. It took me forever, because I was getting trims approximately every 4 months =/. If you don’t mind a long transition 4 months is a good trim cycle. Just take extra special care of your hair as you may notice dry/split ends which are evil (I failed at that). I went to a salon for my trims, which I do recommend while you are transitioning (unless your know what you are doing). But once you’re chemical free, trimming on your own in a piece of cake. Do note: At some point your just going to have to suck it up and do some kind of a chop. For me I had my hair cut short but long enough that I could stay within regulation with the Navy.
Keep your hair moisturized
The point where your natural texture meets your straight hair (also known as “line of demarcation”) is The weakest part of your hair. The last thing you want, is for that are to be dry and brittle. So do whatever regimen you are good with (oil, shea etc. ). Its like when momma kept our scalps greased when we were kids…..
Only comb your roots when it’s when it’s wet. Be sure to use a good conditioner with a lot of slip. Always use a wide tooth comb when detangling your hair and you will have less breakage. Never use a fine tooth comb to detangle.
I found this to be a big challenge since I pressed my hair out often and needed to do those touch ups. What I like about the FHI platform is that you can use it on wet hair. So I could lightly spray a leave in on my hair, detangle, and then run my iron though. (find an iron that allows you to use on wet hair)
Deep conditioning is your new best friend.
Unlike before you will need to deep condition and/or hot oil treatment more often to restore moisture and softness to your hair. While transitioning, you may want to amp that up to once a week. It really depends on your hair as you may be able to get away with going longer
Keep your scalp clean
you can cleanse your scalp anywhere from every two days to every two weeks with sulfate free shampoos, conditioners, leave-ins, and hair moisturizers and always seal your hair with natural oils (castor, coconut, jojoba, avocado). It allows your hair to be much more manageable and healthier looking
Don’t be afraid to try different products. I cannot remember how many products I tried. I promise you it was more than several. In doing so, I know what my hair likes and doesn’t like. For example Glycerin is a humectant, meaning it’s part of the natural moisturizing agent. Though I need a lot of moisture for me it just over saturates my hair and makes it swell up and look super puffy. So I keep away as best as I can. I personally do my very best to avoid products that contain Alcohol, Parabens, Sulfates, Mineral Oils, Petroleum, Synthetic Dyes. But to each its own.
Wear protective hairstyles. Your hair will have less manipulation and that equals less breakage to your fragile hair. Twist outs, braids outs, bantu knots, coils, box braids, sew ins, wigs, Havana/Marley twists, roller sets etc. are the bomb for blending the two textures. Curlformers, flexi rods, rods etc are great for styling your hair also.
Never wear your hair too tight as it hinders proper blood circulation in your scalp for hair growth.
Back in the day, I really should have just sucked it up and had my hair braided or I wish I was hip to wigs then. This way I would have been able to avoid all of the heat I was applying to my hair.
The biggest thing with protective styles is to make sure the style isn’t too tight and not so stressful on your edges or scalp. Keeping that in mind, I’m a big advocate of wigs, box braids or Havana twists. They are so much easier in my opinion as they allow easy removal for cleaning hair and reducing tension on your hair and allowing your hair to breathe.
Protect your hair while sleeping. Use a satin headscarf or a satin Pillowcase. DO NOT use cotton headscarf, they will soak on all the moisture from your hair and leave your hair dry.
If you have a bunch of pillows on your bed like me, just replace your main pillow with a satin case. It’s so worth it. Also get a good satin bonnet. I got mine from ebonnets.com
Pull away from relaxer products – There are certain products that work amazingly for relaxed hair, but you don’t want to use them for your natural hair, UNLESS you know it’s specifically designed to work on both. Since you are transitioning to natural hair, keeping your natural hair is far more important than your relaxed hair so let that stuff go. A lot of products for relaxed hair have ingredients that you want to avoid. Read the ingredients/label on the hair products that you will be using. Some products have harmful ingredients which will damage your natural hair. I highly suggest staying away from are alcohol, parabens, sulfates, mineral Oils, petroleum, synthetic dyes. These ingredients can dry your hair out, ruin color jobs, and cause excessive product build up.
STAY MOTIVATED * STAY MOTIVATED * STAY MOTIVATED * STAY MOTIVATED * STAY MOTIVATED * STAY MOTIVATED * STAY MOTIVATED *
I cannot stress that enough. There’s always going to be someone that has something negative to say. Even those that took the plunged and Big Chopped. Everyone’s journey is their own just try to make it as healthy as possible