How To Transition To Natural Hair
More than ever, women of African descent are embracing their natural hair texture and transitioning away from relaxers.
I’m all about anything natural – food, beauty products, and especially hair. Natural hair is beautiful and the exact look is unique for every woman, depending on how the hair is styled. Unfortunately, many are reluctant to end chemical treatments because of the transition period – an awkward stage of different textures. The simplest technique is to simply chop all of the relaxed/permed hair off and let new growth come through. This is a bit daunting though, so here are some less drastic tips.
One of the main things that slows down transition periods is further damage and breakage. The point where the natural root meets the processed part of the shaft is particularly vulnerable, so avoid ironing out the roots as an attempt to blend them in. Your hair is delicate, so ensure you’re being as gentle as possible and take the time to use hydrating masks to moisturize. With that being said, don’t waste your money on expensive products promising to revert damage and deliver smooth curls quickly – they won’t work. There’s no miracle here, and you’ll likely end up damaging your hair further. Using natural products with minimal ingredients is ideal, since the goal is to avoid chemicals going forward. Gently massaging coconut oil into the scalp and length of your hair will help nourish your strands.
Make sure you’re using the first couple months of your transition to develop good habits to protect your hair. Sleeping with satin or silk pillowcases is a good start. In the first few months, it’s best to avoid any intense styling (like braids and twists). It might be tempting to smooth away the roots out of sight, but you don’t want to be putting extra stress on the hair.
Just keep going!
You may begin to feel frustrated a few months down the road, when your hair is becoming unmanageable without straightening or styling. This might be a good time to being experimenting with braids to blend the two textures together (it’s much better than using heat). Many women state that they love the Bantu knot out style, as it can create a natural texture for the ends. Check this video out that describes more styles in detail.
Trim, and maintain
Eventually, you’ll feel ready to chop off your ends. Do this when it feels right so that you don’t regret it and have the urge to relax again. Get the basic products to keep hair smooth and glossy throughout this whole process. Shea butter is a classic favorite and has tons of vitamins to moisturize your curls. Jojoba oil and sweet almond oil are other great options to either use as a leave-in or a mask. These products are very helpful during transition but can be used even after you’re done.