What is transitioning?
Transitioning refers to returning to your natural hair texture from your chemically straightened one.
If you've recently decided to make the move, then welcome aboard this voyage! Yes, you shall get sea-sick...you might even want to abort ship! Trust me, the waters can get rough...and many nights you may not see the shore! *Okay enough of this metaphor already, this is haircare, not poetry Tabitha. Focus.*
But actually, CONGRATULATIONS on your decision!! Let's walk this journey together. I'll share what I know based on my experience and we can bounce ideas off each other.
1. Keep Your Hair Moisturized
For those of us who've had relaxers, we know the pain of handling two textures - that's what prompts us to get fresh relaxers anyway! The only way to survive this two-textured phase, without hiding under a beanie or head scarf for six months (summer heat not relenting), is to moisturize. Make sure that you spritz your hair daily with some good quality diluted leave-in conditioner or a mix of water, aloe vera juice, rose water and conditioner. Don't forget to deep condition your hair once a week.
2. Choose Your Products Wisely But Don't Get Obsessed!
I've come to learn that products do not grow your hair, TLC does. When I first went natural, I used the Keracare Line for everything (Shampoo, Conditioner, Deep Conditioner...EVERYTHING!). In retrospect, I would advise against too much product use. I would deep condition with a mixture of 2 tblspns mayo, 2 tblspns olive oil, 1/4 cup aloevera juice and 1/2 cup good quality conditioner (eg. Pantene, ORS) once a week.
Remember: Hair products DO NOT grow your hair, good maintenance practices do!!
3. Pay Attention To Your Line Of Demarcation!
The line of demarcation refers to the point between our natural hair and our relaxed hair. For those of us with 4C hair, (see hair typing chart below) our hair is particularly prone to breakage while transitioning because our relaxed hair is the complete opposite of our relaxed hair.
If you decide to transition for a long time, it is especially crucial that you moisturize the line of demarcation, or else you shall end up with a hole in the back of your hair like I did, because all your relaxed hair is falling out. True Story.
4. Wear Protective Styles!
Protective styles are hairstyles that protect our hair from damage caused by the elements (too much sun, rain, snow) and mechanical damage (too much combing, heat, manipulation). As a natural, protective styles are the secret to length retention and thickness. If you are transitioning, I would highly recommend protective styling as a way to ease into natural haircare without going crazy! Low manipulation styles that favor both textures such as braid outs and twist outs are best. These will better mask the different textures, and also ensure that you don't comb your hair incessantly.
This was my first braid out. (Circa 2011). It didn't turn out perfectly, but that's part of the fun right? We're learning to take care of our own hair, so there are bound to be rough waters! (Okay, that was the last reference to the metaphor, I promise!)
You might even learn how to braid your own hair, like I did.
I even did yarn locs. I learnt how to do them from BlackOnyx77. Feel free to refer to tutorials by other YouTubers as well.
5. Have Realistic Expectations And Be Patient!!
Ladies, if you are like me, then you would preferably like to reach your goals overnight! Oh how I struggle with patience! Sigh!
Natural hair teaches you lots of patience though! Look at me, still tending for my hair 4+ years later. I never would have imagined I would last this long with natural hair. Trust me, with time, it will all pay off!
Happy Hump Day Sweetheart!!
I smell the weekend, do you?