Just like every new journey, a natural hair journey requires a series of decisions to be made before being embarked on. Often times, these decisions are usually backed up by adequate research. (See the importance of research in a natural hair journey) You don’t want to start and enter one chance. Trust me, we will all be here to tell you I told you so.
Going natural can be done in two ways.
- Big Chop
In this post, we will discuss the long method of transitioning adequately as well as weigh the pros with the cons.
Transitioning to Natural Hair.
Just as the name implies, transitioning simply means gradually growing out your natural hair while still relaxed. It’s a long and slow process of going natural. For some people that want to start getting familiar with maintaining their natural hair, transitioning is a better way to start. It gives you the chance to practice everything you have learned from your research before starting a natural hair journey. But make no mistake, it is also a lot of work so you need to be adequately prepared for it as you will bedealing with two textures.
How to Transition to Natural Hair.
Believe it or not, it’s very easy to transition. All you need to do is stop relaxing your hair. It’s as simple as that. If you’re due for a relaxer touch-up, skip it and start treating your relaxed hair like you would with your natural hair. If you just got one, wear your relaxed hair and wait for your natural hair to grow out. But before you start, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- How long do I plan to transition? (3 months, 6 months, 9 months or 18 months. It’s your choice.)
- How do I plan to maintain my transitioning hair?
- What kind of hair regimen would I need to ensure my transitioning journey is smooth?
- How often will I be trimming off my relaxed hair?
- What kind of hairstyles will I be able to wear with my transitioning hair?
When you have adequately answered these questions, then you are ready to start transitioning to natural hair.
The Pros of Transitioning to Natural Hair.
Personally, when I started my natural hair journey, I decided to take the route of transitioning because I thought that I wouldn’t be attractive with a low cut. I couldn’t fathom the idea that I would need to chop off all my hair to go natural. So I stopped relaxing my hair and embarked on a nine-month transitioning journey.
Here are some of the pros of transitioning that I discovered:
- You get familiar with your hair. Believe it or not, a natural hair journey is as serious as any other fitness or weight loss journey. This means that the amount of effort you put in is proportional to the amount of result you will get. But before you can get that long and healthy hair, you need to start from somewhere. Transitioning gives you a starting point.
- You learn more about your hair. For most of us, before now our hair regimens began and ended in the hair salon. But transitioning will require you to start taking care of your hair at home by yourself. This will enable you to know some unique attributes of your natural hair like your curl pattern. All of this knowledge will help you when you become fully natural. Failure to do this will result in severe breakage and subsequent frustration.
- You can easily skip the Teeny Weeny Afro (TWA) stage of your natural hair journey. When done properly, you can skip the first few early stages of short natural hair. This is also called TWA. In fact, I know some people that transitioned for up to two years and came out with a full afro. This means they took their transitioning stage as serious as a proper natural hair journey and the results were fabulous.
The Cons of Transitioning to Natural Hair.
- You have to deal with multiple textures. For a new natural, the biggest con of transitioning is having to deal with multiple textures on their head. This can be very overwhelming, trust me. So you have your relaxed hair and you also have your new natural hair growth popping out. Dealing with these two textures is not exactly easy and will require patience and good techniques.
- Your hair is susceptible to a lot of breakage. Remember that I said that you’re dealing with two textures? Those textures are not friends at all. The more you handle them during your daily or weekly routines, the more they’re likely to break. Already, relaxed hair in its state is weak so while you start a natural hair regimen, you will need to shampoo and deep condition regularly. All of that manipulation can cause breakage.
- Styling can be a challenge. Again you’re dealing with two textures, this means that they both have their unique styling techniques and most styles can’t work for them. But there are exceptions. For transitioning hair, it is advised to embrace curly styles such as perm rods, Bantu knots outs, and flex rods. These styles are particularly unique because they are able to blend the two textures together in a more presentable manner. For protective styles with extensions, you can opt for kinky twists, Marley twists and faux locs.
Tips for Transitioning to Natural Hair successfully.
Now that you’re armed with a decent amount of information on how to transition to natural hair, here are some useful tips that should help you on your journey.
- Create a hair regimen. You need to decide how often you will wash, moisturize and style your hair while transitioning. A hair regimen keeps you accountable. It helps you remember when to maintain your hair.
- Trim regularly. Already your the line of demarcation which separates your natural hair from your relaxed hair is weak. Take some time to trim off your relaxed hair regularly.
- Deep Condition weekly. Frequent deep conditioning particularly in the early days will help soften and strengthen both textures which in turn will reduce breakage.
- Embrace black tea rinses. Still on the subject of breakage, black tea rinses after deep conditioning canhelp a great deal to reduce breakage and excessive shedding caused by the clash of two textures.
- Detangle and comb gently. The earlier you start learning how to detangle and comb your natural hair gently, the better for you.
- Reduce the use of heat. Flat irons, Blowdriers. Anything that will make your textures weak and prone to breakage.
In conclusion, transitioning to natural hair can be a long and frustrating process. It can also be very rewarding. It’s up to you to decide how you want it to go.