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July 24, 2013

Transitioning to Natural Hair?- A Tip for Your Sanity.

How to Prevent “Overwhelm” when Transitioning to Natural Hair
by aJwitaFrO

Story time. You're tinkering along in your natural journey, and all of a sudden you find yourself completely overwhelmed and clueless. You thought you had it all together-- the daunting volumes of information, tutorials, product reviews, ingredients to avoid... you knew it wouldn't be easy, but you felt prepared. Then slowly, out of nowhere, little things that you didn’t expect start popping into the picture, gradually, things start piling up and you find yourself in a position where you literally just feel like QUITTING. Sound familiar?



You're not alone. There were times in my natural journey that I felt the same way... I had watched (and re-watched) so many YouTube videos and read so many blogs that I thought I was well equipped with all the knowledge I needed to take care of my hair and style it properly. Unfortunately, I found myself clueless on the day to day care... which is a very important piece! I would rely on the simplest styles like puffs and braids because I had NO CLUE how to do anything else. I felt lost. At one point, I had my hair braided so that I wouldn’t have to deal with it on a daily, but because I have such a fine natural hair texture, I experienced severe breakage and tangling. I couldn't even get protective styling right!

Read On>>>



So one day, I decided that I was going to challenge my hair again. I was determined to learn my hair so that I could wear versatile styles and be comfortable with other things aside from just “puffs” and braids. I started experimenting with my hair and I created a very amateur process for my wash n gos. I would literally wash my hair everyday with shampoo and conditioner, come out of the shower with beautiful curls and not put ANY product in my hair because I didn’t want to ruin the curls. Well, I’m sure you know how this story ends... my hair became very dry and brittle. I thought, 'there must be a better way!' That’s when I discovered the use of gel for curl definition and started working on perfecting my wash n gos. At this point, I’m sure you’re wondering, how this relates to the topic of the post. The point is that I was seriously overwhelmed and at an utter loss of solutions for my hair. I decided that I was going to commit to the process of learning my hair and I took BABY STEPS to learn new things and become an “expert” at styling. Trial and error.

In my experiences, I’ve learned some key things that will hopefully keep you from becoming “overwhelmed”:

1. Commit to the process: No matter what, you must always remember and reflect on the reasons why you went (or are going) natural in the first place. This will get your through the difficult times.

2. Start with where you're at: At one point in my hair journey, I was totally overwhelmed... too many Youtube videos! I was watching them all the time. I was at one stage of my hair journey, but I was watching videos for styles and tips from people who were at a completely different point in theirs. Take your time and ease in slowly.

If you have a TWA, instead of watching videos of people who have waist length hair, you’ll want to find videos that you can relate to, learn from, and apply the knowledge right away. The same thing goes for your hair type and texture. I love watching girls with type 3 curls, but I’m a type 4 so a lot of the products and styling techniques they use might not necessarily work for me. They’re lovely to watch, but if you’re at a loss for what to do with your hair, you need to find people you can relate to in terms of your hair type.

3. Buy your staple products: Again, find people who have a similar hair type and texture as yours and see what they use as staple products on their hair. To avoid product junkie-ism, purchase one of each product at a time (eg, 1 shampoo, 1 conditioner, 1 leave in, etc..).  Work with those products and learn how they react with your hair before you decide to buy something else. Trial, error, and repeat if necessary!

4. Focus on mastering one style at a time: As I was illustrating above, the first “style” I really learned to master was the wash n go. I did that style until I was confident that I had it down, the styling, AND the maintenance of the style. From there, I moved on to other styles and I even learned how to install my own extensions and weaves. Yes, it gets boring doing the same styles over and over again, but there’s no better way to master a style. Natural hair can be very unpredictable, but learning a style can help you predict how your hair will turn out.

By now, you should be starting to see a pattern, taking BABY STEPS and doing things one at a time. Some people are naturally gifted when it comes to their hair. Even if they’ve been relaxed for decades, they can transition back to their natural hair texture and they can easily find styles and products that work for them. For the rest of us, it takes time before we know our hair and what works and what doesn’t work. Be patient in this process, and if you stay committed and take baby steps, you WILL get better and you’ll eventually be comfortable with your hair.

One of the most important pieces of advice I can offer to prevent from overwhelm is to limit the amount of learning that you do and the information that you take in. Ever heard of 'information overload'? Well it's real! A lot of people spend hours watching YouTube tutorials, hair videos, and reading blogs which is great, but once you leave the computer, a lot of that information hasn’t really sunk in so you just have tons of bits and pieces of different information and you haven’t learned how to put it all together. Try and master the things you learn from each video and article instead of just consuming hours of information and not doing anything with it. It’s not the amount of time you spend on the web learning that will determine your success. It’s the amount of ACTION you apply with the information you already have.

I would love to get your feedback on this post. Please leave a comment below!

To your successful hair journey,
aJ

22 Chime in!:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post! It was just what I needed to read! You're right, there is tons of information out there on natural hair, and I'm grateful for it, but it can become overwhelming. I've only been transitioning for a couple of months, but in an effort to arm myself with as much information as possible I believe I've reached overload. I've literally started taking notes from different blogs and videos of things that may not be of any use to me now, but at somepoint on the journey I'll be able to use. This way when I come across something that I feel will be helpful, I don't have to worry about forgetting it, it will be there in my handy dandy notebook. This allows me to focus on the things that will help me care for my hair at this stage of transitioning. Thanks so much again for this article, I'll be referring back to it again and again when I feel I've gotten in too deep!

Anonymous said...

This is soooooo true! I haven't had a relaxer since April/May 2008, but my hair has been in braids (extensions and natural) for about 80% of the time. I tried wearing my hair out for a few months starting this past November, and it was an utter disaster! I had no clue what I was doing. I'm slowly learning now, but I still feel like I'm behind the rest of the pack on this whole journey. I guess I was too busy trying things out to notice that most things weren't even working for me. I guess now I know where all of those split ends and knots came from! Thanks for the article!

Redbonegirl97 said...

I am still all over the place not knowing what to do with my hair. Right now I am just washing it braiding it then unbraiding to get the wavy look that lasts about 4-5 days depending on if I sleep crazy. I can't cornrow, I can't do flat twists. I am trying not to fall back into the routine of just getting a relaxer but it hard not to.

Peace, Love and Chocolate
Tiffany

GeorgyPorgi said...

I want to thank you for writing this!!!!! I needed to hear it!!! Not just because I needed the advice because I needed to know that I wasn't alone. I've been natural for about 4 weeks now and I have been sitting in front of my laptop all day everyday just researching. There is sooooo much interesting information on these sites, however it really can get OVERwhelming. I'm already a product junkie and I don't even have enough hair to be one! I just want to figure out a regiman that works for me! And I see that a lot of it, will be trial and error. I appreciate your words and encouragement! : ))

GeorgyPorgi
GeorgyPorgi.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post! This article is definitely what I needed in order to continue on my journey for healthy natural hair! Last night I literally had a dream that I relaxed my hair. I haven't had a relaxer since Feb 2010. I've always had past shoulder length hair so the "big chop" is not an option for me. I'm grateful for all the sites, blogs, videos, etc specifically for natural hair however its overwhelming because I still do not know exactly what I should be doing for my hair at this stage. I'm taking in so much information and cannot digest it all at once. I know I have to be patient with hair and continue to take one day at a time. In the meantime if their are any suggestions on making my process smoother, I would welcome them. Thanks again for this article...it couldn't have come at a better time.

Khaliyah.. said...

Thank you for writing this! I had my last relaxer in March and ii am suffering from losing a lot of hair. Its so refreshing to hear someone encourage you to still do what you want to do no matter what :) So thanks.

Robyn's Nest said...

Love this post! I am almost 9 months into my transition from relaxed -> to -> natural and every day is brand new! I love your advice to stop looking at tutorials from ladies who are at a completely different stage (like 100% natural!) Of course, they are extremely helpful and encouraging for the day I do cut off the remainder of my relaxed ends, but why am I stressing over the fact that my hair doesn't style the same way as theirs (when I am clearly still transitioning!)...that's just pure torture!!! Thanks again!!!

The Journey Continues...
www.robynsnestblog.com

Sarah said...

really good post! and not just for transitioners either. it's a really good reminder to all of us to trust the process and take baby steps. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

OMG! I love this post! Only wish I had read it before when I started my natural journey. I did exactly what is written there, I meant, all the wrong things :-D. Too much youtube videos, too much reading (online and magazines), P-jism and also checked styles of people with different types and lenght of hair. I didn't have a clue how to treat my natural hair and here (I live in Brazil) there is so little information.

Well, the article is still useful for me: I need to master my styles and stick to a routine for at lest 3 months!! I'm so impatient! I try something for a week or two and give up.

Thanks for this wonderful post!!

honeybrown1976 said...

Thank you! I'm newly transitioning and the wealth of information is great; but, it's also overwhelming! I won't bc and I'm planning to long-term transition. So, I have no choice but to take it one day at a time, lol.

Is there anyone out there long-term transitioning starting with hair at BSB length or longer to learn from?

TIA!

Anonymous said...

Thank you!!! I was just on my way to buy a relaxer. I am still at a loss for how to work with my hair. But, it was good to know that I am not the only one to feel this way. I feel empowered to keep trying!! Thanks!!

Angela

Anonymous said...

I have read so many blogs and watched more videos that I am on overload. But I got the message be a master at something concerning your hair before moving on to different styles and or hair products. The end results will be our own individual unique style, I finally got it.

Anonymous said...

This is very helpful. i have been transitioning since Jan and some days can be a challenge. What moisturizer? Should I braid it? Etc. It's just nice to read some do's and dontd

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this posting! I wanted to go natural in 2009 but I felt lost with the information that my natural friends would tell me (totally different stages with their hair.) I recently decided to try again and stick with it this time and your right with the information overload. I am so happy that there are so many beautiful black natural women to learn from but I will have to take it 1 step at a time! I FINALLY GET IT! Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

This is my second attempt to go natural. In June 2009 I decided that I wanted to go natural and I permed in January of 2010. I was so frustrated with the breakage, I went from hair pass my shoulders to hair at my neckline. I am used to having long hair so a BC is not for me (at least I don't think).

I too feel overwhelmed with the loads of information out there. For me this natural journey is to not only promote a healthier head of hair, but I feel it will help in my self esteem. As so many other women have mentioned..I too hide behind my relaxed strands. I don't want to feel like that will define me and make me feel pretty.

So again...I have decided to embark on this journey..I am still trying to learn all the things I need to do for my hair. I never took care of my hair myself so it is indeed a learning experience. My last perm ws in August of 2010...so I am two months into this journey..please pray that I make it...

Anonymous said...

hi im tiara and im 15 and i just started transitioning and right now its not that bad but thank you this really helped me to prepare for the future for when things do get overwhelming for me...but you gave me some motivation that when transitioning gets hard i have to keep trying because this is what i want

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this post! Hi I'm Joyce and I feel just like everyone else who has commented. My last relaxer was in March 2011 and I just feel overwhelmed by the wealth of information that is out there. At this point of my transition, I'm not even sure what my hair type/texture is, hence I'm watching videos of everyone that's natural, with every hair length, texture and type, which doesn't help as stated. At this point, I don't want to do a bc...planning on being a long term transitioner, but that may change. I'm totally committed to the journey...I just need to take it "one day at a time". Personally, my natural hair journey is about having healthier, stronger hair, as well as being an example to my daughter to love the hair that God has blessed her with.

Anonymous said...

Just came across this post. Thanks very much. I too am suffering from information overload. I have lost a lot of hair especially in the back but I have noticed a lot of new healthy growth. I have not seen my natural hair in about 20 years. I really do have to learn how to handle it.

Savery

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. I am fedup with the breakage and slow progress. I was just on the internet looking a what perm I should try out on my hair. I have been natural for 10 months and I still don't want to cut off my relaxed ends but it's been terror dealing with the two textures. I was going to jus perm my hair and start over but I have came so far. I don't think my new growth is as long as one of my friends who has been transitioning about the same time, so I didn't want to cut my relaxed ends off, but that's the thing I shouldn't worry about her hair length or texture, only my own. So I will cut my ends off and get to know my own hair. Thanks for the inspiration, I almost quit.

m.o. said...

Thank you!! this is just what I was looking for!! and it's true, you can spend hours watching helpful videos, but if you aren't taking a action soon enough, you tend to forget a lot of info. Again, thank you!! I have that REALLY THICK hair and is planning on starting to go natural all the way now.Thank you again hun.God bless

mo said...

wonderful.couldn't have said it better myself.

naturalbutterfly said...

Do you have ideas or pics 4 type 4 transitioners? I dont like wearing weaves. Need help!

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