August 12, 2013

Transitioning to Natural Hair: Ignoring The Urge To Return to the Lye

by Bennii Blast of The Culture Pine

I often see a lot of transitioners appearing to be at their wits end when they reach that point in their transition, where the call to reach for the box of relaxer is looking like it is about to be answered.

Read On>>>



Although I have surprisingly not had the itch to go back to relaxing yet, I have had this dream, well nightmare, where I accidentally relax my hair. How one accidentally relaxes their hair I do not know, but I remember being pissed in my dreamworld and waking up feeling for my hair to make sure everything was as it should be. That sigh of relief I tell ya…pure madness! It just reminded me of how much work and patience goes into transitioning, and how mad I would be at myself if all that commitment went to waste. It confirmed that going back to the creamy crack is a definite no no for me right now!

Anyways…I wanted to be of aid to those who have reached this point in their transition and may just need some encouragement to keep moving forward with their journey:

#1 Don't spend HOURS looking at photos where you were relaxed
There have been moments where I catch myself looking at old photos and I have to remind myself to keep it moving. If you are experiencing a weak moment, don't torture yourself further by bringing out those old photo's where you were still relaxing. This could stir up emotions you felt at the time of the picture where you may appear happier, and because your hair happens to be relaxed in the picture, you may wrongly connect the two an make an irrational decision. Instead, start collecting new photo's of your transitioning hair (especially when you have successfully pulled of a new style from that YouTube tutorial!) so that you can look to those for encouragement to keep going!

#2 Try an alternative
Instead of making such a drastic change as returning to the use of chemicals, why not try something less permanent such as flat ironing occasionally or roller sets? This may help you to overcome this part of your transition without having to give into that urge!

#3 Reward Yourself!
Transitioning can be a roller coaster of a journey and requires more patience than some of us even knew we were capable of having! So instead of focusing on the negatives, try celebrating the positives by rewarding your accomplishments so far. Acknowledge the efforts you have put in already, and allow yourself that new lipstick you have had your eyes on!

#4 That 'Good Hair' documentary
As cheesy as it sounds, watching this documentary was the kick up the backside I needed to finally start my transition, and I know I'm not alone in that! When you are at a low point, watch the documentary and hopefully it will stir up those emotions that made you want to kick the relaxers out of your life. Remember the coke can? Sheeesh!

#5 Spend time looking at naturals and fellow transitioners
Happiness can be infectious! If you spend some time surfing the web reading the testimonials of those who have been in your shoes and are now completely natural, seeing how happy they are with their decision will no doubt rub off on you and remind you that this thing is not impossible. Collect some pictures of smiling naturals whenever you feel that relaxer urge coming on!

#6 Write a list of all the reasons why you decided to transition
As you get further into your journey, the reasons why you started it in the first place may become blurred along the way. This can make you question whether continuing to go any further with your transition is really necessary. For those times where you feel you may be reaching for that box of chemicals, make a list of all of those reasons that you decided to start transitioning. This will keep your goals fresh in your mind and motivate you in achieving them.

…………..

Feeling like you are ready to go back to relaxing does not make you a terrible transitioner! We all have our weak moments and sometimes just need some encouragement to keep the wheel spinning. At the end of the day, you have to remember that doing what is best for you is what is most important!

Happy Transitioning =)

How do you stay motivated during your transition?

27 Weigh in!:

Kenya V said...

I am almost 6 months into my transition and the other night, I had that nightmare that I relaxed my hair! I don't know where it came from - I don't think about doing so during awake hours at all. In my dream, I relaxed it like it was no big deal to start my transition process all over again. It was pretty scary. I do not miss spending hours held hostage in the salon, waiting on the 5 people in front of me to be finished. I can spend those hours in the comforts of my home, multitasking while the deep conditioner is on my hair - washing clothes, checking CN :), catching up on my DVR! I love it!
Great article & thanks!

Anonymous said...

You know we may talk about the transitioner who may have a hard time and want to go back to the "relaxer" but what about the person who has been natural for over 5 years!????WTH! Hum...you would think that your in the clear but guess what? It could happen! I'll be honest I don't have these thoughts often at this point in my journey but every now and again that CRAZY thought may pop into my head. However, the GOOD NEWS is that I'm able to over come this feeling fairly quickly.

Things I do to overcome this feeling:

1. Tune in to natural website like CurlyNikki to get that much needed ENCOURAGEMENT!
2. Wear a wig, braids, or a weave if that's your thing. At least it beats giving in to relaxing after all of that hard work!
3. As people have said before get pretty hair accessories, scarfs, hats, etc. to spice things up.
4. Talk to other natural that you may know. My daughter and some family members are natural as well. It always help when I talk to them about a "not so happy hair day" because they can relate.

These are some of the things that have gotten me this far (6 years and counting)... I highly doubt if I'll ever go back! :)

Great Alternatives as well Bennii Blast!

Nashira said...

I take pictures of my "new growth" (not all that new anymore) and really admire my curls every time I wash my hair.

Tiffany said...

No Lye! We can always flat iron for a length update and the best part is we can wash right back to Afrocurliness.

Anonymous said...

I'm done with my transitioning, but a few months ago, I had the same nightmare! and I was really pissed in my dream too! the thought of having to start all over...smh.

I never had the desire to go back to relaxing, but I did have the desire to flat iron. for the while, I'm doing a no heat thing, so it was really hard to resist that urge. but then I remembered roller setting. and even though I'm terrible at it, it worked well enough to satisfy the straight urge.

Anonymous said...

This TOO funny. I had an 'accidental perm' nightmare too!! It just shows the intensity of feelings we have about our journeys. I, personally, would never ever EVA go back to perm. I have no desire because I love my hair so much. Even my temptations to flat iron have wained because my hair just doesn't like to be straighted and the results don't last long enough to even bother. :-) Asea

Anonymous said...

Wow. So crazy, because I had the same dream also! It was so surreal that I had to wake up and double check. I was so pissed in the dream because a stylist had "accidentally" relaxed me. It was helpful in remembering how much work I've put in, and how upset i'll be if I give up on my hard work.

Curlyique said...

OMG!!!!

I had my FIRST nightmare about a stylist accidentally relaxing my hair last night!!!Finally, I woke up and I instantly felt for my curls underneath my silk bonnet. My heart was pounding. It was truly a nightmare!

I've been natural for almost 3 months now. I have a TWA and I am soo ready for big hair, however; I am loving every minute of this journey. I will Never ever go back to relaxing my hair.

IrieDiva said...

websites such as this one definitely helps but i think in transitioning whenever i get the thought to relax, i think about the burns im gonna get and the thought is gone just like that. i'm not against heat, if i feel a straight urge i flat iron and be done with it knowing that my curls are only a wash (or a good sweat session) away

Mandi said...

As usual an inspiring post by the Culture Pine =D

LondonGirly said...

I am 6 and a half months post and I also had a relaxer nightmare lol. This is my 2nd (and final) time transitioning to natural. I love natural hair sites like this and BGLH definitely a motivator :)

Anonymous said...

I agree! Even though I have a few pictures of me with relaxed hair that are in frames around the house, I am NOT thinking about going back to a relaxer. I was relaxed from the age of 15 until age 49(mom was reluctant but gave in when my hairstylist talked to her and did it for free)but when the Jerri Curl came out I always wanted to have the ability to switch from straight to curly and now that I am natural, I have that ability and I LOVE IT and I LOVE MY CURLS! I have been natural close to 2 years (late August will be my natural hair anniversary). After MANY viewings of various blogs, YouTubers, I finally got the nerve after my Curlformers 2nd day hair curls failed (probably should have kept the bonnet off) to do my very first blow-out/flat-iron with an excellent results. I kept it for close to a week and now after dampening my hair and using a little Quidad Curl Quenching Moisturizing Styling Gel and sealing with my DIY whipped shea butter, I'm wearing my curls again...in honor of one of the early Whitney Houston curly wig styles. CURLS FOREVER!

African Violet said...

I don't think I've had the "accidental relaxer" dream (at least not yet), but I know that sometime last summer (about five months into my transition), I had a bit of an urge due to fights with the East Coast humidity that always straightened the relaxed ends that had been previously coiled using flexi rods. Luckily I discovered Eco Styler gel in August (way too late, but ah well), and that helped with my feelings of frustration.

What also helped in my frustration was that I had a significant amount of "new growth" by then, and all I could think was, "I will NOT start over!" That's seriously what's been keeping me going. This weekend is when I'll cut off the rest of my relaxed ends, but when I start to feel some kind of way, I just remind myself of the progress I've made thus far and how much it would suck to start over again.

Bennii Blast ♥ said...

Hey Ladies...Happy Valentine's Day to you all!!

I can't believe so many of you have had the relaxer nightmare too! That is so weird lol

@Anon 10.35 those are some great suggestions. I have made it my business to start wearing all these accessories I have collected over the years a lot more.

@Mandi Aww thank you!

@IrieDiva Oh gosh, how could I forget those dreadded burns?! It's funny...those burns killed but yet we still kept going back for more lol

Thank you for responding =)

Dana S. said...

Curly Nikki's Blog and Articles such as this is what keeps me motivated. I love having the option to wear it curly and flat iron if I wish, my hair is healthier and grows just as fast as it did when I was relaxing. My daughter is a natural as well and I want her to embrace the beauty of her kinky,curly hair and for that reason as well I continue my journey of 1 year and 8 mths.
Now I didn't have a dream of relaxing, I actually did it...Yeah I'll admit the creamy crack got to me, this was after my year...I did it....Funny thing the relaxer did not take, I washed it out and there were my curls, my realization it wasn't meant to happen.

Coily Curly Doni said...

Thank you for the article, it was very encouraging as I’m almost a year into my transition (March). This is my 3rd attempt at going natural. The last two times I big chopped but was frustrated due to length.
The 1st go round I texturized and ended up with bone straight hair. After that mistake I marched right in the beauty salon and had my head shaved.

After growing my hair out from that adventure I ended up relaxing my hair last year. The sad thing is I still get some type of curl pattern when I wash that actually holds up when dry, but in my heart I know I am not natural.

What I learned from those experiences is I like length. So this time I plan on transitioning for two years. I understand this is not an easy task. But I’m hoping I will appreciate my coils this time around.

I still get the urge to relax my hair but now I look at pictures of my hair when it was natural. I’m jealous of my own hair.

Currently I rock the he** out of twist outs ☺

toyboxplayground said...

She's much prettier with her fro! :) I personally wouldn't be tempted. I look back at pictures of me when my hair was relaxed and I don't like it. I think it speaks volumes when you can accept who you are, hair and all, and just go with it. Everyone I'm around loves my hair how it is now and it's so much easier to maintain that I would have no reason to go back to the "lye".

Jen @the koi experience said...

Actually I get upset with myself when I look at my relaxed hair pictures because my hair was so thin and lifeless. I allowed other people's opinion of how I looked to determine how my hair looked; that is the only reason I used a relaxer in the first place.
I am sad that I hated my big thick hair and now I'm falling in love with it all over again, this time I know how to take care of it and it looks great!
It has been hard not to BC but I have a few more months left.

Samantha said...

Gaah! I have had dreams where for some reason, my hair accidentally got relaxed. This week, I had a dream that someone at the hair salon didn't like my hairtype, thought my hair was too curly and kinky or wanted to make combing my hair easier and got some relaxer onto it while I was reading something. I woke up and was like, "where's my hair? where's my hair?" Got up looked in the mirror and was like, "it was only just a dream." (I know, I know, song lyrics)

Sometimes, I have that urge to relax my hair again, but I push it aside by saying to myself:
1. Your hair is so unique
2. After all this work, you can't back down!
3. Just try, keep going, you'll be fine, the urge'll stop (and I know it will)

Oh! and a friend (who has relaxed hair) told me that she wishes she had my hair and a salon owner told me that my hair looks way healthier than it did before and she wants to know my secret. Is that motivation or what? (all the nice comments) Now, both my friend and the salon owner are transitioning back to natural! The salon owner has BCed while my friend's long-term transitioning :)

Naturalgirl said...

When I transitioned from relaxed to natural I had about two inches of new growth, and haven't looked back. but now for the last eight months I've let my hair grow out, due to a falling out with my stylist. I got a tip from Nikki on trimming your own hair, and have been doing so for a few months now, and love it. now that I've been doing my own hair it grows faster and better.(in no way am I knocking stylist)but sometimes she would take too much off even when not needed, co-washing every other shampoo has been great for my hair, with just conditioner. and deep conditioning with olive oil then shampooing it out when I wash with shampoo is really good. so to make my hair grow faster, I massage my scalp and use doo gro leave-in hair treatment each wash it really works, it will gro your hair.

Alby said...

You all have provided some great advice and encouragement and for that I'm very grateful. It always better to journey with others. Keeps you encouraged. =)

athall said...

I am over 14 mths post.I have not thought about getting a relaxer since then!I love wash days because can see my curls taking control of the puny relaxed ends. I can't wait to rock my thick natural hair. No more puny hair for me!

Artiqua32 said...

All I can say is I read your article and it perfectly described everything that I have been feeling all the way down to the night mares and dreams. I can see now I'm not the only one who stares at my relaxed pictures wishing I was still ignorant to what I know now. I just want to say thank you! It's encouraging to know that I'm not alone in my struggle and that I can be strong and continue on with my natural hair Journey. I've been relaxer free for a year and 3 months and I had my big chop 8 months ago.

Anonymous said...

LOL This is way too funny!! I haven't had the dream yet maily because I dont sleep :( ( I have 2 young children). Anyway, I'm actually 2 years into my transition but because I wasn't doing what I needed to, the left side of my hair is short and the right side of my hair is long. I'm thinking about doing the big chop also and just starting over again. What I've done to shy away from the creamy crack :) is join a forum like this one, and converse with other women who are transitioning. Also get a group discussion going with my girlfriends here in Maryland who are also going this route. It's helped out sooooo much because we can all talk about our gripes with transitioning but also encourage one another!!! Happy Curling to you all God Bless Lauren Green <3

Toni said...

This is my third transition in a decade. I usually give up as Texas heats up in the summer. I'm not brave enough to BC, but everyday it seems more enticing. Always great to hear some encouraging words for LTT.

Stranger in the Crowd said...

I transitioned for 7 months once and grew my natural hair longer than my permed ends. Yet, I was suckered into getting a relaxer again. worst decision ever. Sure, it was nice and flowing for a while. Shen my hair started to break off... now I'm 3 months into transition again. This time, I'm BC'ing after a year. So long relaxer....

hunnybun said...

I look at photos online and hair journeys of others. Seeing where these women came from and where they are now inspires me. Especially when I feel like my hair is not growing. I also take length check photos of my hair to keep track of my progress because at times it can seem like things just never change.

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