With that said, there are some principles of transitioning that are applicable to any and every woman who chooses to take the journey. Here I’ve summarized those principles into 10 Commandments of Transitioning.
- Love your hair. You will surely see some amazingly beautiful natural hair and think to yourself: "Wow, my hair will never look like that." Maybe it won't. But your hair can be just as healthy and fabulous in its own right. Admire, but don’t envy others and always appreciate the uniqueness of your hair.
- Be protective. When it comes to hair health and length retention, you must protect your hair. We live in an impatient world where we want quick fixes that require minimal discipline. But this is not realistic, particularly when it comes to caring for highly textured hair. Your delicate strands need to be handled with care, wrapped up at night and detangled gently.
- Keep your scalp clean. While you may shampoo your hair less, it is still important to keep your scalp clean. Keeping those pores open and clear will allow stronger hair to grow from them.
- Moisturize. This is a big one.One of the most challenging aspects of transitioning is learning how to keep your hair from drying out. Experiment with sulfate-free shampoos and learn which ingredients promote moisture retention and which do not. Avoid mineral oil unless you fully understand the downside of using it. Occasionally, you should use some type of protein conditioner or treatment as this will help fill in your hair cuticles and retain more moisture. On a daily basis, spray the hair with water and seal the moisture in with a good moisturizer.
- Trim your ends. Naturally, if you are transitioning you will want to cut off the relaxed ends frequently to move closer to your goal of 100% natural hair. Plus, the healthier your ends are, the easier your hair will be to style.
- Minimize heat usage. Particularly at the line of demarcation, where the natural and relaxed hair meet, your hair will be very delicate. Avoid heat damage and keep your hair as strong as possible by using heat sparingly, if at all.
- Deep condition. Particularly when shampooing, you want to impart moisture to your hair in stages. The benefits of deep conditioning can include moisturizing and smoothing damaged hair cuticles. The jury is out as to what truly constitutes deep conditioning and if it really helps to leave the conditioner in for more than five to 10 minutes. For the purposes of this list, it’s important to find an effective conditioner that noticeably softens your hair and prepares it for styling.
- Find a signature style. The only way to figure out your new signature style is to experiment. It will make your life much easier if you have a go-to style that is flattering and reliable in any weather, but still realistic for your hair type and lifestyle. We all like to feel some semblance of control when it comes to our hair, and many of us feel that control goes out the window when we give up relaxers. So, finding a signature style will give you some of that comfort and consistency back.
- Dedicate sufficient time for hair care. Many times, our frustration comes from the fact that we don’t set aside sufficient resources for the things that we want to do. Before you decide to do a long-term transition, take an honest look at everything on your plate and make sure you have the capacity to spend time on your hair. If you really don’t have time to care for it yourself, perhaps it would work better for you to transition with a long-term protective style like braids or weave. Consider all your options and be practical.
- Open your mind. The first time I decided to wear my hair in a bush, I was so worried about what people would think and say. Since then, I've found so much freedom and self-confidence from wearing my hair as big and unruly as I want. Feel free to be open-minded, creative, rebellious, contradictory—whatever you want. Be prepared to roll with the punches and be flexible.