by Candace Kelley of The Follicle Chronicles

You’ve thought about it and you are either about to do it or you are right in the middle of it. You are going natural!

You’ve wondered if you have the right hair, face and forehead to do it, but we are sure you have what it takes because it’s your natural hair so it belongs with that face of yours! This is an exciting time where you will discover a new you and more than likely a lot of new products, but don’t become a product junkie! Continue to learn about your hair as you are doing now.

You know you’ll look fantastic, but like those who came before you, introducing others to your new look may take a little work. First things first: Why must you answer everyone’s questions about your hair? It is, after all, your hair. Take the time to educate your family members and those at your workplace who may have a few questions and be grateful that natural hairstyles are all over the place and they are hot!

As you read on, we will give you some tips on what to expect and how to make your transition to natural hair a simple one.

The Big Chop or Relaxer Grow Out?

If you are dramatic, daring and ready for an immediate change, go for the The Big Chop (TBC) and chop off the relaxer. But if you are married to the length of your relaxed hair, then you will need to try hairstyles that suit your relaxed hair and your natural hair. But be forewarned. In all of its kinky curliness, as strong as our hair appears to be, it’s very fragile. More than likely your hair will break at the point where the permed hair joins the natural hair.

You can minimize the breakage by being kind and gentle to your hair. Get rid of those harsh tools in your cabinet! Combs, brushes, ponytail holders. Yikes! Curl Prep is an excellent product that can be used to minimize breakage during this phase. By moisturizing and softening the hair, Curl Prep makes the transition from permed hair to natural much simpler.

Styling Options

Many we have spoken to and interviewed have found that your fingers can be the best “combs” during these stages. And remember, with proper car you hair, will grow ¼ to a ½ an inch a month, so your styling options will increase over time. Just be patient!

And always keep your hair moist with a moisturizer and water. Contrary to popular belief, our hair loves to be fed water.

Here are some styling options. Make sure to moisturize your hair sleep in sink scarf or on a silk pillowcase to avoid breakage.

The Big Chop- It’s sharp, it’s sassy, it’s you. Show the world your face with grace and chop it all off. Everyone including you will be over the shock after a few minutes.

Flat Twists– Hair is twisted in flat pattern. From far away, these twists look like braids but unlike braids they do no hold up well in water. Make sure to wrap your hair at night with this style.

Comb Coils /Twists– Great for short hair. With patience, you can part your hair into small sections and use gentle styling gel to twist hair on a comb or use your finger to twist hair in coils. Take it out after a few days out or it could lock!

Braids – Braid your hair and it will be left alone to grow. Do keep your hair moisturized and your scalp clean or you will damage your hair. Ouch! If it’s too tight, it’s not right. Tell your beautician to go easy. You’re paying for it.

Weave/Natural Look Weave– If properly taken care of, a weave will allow your hair to grow! If you want to get into the groove of a natural look, try natural hair weave. From twists to twist out looking hair, there are many kinky styling options.

Sisterlocks– Sisterlocks can be started with permed or unpermed hair and are permanent. The strands of locked hair look like dread locks but are the size of micro braids. While a lot of scalp can be seen upon first loc, over time it will gradually be covered. Visit http://www.sisterlocks.com for more information.

Wash and Go– That’s right. This will only work on natural hair. No permed ends please. After you wash and properly condition your hair DO NOT TOWEL DRY. This will disturb your natural curl pattern. While the hair is drenched add a humectant like vegetable glycerin. Just use a small amount as too much glycerin can be heavy and will appear greasy. Let your hair air dry and work with fingers. Re-moisten the hair in the morning to play with and form the curl you want.

DO

Use a conditioner

Use a moisturizer everyday (this moisturizer can be water)

Use a ‘No Poo’ Shampoo

Sleep with out a satin cap or pillowcase

Part your hair into sections to comb through after washing

Use a detangler

DO NOT

Use a fine-toothed comb

Press your hair during your transition, it will break off

Use a texturizer, this is a relaxer don’t be fooled

Wear tightly styled braids or weaves

Be afraid of putting water in your hair