One of the questions I’m asked most often is how I was able to do such a long transition. For me it was a fairly easy transition once I learned to handle my two textures. Here is a “how to transition” rundown of things to consider. I hope it helps!
Decide to go back to natural hair:
Definitely step one. Is natural hair really the move for you?
Some things to consider:
- Do you really want to have natural hair and why?
- What are your hair goals?
Determine on your Transition Length:
I chose 2 years as my transition time because I knew my hair would be at or almost at a length where I could easily pull it back in a bun.
Some things to consider:
- How long do you want your hair to be when you finally BC?
- How dedicated are you to dealing with a potentially frustrating hair experience?
Choose your Transition Mode:
Some modes to consider:
- Weaves, with your hair braided underneath
- Wigs, with your hair braided underneath
- Extensions/Braids, using your hair and added hair
- Your hair alone, without added hair, using styles to blend the two textures.
(For purposes of this article, I will only be discussing transitioning with your own hair, as that is what I have experience with.)
When choosing your transition mode – Some things to consider:
- Do you want to deal with my hair on a daily basis?
- How often will you want to snip away permed ends?
- How long do you want your hair to be during your transition?
- How often do you want to style your hair?
- Will you want to rely on your stylist?
- Will you want to find a new stylist?
- How hair savvy are you?
NOTE: When you are transitioning, you are essentially “growing out” your perm. You will have straight (or wavy) hair at the ends, and growing from your scalp will be your naturally textured kinky coily curly hair. The two textures will behave and react differently to your manipulation, products and heat. The line where the two textures meet is called the line of demarcation. The demarcation line is a sensitive area and should be handled with care so as to avoid any breakage.
Pick your Transition Styles
Assuming you’ll be transitioning with your own hair:
You will want your hair to be as uniform as possible during your transition. Meaning, you will want it to be all straight, or all curly. Easiest is all curly.
For my personal transition, I straightened at times during the cold months and wore curly styles during the warm months and most of the time.
Some styles to consider:
- Wash and go
- Dry Twist-out
- Curly Fro 1
- Bantu Knot-Outs
- Flat Twist-Out
- Roller Set
- Rod Set
- Flexi Rod Set
- Curlformer Set
- Flat iron
- Faux Bun
- Messy Side Bun
My personal choices were wash and gos during the first few months and after that braid-outs were my go-to style. I preferred wearing curly styles so that I wouldn’t have to straighten the natural new growth.
Get To Know Your New Growth
What we would normally call our “new growth” is what you will have to get used to calling simply YOUR HAIR. After your transition, when you do your big (or little) chop, you will have all new growth. To make the BC less intimidating it is wise to get to know your new growth during your transition.
Although you will most likely not be able to determine your “hair type” while you still have your permed ends weighing your hair down, you will be able to learn some interesting things about your natural hair.
Some things to notice:
- How does my hair react to water?
- How does my hair react to oils?
- How does my hair react to my current products?
- How does my hair feel (when wet, when dry, when dirty, when thirsty)?
- How quickly does my hair dry?
- How quickly does my hair tangle?
Create Your Regimen
This, to me, is the fun part. With creating a regimen comes a bit of experimentation with products, techniques and timing.
Some things to consider:
- How often will I wash/condition/moisturize?
- How often will I do treatments? (moisture/protein)
- What will I use to moisturize? (how does my hair react?)
- How often will I detangle?
- How much time do I have to devote to my healthy hair practices?
- How much effort do I want to put in to my regimen?
Stick to the Plan (or not!)
After your regimen is set and you’ve decided on your styles, your only job now is to stick to it and last until your predetermined big chop day. The longer your transition, the more time you’ll have to deal with both textures and the higher the natural hair to permed hair ratio becomes.
This requires patience among other things. If it becomes too much for you, you can always BC early, or switch your transition mode to one where you won’t have daily manipulation/styling of your hair.
This is key, for those days when you’re so frustrated with dealing with the two textures on your head that a buzzcut sounds like a good idea. You will want people who are going through the same thing, or have gone through it to discuss things with and share ideas, as well as get advice. Plus, you’ll want a safe place to vent about something as important/trivial as your hair.
Some places to go for support: LHCF, NaturallyCurly, Nappturality, Curly Nikki, And you can always email me!
I hope this helped any transitioners-to-be with making your decision and hopefully now making a more informed one.
Good luck on your journey!