Congratulations, you’ve decided to go natural! Now you get to answer one of the most profound questions within the natural hair community: to transition or go for the Big Chop?
If you’re not quite ready to cut your relaxed ends yet, then welcome to the wonderful world of transitioning! Here are a few tips that should help make transitioning to natural hair a bit smoother. You’ve got a bit of work ahead, but I guarantee it’ll be worth it in the end!
Take Your Time!
The first and most important thing to remember when you decide to transition is to take your time. When I say take your time, I’m not saying you must grow out all of your relaxed ends. Rather, take transitioning at your own pace.
This process can be as short as a few months or stretched out for several years, it all depends on YOU. Only you will know when you’re ready to let go of those straight ends. Take the time to learn your curls, love them and cultivate them, and I’m sure you’ll fall in love.
When you transition on your own terms and no one else’s, you may find that you appreciate your coils and want to set them free sooner than you realized!
Journal Your Progress
This is one area that I wish I could go back and do over. Journaling your progress helps you keep focus on your hair goals and makes them tangible. When you first make the decision to transition to natural hair, you’ll began to see curly coils springing from your roots. You can actually journal this growth and let it be your guide as to when you’ll be ready rock them freely!
Take note of your curl pattern, the density and texture of your new curls, and what products work or don’t work. Oh, and take lots of pictures too! You’ll want a visual look back on your journey, so be sure to document all aspects while you’re transitioning.
When you’re transitioning, you will begin to notice rather quickly two prominent hair textures. Now is the time to find styles that will compliment your transitioning tresses. Often times, it is easy to run to a flat iron to try and match the textures, but this can cause undue stress on your newly forming curls.
There are a wide variety of options to help you style your hair as you transition. If you choose to wear your own hair while styling, you can look to styles like two-strand twists, flat twists, straw sets, roller sets, twist or braid outs, buns and other fabulous curly hairstyles!
Just as you can style your own hair, you can also add extensions to achieve these and other looks as well. You’ll always want to be cautious when getting kinky twists or braid extensions since you don’t want the hair pulled too tightly. Many ladies also choose to transition with wigs and weaves as well. Try a curly or kinky type of hair if you want to achieve a more natural look.
Condition, Condition, Condition!
Keeping your hair conditioned is essential as you are transitioning, especially at the line of demarcation, the weak area where your natural and relaxed hair meet. Deep conditioning will help soften your new growth and strengthen your hair, especially if you are still using heat products. The new hair will need lots of moisture and even your relaxed ends can benefit from the extra dose of love. Try adding in a deep conditioning and/or hot oil treatment weekly. If you do this consistently, you should notice a difference for the better in your hair. Deep conditioning should no longer be just a special treat!
While transitioning, remember to keep your relaxed ends trimmed regularly, about every four to six weeks. This will help prevent any splits or damage from traveling up the hair shaft to the new growth. Once you start seeing your beautiful curls shining through, you may even consider doing mini chops to help expedite you being able to rock your natural curls sans relaxed ends.
You can successfully transition to natural hair without doing a Big Chop! Transitioning doesn’t have to be hard, and I hope these tips help to shed a bit of light on the process. As you go through this journey, I’m sure you’ll develop your own tips that make it a little less stressful.
Whether you transition for six months or two years, just remember to keep your ultimate hair goal of being natural in mind. Once fully natural, you’ll be certain to appreciate your natural curls in all their glory! Happy transitioning!