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10 Ways to Make Transitioning to Natural Hair Easier
By Jacqueline Samaroo
Transitioning to natural hair can feel like returning to your roots – literally. There is a sense of wonder at seeing your curls again in all their natural glory. But, there is also some anxiety from having to cope with two very different types of hair while maintaining your sense of style and caring for your new growth.
Here are 10 tips to guide you as you are transitioning to natural hair.
1. Have a style plan.
This will remove some of the stress of styling hair that is one part naturally curly and one part chemically straightened. Here are a few options that help blur the fact that your hair is transitioning.
- Box braids
- Flexi rod curls
- Flat twists
- Twist outs and Bantu knot outs
Remember, too, that you can use hair accessories, such as headbands and scarfs, to cover your new growth. Use buns and Bantu knots to do the opposite – tuck away your straightened ends.
2. Detangle gently.
There is a fragile line of demarcation where your natural hair meets your chemically relaxed hair. You will have to brush and comb with care in order to prevent unnecessary breakage at this point.
3. Moisturize often.
Moisture helps your natural hair stay soft and elastic. It will be less likely to break at that line of demarcation we just mentioned. Using a hydrating and moisturizing conditioner after each shampoo really helps. Of course, regular deep conditioning is a must to give your natural hair all the love it deserves.
4. Avoid heat styling.
If you must use heat, be sure to apply a heat protectant first. And it’s not just heat you should be wary of with your transitioning hair. Avoid texturizers, too. Just like relaxers, they change your natural curl pattern.
5. Nourish your scalp.
Did you know that the strands of your hair are actually dead tissue? The hair follicles inside your scalp are where you will find the living cells of your hair. It’s where all the growing action takes place. That’s plenty good reason to maintain the health of your scalp as you transition to natural hair. Give your scalp a healthy boost with nutrient-rich natural oils for curly hair.
6. Trim regularly.
The best way to limit breakage is by trimming away your damaged ends about every six weeks. It will also help you to slowly get rid of your processed hair as your natural hair grows. Of course, going for the big chop and sporting a TWA for a while is also an option. So, too, is taking the more “clean slate” step of shaving your head. Some women find these two styles go with the idea of starting over as they embrace their natural hair.
7. Pay attention to your hair.
Keep track of the state of your transitioning hair by jotting down important points in your hair journal. Make a note of which products gave good results and which you definitely want to avoid using again. Write down that style plan we talked about at the beginning of the article. Also, note which styles worked well with your hair so you can try them again in the future.
8. Expect shedding.
We lose hairs all the time. Somewhere in the region of 50 to 100 shed hairs a day is actually normal! With transitioning hair, you should expect to see a slight increase in the amount of shed hair. You can keep it to a minimum by detangling carefully, moisturizing, and trimming. Your natural curly tresses will be well worth the effort!
9. Get professional help and advice.
Reach out to the professionals at your hair salon. They will be able to guide you on your journey to beautiful, healthy natural hair. After all, they (most likely) have seen more transitioning hair than you could shake a flexi rod at!
10. Give it time.
“Good things take time.” That’s a very wise mantra to adopt as you go through the process of transitioning to natural hair. Natural hair grows only about half an inch per month – that’s just 6 inches in an entire year, without breakage. Plus, the coils, waves, and kinks of curly hair hide some of that growth and may make it seem to grow slower.
Have you been on your own hair transitioning journey? What was it like? Let us know!