So, you’ve made the decision to go natural, and now you’re wondering what’s next. Or perhaps, you no longer like to relax your hair bone straight and have opted for more texturized/under-processed strands. It could be that you have been transitioning for some time and things are not progressing the way you would like. There are many different ways women can find themselves in a transition. Although their reasons and goals may be very different, some advice can be helpful to everyone battling two or more textures of hair. Here are our top 7 tips to help you get through your transition successfully.
1. Be Patient
I started with this one because it is one of the best pieces of advice you can receive. Patience is key in any hair journey, but especially when you are transitioning. It will take time to learn your hair, along with the techniques and products that work best with it. You cannot expect to suddenly have the hair that your favorite natural hair guru has just because you decided to go natural. Even after you big chop, achieving the length and style you want will take time. There will be some bad days, fighting two textures can be difficult, and detangling can sometimes seem endless. However, if you are patient and work through it all, it will be rewarding in the end.
2. Keep Your Hair Moisturized
Deep condition. Deep condition. Deep condition! Dry hair is more prone to breakage. The line of demarcation, where your natural hair meets your processed hair, is very weak and prone to breakage as well. If you combine these two, you have a recipe for disaster. Well moisturized hair starts with a good deep conditioning session. Make it a priority to find deep conditioners that your hair loves and use them as often as you wash your hair, at the least. After that, find the moisturizers and sealants needed to maintain that moisture between wash days. Be mindful that your different textures may have different moisture needs. So, you’ll have to find out what works best for both.
Extra Tip: This doesn’t mean you have to break the bank buying products. Sometimes, the best moisturizer can be a DIY mix of your favorite conditioner, water and/or aloe vera juice.
3. Protective Style Responsibly
Any small amount of research on healthy hair journeys will emphasize the importance of protective styling. It is important to protect your hair and it can be very helpful in making your transition easier. Yet, done incorrectly, it can be detrimental to your hair’s health. You don’t want styles that put too much tension on your hair or scalp. You want to make sure you can access your hair and don’t leave the style in too long. If you neglect your own hair, it is the opposite of protecting it. Always make sure you maintain your moisture levels, keep your scalp clean, and give you hair breaks in between styles.
4. Stretch Your New Growth
This tip will save you so much time, especially with detangling. Shrinkage of your new curls, kinks, and coils can cause a lot of unexpected issues. After about 12 weeks, I can no longer wash my hair without it being in braided sections. If I forget this fact, detangling will be a nightmare. Stretching your new growth makes your hair easier to work with, detangle, and style. Working in sections can help eliminate this as well. This is one reason many ladies opt to allow their hair to air-dry in twists or braids. It guarantees their new growth will be stretched as a result.
5. Some Breakage Is Inevitable
Don’t let breakage freak you out. As we’ve discussed, the line of demarcation is a weak spot. Experiencing some breakage here is completely normal. As your thicker, stronger strands grow in, some of your weaker, previous processed hair may not be able to hold on any longer. This really isn’t so terrible either since the goal of any transition is to eventually get rid of your weaker, over-processed hair. Your goal should be to simply minimize breakage, making sure it’s not excessive.
6. Experiment With Textured Styles
Low manipulation styles are awesome in general, but especially when transitioning. These styles allow you to blend all of your textures without too much manipulation, which can cause damage. You don’t want to fight your hair by straightening it all the time either, risking heat damage. Textured styles include twist-outs, braid-outs, bantu knot-outs, and roller-sets – all of which can be achieved without the use of heat. These styles allow you to stretch your hair, achieve a uniform look, and give you the ability to maintain your hair until your next wash day without too much manipulation. Plus by the time you have fully transitioned, you will have practiced enough to know exactly which techniques give you the perfect results for your texture.
7. Don’t Big Chop Until You’re Ready
Like many other things in the black hair community, there’s a lot of debate about when you should big chop. Only you can decide when your hair is at the length you will be comfortable with rocking. That’s when you should big chop. Big chopping before that can leave you with regrets and searching for ways to hide your hair simply because you’re not comfortable with it. There are ladies who transition for two years or more so long-term transitions are definitely possible if you are someone who is more comfortable with longer lengths of hair. Especially if you apply these tips to your journey!
These tips are great whether you are transitioning to natural or stretching your relaxer for an extended time. In both instances, you have to learn how to balance working with two different textures. Do you have any more tips for ladies who are transitioning? Leave us a comment below!