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Natural Hair Diaries: Top 10 Transitioning Tips

by Jennifer Hall
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(Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)

Headshot_1_420x280 Jennifer Hall
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So you’ve decided to swear off creamy crack for all eternity and “go natural.” Let the fun begin!

Abandoning chemically relaxed tresses for your natural mane is an adventure. For some it can be easy while others regard it as a test in dedication, however, with the right tips transitioning can be done with very little heartache.

Some people opt for the “big chop.” That’s where you cut the relaxed portion of your hair off completely and rock it short.

This can be a good look for some, while others prefer to grow their relaxer hair out. This timely process varies on the individual. I know fellow naturalistas that completely grew out their relaxer in a year. While it took me around a year and a half to be completely relaxer free.

It is important not to get bored with your hair. If you find it difficult to manage, hang in there and look for creative options to help you curb the stress so you’ll keep your tresses. There is nothing worse than growing your hair out for months and in one emotional moment abandoning your efforts for a fresh application of chemicals—been there done that!

If you’re having trouble sticking with your commitment here are our Top 10 Transitioning Tips!

1. Braids and twist-outs are your friend! When transitioning, it is important to preserve the health of your hair and protective styles like braids and twist-outs are a great option. Consider box braids instead of smaller braids like micro-braids (they often take your hair out). Besides, these two styles are also a great way to get in the habit of wearing natural styles.

2. Limit the use of heat on your hair. While you may choose to camouflage early new growth by flat ironing, it is important to know that the repeated use of heat on your hair is damaging. Instead of using a curling iron for waves and body try hair curlers. Sure you may have to get used to sleeping with a head full of plastic or rubber, but it the long run your hair will thank you for it.

3. Be patient. I cannot stress this enough. I mentioned earlier that it took me a year and a half to be completely natural. Of course I could have cut out my relaxer earlier, but I wanted my hair to be at least to my ears. This was actually the second time I “went natural,” the first time I did the big chop and wore it short for a while, but eventually relaxed it again. So I understand the need for patience. Don’t compare your hair to anyone else’s. Everyone’s hair grows at his or her own pace. Don’t set unrealistic goals of length; take your time and enjoy the journey.

4. Your hair is unique. This is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned, and not just while transitioning. Others will bombard you with natural hair telling what works for them and what you should try on your hair. In a nutshell: some of it will work and some of it won’t. Finding what works for you is about trial and error. Don’t feel bad your friend’s natural super cure is your tresses worst nightmare—and vice versa. Commit to what works for you.

5. Conditioning is key. It is of “muy importante” to condition and detangle your hair while transitioning. Central to changing hairstyles is the health of your hair. Consistent conditioning is a great way to improve and maintain the health of your hair while detangling your locks while conditioning helps prevent knots and tangles.

(Related: Natural Hair Diaries: Why I “Went Natural”)

6. A healthy scalp means healthy hair. While transitioning make sure to keep your scalp clean. Keeping your scalp clear to prevent against hair loss, toxic build-up, and other scalp problems. Most of all routinely cleansing is a great way to stimulate hair growth.

7. Be gentle. This is a time to take special care of your hair. Don’t tug at your crown and when detangling take your time. Remember you will get out what you put in.

8. Say farewell to damaged ends. As your hair grows, take the time to clip any damaged ends. Once your hair is completely natural you will able to clip your ends more infrequently.

9. Take the “fate” of your hair in your hands. Be conscious of your decisions when it comes to your hair. Take the time to read product labels. A good rule of thumb is to avoid hair products with counter-productive agents like sulfates. If you’re not sure about an ingredient look it up. Knowledge is power.

10. It takes commitment. Healthy natural hair doesn’t come by osmosis. You have to stay committed to the process.

These tips will help you on your hair transformation. Remember the journey takes time but with patience and a gentle hand you’ll get there!

Do you have questions about natural hair? Or do you have a transitioning tip that you would like to share? Let us know in the comment section below!

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