Hello Naturals! I’m back to bring you more steps that should make your transition from relaxed hair to natural hair as easy as possible. There are many blogs, vlogs, websites and books discussing how to go natural. We feel there needs to be a detailed one-stop-shop on how to do this to keep your path successful and positive.
In Transitioning 101 – A Complete Guide To Switching From Relaxer To Natural Hair Part 1, I discussed the first two steps of the process:
Step one – Choosing which path to take for your transition from relaxed to natural.
Step two – Finding resources to assist in your natural hair.
Now we have come to the meat of the matter as we will actually need to start working on a day-to-day regimen for our tresses. I understand that things have a way of growing on you and parting with some things can be such “sweet sorrow”. I’m sorry but it’s time to put down the old products and embrace new ones. The sooner you do this, the easier it will make the process, I promise!
Step Three – Finding the Right Tools and Products For Your Hair.
This may seem like a daunting task even if you have successfully completed steps one and two, reason being that you are often left to figure things out for yourself. How you will know what products to buy? It’s a sure thing though that adjustments have to be made as it can’t be business as usual.
When you are relaxed you may have had a variety of rat tail or fine teeth combs. Oh the pain of trying to detangle dense new growth with one of those! Since your new growth will have a different texture than the straight mane you are accustomed to, these are just not practical.
You will need staples such as a wide teeth comb and preferably a seamless comb* to detangle, a spray bottle filled with water to moisturize as you detangle, and hair ties, ouchless bands* or clips and bobby pins that will assist you in keeping your hair organized and tangle free while you handle it.
Satin or silk scarves and satin bonnets* or satin pillowcases* are also great to have since they protect your hair from mechanical damage as you sleep. The scarves serve a dual purpose since they can double as accessories to create the chic snazzy look when you want to protect your hair from the elements when you are out and about.
You probably already own heat styling tools that you have been using such as hair dryers, curling wands*, flat irons or curling irons*. If you want to ensure the health of your hair during the transition, you will have to cut back considerably on their usage, but used moderately, you can still have a healthy relationship with heat.
We recommend that you allow for time to learn about your hair before resuming use of tools that apply direct heat to your hair. Of course, your hooded dryer* can be of great service to you since you can use it to steam your hair when you deep condition, instead of buying a steamer.
When I first went natural and actually started working with my natural hair about 5 years ago, I had NO clue what products to use. I knew I needed something but I had no idea what to use.
What I didn’t know is that my hair was going to have to go through some changes and for the first year it looked like it was deciding for itself what the heck it wanted to do.
I tried product after product with little to no success in the beginning because I was just picking rubbish off the shelves that said it would make your hair curly (it didn’t).
I was also still using some of the same products I used when I was relaxed and I had already done a BC. I was lost.We don’t want that for you.
There are tons of products out for natural hair, some pricey and some cheap (or affordable if you prefer a more politically correct term) .
As your hair gets used to being treated differently as well as growing naturally it will be up to you to determine which products are best for you and your hair. No matter your hair type or if you decide to BC or do a long term transition, you will need to do these things to maintain healthy hair:
► Cleanse your hair – You can use a shampoo or a cleansing conditioner
► Condition your hair
► Seal your hair – How do you seal your ends?
► Be gentle with your hair
► Moisturize your hair
I don’t care who you are or where you live but you will need to do those five things to keep your hair healthy and happy. Keep your routine simple. Try a product line you have heard good reviews about or ask a natural you trust what they use. Not everyone will have the same results so finding products that work for your hair is where you spend the most time during your transition.
You may be combating symptoms of distressed hair such as dryness, thinning edges, split ends or even over processed hair. Whatever your issue, remember that consistency and patience are the keys to success on this journey.
Remember to give a product a real chance before you decide it is not working for you. One application is usually not enough so give it a week or more for your hair to respond to it. If your hair hates it or tangles up straight after, then ditch it!
Step Four – Accept And Expect Changes
You have to expect changes in you, your family, your friends and even your co-workers as you go through the transitioning process. Changes in your hair, your products and your techniques will more than likely effect changes in your routines, your wallet and your hair accessories. Yes, there will be tons of changes. Expect and accept it.
Some will be good and others may be bad but remember that this is your choice and it is a positive one. The changes you see in others may be their reactions to your going natural.
Some waive it off as nothing big while others may feel the need to express how THEY feel about it. The holidays are here and some family members may express their disdain for it but you can prepare for this by learning 7 Tips On Handling Holiday Negativity Aimed At Your Natural Hair.
Your hair will be going through changes so the products you initially find that work now or worked perfectly some time ago may not work very well after a few weeks, months or even years! It’s OK and to be expected. Your hair’s needs may change for the season, as colder climates tend to be dryer.
Just remember not to sweat the small stuff or feel you are losing the battle. These changes are expected so roll with them and embrace them as part of building a relationship with your hair. The sooner you do this the sooner you will be able to assess the essentials needed for hair growth and maintenance.
Step Five – Have Patience
Having patience is so vital in ensuring the transition remains a positive and productive experience. This transition will not happen overnight nor will you figure your hair out within a week or even a month. Be patient with your hair and its growth and do not forget this is a lifestyle change that takes time to master.
No one is perfect and if you falter do not beat yourself up over it. Dust yourself off and get back up on the natural hair path or take a break from it with a protective style and come back later. Whatever you do, remember to have patience with yourself and others during your transition.