I initially decided to go natural because my relaxed hair was super unhealthy, and getting relaxers every couple months was not helping the cause. It seemed like a great idea to embrace my natural kinks and curls—and it was—but going natural came with a whole new set of responsibilities and problems I wasn’t aware of.
I transitioned a whole 2 years before cutting off my relaxed ends, and at least half of that time was spent in trial and error trying out different products, methods, styles, and regimens. I eventually got the hang of it but the first year was a disaster! Considering the time I started my transition, there wasn’t a ton of resources and tutorials available like there are now, so I had to just go for it.
Now that I’ve been natural for quite a few years, there are tons of things I know now that I wish I could go back and tell my younger self. However, there are 3 major things I wish I knew before transitioning to natural.
Dealing with two textures at the same time is no joke
When I was relaxed, I would throw some grease or oil sheen in my hair, quickly run a flat iron* through it, wrap it up when it was time to go to sleep, and then touch it up once or twice during the week. While I was transitioning and dealing with two textures, all of that changed. Not only did I have to give up my beloved grease and petroleum all together, but I discovered the not-so-wonderful occurrence of shrinkage and curl reversion.
Girl, listen. My hair had curly roots and straight ends and it drove me up the wall. I tried to get my relaxed hair to curl—or at least wave—up like my roots and it looked like a hot mess so I decided to keep my hair oiled and pinned up into a frumpy-looking bun; which also proved to be the epitome of a hot mess.
After 3-4 months of pure struggle dealing with my awkward stage of hair growth, 3 inches of type 4a hair with relaxed ends, I finally had my epiphany: just go get some box braids. By the time my box braids were ready to be taken out, I had researched and mastered some very cute and manageable protective styles.