What is the best way to accomplish your transition with the minimum of fuss?
More and more ladies are looking to transition from relaxed to natural hair texture. Whether it’s because you miss your natural texture and wish to wear your hair curly or you have having great difficulties in growing your relaxed hair long, transitioning is a decision that will empower you. Transitioning however, is also more than a little intimidating, how do you do it with the least amount of fuss, not to mention hair breakage?
Well, there is some good news and some bad news. Transitioning can be breakage free, almost, but only under controlled conditions, that’s the good news. The bad news is that some degree of breakage is inevitable.
As your natural texture grows in the line of demarcation (the point that separates the two textures) will be the weakest part of your hair. As you manipulate your hair whether you are detangling or doing any type of styling, this is the point that will most likely break. Depending on your hair type, your line of demarcation will be more obvious and it’s also worth a mention that the curlier your hair is, the weaker your line of demarcation. With 3b and 3c hair, the breakage will be markedly less than with 4a and 4b type hair.
Here are 3 ways to transition:
1. An early big chop: You may decide that you don’t really want to deal with two totally different textures and if you don’t mind having short hair for a while (and you have the shape of face for it!) then this may be the solution for you. Many will balk at the thought of such an extreme change, especially if your relaxed hair was quite long, but you will save yourself a lot of hassle by starting from scratch. You will also save yourself a few bucks on the cost of hair care products for the time you are wearing a TWA (teeny weenie afro)!
2. Transition with ‘hair hiding’ protective styles: Braids, weaves, wigs*, just any style that will keep you from manipulating your hair while it grows out. If you can stand continuously hiding your hair, you can successfully transition with the minimum of breakage. The obvious downside is that you won’t be able to show off your length often without risking breakage, in which case it may not be worth it for you.
3. Blend the two textures: You can use heat to flat iron* your new growth to match the relaxed hair but constant heat is not healthy for black hair, particularly if you are going natural for the sake of healthier hair. If you have 3b and 3c type hair, a roller set can easily blend your two textures without heat but if your hair is 4a or 4b then generally only a flat iron* will get it straight enough to match your relaxed texture. Another way of blending the two textures is to do braid outs, twist outs, bantu knot outs or straw sets to give all your hair a similar curl. The problem with doing this continuously through your transition is the sheer amount of manipulation your hair will experience which as your natural hair grows longer means breakage, breakage, and more breakage!
You may also choose to combine the last two methods until your hair is long enough for you to be comfortable to go ahead with the big chop. Another possibility is to use fab hair accessories to draw attention away from the difference in textures and vary your styles. Headbands*, oversize floral clips and ribbons all look wonderfully chic and you can use them anyway once your transition is over!
Whichever method of transitioning you choose, keeping up with moisture and protein deep conditioning* treatments will ensure that for the most part, your hair remains where it belongs, on your head!