But FIRST, Some Things to Consider:First and foremost, be prepared to deal with ‘naysayers,’ and folks who may not like natural hair and attempt to discourage you from this journey. Your confidence WILL be tested. Most people find that they have been unsuccessful in their transition because they have not educated themselves on how to properly care for their delicate hair. While transitioning you are dealing with two types of hair, and you must learn to care for them both. If you’ve never managed your natural hair before it takes some time to find out what it likes and needs. It’s tempting to copy someone else’s routine, but you will quickly learn that you should try and discover what it is that your own hair likes. If you are also deciding to eliminating direct heat which is best for your hair in transition and in general, and your hair is short, then your styling options are limited. But don’t let that stop you!
(We will discuss this topic in Part II – The Transitions of Transitioning) And lastly, remember, being a bold and proud Naturalista sometimes takes prestige. And if not all there at first, then it begins to grow (like your hair) the more that you nurture and care for your it and yourself.
The Main Event
I’m saying adios to chemicals, so.. now what?!
Well you have a few options:
Option 1: To Big Chop or to BIG CHOP, that is the question:The popular, and dare I say “preferred,” method by a good deal of women that have chosen to transition is to do what is known in the natural world as the “BC,” aka “The Big Chop.” I know it does sound a little discouraging, but listen up! The big chop is by far, the fastest and most simple way to remove a relaxer from your hair completely. There are many women who find it challenging to limit themselves with only a few styling options after a big chop. Based on where you start in transition, this can mean shaving your hair completely off or just trimming it down and rocking an afro or “TWA,” also refereed to as a “Teeny Weeny Afro.” Exploring this option will be a wonderful opportunity for you to start with fresh healthy hair, and the type of new growth you can look forward to as you learn how to treat and care for your new healthier hair texture.
According to Transitioningmovement.com for tip for a Big Choppers –
1) GET REGULAR TRIMS TO GET THROUGH THE “SCAB HAIR PEROID”: The first six-eight months of growth after your chop isn’t your true hair texture just yet (your scalp and follicles are still healing). Get trims regularly and don’t worry about getting a lot of length at the beginning; embrace your sassy new ’do! 2) TRAIN YOUR CURLS: As your true curl pattern grows in, it may not be uniform. Transitioningmovement.com will teach you how to do your hair in styles that train it to grow into more defined S-shaped curls. 3) CO-WASH: To fight extreme dryness, you must co-wash: use a conditioner daily, or as often as you need to, like you would a shampoo. This will break up product buildup and cleanse as it adds intense moisture into your hair.
Option 2: Grow It Out, Grow It Out!Or… Naturally transitioning without having to chop off all of your hair! If you’re uncomfortable with cutting your hair, or even cutting it off that drastically, and still want to work your way into a successful transition, then you can slowly trim off the chemically processed hair and continue to style your hair as usual. This is called, “growing out your relaxer.” If you are serious about transitioning to natural hair you should devise a plan to do so. Hair grows on an average of 1/2 an inch each month depending on most hair-care regimes. Give yourself an understanding of how long you would like your hair to be before cutting off the relaxer.
For example, if you want at minimum of 3 inches of natural hair, plan on the final transition being around 6 months at the least. The best way to measure your progress is to understand where your demarcation is to keep track of your length progression. **The demarcation line is the point where your new growth (natural hair) and relaxed hair meet. This is where you will 9 times out of 10 find that breakage occurs, and is also the reason many people opt to just do a big chop instead. Managing two textures can be brutal. Treat this area with delicate hands, and handle with special care. According to Transitioningmovement.com for tips on “The Long Grow Out,” –
1) STYLE YOUR HAIR WITHOUT LOTS OF HEAT: You’re going to notice lots of breakage during your journey, especially since you’ll be applying a lot of heat to wear your hair straight. But don’t worry, we got you covered here at TM.com. Try roller sets, doobie wraps and hood-dryer styles.
2) LEARN OUR EASY DETANGLING TRICKS: Dealing with two hair textures (new growth and relaxed hair) can be tricky, but we’ll help keep you tangle-free.
*Always detangle in sections
*Always detangle first with your fingers, then a wide-tooth comb, working from ends to roots
3) GET REGULAR TRIMS: The more length you leave past the line of demarcation (where your new growth meets your relaxed hair), the faster it will break from the weight—so trims are a must for you. Give yourself a monthly goal of how long you want your hair to grow. When you meet that goal, go get a trim and treat yourself to something nice!
Option 3: Get Curly Right Now!
Now, did you think chopping it all off, or not chopping off your relaxed hair and being stuck with different hair textures were your sole options?Well, here is your opportunity to think a little outside of the box.
It is the year 20-12 after all. If you have chosen to quit your relaxer and are just so excited to jump right in and embrace your curvaceous heaps of curls, it is possible! In doing so, similar to the “long grow out,” method, you are aiming to grow out your relaxer over a period of time. So, while you may still have two different hair textures to style, the idea of your hair becoming curler and curler as it becomes more adapted to a chemical-free way of life, will be there as a constant reminder as well as a motivator. Curly styles will aid in masking those awkward or drastic texture changes while you are moving through your curly-girl transition. These styles also get you in the mind frame to enjoy the hair that tightly hugs your face and pushes off the shoulders (if it grows southward). Allowing your hair to grow into it’s happy-naturally-curly state gives you a much needed styling break. The more invested you become in your transition, the greater you-yourself will transition into learning how to care and style your stronger and curler texture. Rocking curl-sets reduce the amount of hair that is lost to breakage from day to day handling. Most curly styles last for days and only need to be fluffed and oiled from day to day to preserve the flatter of your curls. With a little more help from Transitioningmovement.com tips for the “Long grow out Curly Girl,” include:
1) TRAIN YOUR HAIR TO CURL: Relaxed hair isn’t easy to hold a curl pattern because its been altered, so you’ll need to try styles that set curls into place. Try two-strand twist, Bantu Knots and Curl Formers.
2) LEARN OUR EASY DETANGLING TRICKS: Dealing with two hair textures (new curly grown and relaxed hair) can be tricky, but we’ll help keep you tangle-free.
* Always detangle in sections
*Always detangle first with your fingers, then a wide-tooth comb, working from ends to roots
3) CO-WASH: To fight extreme dryness, you must co-wash: use a conditioner daily, or as often as you need to, like you would a shampoo. This will break up product build-up and cleanse as it adds intense moisture into your hair.
Option 4: Protective Style Transitioning
Last but not least, and my personally preferred way to transition/transform into a Naturalista, is by the way of protective styling. (click here to read more about effective and fun way to protectively style your hair)
Wearing your hair in a protective style requires that the ends, the oldest and most fragile part of the ends, are usually tucked away and sealed with some kind of moisturizer. When wearing protective styles, you can braid or twist your hair using several different techniques while you are growing out that perm or relaxer.
This is one of the easiest ways of transitioning simply because, if you are a little less zealous in immediately transitioning from not just your relaxer, but perhaps even braids, extensions or weave, you can still use prior methods as your hair is growing into it’s natural texture.
Take it away Transitioningmovement.com, with some helpful tips for the “Protective Styler,” :
1) DON’T CHANGE STYLES TOO OFTEN: We know all the looks you can get during protective styling, but don’t change up too often. You need to find styles you love to wear for six-eight weeks at a time. This will reduce problems with breakage and hair shedding. Try Flat Braids for several weeks, two-strand twists the next few, then some extensions later. Whatever you do, the longer your stick with one style, the less breakage you’ll see.
2) CLARIFY & MOISTURIZE SCALP OFTEN: Since you’re not shampooing as often, your scalp will feel dry and itchy. When you do shampoo, use a clarifying shampoo to remove product build-up without stripping your hair. And ALWAYS moisturize both hair and scalp: Use a leave-in conditioner that doesn’t have any silicones (they’ll weigh your hair down) and lightweight oil on your scalp.
3) WEAR MORE UPDO STYLES: Long extensions move and bend more at the demarcation lines (where new growth meets relaxed hair), plus the weight of braids and twists can weigh on your natural hair. To prevent extreme breakage, learn to wear fun and fabulous updos.
Now that you have a broader spectrum of all the possibilities of transitioning from perm-relaxer to natraully-fantastic, would you consider going Natural?*Stay tuned for Part II “The Transitions of Transitioning,” for what change you can expect from your mane on your Natural Hair Journey in transition!*