Once you've decided to go natural, there are two routes that you can choose: the big chop, or transitioning. The big chop refers to cutting off all of your relaxed hair (regardless of the length), while transitioning is the method of going natural and slowly cutting off the relaxed ends as the hair gets longer. If you're not a fan of short cuts and want to cut your relaxed ends off once the natural hair reaches a desirable length, then transitioning is the way to go! But what do you have to do? How exactly do you transition? STOP RELAXING YOUR HAIR Obviously, right? To begin your process, cancel that touch-up appointment and throw that ORS No-Lye down the drain (it honestly makes a really great drain cleaner so if you have a few, you may actually want to hold on to them for unclogging purposes). THROW AWAY THOSE LITTLE COMBS You know those little skinny toothed combs that used to glide right through your relaxed hair? Yeah, get rid of them. Not only will the teeth break off in your natural hair(depending on the quality of it), but they will also cause breakage TO your hair strands as well. The narrowness of the teeth don't give your curls enough room to fit through making detangling virtually impossible. Invest in a great wide toothed comb and even try your hand at finger detangling. USE PRODUCTS THAT WORK WITH BOTH TEXTURES Finding new products is tough, intimidating and can be overwhelming for women who have been using the same set of products for years. However, many transitioners find that products that worked great for their relaxed hair did absolutely nothing for their natural hair once it started to grow in. Hydrating products that provide great slip are your best bet when dealing with two textures. Products such as Hydrate Me Please, Moisture Lock Conditioner, and Moisture Creamare favorites among transitioners. There are also brands that carry lines that specifically cater to transitioning hair. However, if you're pressed to save money there's nothing wrong with using your old set of products on your relaxed hair. MOISTURIZE AND SEAL Keeping your hair properly moisturized during your transition is very important. You'll begin to see that the relaxed ends become very dry and brittle if moisture is not applied to them often. This can cause breakage at the line of demarcation which will cause damage to your natural hair strands as well. Deep condition the hair weekly (if possible) for at least 15 minutes at a time. If you're not able to actually deep condition the hair because it's in a protective style, you can do a deep treatment using products for the HMP Moisture & Growth Bundle. Just apply a liberal amount of product to the hair (don't saturate the hair, though), apply the HMP conditioning capand sit under a dryer for 15-20 minutes. Once you're done, blot out any excess product with a t-shirt or hair towel. Follow up with a moisturizer or leave-in of your choice and seal with a carrier oil (coconut, olive, castor, etc.) in order to lock the moisture into the strands. DON'T FORGET THE PROTEIN The fragility of the relaxed hair may cause some breakage along the way. Prevent this by using products that contain protein and doing a protein treatment every 4-6 months or so. Maintaining a balance between moisture and protein is essential to reducing breakage and keeping the hair in the healthiest state possible. STOP HEAT STYLING You'll have the itch and the urge to straighten your hair all of the time because that's what you're used to. Sometimes, you'll become frustrated with the fact that your hair didn't come out the way you wanted it and think that heat styling your way through your transition will be the easiest thing. Don't do it. Heat styling your hair will cause damage, no matter how much heat protectant you use. The process of straightening the curl by using heat breaks down the bonds in the hair and will always cause damage, even if it's just a small amount. If you really want a straight look, try stretching the hair with a heatless method and doing Curlformers, a roller set or a rod set. WEAR PROTECTIVE STYLES While you're transitioning, protective styles will be your best friends. Buns, braids, twists, faux locs and etc. are some of the many ways you can style your hair in order to cut down on over manipulation. Protective styles will prevent the amount of breakage that you experience in addition to keeping the moisture locked into the hair for a longer duration of time. KNOW WHEN IT'S TIME TO TRIM Since you're cutting off your relaxed hair anyway, it's best to know what signs indicate that you need a trim. Usually when you notice that it's becoming increasingly more difficult to detangle your relaxed ends, it's time for a trim. Some women do the typical 2- 3 inches at time, which may work for some, but not for others. BE PATIENT There are going to be days where you just want to give up and there are days that no matter what you do, your hair just won't listen to you. Transitioning is a challenging journey and the road won't be easy but the big, luscious hair that you've always dreamed about having will be worth it. Find some other ladies who are transitioning and share your tips, tricks and aggravations. Research some new styles to try, massage your scalp and be patient with your hair and your journey. Transitioning will be challenging, but you will find that you will grow and learn so many things not only about your hair, but about your overall self.
What are some questions that you have about transitioning?