Tips For Transitioners

Hey TNC Fam!  🙂

There are a lot of ladies out there who have taken the plunge and made the decision to go natural.  I’m sure you have a lot questions regarding the transitioning process, what to expect and how to handle the hair fiascos that will have you on the verge of smacking a relaxer in your hair (don’t worry…the hair fiascos are sure to come). I’d like to share with you some helpful tips that I learned throughout my transition that made the process a lot easier and enjoyable.

Create and stick to a healthy hair regimen.  If you’ve made the decision to go natural, you should definitely consider building and sticking to a healthy hair regimen.  While in the transitioning phase, it’s a great idea to experiment with different products to determine what works best for your hair.  Create a hair regimen and incorporate those “holy grail” or “staple” products that your hair loves.  Be consistent with your regimen and make adjustments as necessary.  Consistency is key.  You can’t expect a smooth transition to natural healthy hair if you don’t make the time to care for your hair.  A few months prior to transitioning to natural I built a solid hair care regimen that I stuck to faithfully.  I prepoo, wash or cowash, deep condition and style my hair once a week.  Throughout the week I moisturize and seal as needed.  My weekly routine has pretty much stayed the same.  I may experiment with different styles, products and techniques at times, but the regimen stays the same.  If you have not yet narrowed down the products and techniques that work best for you, I highly recommend you get started and create a simple regimen.

Be patient, passionate and love your hair. So you decide to go natural and begin to research natural hair; diving into the endless amount of natural hair YouTube videos, natural hair blogs and products.  You immediately fall in love with tons of beautiful, thick, mid-back length curls.  It’s absolutely great to have natural hair inspirations, but understand that your hair IS NOT exactly like their hair.  No two heads of hair are EXACTLY alike (in my opinion). Some hair grows fast while some doesn’t grow as fast.  Some hair has extremely defined ringlets and curls while some has no curl pattern at all.  Some hair is very coarse, thick and full while some is thin and fine.  LOVE THE HAIR THAT’S GROWING OUT OF YOUR HEAD REGARDLESS OF ITS LENGTH, TEXTURE, ETC.! Natural hair is so diverse and comes in many different shapes, textures, colors and lengths.  If you don’t embrace and love the hair that is growing out of your scalp; whether it be wavy, kinky or damn near straight; you will not be successful in your natural hair journey. You’ll be too busy comparing your to others instead of focusing on your hair and its potential. Embracing and loving your hair texture is extremely important throughout your journey. You may not have those extremely long, defined curls that you fell in love with, but your hair has the potential to be just as fabulous, healthy and long.

Be patient with your hair. You will have some tough days throughout your transition that may have you throwing up your hands and saying “F*&@ it!”, but stay focused on your ultimate goal. Hair takes time to grow and it takes time to revive and rejuvenate damaged hair. As many say, “A watched pot never boils”. So, learn to be patient with your hair and its progress.

Minimize the use of heat.Transitioning hair is very fragile and repeated use of heat will only cause breakage and damage. Go easy on the heat or eliminate it all together. Your hair will thank you for it.

Deep condition.  While transitioning to natural you should make it a habit to deep condition your hair regularly, whether it be weekly or biweekly. It is vital to keep your hair strong, moisturized and as healthy as possible to avoid major breakage at the demarcation line of your hair strands.  The demarcation line is the point at which your new growth, a.k.a natural hair, meets your relaxed hair.  This area of your hair is very fragile and prone to major breakage due to its delicate state.  Deep conditioning can definitely reduce the breakage and maintain the overall health and manageability of your two textures of hair.  I am a firm believer of deep conditioning regularly.

Be Gentle.  As your natural hair begins to grow out you will definitely notice a difference in its manageability. Due to the two different textures, your hair tangles a lot easier and detangling sessions can be a pain in the butt.   Be extremely careful while washing, detangling and styling your hair. Take your time and be patient while working with your hair.  This will greatly reduce or outright eliminate breakage caused by manipulating the hair. The unnecessary tugging or pulling on the hair strands can, of course, lead to breakage at the demarcation line. Although it can be time consuming, try finger detangling or detangling in small sections.  Trust me it’s worth the time.

Trim your ends. Trimming your hair frequently will speed up the transitioning process and lead you closer to your goal of 100% natural hair.  There is no need to hang on to any split, dry, unhealthy ends, so trim them off and trim them frequently.  Not only will it shorten your transitioning phase, but it will also leave you with more manageable hair and healthy ends.

Think outside of the box. Now is the time to think outside of the box when it comes to styling your transitioning hair. Experiment with different hairstyles.  Constantly straightening your transitioning hair to blend the two textures can cause major breakage at the demarcation line and possibly end in heat damage.   Try to lay off of the heat and experiment with natural hairstyles such as braid outs, twist outs, bantu knots and mini-twists to blend the two textures. Protective styling is a great option as well.  Low manipulation/protective styles such as kinky twists, flexi rod sets, flat twists, braids, etc. are great hairstyle options.  Not only do they protect your hair and minimize the amount of manipulation, they also promote growth.  Find your go-to transitioning style that is low maintenance and long-lasting.

Here are a few of the products and techniques that really helped me throughout my transition:

  • detangling with water/aloe vera juice mixture (this is such a simple,  natural and healthy detangler);
  • washing, deep conditioning and styling my hair in sections;
  • deep conditioning my hair weekly;
  • wearing flexi rod sets and senegalese twists as a low manipulation/protective style; and
  • eliminating the use of direct heat on my hair.

I hope this helps!

Did you transition or are you currently transitioning to natural hair?  Please share your tips!

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4 thoughts on “Tips For Transitioners

  1. So I’ve been waiting on a post like this!

    I’m almost 8 months post-relaxer, and I still haven’t nailed a hair regimen. I’m still very much in the process of trying out new products and trying to see what works for me. Back in my relaxed days, I could be lazy and skip a wash or just go to sleep with my hair all over my head and it’s back to normal the next day. Now that I’m transitioning, it’s not that easy. I’m definitely noticing growth, but it would probably be a smoother process once I develop a sure routine!

    Being patient with my hair has been one of my biggest challenges on the hair journey thus far. I was definitely spoiled by the relaxer and semi-regular trips to the hair salon. Now that I have to actually DEAL with my hair it’s been a experience. Some days I am elated with my process…and other days I want to chop it all off.

    I minimized heat to the point where I rarely (if ever) use it. I haven’t used a flat iron since 4 months post-relaxer….BUT when I get my ends clipped (every 2-3 months), I plan to go to the Dominicans to get blown out until all of the relaxed ends are gone. Hopefully my curl pattern won’t be affected.

    As I mentioned before, I’m still trying to figure out what works for me, but so far I’ve worn styles such as bantu knots, flexi-rods, and weaves. I plan to get Senagelese twists by the summer.

    Glad that I have Naturalista Chronicles to help me through this process since I plan to do a slow transition 🙂

    • I already knew you were waiting on this one and I’m glad it was helpful!

      You have been doing a great job so far. As you mentioned, you may definitely want to develop a hair regimen. It doesn’t have to be elaborate at all. Start by setting aside one day a week where delegate a few hours to pampering your hair. Take this time to wash, deep condition and style your hair. Try to stick with a style that lasts a few days and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. What’s a couple of hours out of your week? 🙂

      You’ve really stepped outside of the box when it comes to styling. I LOVE your high bun with the marley hair. I can’t wait until my hair is long enough for that style! You’ve been doing great, Boo. Keep it up and you’ll be 100% natural in no time!

  2. Thanks for this post. I am 17 weeks post relaxer and I am so frustrated with the texture. I don’t have that bad of texture it’s just I am so used to straight roots that Some days I am contemplating going back to the relaxer. But I really want to go natural. There just isn’t a lot of info for transitioners cause most people have made their transition already and I find a lot of stuff for naturals. I am still trying to find the right products and some of the products I have I am not fond of but I gotta use them up cause I spent the money on them. My biggest problem is detangling and being gentle mostly cause of the frustration of the two textures. I just feel like I can’t do anything with it. Plus I workout regularly so styles don’t last very long. Ugh it is just so frustrating. I wish I never got a relaxer in the first place. I don’t put heat on it at all but am tempted to press the roots but then what’s the point when I workout almost everyday. The biggest problem I have is I can’t were braids or weaves because they always thin out my edges and am trying to grow them back. and it’s only been 17 weeks. I just were high buns or two low buns with a hat or scarf. Sorry for ranting I am just frustrated.

    • You are very welcome and we all need to rant sometimes! Lol

      Turst me, I know exactly how you are feeling. Your natural hair and roots will definitely take some getting use to. That’s why I suggest styles that blend the two textures to avoid the temptation to straighten your hair. Working out and maintaining that style can also be a hassle. Banding works for my hair when it comes to working out since my hair isn’t quite long enough to do a bun. I simply create about 3-4 ponytails on my head with a few scrunchies (I know I look crazy but it’s all about getting my workout in!). This seems to keep my style intact while I’m working out and sweating. Once I’m done working out I allow my hair to dry in the ponytails, undo the ponytails, give it a good shake and my style is still intact. The high/low buns are great options too, so, if they are working for you then stick with it!

      Also you may definitely want to be a little more patient with your hair. Detangling was a BEAST for me…until I discovered aloe vera juice. I mix equal amounts of aloe vera juice and water and saturate my hair with the mixture. It helps loosen up the tangles a lot. Use a wide tooth comb and gently detangle from the ends up to the roots. Also, when detangling section your hair into small sections and detangle one section at a time. This may be time consuming but it worked for me.

      I hope this helps and good luck with your hair journey! Hit me up if you have any questions, etc.!

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