The process of going or returning natural typically involves two routes and choices. One can either go the “big chop” route which is the cutting of all the relaxed and processed hair off or the transition route which is the gradual cutting of straightened hair whiles you make room for new growth to come-in. Big Chop seems like the quickest method of going natural but not every woman is confident with having their hair cut super-low. In this case the transitioning method can be a better option.
This route however come with its own complications and frustrations. This is because you have two different textures to deal with; your relaxed ends and the new growth coming in. You have to find a way to care for the new growth without destroying or causing too much breakage because of where the tangles and knots may be formed.
Here are some tips to guide you through the process.
Have a Realistic Expectation
Like already mentioned above, you are going to be dealing with two different textures. Do not therefore expect your new growth to act like your straightened hair. Trust me you will be awfully disappointed if you do. Natural hair is bigger, thicker and kinkier. It is nothing compared to thinner and finer straightened strands. So this is the time where you should try new things and learn more about how to take care of your natural hair and the area where the two textures meet. Having a realistic expectation also means accepting that you might not have the type of curls you envisioned for your hair. You might have had a certain hair type as a child but there is no guarantee that you will have the same hair type and curl pattern during your adulthood. Accept that and learn through it and love your uniqueness.
Choose The Right Styles
Styling is one of the biggest issue you may encounter during this period. People often do not know just what to do to their hair, how to maintain it or style it so that the two textures don’t look like they are struggling on you head. The easiest solution to this problem in terms of styling is to turn to styles that either highlight your natural and curly texture or even better, a hair style that is also protective style making it easier to deal with the different textures. Remember that the best hairstyle you can wear during this phase is the type that will blend your two textures and make your hair look like they are in harmony. Here are some natural hair styles you can try:
- Twist outs
- Braid outs
- Flexi-rods, Perm-rods and roller sets
- Bantu knots outs
Treat Your Hair with Care
Because you are transitioning you have to exercise care in dealing with the part where the natural and relaxed hair meets. The meeting point is where most of the knots take place. Neglecting or applying force to this area will cause your hair to break. Do not apply heat to your hair during this time. An attempt to blend the textures through flat ironing should be avoided. Try as much as possible to do hair treatments such as protein treatments, oil treatments and deep conditioning treatments to keep your hair strong, healthy and manageable during this time.
Patience is indeed needed in every situation and there is in fact no expectation during your transitioning stage. Your frustrations might stem from trying to deal with two textures or not noticing any substantial new growth. Don’t give up just yet. Your hair actually grows an average of 1/2 an inch per month and curly hair shrinks. This might explain why you may not seem to be experiencing any growth. If you are going to obsess about anything it should be about length but the health of your hair. Be patient focus on doing your part. Everything else will follow.