“shrinkage, no doubt, is some form of dark magic”
In recent years, we have seen lots of women and men decide to ditch relaxers and go natural. Even AG baby (Adekunle Gold) caused quite an uproar when he launched his new look last year. He ditched his regular “afro punk” cut for cornrows and braids, which he has been rocking well ever since.
Of course, it is a great thing that we are embracing our natural hair and beauty, but it is not void of struggles and challenges.
Natural hair is mostly defined with terms like: stressful, annoying and time consuming. This is one of the reasons lots of people are yet to join the #teamnaturalista.
One of the many struggles of going natural is how to properly “transition” from relaxed hair to natural hair. Should I get the big chop? Cut it low? Or just grow it out? These are the questions that float through the mind during this stage. This stage requires you battling with your own thoughts and feelings. Weighing out options or advice gotten from friends, acquaintances or YouTube.
What does it mean to transition?
To transition means to embrace the hair that grows directly out of your head, whilst you are outgrowing the other part that has been tampered with chemical products.
Getting the “big chop” seems to scare a lot of people, but it is not the only option to help you transition. There are other options to consider.
It is also pertinent to note that you cannot fully transition without losing the permed part of your hair. You can achieve this by regularly trimming the end of your hair.
Here are easy steps to help you properly transition:
1. Learn about the new hair
Natural hair is broad with many things to learn. There are different types of “fro”, each with their own special needs that requires a special kind of treatment. Learning about these gives you an insight on what to expect.
2. Give yourself time
“I thought going natural means not having to deal with breakage and edge catastrophe?” ,Bisola asked herself, wondering how her hair was breaking so much.
Bisola thought using force to tame her hair would make it easier. She started applying a lot of products to her hair immediately she stopped using relaxers, she thought doing this would make her hair extra soft and easier to control. Yes, she was using the right products but how was she using them? The products ended up making her hair very dry. Hence, she started losing her edges.
Take it easy, natural hair is not something to be tamed. It is meant to be treated with care and the right amount of patience. Allowing yourself to acclimatize and adjust to this new world is very important.
Trim relaxed ends
If you choose not to get a “big chop”, your alternative is cutting off the relaxed ends. Before doing this, you have to be completely sure you have stopped applying a relaxer. To trim off the relaxed ends, you have to point your scissors or clippers to the line of demarcation. The line of demarcation is the point where your natural hair and relaxed hair meet.
Moisturize! Moisturize! Moisturize!
This is a major part of this process. Natural hair needs to be moisturized all the time. This makes the hair soft, less coarse and reduces the amount of breakage.
Switch to protective hairstyles
Protective hairstyles helps in protecting the scalp and edges. If you have been making hairstyles that stresses your scalp, now is the time to ditch them for styles that protects your scalp instead. Find out more about protective hairstyles towards the end of this article.
Condition more, wash less
Most Shampoos have been discovered to contain a certain ingredient called Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. This substance stirips the hair of its natural oil. This explains why your hair is usually dry after washing. It is advisable to reduce the washing and focus more on conditioning. Conditioning nourishes and strengthens the hair shaft to improve elasticity — it makes the hair healthy and smooth.
Skipping this process means subscribing for a hard combing session. As you allow your hair to outgrow the relaxed ends, it becomes thicker and harder to comb. Detangling helps to keep breakage at bay and helps hairs to stay hydrated. You can Detangle by using your fingers to slowly Detangle the knots or use a wide tooth comb or a Detangle brush.
Other tips to note are:
- Getting new hair accessories also helps your transitioning hair look good. You could get a hair band or a hair clip. Anything that makes your hair look good and makes you happy.
- Your hair is going to shed a lot. This is not something to worry about, it is healthy for your hair to shed, as it is shedding off the relaxed part of your hair.
Protective hairstyles perfect for Transitioning hair
Who says you cannot look good while transitioning? You can still make braids and cornrows during this process. Here are some protective hairstyles you can try:
- Bantu knots
- Twist out
- Box braids
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Zay Uthman is a freelance writer with five years of experience in blog content and fiction writing. She is Nigerian but based in Cotonou, Benin Republic. Zay is a certified Google-certified digital marketer and content creator. She is an enthusiast of women empowerment and has severally evangelized the movement. Inclusive in her accomplishments is her founding of Zallure Naturals - a skin/hair care brand. Her interests her reading, writing, traveling and searching for food recipes. She is an innovative, target oriented and resourceful writer. Her skill set and knowledge allow a broad range of writing possibilities across diverse subjects and genres.