Welcome to ‘Going Back To Natural’, Day 3.
On Day 1, we looked at what hair is, why our African hair is kinky and how relaxers work.
Day 2, I shared my fears about going natural. If you’re just joining us, you can catch up here. 🙂
Now, let’s talk about what happens when you’re ready to face these fears. How do you cross over to experience the kinky curly goodness this girl won’t just shut up about? Here’s how:
You grow out your natural hair. You just decide to stop relaxing your hair and let your kinky hair grow. Gradually, you can chop your relaxed ends off. You can transition for as long as you want, from a few months to 2, 3 years. The idea is to ease you into it, to get you to a length you’re comfortable with. If you feel ready after a month, 6 months or a year, you can chop off all your relaxed ends.
It is also possible to transition to healthy natural hair from hair that’s not relaxed. How? Unrelaxed hair that is heat damaged cannot go back to the way it was before. It’s damaged. No, your hair hasn’t just become “softer” or “looser”. If this is you, you’re also a transitioner, going back to healthy natural curls and coils.
Transitioning can be a little frustrating because you’re dealing with two different textures- your new kinky growth and your relaxed texture. You may be tempted to straighten it with a flat iron to blend in, but give into this temptation one too many times and your new growth will be heat damaged. Yes, damaged as in, you can NEVER go back to your natural curl pattern so that’s back to square one. So please don’t do it, and if you must, don’t over do it. Thank you.
Do you know the demarcation line?
The demarcation line is a fancy name for the point in your hair where your kinky meets the straight. By now, you’re probably wondering who comes up with this terminology, haha.Hmm. Now that I’ve written this, I wonder why it’s called a line. Anyway, regardless of what its called- a line or a point, whatever you like, please note that it is a very fragile potential breaking point so you have to start being careful about your hair,
Transitioning is a good time for you to warm up.
You aren’t just going towards natural hair, I want you to want HEALTHY hair. Where hair is concerned- natural or relaxed, I want health to be the first thing on your mind, the most important factor. So the moment you decide to transition, your healthy hair journey has started. You should start giving your hair good attention, gently nourishing it and only exposing it to products that actually care for its well being. Tomorrow, we’ll be looking at creating your very own hair care regimen and later, how to choose products. 🙂
I started deep conditioning religiously after months of being natural and my hair is SO much better for this. I noticed the improvement after 4-6 weeks! If I’d started this when I was transitioning, my hair would have been much easier to manage in my 8 month transitioning period, and my journey could have been easier post BC.
There will be times that you just want to relax the hair and start over another time- stay strong, ignore it, carry on as you normally would, with protective styling. Do not! I repeat, do not have any relaxers in your possession!
A protective style is simply a hairstyle that prevents you from manipulating or dealing with your hair. You are no stranger to protective styling- you can do this with or without extensions, but for transitioning hair, you’re most likely going to prefer styling with extensions.
Kinky twists got me through my transitioning period. The texture of the braiding hair is similar to naturally kinky hair so it’s just a joy to wear. You can switch it up- short, thinner kinky twists, thicker Marley twists and the gorgeous chunka chunky Havana Twists!
Fixing weaves work too (but please be careful to protect your hairline). If you’re like me and you detest full closures, you may want to start using curly or kinky weaves for your U-parts or centre part weaves. This is because, with straight weaves, you are going to be obsessed with pressing your hair with a flat iron regularly, to maintain that sleek look. This may result in heat damage and you know why we don’t want that now, don’t you?
Even now, when my hair annoys me, I just put it out of sight in a protective style. This is not to say I neglect it oh, I still care for it (like this).
And there are also styles you could do with your own hair to blend in both textures like roller sets (good old salon wash and set), bantu knots and bantu knot-outs.
Try your best to remain positive, and be patient! It’s a process!
2. THE BIG CHOP!
You cut your relaxed hair off. This may be a spontaneous decision, with you starting with no hair at all or maybe an inch or two. OR
In the alternative, after transitioning for a while, the process of cutting your relaxed ends off, leaving you with some inches of kinky hair is also big chopping 🙂
Simply put, the Big Chop is just that moment when you let go of the last relaxed parts of your hair.
Bye-bye boring straight ends, hello teeny weeny afro!
Here’s Sisi Yemmie’s big chop video, it may inspire you 😉
The bright side of chopping it all off is that you get to enjoy all the stages of your hair’s growth. Sometimes I wish I had chopped it all off and started from scratch (too bad transitioning me wasn’t as confident, but yes, it’s a process 🙂 ) You may enjoy having no hair so much, you could leave it like this for a while. Also, you don’t have to deal with the highs and lows of transitioning.
Will you be a long-term transitioner or a short-term transitioner or will you be a straight big chopper? Whatever you decide, just do you! Your hair is yours. You have to take your journey on YOUR own terms. Don’t make yourself, or let anyone make you feel uncomfortable. If you want to transition for 2 years, do it!