Perhaps you have come to point that you are absolutely fed up with chemically relaxing your hair. And now, you’d like to embrace the natural beauty of your hair but you are scared. You don’t know where to start. You don’t know if you should grow out your relaxed hair or go for the big chop. If you are in this state of mind at the moment, this article is for you.
First, what is natural hair and what does it mean to go natural?
Natural hair simply means hair that has not been processed using a chemical relaxer. And going natural means transiting from chemically processed hair to natural hair. It means that you are closing the door on chemical relaxers, and opening the door to your natural hair in all of its glory. Let’s begin
If your hair is relaxed and you want to transition, you have two options. You can do the big chop, which means cutting off all of your relaxed hair and growing your natural hair from scratch. Alternatively, you may want to transition without taking such a drastic measure.
If you are going the alternative route, it will take you about one year for the relaxer to grow out of your hair, and this article takes you through what to expect as your natural hair grows out.
Here is what to expect
Big roots: If your hair was previously relaxed, odds are that you relaxed your hair as soon as your roots started growing in. Now that you have decided not to relax your hair again, you will be at first surprised to see puffy hair at your roots. This is your natural hair growing in and this can be hard to handle if you don’t know what to do. To fix this problem, this is the time to begin using styling products, conditioners and shampoos made specifically for natural hair.
Brittle ends: One other thing you will notice is the ends of your hair getting brittle and weaker as your roots grow in. To fix this, just trim off the hair – a little bit.
Unruly growth: By months three through to six, your natural hair should have grown out a bit and should be longer, thicker and more unruly than when you started out. You will also find that your relaxed ends are much thinner than your new natural hair growth. To fix this, continue to get regular trims to take care of breakage.
A change in your hair care routine: Because your hair is no longer what it used to be, you have to be prepared to make a significant change in your hair care routine. Remember that transitioning means that you are no longer using chemicals, so there is no middle ground, no safe place to hide. You cannot get an occasional touch-up just so that your hair is easier to manage for a little bit. You have to now find what works for your transitioning hair.
You will be tempted to go back: In the first few months, most people are tempted to abandon the transitioning stuff and go back to chemical treatments. This is because transitioning is a slow process, and can be discouraging and frustrating at times. This is where your willpower comes in. Settle in for the long haul and be prepared to give it all it takes. One easy way to be less frustrated is to get a protective style installed while transitioning. Your hair grows underneath the protective style and you are not confronted with the slowness and rigours of the transition every single day.
Your hair will break: I know I have already mentioned brittle ends in this article but it needs mentioning again. No matter how careful you are, expect to see some breakage. Chemical relaxers damage hair so your hair is already damaged, and it is not as strong as it will eventually be when it is fully natural. While it transitions, it is vulnerable. You should see a line of demarcation between your new natural hair and the old relaxed hair. This is the weakest point and is extremely vulnerable to breakage. You have to be very gentle with your hair at the line of demarcation. You, however, need to know that no matter how careful you are, you will still experience breakage. Don’t give up just now. It’s all part of the journey.
Take care of your new hair
As you go natural, here are tips for you on taking care of your new hair:
Be wary of hair products with drying ingredients such as alcohol and sulfates. These will only increase breakage and frizz. At this point, your hair needs its natural oils more than ever, and alcohol and sulfates based products will strip those away.
Regularly trim your hair: This bears repeating again. In fact, trimming your hair regularly will help you get rid of split ends, helping the hair grow faster and keeping it healthy. I advise that you trim just what you are comfortable with. It could be an inch a month. It could be less. But make sure you trim your hair every month.
Keep your hair moisturised. This is very important for all kinds of hair and particularly more so for transitioning hair. Dryness will cause your hair to break along the line of demarcation, so make sure it is always moisturised.
Deep condition your hair. Because your hair is in a weak state while you’re transitioning, it needs all the moisture and nutrients it can get. This is why deep conditioning must be a part of your hair care regimen.
Find an expert. If you are not comfortable going the distance all by yourself, please find an expert hairstylist that will advise and guide you along the way.
Protective styles are great for you, but never leave them in for months. Have them in just for a couple of weeks per time, just so you get a break once in a while from rigorous hair maintenance.
At the end of the day, it is important that you love your hair and make up your mind to enjoy the journey. As you slowly get to discover your natural hair, embrace it in all of its glory, and settle in for the ride.
See you on the other side.