Want to go natural without doing the Big Chop? Transitioning to natural hair is a simple process of growing out your natural texture before cutting off the processed or damaged ends. Here are our 10 tips on how to make your transition a smooth one.
1. DON'T SET A TIME YET
You don't have to know when you'll rock your 100% natural hair right away! Give yourself about 4 months — by then, you should have enough growth to get excited! As your hair grows out study your curl pattern, its coarseness, its kinkyness, and coils. Learning and accepting what your hair can and cannot do will save you from many rough days in the road ahead.
2. TREAT YOUR HAIR LIKE IT'S NATURAL Treat your hair as if all of it was natural. If you plan on wearing your hair in it’s natural state, instead of a straight, then practice your twist outs, braid outs, and bantu knots now. By the time you big chop, you will have mastered these styles. Besides, if you constantly straighten your hair, you run the risk of damaging your kinks and curls. Which will only lengthen the transitioning from relaxed to natural hair.
3. BE GENTLE The point where your natural texture meets your straight hair (it's called the line of demarcation) is the weakest part of you hair. So take extra care to reduce breakage when transitioning from relaxed to natural hair. Otherwise, you will have some random short hairs during your transition.
4. KEEP YOUR HAIR MOISTURIZED Dry hair breaks. Nothing beats water when it comes to moisturizing hair, but you can also add your favourite natural hair product on top to seal it in. Hair masks are no longer a special treat!
5. KEEP YOUR SCALP CLEAN You'll have to do some experimenting, but cleanse your scalp anywhere from every two days to every two weeks. The key to hair growth is a clean and healthy scalp. Since your scalp creates a natural hair sebum, its not necessary to grease your scalp. But if you like to, you can massage your scalp with castor oil or a light oil such as jojoba oil, but avoid mineral oil.
6. DEEP CONDITION And if you have time, deep condition with heat. Whether your hair is natural or relaxed, deep conditioning is very important in hair care. If you want to properly nourish your strands, invest in a conditioner that is specifically labeled as a deep conditioner.
7. REDUCE YOUR HEAT USAGE No need for a blow dryer or flat iron any more. Try air drying all of your styles instead.
8. PROTECT YOUR EDGES Avoid transitioning styles that put too much tension on your temples and the nape of your neck. The hair there is usually finer, thinner and more delicate!
9. FIND YOUR GO-TO TRANSITIONING STYLE The goal is to blend two VERY different textures of hair into one. If you do decide to do twist out or braid out styles, to give your hair a more consistent look throughout use rollers or rods on your ends. Otherwise you are going to have a not so hot looking style. You will end up having curly roots with flat straight ends, which often doesn’t make for a good style.
10. GRADUALLY CUT OFF RELAXED ENDS Contrary to popular belief trimming your ends won’t make your hair grow faster. But it will prevent excessive breakage. This is especially important during the transition. On a regular basis, trim off split ends. Since you don’t plan on keeping the relaxed ends anyway, this is a great opportunity to trim away at those ends. Remember to use hair shears and not regular scissors! You can trim as often as every 6 weeks or 3 months until you’re completely natural.
Remember: these tips are designed to nurture your naturally curly hair, because in the end, THAT is what you'll be keeping.
Good luck and congrats on going natural! We're here to help!