Preface: Now that I’ve gotten your attention with the featured pic, I apologize for the featured pic. Random head licking is NOT a part of transitioning. Aight. Enjoy the post. -Management
When my good friend sent me a text saying that she was going natural this week, I let out loud, hallelujah, sister-girl squeal. I immediately regretted this (it was rush hour in downtown Chicago and I was waiting for the train…oops) but any lesser reaction would not have done my excitement justice. I have been angling for this girl to go natural for YEARS, and while she had previously been resistant to the suggestion, something (the Lord?) has opened her up to going back to her natural texture. As was aforementioned, I was backflip giddy over this news. I immediately called her and bombarded her with information about going natural, transitioning tips, what to expect, overwhelming her with what I considered valuable information. She considered it valuable too, but it was a lot, and hard to find all in one place, which brings me to the point of this post. For her sake and the sake of other transitioning beauties out there, I’ve decided to put everything I know about transitioning in one spot. If you find that this information is helpful to you, you have my friend to thank. LaQuonda, this is for you.
Important to remember: Your transitioning hair is fragile. HANDLE WITH CARE. Note the capital letters and BURN this into your brain because it is so important to maintain the health of your new growth as you are transitioning, and it is so easy to cause breakage to the new growth if you are not careful. The place where your new growth meets is called the line of demarcation and is a VERY weak point. Mismanagement of this line can cause ripping of the strands, which can lead to split ends before you even big chop.
Treat all your hair as if you are already totally natural. Only comb through your hair if it is wet and moisturized, and then only use a wide-toothed comb. Get a spray bottle (available at beauty supply stores for under $5, you WILL live and breathe by it O_O) fill it with water and spray that into your hair if you want to manipulate it. Otherwise, stick to finger combing, but even keep this to a minimum.
Protect your hair. Use transitioning styles that are protective. Get braided or twisted extensions, weave it, wig it. Or just wear a cute protective updo for a week at a time. This step is about low manipulation, a habit that you will want to take with you when you finally fully transition. If you want to blend textures, try braid-outs and bantu-knot outs. If you’d rather go the extension route, try some resources for cute braids and even sew-ins. And for my updo divas, there are some great tutorials for cute protective style for transitioning naturalistas.
Avoid heat. There is a temptation to continue to wear your straight styles by ironing your new growth, but by doing this you risk damaging your new growth and will inadvertently lengthen your transitioning time. Instead of blending your new growth with your relaxed hair, try blending your straight hair with the new growth instead. This requires less combing and flattening and more fluffing and separating, which can be done with the fingers and is less damaging to hair.
Products! Sooo you may find that you’ve replaced your creamy crack addiction with one for curling milks and twisting butters. It’s cool, happens to almost everyone (so much so that there’s a name for it. Product junkie). Eventually you will find a regimen that requires only 5 products instead of 15. Note: I am not here yet, and I’ve been natural for years. My love of shopping deigns me to hoard. Shrug.
Here are some basic guidelines:
1) Avoid mineral oil and petroleum. These clog your pores, weigh your hair down, are not absorbed by hair (translation: greasy to the touch) and are just really cheap fillers.
2) Avoid sulfates in shampoos. Sulfates strip hair and dries it out, which is a death sentence for hair with any curl to it. Kinky Curly, Shea Moisture, and Curls have some good shampoo options and are available at Target and Walgreens.
3) Get what works for YOUR hair. It’s tempting to try every new product, or buy exactly what the girl in the youtube natural hair video tutorial is using, but in the long run you could be spending money needlessly and taking up valuable cupboard space. Be realistic. Stick with one good gel (I love EcoStyler, Sally’s), one good edge control pomade (Curls has a nice one) a good moisturizer, deep conditioner, shampoo, and leave-in conditioner (Shea Moisture has a good variety of all of these). Not saying that you should never vary and try new things, just don’t go crazy to the point where you’re choosing between buying a new curling mousse or gas for your car. Cause the mousse will probably win.
4) Get some go-to styles. This way you get to know what products work with those styles and can minimize overloading your hair AND your bathroom cabinet. Win-win.
Pay attention to the rest of your features. Because you have less hair, more attention will be drawn to your face, clothes, and weight. But no matter right? You got this! You don’t have to turn into a total fashionista, but do be mindful of this. Also, buying pretty things and taking better care of you is always a good thing! Here are some trends that I’ve seen with naturalistas:
1) Big earrings. Something about natural hair and big earrings just WORKS.
2) Bold lipcolor. Full hair, full lips. Not sure if that’s why they look so good together, but they really do.
3) Chunky jewelry. Like chain chokers, rings, and bangles.
4) Bright colors. Play with warm colors, like oranges, yellows, and reds, and bold cooler colors, like purples and greens.
5) Sunglasses. Oh yea.
6) Confidence. The new black. 😉
Be patient. Your hair WILL grow. Just not 5 inches a month. Doing too many length checks, watching tutorials for styles your hair is clearly not long enough for yet, and constantly stretching your hair is the fastest way to frustrate yourself for no reason. Love your hair at each stage, and if your really can’t, use extensions (yay for kinks!) to get you through those tough in-between stages.
Learn the language. Pre-poo. No poo. ACV. BC. BAA.Co-wash. If you’re thinking “the hell she talkin bout!?!?” then it’s time to click here. The natural hair community has it’s own odd language and it’s high time you get savvy. :p
Prepare yourself. There may be some negative reactions to your change. Your self-esteem may take a hit for a while. Find a support system, stay away from negativity, and tell yourself that you are FIERCE (I recommend doing this in a full length mirror, in a great outfit and with militant attitude. Lol). But seriously, please ignore naysayers and haters. They may not understand your hair. They may be dealing with issues they have with their own hair. Either way, that is not YOUR problem. Also, I promise you that the number of people that totally LOVE your hair will increase. That’s what happens with really beautifully unique things. People either love them or hate them, which makes them all the more sought after.
Very few people can rock your hair type. So if you are blessed enough to rock it, then ROCK IT baby. Take the time to really fall in love with your hair, and you will find that you love yourself a little more too. Welcome new naturalista! We’ve been waiting for you.
You may also like:
This entry was posted on Thursday, July 4th, 2013 at 4:50 am
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Tags: 4c hair, african american beauty, african american hair, african american woman, african american women, beautiful, beauty, Black and sexy, black beauty, black hair, black hair care, black woman, black woman beauty, black women, confidence, curly hair, dealing with negativity towards your natural hair, growing your hair longer, hair tips, healthy natural hair, I need help, kinky hair, long natural hair, natural hair, natural hair growth, natural hairstyles, pride, self esteem, tips, transitioners, transitioning hair