If you’ve made the decision to stop relaxing or chemically processing your hair, you’re probably wondering what your next step will be. Should you do a big chop and lob it all off with one haircut, or should you use a slower transition to take you on your journey from processed hair to natural hair?
Relaxing or texturizing your hair requires total commitment in order to ensure that the process lasts. You can’t simply relax your hair and then decide to skip the retouching process six weeks later. If you do, your hair will start to break and eventually fall out. Relaxers and perms are permanent, but your hair doesn’t grow in with the processed texture, so in order to keep the look, you have to keep processing your hair. The only way that you can get rid of them is to cut them off or transition them out of your hair.
Whichever way you decide to move to natural is a personal choice. If you decide to do the big chop, you won’t even need this guide. If you do decide to transition, knowing what’s in store can help make the process as easy as possible. If this is your first time transitioning your hair from processed to natural, check out the information below.
What is transitioning?
The concept of transitioning hair is really simple. Transitioning means that you're trying to grow out your natural hair without cutting off your processed ends. You go out your natural hair over time until the process ends can be snipped off bit by bit until it's all gone.
There are several reasons that people prefer to slowly transition from processed to natural hair versus just simply doing the big chop and cutting off the hair all at once.
Some people don't want to make a big chop because they're not comfortable with the idea of or they're not able to wear their hair short for whatever reason.
Some people prefer to continue wearing their hair long while having it grow out.
You may have a natural hair texture that enables you to continue wearing the processed ends without causing too much breakage.
Whatever the reason, you’ve reached the point where you’ve decided that processing your hair is no longer an option. You're ready to begin enjoying your natural hair at its best.
The biggest issue with transitioning is that you’re going to be wearing two hair textures at the same time. Your natural texture will differ from the processed texture, and there will be a line of demarcation between the two as your natural hair grows out. That line of demarcation has to be treated like the sensitive border line that it is. If you try to brush or comb your hair, making contact with this line, you run the risk of breaking off the processed ends as well as some of your new growth. The result will be a choppy, rage-inducing frizzy mess filled with damage.
In order to transition properly, you need to transition in such a way that your new growth is protected while the ends are also protective as their cut down bit by bit. The following steps will help you transition smoothly into your new natural locs.
You will experience breakage.
Expect that you're going to come across some breakage. Whenever you have two textures of hair on the same strand there is going to be breakage. Knowing this will take away some of the stress that you may feel as you go through your transition. Simply think about how amazing your hair is going to look once the transition process is fully complete.
You will need to get rid of or stop using relaxers, flat irons and other damaging chemical and heat processes.
Get used to the idea that you will not be using any chemicals in your hair going forward. In addition to not using chemicals you will not be using heat, relaxers or anything else that can cause any type of damage to your hair. The whole point of transitioning is to go completely natural. You want to enjoy your fresh, untouched trusses and they're best state. In order to do so you will have to leave the processing implements behind. Although at first it may be difficult to do this, once you start to see the results, you'll be happy that you did.
You will need to trim your hair regularly.
Trim your hair. The most important thing you can do at the very beginning of your transition process is to cut the dead ends off of the hair. Give yourself an even trim that will help get rid of all of the little bits and pieces that can cause further breakage. You don't want the hairs to split up the shaft of the strands, creating damage not only in your process to Pieces but in your new growth. It may be tempting to try and cut off as little as possible, but you will end up doing more damage than good. It is absolutely imperative that you cut off the dead piece says at the end of your hair so that it does not cause further damage. If you're unsure how to do the trim yourself, see a stylist.
Once you do the initial trim, continue to trim your hair on a regular basis as needed. As the hair grows out, there maybe strapless that were left behind or that only become visible as the hair lengthens, it is important that you keep the hair trimmed at all costs. Ensure that you're using scissors that are specifically used for hair cutting versus paper cutting scissors. Paper cutting scissors result in dull ends which could in turn cause more breakage.
Washing and Conditioning Your Transitioning Hair
Take note of the following steps when washing and conditioning your transitioning hair.
Divide your hair up into sections.
Detangle your hair using your fingers and a conditioner with plenty of slip. Let the conditioner absorb at the demarcation line so that it’s fully hydrated.
Once the hair is detangled, allow the conditioner to sit for at least an additional 15 minutes.
Going section by section, run warm water through your scalp to remove the conditioner.
Use a gentle clarifying shampoo to remove product buildup on your hair and scalp, a common occurrence with transitioning hair.
Continue with your shampooing or co-washing process. If you’re shampooing, following up with a moisturizing conditioner.
Rinse with an apple cider vinegar rinse to seal in the moisture, and apply your favorite leave in conditioner. In addition to deep conditioning at least once a week, always use leave-in conditioners and moisturizers. Leave-in conditioners will help ensure that your strands are getting as much moisture as they need during this phase of growth. Again, use conditioning treatments that are for your new growth.Don’t use ones that are too heavy or thick since they can cause buildup and tangling at the demarcation line.
In addition to your regular washing schedule, deep conditioning needs to become your a regular part of your regiment.The potential for breakage will be extreme, especially along the demarcation line that separates your new growth from the old, processed hair. Deep conditioning can help that line as well as the rest of the hair remain soft and supple.
Find out what your hair type and porosity level is on your new growth, and choose a conditioner that works for that. This new growth is going to be your new hair so you will need to make sure that you start using products that are specifically for that texture.
Choosing transitioning styles
Now comes the fun part, although some people will call it the difficult part. Figuring out how to wear your hair during your transition can be really challenging. How do you wear your hair in a a way that looks nice white protecting your fragile processed ends at the same time? When making your choice, consider protective styles as well. The very definition of a protective style is one that looks good while protecting the hair.
There are some lovely styles that people with transitioning hair can consider, including the following:
Braids are an absolutely excellent choice when it comes to transitioning hair style. Where do you choose box braids, cornrows, feed in braids or any other type of breads, you're an excellent way to allow your hair to rest while growing your hair out. You can decide to use your own hair or you can add extension hair. If you do at extension hair make sure that the hair is soft to the touch so that it does not damage that fragile demarcation line area. Make sure that you get their braids done every month in order to ensure that build up does not build up at the roots.
Braided weaves and extensions are another great option for people transitioning from processed to natural hair. You want to make sure that you get extensions that have a cornrow base so that your hair is neatly and safely tucked away . Make sure the install is done in such a way that you can reach the hair underneath to Faithfully moisturizer on a regular basis. Remove the weave every month and have it redone to ensure that there isn't any buildup.
A slicked-back ponytail or bun is a really simple style that allows you to add plenty of moisture to your hair while also keeping the ends safely tucked inside of a bun. Use your favorite conditioning moisturizer to Slick your hair back, and tuck your hair into a bun, making sure the ends are completely covered.
A beautiful collection of bantu knots all over your head is an excellent style that allows you to merge two different textures while protecting the ends of the hair.
The Post Transition Period
For many people, taking care of their hair post transition will be like entering an entirely new world. For others, it will be like coming home.
If you’re a natural newbie, the following can help you complete your transition:
You’re going to have to get to know your hair texture. Figure out what hair type you have, and determine what porosity level you have. Once you have that info, you’ll be able to figure out how to maintain, nurture, protect and style your hair.
Experiment with different hairstyles. Natural hair can be extremely versatile, whether you have a mass of 3b curls, cute short natural styles or an explosion of richly dense 4b kinks and coils.
If you miss your processed texture, you can try out methods like the occasional silk press. Make sure that you deep condition your hair prior to your treatment so that your tresses are as protected as possible. An even better, damage-free solution would be to wear a wig or get extensions. With closures exploding in popularity, it’s possible to get a brand new look without permanently altering your natural hair.