‘Hello Sharon , you’ve inspired me to go natural . Where do I start ? What do I need to know ?Which products do you recommend ? ‘ These are easily my most frequently asked questions.
These questions prompted me to create an entire Youtube Series on the Fundamentals of Haircare back in 2016. This post and a few to come will be updated versions of this highly detailed step by step guide to building a hair regimen to promote hair growth and length retention.
First things first ; how do you start your hair journey ?
There are two ways of going natural:
- Big chop
Big chopping is the ‘cold turkey’ way of going natural; chop all the processed hair off and grow the natural hair out. Big chopping is for those who are bold enough to rock short hair or a TWA ( Teeny Weeny Afro) as coined by the natural hair community. Short hair of uniform texture is easier to manage than transitioning hair so I would recommend it.
Transitioning to natural involves growing out your natural hair as you slowly trim off the relaxed hair . This is perfect for those who want to hang onto some length and ease their way into the natural hair lifestyle. However, handling two hair textures requires a lot of time and patience.
I chose to transition to natural.You can transition for as long or as short as you want. Some people transition for 4 months while others transition for 4 years. My transition was 10 months long . This gave me time to do ample research on what I was signing up for and compile my most helpful tips .
Below are my tips for successfully transitioning to natural:
Table of Contents
1.Stop relaxing your hair
I know it seems obvious but it is the first actionable step to going natural. Say goodbye to texturizers and relaxers . Put the chemicals away.
2. Do your research
By reading this, you are already on the right track. Research may involve reading blogs and books (yes! There are books focusing on just hair care), watching videos and using search engines i.e. Google .Through research you get to learn the basics about maintaining natural hair .
3. Build a haircare regimen
A typical natural hair regimen entails pre-pooing, cleansing, deep conditioning and moisturizing.
You need understand each step of a typical regimen then you can put the steps together and build a routine that works for you. Lucky for you, I have detailed posts on each step so make sure to check them out starting here.
4. Moisture is key.
Relaxed hair doesn’t need as much moisture as natural hair. This explains why after only 3 months of transitioning so many people complain that their new growth is very coarse and their hair is not as easy to manage as it was when it was relaxed. There is a recommended way of moisturizing that is LOC /LCO method. I have a detailed post on this. Keep in mind that you are catering for both your natural and relaxed hair. Ensure the products you use work well for both textures. I recommend products catered to natural hair because they tend to have better ingredients.
5. Be gentle
The boundary between the new natural growth and the relaxed ends is known as the line of demarcation and it is very fragile. Handle it with care especially when detangling it both with and without hair tools. I have a video on how I detangle my hair that can give you a few pointers . In case a stylist handles your hair, don’t be afraid to guide them. It’s your hair after all.
6. Use heat wisely
Heat is not entirely the enemy but if misused, it can permanently damage your hair. If you must use heat: do a protein treatment prior to it, moisturize your hair well and always use a heat protectant. Alternatively, find a go-to heat-less style which leads me to the next point.
7. Find some go-to hairstyles
There are many hairstyles under the sun but it’s safe to have at least 2 that you can do in your sleep. There are many tutorials on YouTube . Here are some styling ideas :
- Straw-sets. ( These were clutch during my transition. I would get them professionally done)
- Bantu knot outs
- Flexi rod sets
- Perm rod sets
- Braid outs
- Twist outs ( These are currently a staple). Check out my go-to twist-out routine.
8. Protective Styling
This is simply any hairstyle that will keep your ends tucked away and minimize or completely eliminate manipulation of your hair. This is very important during transition, especially when you are frustrated with your hair and get tempted to relax it again.
I have a video on how to get the most out of protective styling where I mention the dos and don’ts of protective styling. I also have one on how to care for your hair while in a protective style.
9. Choose your products wisely
Some products with harsh ingredients may work well with chemically treated hair but will not work as well with natural hair. Harsh ingredients instead will dry out hair and make it brittle. I have a post that expounds on hair product ingredients.The foundation of perfect products for your hair include a good shampoo, a rinse out conditioner for detangling, deep conditioner, leave-in conditioner, natural oil of choice and finally a cream . Their uses are covered in the regimen series.
10. Trim your hair regularly
If you let your relaxed ends break off on their own and let your new growth be, it may break unevenly past the line of demarcation. We do not want this ! Get your hair trimmed professionally or learn how to do it yourself. Trimming does not have to be on a schedule but I’ve found that trimming my hair every 4-6 months works well for me.
11. Be patient and trust the process
The natural hair life is a journey not a sprint. As long as you do what is right for you , your hair will grow.
Don’t get overly attached to your favorite blogger’s hair. Embrace your own hair texture, length and growth pace. Enjoy your transition to natural!
I hope this post was helpful. Thank you so much for stopping by.
“Always remember your hair is your crown and your body is a temple; embrace it and love it and take care of it.”