One of my fave former relaxed, transitioned to natural hair bloggers is Ms. D of 6 Foot Long Hair. Partly because she turned me onto my beloved seamless combs from Hercules Sagemen, but also because of the detail in which she documented her journey while long term transitioning from relaxed to natural hair. Although I don’t judge anyone for what they choose to do with their hair, I realize one of the major reasons so many women continue to relax their hair is because the idea of transitioning to to natural hair scares them! They believe they will either be forced to cut their hair short to an afro or all of their hair will break off during the process. While I won’t lie, it is a tedious process (yes, I have done it too), transitioning to natural hair over a long period of time is absolutely possible. Check out Ms. D’s hair story and tips below.
On December 31, 2011, I decided that I was going to transition back to natural. My last relaxer was on November 18, 2011 and that experience was dreadful to say the least. It made me really think about why I relaxed in the first place and if I wanted to continue doing so. On New Year’s Eve, I had a long talk with myself(not in crazy way lol) and decided it was time for me to get reacquainted with my natural hair.
Let me begin by saying that I had HEALTHY relaxed, below shoulder blade (BSB) length hair. Because my hair was healthy and somewhat long, big chopping to a short afro was not an option. Before I start rambling, let’s move right into my long term transitioning tips!
Mentally Transition: Think LONG and HARD about why you want natural hair. Those very
reasons will be what keeps you going. For some, this may be the most difficult step and will take
a long time. So to gain inspiration. I suggest watching natural haired YouTubers and looking at
pictures on Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, blogs,forums, etc .
Set a Plan: How long do you want to transition? 1 Year, 18 months, 2 years? Once you decidethat, you can start to build a regimen and/or styling plan around it. Chances are you won’t stickto that plan, but it’s good to have one in place. 🙂 For instance, I planned to be in protective styles 2 weeks at a time, wear my hair out on weekends I take it out, and get a long term protective style like braids or kinky twists when I was 8 months post. Note: Practicing a low maintenance regimen works best for transitioners. The less you touch your hair, the better.
Learn how to successfully detangle YOUR hair: Because you are dealing with 2 or more distinct different textures, detangling could become difficult. It is also one of the most detrimental steps in your regimen. Early on in my transition, I learned that detangling on dry hair, before washing worked best for me. For some, detangling on wet hair, soaked with conditioner, worked best for them. Try out different techniques until you figure out what works for YOUR hair then stick to it.
How I Detangled My Transitioning Hair:
- Section my hair off
- Spray a mix of Water, Glycerin, Aloe Vera Juice and Safflower Oil on each section
- Finger detangle to remove any shed hairs or knots
- Detangle with my wide tooth seamless comb
- Add my deep conditioner
- Place that section in a ponytail
- Twist the remainder of the hair
- Wash after a few hours
Master at least 2 protective styles and 2 “out” styles: In order to keep yourself from getting
frustrated and bored with your hair, I believe that you should “master” a few hairstyles. This
way, you will always have something to fall back on and lessen the amount of “bad hair days”.
My go-to transitioning styles were:
- Twists (with my own hair)
- Buns (mostly high-buns)
Try not to concentrate too much on the fact that you are transitioning. Love the hair you have on your head, both the natural and relaxed!
- Keep Hair Moisturized at ALL times
- Keep hair strong by doing monthly or bi-weekly mild protein treatments
- Trim your hair as needed. I only trimmed every 2-4 months.
- DON’T jump on any bandwagons- You must stick to what works best for you and trying a bunch of new things may cause a setback. Save the experimentation for when the straight hair is gone.
- Wash your hair in sections – I talked about this earlier.
- Decrease direct heat usage unless you plan on being a straight haired natural..heat damage is a b!#$h!
- Document your journey. This way you will see your progress and learn what works and doesn’t work for you.
I ended up big chopping earlier than planned at 15.5 months post relaxer. Not because I had issues transitioning, but because the love for my natural hair grew stronger and stronger by the day. So, big chop when you are absolutely ready. Trust me; you will know when you’re ready!
I hope my long term transitioning tips help one person out there. Happy Hair Growing!
Thanks, D for sharing your tips with us! Don’t forget to check out her blog at 6 Foot Long Hair.