Transitioning to Natural Hair? Is this your 1st time, 2nd time, or 3rd time??

Posted on Jul 6 2013 - 11:13pm by Jordan Etters

Transitioning to natural:

natural hair smiling girlTransitioning from relaxed hair to natural hair can be some of the worst hair moments and the best hair moments. If you are thinking about going natural or if you are currently in the process please don’t give up. Yes, I have had more than one try at this, but you do not have to go through what I went through.

This is my third attempt at going natural, and it is also my last attempt because I broke the code. The first two times I tried going natural failed because I was uneducated about caring for curly hair. I wasn’t keeping my hair moisturized and I didnt know how to style my hair. I have successfully been transitioning since my last relaxer on February 12, 2009. My big helpers were YouTube and BlackHairPlanet’s forum. I figured out how to take care of both of my textures by educating myself on the two textures. I learned that our hair is made of three layers–the cuticle, cortex, and medulla. The cuticle is an outside layer that protects the cortex. Keeping the cuticle moisturized and conditioned is the best thing you can do to your hair. This is what will make your hair manageble while you are transitioning.

You will want to condition your hair at least once a week. This is called a Co-wash, and this is when you only apply conditioner to your hair. Use the conditioner like you would use shampoo.  I did not say shampoo your hair every week because most shampoos contain sulfates as their main ingredient. They can tangle your hair and dry it out.  Sulfates are what make the suds or lather that give you the clean feeling on your scalp. Most shampoos contain the following sulfates as the second or third ingredient: Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Lareth Sulphate (sulfate) and Myreth Sulphate (sulfate). There are shampoos that are Sulfate-Free, and I will talk about that in my shampoo review this week if you stay tuned. If you simply can not wait on me then go to Wal-mart, CVS, or Walgreen’s and start your own shampoo ingredient search. Conditioners have the same capabilities as shampoos except for the soapy part. Co-washing has been my most valuable hair tip so far. I wish I had known about co-washing in my first “going natural” attempt. It just makes my hair feel so silky and smooth. I also recommend using a sulfate-free shampoo if possible two or three time s a month to wash out product build up.

Transitioning to natural hair is a time to get to know your true hair texture. You  will be amazed at all the little curls that will begin to pop up. In the meantime find styles that will blend the two textures such as perm rod sets ( very small rollers originally used for curly perms you can find them at beauty supply stores), roller sets, braid-outs, twist outs, bantu knot outs, micro braids, micro twists, and kinky twists. The worst style that you can do to your hair is to press or flat iron to blend the two textures. This will cause the hair to break at the demarcation line, which is the line where the relaxed hair meets the natural hair aka new growth. If you must have it straight do it once or twice a month because if you aren’t comfortable having short hair yet stay away from the straighteners. The demarcation line is the weakest part of your hair when you are transitioning.

You can transition as long as you like, but the longer your hair gets the more challenging it is to detangle. Detangling transitioning hair requires patience. First you will want to start from the ends of the hair while you have conditioner on your hair. Separate the hair into four sections, and apply conditioner to each section. Detangling your hair is very important!! Failing to detangle properly will lead to hair breakage and failing to detangle at all will cause the hair to matte.

Watch out for the silicones in conditioners because they can lead to build up on your hair and scalp and it will cause your hair to be dull. Conditioners that I found that do not contain these silicones are Suave, Vo5, and Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing conditioner. These are just a few that I have used, but just watch out for these two silicones: Dimethicone and Cyclomethicone these may cause your scalp to get unwanted build up. Don’t worry if you shampoo with a sulfate-free shampoo when you get build up you will be ok.

Here are tips if you get discouraged:

  • Think about the freedom of natural hair.
  • Look at pictures of other naturals and set real hair goals.
  • There are ignorant people in the world that don’t understand natural hair, but don’t let that stop you.

Quick tips for a smooth transition:

  • Use sulfate-free shampoos when shampooing
  • Detangle from ends to roots.
  • Minimal styling to prevent breakage.
  • Do not flat iron or press the hair to match textures.
  • Deep condition every other week especially right after a shampoo.
  • Keep the hair moisturized with a water based product.
  • Do not use products with petroleum or mineral oil as the first ingredient.

Stay strong my fellow transitioners and don’t fall into the trap again…until next time :)

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About the Author

I'm just a college girl from Texas named Jordan Etters. I currently attend Prairie View A&M Univ., and I'm majoring in Biology/pre-med. A member of Sigma Gamma Rho SoRHOrity Incorporated! Fall 2012 Here I come.