So, you don’t want to big chop, huh? That decision is perfectly normal. In fact, I didn’t do a big chop. Some historical facts about my hair journey: I was natural until I was about 8 years old when my mom put a kiddie relaxer in my hair. My hair remained relaxed until I was about 10 years old. At age 10, my mom stopped putting relaxers in my hair, and I wore my hair in braids until I was 12 years old. Once I started middle school, the relaxer was introduced back into my hair regimen until I made my transition as a sophomore in college.
My transition process was more like multiple small chops. When I started my transitioning process, I didn’t realize it was called transitioning. The natural hair movement wasn’t as mainstream then as it is now. I’ve always been good at styling my hair, so figuring out what to do with my hair was easy. What wasn’t easy to deal with were the frequent headaches that came. Simply put, no matter who you are, there will be some surprises in your transitioning journey. I know what you’re thinking. Yes, I do have a list of items to prepare you for your transitioning journey.
#1: Except that many things will not go right. Just in case you get too excited about your journey, I thought I would rain on your parade. There are going to be many styles you attempt that may not turn out great the first couple of times. Your hair will have some ugly hair days but it’s okay because we’ve all been there.
#2: Manage your time wisely. Natural hair needs more tender loving care. Therefore, you should take your time to wash, condition, and detangle your natural hair as it grows.
#3: Manage your money wisely. Set a monthly budget for your hair products. Do not go crazy and buy every hot new product on the market. Try to use the products a few times before deciding to move on to another product. If possible, buy your product at store that will let you return the product if you’re unsatisfied.
#4: Find products that will give you a good balance of moisture and protein. As your new growth gets longer, ditch any shampoo that has sulfates and parabens. Natural hair needs as much moisture as possible. A sulfate-free shampoo will help your hair maintain moisture and strength.
#5: This is the best time to improve your natural hair styling skills. Focus less on what kind of products to buy and more on perfecting your styles. This advice is great for those who aren’t the best at doing their hair. Learn how to braid, twist, cornrow, set flexi-rods, etc.
#6: Don’t be afraid to cut your hair. Cutting your hair a few times during the transitioning process decreases the transitioning time. Depending on the length of your hair, transitioning can take a long time. I transitioned for about a year before I cut off about 3 inches of hair. After I cut 3 inches off, I had about 3 inches of relaxed hair in some areas. For the last year and a half of transitioning, I cut my hair frequently until all the relaxer was gone.
#7: Don’t use too much heat. My go to hair style was mini twists. If you straighten your hair often, you may cause heat damage to your natural hair texture. You don’t want to ruin your texture before you even get the chance to rock it!
#8: Introduce hot oil treatments and deep conditioning into your wash day regimen. As I stated above, natural hair needs MOISTURE. Do a hot oil treatment or deep condition at least once a month.
#9: Be cautious about your hairstyles. I don’t think you need to go crazy with protective styles. I think it fine if you like to wear extensions. However, be sure you to give your hair a break for at least one week after a month of protective styling. Your scalp needs to breathe and your hair strands need to regain their strength.
#10: Determine what basic tools you need. I’ll give you a hint: You should make sure you have a spray bottle, a wide tooth comb, a detangling brush, and a conditioner with slip.
#11: Consider protecting your hair when you’re lounging around. This advice is important as your new growth starts to get longer.
#12: Take care yourself. Your physical health and mental health may affect the health of your hair. Stress and a poor diet can cause excessive shedding. Also, lack of water intake can cause your scalp to be dry, itchy, and irritated.
#13: Expect the unusual. You may experience a lot of shedding. Shedding happens due to the point of demarcation between the natural hair and relaxed hair. Also, I experience frequent headaches. Most of my headache were rooted from the crown of my head where my hair is thicker.
My list is not one size fit all. You may discover other things are more helpful than the items I’ve listed. That’s great! I would love for you to comment your tips below.
Thanks for reading!