Sunday, May 15, 2011

For my relaxed hair sisters considering going natural - tips for the transition


I was recently asked for a few tips on going natural from a sister who is currently relaxed and thinking about transitioning. I told her I might just do a blog post with the answer because I'm pretty sure she is not the only one in her situation with this question so C this is for you! lol

Let me make it clear from the beginning that I myself have never been relaxed and so have never had that relaxed to natural transition per say. I have however done some big and not so big chops (BC) in my life and I have definitely had experiences of not taking care of my hair as I should and now actually taking the time to do better and observing the results so I think I can still share some useful tips.

My first piece of advice would be to take the time to get your mind right about what you are about to do. I spend a significant amount of time scouring YouTube videos, natural hair blogs and forums and it seems that a few key themes emerge for sisters contemplating the transition or already in it or even those who have BCed. Many complain about how hard it is to manage their hair, not liking their curl pattern, not knowing how to care for or style their hair. Others have problems of acceptance, from their family, their friends, their colleagues and even themselves. Some ladies go through a stage of not feeling as feminine or as pretty or as attractive as they did before they embarked on the journey. 

To help you get your mind and in turn your spirit prepared here are a few insights to help you cross those hurdles. 

1. First and foremost, hair is just hair!

What your hair and what you choose to do with it ultimately means should be at your sole dictate and nobody else. If you decide to embark on the path to natural because of deep seated philosophical or even health issues or whether you decide to do it on a whim is your prerogative. Don't let anybody invalidate your experience based on your rationale. Once you are secure in your reasoning for doing what you are doing it becomes much easier to be strong in the face of negativity that may or may not come your way but more importantly it will make your journey that much more fulfilling.

2. The journey may not start off easy but I promise it gets better with time

Remember, it's like learning to read all over again. Your natural hair is not the same as your relaxed hair. What worked when you were relaxed may not work on your new growth and what works on your twa may no longer be effective when you get to shoulder length, if that is a goal of yours. Be cognizant of this, it helps to ease the frustration on those days when your hair is acting like a rebellious child. With this in mind I would advise that if your lifestyle allows, it is a good idea to not do you entire transition in braids or a weave as you miss out on that valuable learning time of getting to understand what your curly hair likes. When you do the bigchop you will already have an arsenal of products and styling techniques you have confidence in as opposed to being thrown head first into curls and/or kinks that you didn't spend any significant amount of time getting to know.

3. No two heads of hair are the same

The only way to truly learn what works best for your hair is through your own experimentation. It's great to learn from other ppl's experiences but there are no guarantees. This is particularly important now that we have all these natural hair gurus, products, youtube vids and blogs. Take everything with a pinch of salt and find what applies to you and enjoy the rest. Do your own research and view bandwagons with great suspicion. lol. I'll take the time here to say resist the urge to become a product junkie! lol

4. Your hair is always growing!

You don't need growth aides, magical products or anything else. The key to maximal hair growth is keeping your hair follicles healthy via diet, exercise and your daily water intake, keeping your scalp clean and healthy with a good cleansing regimen, and retaining length by moisturizing your hair and protecting your ends. More on this later.

5. You are not guaranteed to have curls

I have encountered so many ppl who get inspired to go natural based on somebody who has a more relaxed curl pattern and then when they realize that they can't get ms jessie curls or carol daughter curls or mixed chick curls or kinky curly curls they are devastated. There is no one natural and you may in fact find that you have numerous types of curls or kinks on your head. All natural hair is beautiful and your hair will be beautiful because YOU are beautiful. Don't have unrealistic expectations for your curl pattern and embrace and work with whatever you have!

Now that that is out of the way lets get down to the science of hair. In my next post I will provide some specific hair care tips you may want to keep in mind and other resources to make your transition as painless as possible!

To transitioners and formally relaxed sisters who read this blog, feel free to add your own tips in the comments! Let's help our sisters out.


  1. I transition from relaxed hair to complete natural state
    and I wouldn't have it any other way. Since I went
    natural I've had some resistance. Some family
    members and yes colleagues, especially, my
    white counterparts. However, I'm very comfortable
    in my skin. I'm "LOVING IT". One of the biggest
    drawback is why does white women feel the need to
    touch it. We are not the petting zoo. I don't get it.
    I will never go back to the European look with my own
    hair. It's just that simple!

    1. Hi,
      it's a pity that there is some resistance but it seems you have just the right attitude about it. Good luck with your journey and thanks for visiting the blog!

  2. Thanks for the tips and for sharing your experiences! Will keep this in mind. Such an hair inspiration! Keep it up!