Top 8 Essential Tips for Transitioning From Relaxed Hair to Natural HairMay 4, 2016
Transitioning from relaxed hair to natural hair is no joke. In fact almost 75% of the women who would like to get rid of their relaxed hair and successfully transition to their natural curly hair quit the process due to their inability to care for their transitioning hair.
The length of the transitioning process itself differs from individual to individual. However using the tips in this article will prove beneficial to everybody because they address the biggest problem when it comes to dealing with natural and relaxed hair together. The key to a successful transition is to minimize manipulation and keep the hair moisturised. Doing these two things will ensure the new natural hair you are nurturing stays healthy, and you’ll also reduce the amount of hair breakage.
- It is very easy to underestimate how much breakage occurs when you wash your hair. This is because washing the hair not only introduces tangling (even if you detangled before you started washing your hair), the worst kind being single strand knots, which are particularly difficult to get rid of. To reduce the amount of knots you get, loosely cornrow your hair into three or four cornrows. Loosely is the keyword here. The idea isn’t to end up with neat cornrows. Wash your hair while it is cornrowed to reduce the amount of manipulation required to get it clean. Another benefit of this method is that it also gives you better access to your scalp.
- Reduce the number of times you wash your hair. If you washed your relaxed hair once a week, while transitioning stretch this to two weeks if possible. Reducing the number of times your hair is washed also reduces the amount of time spent manipulating the hair, whether it is during washing or detangling afterwards.
- When you do wash your hair, concentrate on washing your scalp. If you have cornrowed or braided your hair, then this should be pretty easy. The lather from the shampoo will reach your ends – perhaps more easily for hair that has been cornrowed and cleanse you hair. If you use a shampoo that contains sulphates, then only wash your hair once, that should be sufficient to remove dirt and grease from your hair.
- Deep conditioning your hair is especially important when it is in a fragile a state as it will be when you are transitioning. Opt for a softening deep conditioner that suits your natural hair, and don’t be tempted to stick with an old deep conditioner that worked well for your relaxed hair. While the deep conditioner for your relaxed hair may have been heavy on protein to strengthen your processed hair, this may not be suitable for your moisture thirsty natural hair. Again, the new natural hair is what you want to nurture and keep healthy. Natural and relaxed hair have a tendency to be dry, so the relaxed hair can only benefit too. Examples of deep conditioners loved by women with natural hair are Crece Pelo Phytotherapeutic deep conditioner and the Silicon Mix Hidratante conditioner. Although the Silicon Mix Hidratante conditioner is really only a conditioner, it gives fantastic results when used as a deep conditioner and left in hair for longer.
- After you have washed your hair, use a micro fibre towel or old cotton t-shirt to pat and soak up as much water as you can. Apply a light moisturising leave in conditioner to your hair. Follow this up with a moisturising cream which you can add vegetable glycerine to, to make your hair softer and add even more moisture.
- Seal with an oil or serum of your choice. Although coconut oil is great for your hair, it may not be the best choice of natural oils to use while transitioning. This is because it can leave your hair feeling hard, something you want to avoid at this particular time. When your hair feels hard it is not as elastic as it should be kept to resist breakage, something transitioning hair is vulnerable to. Instead opt for olive oil, jojoba oil or castor oil. Castor oil can feel quite heavy and is very thick so probably harder to spread evenly over your hair. Serums made from natural oils are a great alternative to oils. This is because they are less greasy and also contain silicones, which WILL help seal in the moisture from your leave in conditioner and cream/glycerine mix. Great serums made from natural oils are Macadamia Natural Healing Oil Hair Treatment and Moroccanoil Treatment.
- Always air dry your hair. Preferably leaving your hair in cornrows after applying your moisturisers and sealing with a suitable oil or serum. This again reduces the amount of manipulation on your hair and allows your hair to soak in all the moisturisers. When your hair is dry you can take out the cornrows and your hair should feel soft and moisturised. The products you have applied to your hair will reduce inter strand friction and increase the elasticity of your hair (even if is only temporarily while it feels soft and moisturised) so that you can easily detangle it in small sections without causing breakage. Style your hair as you like, remembering to choose a low manipulation hair style! If doing a twist out or style that requires you to start with wet hair, then lightly spritz your hair with water then style your hair. If you are wondering why it is best to wait till your hair has air dried before detangling, it is because your relaxed hair is more prone to breakage while it is wet as it is in a weaker state. Therefore detangling while the hair is wet may leave you with more breakage and split ends than you might think. If you aren’t comfortable with wearing your hair short while it is natural, then it is best to do whatever you can to preserve the relaxed hair you have while your natural hair grows out to a length you are comfortable with.
- Observe your hair and take special notice of how long it takes for it to start feeling dry after your wash, deep conditioning treatment and leave in moisturisers. It is not enough to moisturise your hair only when it is freshly washed. Depending on your hair’s porosity and ability to retain moisture, you may need to top up your moisturisers from time to time between washes. The important thing is not to do it at pre-set times. There is no point in adding moisturisers to hair that is already soft and moisturised just because you had planned a day or time to moisturise your hair. All this will achieve is coating the hair and will add no additional benefit to your hair because the moisturisers will not be absorbed by your hair. On the other hand ignoring hair that is dry and thirsty, because the day or time you planned on moisturising your hair hasn’t arrived yet will be counter productive to your previous efforts and only result in breakage. Instead by paying careful attention to your hair you can decide when your hair needs additional moisture. When you do need to moisturise your hair again, start with your light leave in conditioner, followed by your cream/glycerine mix then seal again with an oil. Adding the glycerine to the cream should help keep your hair feeling soft, moisturised and conditioned for longer.