Going from Relaxed Hair to Natural Hair
Going natural can be a long and grueling process, but it can also be rewarding. The task requires patience, love, and care to reach your goal.
Using less heat or no heat, keeping your hair moisturize, protective styles, the big chop, and knowing your hair type are all very important components to going natural.
Using Less or No Heat
Heat is a big must have for many women today. It is used once, twice or even three times a day by most women in the world. By heat I mean flat irons, blow dryers, curling irons, and even pressing combs. These things may not be as harsh as chemicals but they still present damage in the long run.
Maybe you have heard few women say, “I’m natural because I don’t use relaxers to straighten my hair, I use flat irons and blow dryers. My hair just looks like it was relaxed and it doesn’t curl anymore.” They may not have used a harsh chemical to straighten their hair but they have, indeed, altered it.
The heat may not seem like it’s permanently straightening the hair, but over time it will permanently change the hair structure. This is called heat damage. The hair will no longer curl and it will be in a state that looks like it’s relaxed.
Heat damaged does not affect you for the rest of your life but you will have to let your hair grow out and get rid of the damaged ends to get your natural hair texture back. When transitioning to your natural hair texture it is very important that you limit your heat use.
Even if you just want your hair to grow longer, if you take away the heat use you will see less breakage and start retaining length since the hair is no longer breaking off on the ends.
Keep Hair Moisturized
Not only will staying away from heat help you when going natural but so will keeping your hair moisturized.
As African American women, we know our hair and scalp are prone to dryness. When going natural it is very important to apply water to your hair daily and oil – for example, olive oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil – to your hair once or twice a week.
These essential oils absorb into the hair and help with dryness and a sensitive scalp. Not everyone needs oil on their hair. I find that oils help my cuticles lie down and keep moisture in my hair longer. Oils help nourish and heal the hair.
This, like using less heat, will help the hair become less prone to breaking off on the ends and ultimately will result in longer and healthier hair. This is best for people who don’t want to cut off all of their hair to go natural.
We also know how hard it is to keep that moisture in the hair. Using a humectant – a substance that attracts moisture like honey, or glycerin – will help your hair retain moisture and will also bring moisture to your hair.
The easiest way to apply a humectant to your hair is to mix it with water in a spray bottle and spray it all over your hair. One thing we should always stay away from is products that contain mineral oil, petroleum, and silicones. Many African American women were taught to use what we call “grease” in our hair to keep it “looking” moisturized and shiny.
However, most greases or products we are used to using that claim to help moisturize the hair or help it grow contain mineral oil, petroleum, and silicones. These substances coat the hair shaft and clog pores reducing the amount of water that can get into our hair or eliminates the amount altogether. It slows hair growth as well.
Protective Hair Styles
One of my favorite going natural tips is protective styling. The way you style your hair everyday will greatly affect the health of your hair and its growth. When going natural it can be very difficult to style your hair because you are competing between two different textures, unless you do the big chop.
Protective hair styles are styles that allow the ends of the hair to be tucked away and out of the harsh elements like the sun, wind, and even your clothes and combs. These things all contribute to damage and breakage.
Tucking away the hair also helps retain moisture on the ends of the hair, the area that loses moisture the fastest. Styles like buns, braids, and twists are all great styles for transitioning to natural hair. Wigs are also a great way to hide your hair and help it grow longer.
The best styles for blending the natural and straight hair are braid outs and twist outs. All you have to do is dampen the hair, braid or twist it, and take it down when the hair is completely dry. These styles help stretch the curly parts of the hair and curl the straight parts helping them match each other better.
This is a better alternative to heat. It will look more natural and will help you get used to your natural texture. If you want a straighter look you should try rolling your hair with rollers or flexi rods.
The Big Chop
Transitioning isn’t for everyone. Sometimes it is far too difficult or too much of a hassle to manage the two different textures.
Some people chose to cut off all of the hair and start fresh. This is a difficult choice because hair means a lot to women and losing it or cutting it off may seem manly or not woman like.
Some people maybe be scrutinized or looked down upon for cutting their hair off. It is becoming more and more accepting to cut off all of your hair and go natural.
Many women like to wear large ear rings and hair accessories to keep their feminine look and too look stylish and embrace their going natural hair journey. It is truly a beautiful thing to go natural and embrace the natural you.
Knowing Your Hair
The last and most important tip is knowing your hair when going natural. It is very important that you know how your hair responds to different products and different styles. No two people have the same type of hair.
I have an identical twin sister and even though our hair is similar it is still very different. What one person does to their hair may not be the same process you can take to yours. It is important to experiment with different products to find the one best for you.