So, unless you have never used chemicals on your hair, there are only two ways to return to natural. Or as we say “Go Natural”. Which way you choose is a personal preference. Either you Transition, which means you allow your hair to begin to grow in and not chemically treat it (relax) anymore. Or you BC or Big Chop, this means just what it sounds like. You chop off your hair down to the un-relaxed portion. In my opinion one takes a lot more courage and is more drastic than the other, but one takes more skill than the other. I must say, as extreme as my personality is in some cases, I personally chose the less drastic approach of transitioning. I just didn’t want to be bald! Although I sometimes use to cut my relaxed hair very short, TBH I just wasn’t ready for short and natural at the same time! **sidebar** Oh but I am loving these tapered cuts that I see on the Gram these days these days!
Anyway, I am going to break this post down into “Do’s and Don’t’s”. As I said, I personally transitioned and did a series of mini chops until I was fully natural. I can tell you this was not as easy as it sounds. There were some hard lessons learn and some habits and behaviors that I had to undo after many years of practice. So let’s get into it:
- Do comb the hair from tip to root. Having relaxed hair for so long, I was just use to combing from root to tip. When transitioning and also when fully natural this is a definite no no. Combing from tip to root allows for gentler detangling and much less pulling. Use a wide tooth comb,and do not comb your hair when it’s dry.
- Do coddle the line of demarcation. This is the absolute weakest point of your hair! It is the point where the relaxed hair meets the natural hair. Rough combing, pulling, dryness, or just about anything stress, will cause your hair to snap off right at this point.
- Do Learn to treat all of your hair as if it’s all natural. Even when you have more relaxed than natural. In general this is just a good idea to get use to taking care of your natural hair.
- Do not use heat to make both textures appear to be the same. This kind of defeats the purpose of having natural hair. I’m just saying, if your are going to burn it out before it even grows, why go natural at all. The idea is to have the most beautiful healthy head of natural hair as possible.
- Do use products for natural hair only. Practice reading the labels at this stage, so you know what your hair likes and what it doesn’t. The reason I say this is because in most cases, the products for natural hair are less harsh. They will work just fine on the relaxed hair. They will nurture your natural hair as well as treat the relaxed hair.
- Do not compare your hair to the “experts”. This was a hard lesson learned. I was watching so many YouTubers and expecting to get those results. But honestly, my hair wasn’t like theirs, I didn’t have the edits, lighting and do overs like them either. Although a valuable resource, they are not to be compared to. It’s like going doing Karaoke, just because you know the words, you are not going to sound like Beyonce’!
- Do not hold on to damaged or thinning hair. Just cut it. You will thank me later. Holding on the those thin ends it very counter productive. you want to have healthy hair right? So, you have to depart from the idea that longer is better. Even if you don’t have damage, you should still trim it often. Healthy and fuller is better!
- Do not depart from your good hair practices. Make sure your wrap your hair at night, and wash it regularly. If you normally go to the hair salon to get your hair done, make sure you find a hair dresser to do the same for your natural hair. For more good hair practices check out tips 1-10.
- Do not obsess over your curl pattern. We are all different, and we all have different unique traits and features that make us truly beautiful. In most cases people with thick hair wish it was thinner and people with thinner hair wish it was thicker. When I went natural it was at the height of the hair typing debate. So many people were obsessed with what hair type you had. This was hard for me because I have about 3 different textures in my head. We just have to be happy with what we have and learn to love ourselves the way God made us.
- Do not try to find ways to rush the process. Have patience! If you don’t have the skill, or your attention has not caught up to your intention, just find you a protective style and ease into it.Trying to rush the process will only lead to a feeling of defeat or a change of direction and you’ll just get out of the journey and relax again. Believe you me, I know plenty of women who do this over and over. They get 3, 6, or 8 months into the transition and decide, they can’t take it any more and give up on the process only to come back to it months later wishing they had just stuck it out.
Number 10 is one of the most important tips I can give. As with any transition it takes time. Learn to enjoy the process! Have that cake and eat it too!
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