In any facet of life, transitions are never easy. Moving to a new city, starting a new job, breaking up with a boyfriend (or girlfriend) or heck, even jetlag can be difficult to transition out of at times! However, no matter how tedious, transitional periods set the stage for new experiences – and hair is no exception.
Favored by many, transitioning – the alternative route to natural hair sans the Big Chop – is defined by thirstyroots.com as the process in which you take steps to stop relaxing the hair in order to grow out your natural hair texture. Sounds simple enough. However, the process of transitioning is often a catalyst to numerous roadblocks a “transitionee” would face during his or her natural journey (dry hair, withering ends, damaged tresses, stunt in hair growth, etc.). But with appropriate care and attention, unforgiving hair trauma and regrets can be sidelined with these 5 easy steps to transition effectively.
1.) bring on the scissors
You may have avoided the Big Chop by opting to transition; however no one can escape the necessity of a good trim. Whether, natural, relaxed or transitioning, more often than not a trim is necessary for damaged hair. Relaxed ends, in particular are prone to shedding, and can have a thin and limp look overall. Many transitionees like to hold onto their relaxed ends as long as possible, to retain a certain length, however the longer the split ends remain, the more brittle your hair becomes as does your demarcation line (the area where transitioned hair meets natural). Start your natural hair journey on a good note and alleviate the drama by scheduling a trim to remove all split ends and continue to do so as needed.
2.) the no heat policy!!!
If you’re not a fan of excessive trims but can appreciate beautiful, voluminous hair, then drop the styling irons and dispose of your blow dryer. Heat, especially in excess, greatly attributes to damaged, fried and brittle hair, (a natural’s worst nightmare). Beat the heat by employing various protective styling and low manipulation techniques, such as braids, two strand twists, Bantu knots, extensions, rod sets and curl formers to your styling regimen. Don’t believe me? Check out YouTube sensation Naptural85 as she demonstrates how to achieve enviable hair sans heat.
3.) the wash cycle
While Transitioning, it’s best to adopt a regime recommended for natural hair which includes sectioning off and prepooing:
Sectioning Off: Identical to sectioning off hair as you would prior to relaxing, this simple step of parting your hair into quadrants, aids in the effort of tangle-free hair during the shampoo process; and simultaneously guarantees a proper cleanse and moisture throughout.
Prepooing: Is a celebrated method that helps with detangling and also hydrates hair prior to the exposure of cleansing agents during the shampoo process. Prepooing can be achieved by massaging a chemical-free conditioner onto wet, saturated hair and leaving it on for 20 minutes before rinsing.
Natural & Moisturizing Shampoos: These are an ideal product for once-a-week use. They’re great at hydrating the hair with all natural ingredients, and provide a gentle yet effective clean that leaves hair tangle-free and manageable.
Clarifying Shampoos: Offer a deep clean, without the harsh stripping action of regular shampoos and should be used every 4-6 weeks. They are the best way to combat product build up and is the go-to for greasy, polluted hair. Ensure your hair’s safety by investing in a sulfate and alcohol-free clarifying shampoo. For an even healthier option, try baking soda or apple cider vinegar as an alternative.
4.) deep condition
Deep conditioning is a vital step during the washing and conditioning process and guarantees healthy hair while transitioning. Enhance your deep conditioning session by employing an all-natural deep conditioner every week, post shampoo. Apply heat by putting on a shower cap or sitting under a dryer (low settings of course) for 20-25 minutes. Ensure that you have conditioned your hair from root to ends while giving a bit more attention to your ends, to encourage length retention.
5.) lock & seal
During the transitioning process dry, wispy ends will prove to be your biggest enemy. Treat dry hair by moisturizing via the highly popular “lock and seal” method. Locking and sealing your hair is achieved by saturating your hair while it’s wet with a leave-in conditioner and styling it into a protective style (two strand twists, braids or any style with tied ends). This is then followed by applying an oil sealant (coconut, avocado, tea tree, olive and castor prove to be the most effective). This moisture-rich technique is a proven necessity for naturals and transitionees alike.
Here’s a good video on moisturizing and sealing your hair:
Transitioning may be an awkward in-between period but one of the keys to getting through it is finding a good transitioning hair style that works for you. Luckily we’ve picked our five favorite looks to rock while transitioning.