We I made the decision to go natural, I had no desire to do the “big chop” so I decided to be a long-term transitioner. I had an idea of what to expect after previously transitioning for 7 months, but I still had no idea how to take care of my natural hair. Here are some tips that I have learned as a long-term transitioner.
Do Your Research
One of the reasons I ended up relaxing my hair again was due to little or no research. I had 3-5 inches of new growth and was totally lost. It wasn’t until my friend sent me a link to YouTube showing natural hair tutorials, product reviews, and hair stories. I followed vloggers with similar textures for hair care ideas. I also did research on products and regimens to help with what I felt then was “my struggle”.
Moisture is a natural’s best friend. I remember messaging the few naturals I knew on Facebook and asking what products they used on their hair. As a kid, I never used any special product, but I wanted to make sure I was on the right track. The majority of them told me the same thing: “I can give you a list if products, but if your hair isn’t moisturized, you may get frustrated and just go back to a relaxer.” That essentially became the ‘bird in my ear’. It began to make more sense especially after learning the line of demarcation (the area where the relaxed and natural textures meet), is the weakest part of our hair and needs to be moisturized lest it breaks off.
Minimize Heat Use
This was the hardest thing for me to do. I was one of those women who NEVER styled their hair. After learning about the benefits of using little to no heat, I went from going to the salon every 2-3 weeks to once a month. Eventually, I stopped going unless it was a blowout or trim.
Not everyone will agree with your decision to be natural. It can range from your co-workers, church members or even your own family. More than anything, you need to be your own encouragement. Loving and appreciating yourself is a must whether it comes to your hair, body type, skin tone, or intellect. After this is accomplished, it is possible to get support through Facebook, Meetup groups, blogs and natural hair forums online. You can use these resources for tips, finding events in your area, product swapping and gaining a new “transition buddy” or “curlfriend”. Online support is good, but always remember to caution when providing information via social networks.
In order to be natural, you must be patient. Unless you’re an expert at doing hair or a quick learner, you will not get every style you watched on YouTube correctly. It takes time to learn your hair and figuring out what it likes. Many people worry about hair type or how long it will grow when they should pay attention to their hair’s needs. Not every product or technique will work, but the leaning portion is important in the transitioning phase.
Were you a long-term transitioner or did you do the big chop?