How You Can Have Healthy Strong Hair While Transitioning
Many us of remember our first relaxer burn on our scalp. For some, getting your hair relaxed was a "rite of passage" into feeling and looking more grown-up. We traded in our hair beads for sleek straight styles, and smooth ponytails with "hang-time" vs afro puffs that stood straight up on our heads. The relaxer; either laid by your mother, auntie, cousin or stylist, was your destiny. There was never a question of if your hair was going to be relaxed but when. Most of our mothers did not know that before the age of 12, relaxers are not recommended and they were not a necessity.
Fast forward into your teenage and collage years, when you experimented with your hair. The damage from the relaxer was often intensified by applying hair color, heat, and improper handling. Your hair has suffered for years and as you get older and become more aware of your hair and its needs, you decide to start over. For some, starting over means the "big chop", for others taking this drastic step is not an option, so over time your hair transitions. Transitioning is the process in which you do not apply any more chemicals to your hair (new growth) to alter your natural curl and the natural curl meets the chemically altered hair on the same strand. The key of transitioning is to manage both textures and their different needs while keeping in mind the ultimate goal of healthy strong natural hair.
- 1. Get back to basics and have a plan - Outline your hair goals and start off with an idea for a regime. As you care for your hair, your regime will change, however it is good to keep in an account of your washing, conditioning, trimming and treatments, to give your hair the consistent attention it needs. If you keep track of what you do to your hair and the products you use, it will be easy tell if something works or not. For example, in your regime you deep condition every 2 weeks, but by week 1 your hair is dry, you might add a deep conditioning treatment weekly to see if this helps with the dryness.
- 2. Utilize protective styling - Recognize that relaxers are not the only way hair can become damaged. Improper styling and excessive heat can account for tangled hair, split ends, thinning edges and dryness. Protective styles are hair styles that require low manipulation to achieve and minimal maintenance. The less you handle your hair and the less stress on the hair, the less likely it is to break off. By styling your hair in buns, twists, and braids the two textures will be less likely to notice and will continue to thrive.
Be Patient - Hair grows at a rate of about 1 inch a month and during the time of transitioning, you may find yourself trimming off more hair than usual to eventually rid yourself of the relaxed ends. This will result in a head of hair that seemingly does not grow. If you find yourself doing length checks once a month, you might need to save yourself from the discouragement and get braids, weave or twists. Keeping your hair "away" with these styles for weeks or months at a time, will trick yourself into thinking your hair is growing faster while you retain length.