Seriously torn about transitioning... (long post!)

Hello all,

A little background about me; I've been doing my own hair since I was about 9 years old. I got my first relaxer around 13 years old (I'm 31 now). Currently my hair is relaxed, and at tail bone length. However, my ends aren't the greatest (I never ever trimmed ) so I've been working towards slowly evening out my ends.

Earlier this year I started doing research about transitioning after my mom stopped getting relaxers from damage since she also has a permanent color, and in only 3 years her hair has grown from shoulder length almost to tailbone length (she never big chopped, and still does permanent color, just no relaxer now). I sort of wanted to try go natural as well since I couldn't really remember what my natural hair looked like. I only remembered that it took hours for me to detangle when I would wash it. Granted, back then I probably didn't care for my hair as I should since I was so young, and I only recently (this year!) really started paying attention to my hair and it's health.

I tried transitioning for 4 months, but gave up when it started becomming increasingly difficult to detangle my roots. Since then, I've gotten better at being very gentle with my hair and making it easier for me to detangle (leaving conditioner on for at least 10 mins helps sooo much. Wish I knew that when I was trying to transition!).

So here I am, 2 months after my last relaxer, seriously considering transitioning again. But here's my problem! As I was going through old pictures of me before I got a relaxer... I notice that my hair was considerably shorter than it is today! At 7 or so, my hair was just past shoulder length. At 12, it was around BSL. After 13 after I got it relaxed, it was just a bit past BSL, but very very thick, healthy, and even length even though I never trimmed back then either. I believe I had to relax the entire length twice for the relaxer to take, since it was still very poofy. Around my low 20s, it seems my hair was just above waist length, and from pictures a few years later, looks like I achieved near tailbone length back in 2004, however its nowhere near as thick as before. Today, my relaxed hair is tailbone length yet I never took care of it. In fact, i'm surprised I have hair on my head with all the crap I have done in the past... such as not completely rinsing out relaxer etc.

What exactly does this mean?? Did simply getting a relaxer make my hair so manageable that it allowed my hair to grow this long? Is it simply due to the passage of time? (I noticed also that my mom's hair is longer than it was when she was natural as well, however her hair is undeniably more damaged from 2x chemical treatments). Or can it be that I have just unknowingly gotten better at taking care of my hair (even though I never really tried to until this year).

Now I'm seriously torn. Do I really want to try transitioning or do I want to maintain my relaxed hair, but start from now on trying to keep it healthy? There's so much I could have been doing over the years that I did not do such as deep conditioning, regular trims, gently handling my hair, properly RINSING out the relaxer(!!), moisturizing, etc. I have only recently started doing all of those. My goal is to have long, even length hair (I'm doing gradual trims... cant bare to chop off too much at once!) Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!!

Last edited by darkqueen99; 10-02-2012 at 02:53 PM.
[QUOTE=darkqueen99;2044751]
So is your mother's hair longer WITH the relaxer or WITHOUT b/c you wrote: after my mom stopped getting relaxers from damage since she also has a permanent color, and in only 3 years her hair has grown almost to tailbone length. (I noticed also that my mom's hair is longer than it was when she was natural as well, however her hair is undeniably more damaged from 2x chemical treatments). QUOTE]

I'm sure transitioning is a difficult commitment...maybe see how healthy you can get your relaxed hair first. Depending on how drastic of a change your natural hair is from your processed hair, it will be even more difficult. Also, do you plan to style your hair in a natural state for years to come and are no longer interested in the relaxed look and styles? That would be something I would seriously consider before transitioning. I think it's great when people learn to live with, appreciate and enjoy their natural hair but I also think it's important to like the end result and not alter it after so much hard work and committment. What do I know though, I've never really been in that situation. I've relaxed my hair over the years but my hair never really changed that much from it's original curl pattern so growing back was not much work.
3b-ish... normal to low porosity....med. texture
Wash: Desert Essence Coconut shampoo, Acure argon shampoo
Deep Trestment: Nature's Nectars deep conditioner/styler
Condition: Nature's Nectars luv-n-a-bottle, Nature's Gate pomegranate sunflower
LEAVE-IN:Nature's Nectars luv-n-a-bottle, Natures Gate pomegranate sunflower
STYLE: Nature's Nectars Sweet Shea butter blend, Ecostyler gel
hemp oil, jojoba oil
www.naturesnectars.net

Last edited by kurlygurly; 10-02-2012 at 02:43 PM. Reason: bold text
[QUOTE=kurlygurly;2044868]
So is your mother's hair longer WITH the relaxer or WITHOUT b/c you wrote: after my mom stopped getting relaxers from damage since she also has a permanent color, and in only 3 years her hair has grown almost to tailbone length. (I noticed also that my mom's hair is longer than it was when she was natural as well, however her hair is undeniably more damaged from 2x chemical treatments). QUOTE]

I'm sure transitioning is a difficult commitment...maybe see how healthy you can get your relaxed hair first. Depending on how drastic of a change your natural hair is from your processed hair, it will be even more difficult. Also, do you plan to style your hair in a natural state for years to come and are no longer interested in the relaxed look and styles? That would be something I would seriously consider before transitioning. I think it's great when people learn to live with, appreciate and enjoy their natural hair but I also think it's important to like the end result and not alter it after so much hard work and committment. What do I know though, I've never really been in that situation. I've relaxed my hair over the years but my hair never really changed that much from it's original curl pattern so growing back was not much work.
Originally Posted by darkqueen99
Sorry, I made my post a bit clearer hopefully I meant that her hair is longer since she stopped relaxing it. It was only shoulder length when she colored & relaxed it, and now that she only does permanent color its now almost hip length but its very very thin (probably from the color)

But you are absolutely correct... I guess I haven't really thought that far down the road what my goal is as far as styling/look. I really just wanted to try being natural at first because since my mom cut off one of the chemical processes she was doing to her hair, it grew so quickly (I wonder what would happen if she stopped coloring it too!), but I found a ton of pictures of the both of us when we were natural just today and saw that our hair was actually far shorter than it was ever since we started relaxing. I'm not sure what that means... Could it be due to changes/heavy use in products?

When I was natural, I would absolutely slather grease and products containing mineral oil all over my scalp and hair, then braid it in tiny braids for the week. After I relaxed my hair, I think I became lazy and hardly used many products and didn't really do anything to my hair since it was so much more manageable. I always just pulled it back in a ponytail and braided it every day. On rare occasions I would let my hair down. Do you think it was my heavy use of grease and products containing mineral oils that possibly slowed down my hair growth while natural? But that wouldn't have made such a drastic difference, would it?

Last edited by darkqueen99; 10-02-2012 at 04:03 PM.
Not sure how to delete double posts
Not sure how to delete double posts
Originally Posted by darkqueen99
You really can't. We just erase it and write dp for douple post.

Or nm for nevermind.


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From what you're describing, it doesn't appear that your growth really slowed all that much. After all, the growth takes a long time to show when curly.
Hair Type: 3c, Med-High Density, Low Porosity
Low Poo: KC Come Clean
Condish: AOHR, TN (Avocado), TJ Balancing Moisture
Leave in: GDL, KBB
Curl Lotion/Gel: CHS/CK
Others: CJ Curl Rehab, Jojoba Oil


CG since '09
From what you're describing, it doesn't appear that your growth really slowed all that much. After all, the growth takes a long time to show when curly.
Originally Posted by Sandi
Thanks for the reply!

And yeah, you might be right. I found even more old pics today! Even a couple more where my mom let my hair out. It was so huge and poofy back then! (possibly due to the warmer climate and humidity of the carribean). I seem to remember her using something in it to keep my hair curly, but it didn't last more than a couple hours before my hair exploded into a big ball of frizz Probably why she mostly kept it braided before I took over and started doing my own hair. My hair does also look far more drier in those pics, again probably due to the difference in weather as I now live in the US. I'm probably not very committed to the whole transition process, but I would very much like to at least try and see how far I can go!

I guess my only concerns were if my hair would start breaking off tons or something from trying to transition, or if I did go natural that my hair would not retain any length due to unmanageability. I remember my hair would laugh at combs... So many were a broken mess from me hitting snags and just roughly pulling it through my hair Now combs laugh at my hair ;( If for any reason I have a snag right now and I pull at it roughly, I'm sure my hair would give long before the comb did! (Hm.. I just had an "aha!" moment... I think that may have been my problem back then. I took the strength of my hair for granted and treated it very roughly) My hair was really strong back then but not as long as it is today. As far as styling goes, still not too sure. I'm just going to dive in and see how well I do this second go 'round as far as making it more manageable. If anything, at least I can consider it to be simply stretching my relaxer for a bit I guess

Last edited by darkqueen99; 10-03-2012 at 08:40 AM.
IMO you might do better just trying to stretch your relaxer. Transitioning is difficult and takes patience and dedication. If you already know you are not committed to it then the first sign of difficulty will make you even more likely to relax. You could use the stretches to learn better hair care techniques. Your detangling method made me cringe LOL. There is a lady on YT named Shima with long relaxed hair who does a lot of videos on stretching. Since chemically treated hair and natural hair don't respond the same you might want to visit boards that have a lot of relaxed heads like LHCF.
IMO you might do better just trying to stretch your relaxer. Transitioning is difficult and takes patience and dedication. If you already know you are not committed to it then the first sign of difficulty will make you even more likely to relax. You could use the stretches to learn better hair care techniques. Your detangling method made me cringe LOL. There is a lady on YT named Shima with long relaxed hair who does a lot of videos on stretching. Since chemically treated hair and natural hair don't respond the same you might want to visit boards that have a lot of relaxed heads like LHCF.
Originally Posted by adthomas
Haha yeah, thankfully I no longer detangle like that! I'm super gentle with my hair now I guess I didn't know any better back then but you live and you learn And thanks for the suggestion! I've actually seen a few of Shima's vids, but I only saw one where she was stretching a relaxer (I think she was stretching 9 months or something crazy like that). I'll go see the other vids she has though, hopefully I'll be able to learn lots of new techniques to make the process easier.

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