The most important thing about transitioning is sticking to it! It can be a rocky road charting the course of growing your hair out. Not only do you need patience and care, but you also need the right ammunition in your product arsenal. Relaxed hair and natural hair are different and therefore, require different treatments. That is why it can be very perplexing to discover what works and what does not work for your hair.
For that reason, product companies are offering products for transitioning hair. We would love to think this is just an easy marketing scheme to get us to buy another product that will not work, but there are companies that really have gone through lengthy research to understand the nature of hair that is transitioning from relaxed to natural hair. If those companies are worth their value, they will discover some of the key attributes of transitioning hair: the line of demarcation, the needs for strength and moisture, and the day-to-day challenges that come with learning something new.
Line of Demarcation
This is the point at which the relaxed hair and natural hair meet. This is the most important factor in a successful grow out with minimal breakage. When the hair gets weak at that particular intersection, it is most likely to break prematurely. The Science of Black Hair by Audrey Davis-Sivasothy says “when incoming new growth and the relaxed portion of the hair strand are of significantly different textures, a hard demarcation line is created that causes the hair to be susceptible to breakage at that point. This differential occurs when the hair has been relaxed bone straight or if the incoming new growth is highly textured and kinky.”
The Need for Strength and Moisture
Relaxed hair has a greater need for strengthening treatments than virgin or chemically-free hair. Naturally curly and coily hair has a great need for moisture, as it tends to be drier. Finding a healthy balance of strength and moisture is necessary to meet the needs of the dual textured hair. Transitioning products must accommodate these needs and therefore tends to add both means of nurture to their products. The moisture keeps the hair detangled and easy to manage and the protein strengthens the inner and outer hair shaft to prevent breakage.
The Mental Transition
This is an emotional transition that can be highly remedied by product usage, technique, and knowledge. Human beings for centuries have been creatures of habit and hair care is not exempt. Because of this, we get used to treating our hair a certain way and are resistant to change. The emotional struggle that comes along with styling transitioned hair has everything to do with control. You get to a point when you feel you have no control over your hair and look, which can be frustrating. A product that helps to soften, control, and style the hair becomingly is essential to the process.
Why is there a limited supply of transitioning products?
Although these key areas are so important to a woman’s journey, many women want to rush into what mainstream naturals are doing. More education is needed as well as more high quality transitioning products. Let’s take a look at a popular transitioning product to see how and why it was formulated.
“When we created our transitioning cream, here were the following things we wanted to ensure that it does…soften, detangle, moisturize, and protect. What makes transitioning products unique is that they are specifically formulated to make hair easier to comb, style, and manage while transitioning from relaxed to natural hair. By easier, it should easily soften & detangle new growth in order to prevent too much friction on the hair (especially the line of demarcation where the new growth and relaxed hair meets”>.”- Lysandra Taylor.
Ingredients: distilled water, organic aloe vera, organic virgin coconut oil, behentrimonium methosulfate (and”> cetearyl alcohol, vitamin E, panthenol, yarrow, sage, horsetail, nettle, & lavender extracts, phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol (a paraben-free preservative”>, and lemongrass essential oil.
This product and others like it can be used to moisturize the hair daily or as needed to soften the hair and make for a more seamless appearance between the two textures. It can be used to style the hair in protective updos, braids, twists, or even roller sets. A common transitioning style is the “twist and curl.” For a more seamless, “melt-down free” styling experience, apply your transitioning products prior to and while styling. This is the key to getting you to your end result!
Do you use transitioning products?