I always have had my hair done at the salon--from getting my hair pressed as a child to getting relaxers as a teenager. I relied 100% on my stylist for all of my hair care.
Due to lifelong issues with my scalp, and recently developing scalp psoriasis, I decided to stop relaxed my hair in 2010. Instead of the big chop (BC) I decided to transition. I transitioned my hair from relaxed to natural for 3+ years. I have been fully natural for 2+ years. This is what I have learned during my 6 year journey so far.
1. Become (even more) patient
My stylist relocated prior to the start of my transitioning to natural hair. After many failed visits to other salons I realized…this is all on me. This was the 1st time I was getting my hands back into my hair to wash and style it on my own. This was both a challenging and rewarding process. I relearned how to care for my hair and how to get over bad hair days--and there were many! I had to become more patient with myself; I watched lots of YouTube videos, read natural hair blogs and trying styles until I got them right. If it is difficult for you to do your own hair, then look into scheduling an appointment with a natural hair stylist in your area.
2. Don’t give up
Transitioning hair was super frustrating the 1st year and I see why so many opted to big chop. When growing out relaxed hair, there is no such thing as a wash-and-go; air drying times varied throughout my hair due to texture and density differences. Braid-outs and roller sets were my favorite styles. If these things sound like something you have experienced, know that you are not alone. Eventually you will find what works best for you. Don’t give up. Hang in there!
3. Take notes
This was a pivotal moment in my hair journey and it will definitely help yours. Write down the needs of your hair, hair goals, your weekly hair regimen, and products you've used. At the end of each day, give a star rating and short note about what you liked or disliked. You will recognize a pattern in product fails and passes. Now you can weed out what doesn’t work and repurchase your favorites. An effective regimen is created this way.
4. Your hair is unique
Hair varies in many ways in its structure and needs. Some differences are multiple textures, curl pattern, density, and porosity to name a few. Although it can look similar to someone else's, it doesn’t mean that it is the same as theirs. Embrace the individuality in your hair textures and patterns. It is easy to get lost in hair typing and pictorials--they are helpful tools to point you in the right direction for a starting point.
5. Don’t become a product junkie
It is so easy to jump on bandwagons for the latest and greatest products. No matter your hair type we all need to use some products in these categories: water based moisturizers, oil and butter mix, gel and a styling product. Try not to over spend by going for key element products in the categories listed. There are two types of moisturizers: liquids and creams. Fine-haired naturals enjoy light weight liquid leave-ins like Blooming Moisture Mist by Adore Botanicals. I personally like creamy, textured moisturizers. Keep it as simple as possible. I apply Flourishing Scalp Nectar to my scalp, then use Florets & Creme to moisturize and seal with Daily Dew Oil.
It is best to get samples sized products when trying new things. It is more cost effective and it is usually enough to tell if you would like to buy the full sized versions. Also, trade products with friends and family because what fails for them could work for you and vice versa.
6. Enjoy the ride!
Try new styles and accessories. Don’t let other's opinions get you down. There will be people that don’t like your hair during your awkward stages. Take criticisms constructively and above all have fun with your hair!