Even though I’ve been noticing more articles out in cyberspace about women who are returning to relaxers, if you’ve been thinking about doing the opposite and going all natural, this article was written with you in mind.
First, a true confession of my own. A few years ago, I went back to “creamy crack” because I decided to rock a mohawk and the kind of style that I wanted required straight hair. The look was just what I wanted but I’ve gotta admit that my hair wasn’t nearly as healthy — mostly because it was a lot more fragile (which tends to be the case with relaxed and color-treated hair”>. So, here I am back with natural hair and enjoying every minute of it.
I just thought I’d share that lil’ tale in order to keep you encouraged if you’re on the fence about going natural or not. Oh, and if there’s a part of you that’s wondering if summer is the best time of year to “make the switch”, I personally think that it is. You’ve just got to make sure to follow these steps, so that you can make the transitioning process a lot easier on yourself.
1. Always Remember to Deep Condition
There are two main reasons why you should definitely not skimp on the deep conditioning when you’re transitioning during the hottest season of the year. First, the extra moisture can help the sun from dehydrating your locks. Second, deep conditioning can make detangling your hair a lot easier to do. This is actually really important while you’re in the process of working between two totally different textures (relaxed and natural hair”> because the less tension that you put on your hair, the less likely it will be to break off.
While we’re on this topic, aside from deep conditioning, try and commit to applying a leave-in conditioner to your hair in between wash days as well. It will also make your hair a lot easier to manage. You can check out what we find to be great deep conditioners on SHOPNaturallyCurly. As far as leave-ins go, we’ve got 20 Holy Grail leave-ins that we think you’ll really like.
2. Exfoliate Your Scalp
During the transition process, one of the things that you want to make sure you’re intentional about is taking care of your roots. After all, that’s the foundation of your “new hair”, so your roots need to be as strong as possible.
By exfoliating your scalp, you help to remove product buildup, so that your hair follicles don’t get clogged up. Exfoliation also helps to keep your sebum levels balanced and it helps your hair to grow out healthier. For tips on how to properly exfoliate your scalp, check out our articles “DIY Scalp Exfoliation: The Do’s and The Don’ts” and “10 Masks & Scrubs that Make Your Scalp Feel Amazing”.
3. Have Fun with Braid-Outs and Twist-Outs
If there was ever a time to have a ball with braid-outs and twist-outs, it would be while you are going from chemically straight to naturally curly. Not only do both looks help you to manipulate your hair as little as possible, they can also give your hair the illusion that it’s all the same texture too. OKae Kaela and Nae2Curly are two YouTubers who can walk you through how to create a beautiful braid-out. Slim Reshae and The Gloved Natural can show you how to come out with an amazing looking twist-out.
4. Leave Color Out
I get that you might be frowning at this one because, when the sun is shining bright, we often like to have it beam down on a head full of color. Problem is, hair dyes can be extremely drying and if you add that to the fact that UV rays can take the moisture out of your hair too — I’m sure you can see where all of this has the potential of going as far as the health of your hair is concerned.
The biggest takeaway here is to avoid permanent hair color if you can during the peak summer season. Your hair is already going to be pretty delicate as you’re going from a straighter to a curlier texture and unless you’re planning to big chop, you’re going to need to be as gentle as possible in order to retain some length. Besides, it’s not like there aren’t rinses and hair waxes that you can play around with. Both are better options, so go with them instead.
5. Apply Some Sunscreen
Speaking of the sun, your scalp needs just as much protection from damaging UV rays as your skin does. And when you’re in the process of transitioning your hair, you want your scalp to be in the best condition possible. The main thing to keep in mind here is if your hair is fine, you should go with a spray while if your hair is on the thicker side, a cream is better.
If you’re unsure of where to start your search for the best hair products that provide UV protection, check out our article, “Top 15 Products With UV Protection”. Or, if you’re someone who likes to go the DIY route so that you can keep as many chemicals out of your tresses as possible, we’ve got you covered. Check out “6 DIY Sunscreen Recipes to Protect Your Hair”.
6. “Baby” Your Edges and Nape
I’ll be honest with you — whenever I go through the process of growing relaxers out of my hair, it’s getting used to my “curly edges” that is the biggest adjustment. But I promise you that if you try and just relax the sides and “kitchen” (the nape of your neck”>, eventually that’s going to lead to breakage. Or, if you’re constantly brushing and edge-controlling your temples to death, that could significantly weaken them.
Leaving both parts of your hair alone is gonna take some getting used to. Trust me, I know. But as you’re trying to be low-maintenance with them, make sure that you apply a leave-in conditioner to your edges and nape. If you’re going to use edge control, make sure that it has no alcohol in it (check out “5 DIY Edge Control Recipes For Curly Hair””> and try to leave the “slick down” obsession alone. Hey, better to have curly edges than none at all…right?
7. Pull Out Your Hair Wraps
Something that I promise is going to be your saving grace while you’re in the process of transitioning your hair is headwraps. Having a bad hair day? Headwrap. Wanna look super cute but don’t feel like going through the drama of styling your hair? Headwrap. It’s so humid that you don’t know what to do with your hair? Headwrap.
Something that I adore about all of mine is I can easily dress them up or down. And what if you don’t have a clue what to do with your scarves and wraps? These days, there are many turbans that already come “pre-tied”. This means that all you have to do is put them on your head and go. A site that has a lot of these options is Etsy. Just go there and put “pre-tied turbans” in the search field. There is a ton of variety to choose from and the prices are pretty good too.
8. Don’t Hesitate to Big Chop
I ain’t gonna lie. Hands down, to this day, the times when I felt my boldest and styling my hair was the easiest was when I was rocking a texturizer TWA. I was CUTE cute (if I do say so myself”> and you can’t tell me nothin’ different. That said, while I’m not someone who thinks that everyone who’s transitioning would automatically be better off cutting off all of their hair — when it’s burning up outside, there’s perhaps no better time to take a few inches off. That way, you’ll feel cooler in the summer sun and a few steps closer to having a head full of healthy all-natural hair. Happy Summer Season, y’all!