When I made the decision to go natural at the end of 2015, I mostly did it because I thought keeping up with my relaxed hair was “too much work” — but little did I know that “work” would be nearly doubled when taking care of my hair while transitioning and when it was natural. Transitioning can be a difficult time — working with two hair textures isn’t easy and trying to find a way to keep your hair healthy AND looking cute should constitute as an Olympic sport.
If you’re currently transitioning to natural hair, or thinking about making the leap, I’ve rounded up some of the things I wish I knew when transitioning to natural hair that would have saved me a lot of time, energy, and my natural hair probably would have been healthier from the start!
When I first started transitioning, I wanted to transition, but not deal with my curly hair until I had fully transitioned. So for the first six months or so, I kept my hair straight. That meant washing, conditioning, and blow drying and straightening once a week, and some touch ups in between. Now, I’m not anti-heat, but I think a mistake a I made in the beginning was using a little too much heat when I should have just let my hair grow naturally, and only use heat when I really wanted to. Using heat took a lot of moisture out of my hair, which I spent a year or so trying to regain. If you have to use heat, use it in moderation, and use a heat protectant spray — I recommend the TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Protectant.
Deep Conditioning is so Important!
And if you think you’ve deep conditioned enough, add an extra five minutes! I never knew what deep conditioning was until I decided to go natural. After reading articles on how important deep conditioning was, I started to do it, but only for 10 minutes or so. I also used conditioners that weren’t actual “deep conditioners” and/or weren’t meant for curly hair. If I would have deep conditioned earlier on (along with not using a ton of heat), my hair wouldn't have had to go on a long journey of trying to regain its strength and moisture back. It’s wasn’t until a few months before my big chop that I started to truly deep condition, where I kept the product on for longer and used products that were geared towards my hair, like the SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque. I recommend getting a deep conditioner that has lots of slip that can keep both your straight and curly hair moisturized and easy to manage.
Detangle, Detangle, Detangle
It’s obviously hard when working with two different hair textures while transitioning. Sometimes when I would deep condition, I’d do a “light” detangle — meaning I would go through my hair once with a comb and that was it. I had been so used to doing this with my relaxed hair, that I didn’t realize how important it was to really take the time to detangle my natural hair. My recommendation: start at the ends and work your way up when your hair is freshly washed. Take the time to detangle now, so your styling will be easy later! I recommend the Aunt Jackie's Curls & Coils Knot On My Watch Instant Detangling Therapy.
Keep Your Scalp Clean and Moisturized
When I was transitioning, I was always trying new products to see what worked with my hair. This resulted in a lot of product buildup by the end of of the week! I probably would have benefitted from washing my hair twice a week on occasion, just so my hair wasn’t so weighed down my products. My favorite shampoo I used while transitioning was the Creme of Nature Argan Oil Sulfate-Free Moisture & Shine Shampoo.
Don’t Set a Time
This was probably the hardest part: Not trying to set strict deadline of when I was going to do the big chop. For one, setting those deadlines can be unrealistic because hair tends to do it’s own thing — and there’s no way to predict what your transitioned hair will look like in 3, 6, or 9 months. Everyone’s hair grows differently — so focus on your own journey! When the time comes, you’ll know when you’re ready to do the big chop because you’ll feel ready.
What are some things you wish you would have known while transitioning? Give us your advice below!