In the 2nd part of our Transitioning to Natural Series we will focus on steps that are key to ensuring you have a successful transition from relaxed hair to natural hair.
First we'll deal with the healthy hair strategies:
Treat your hair as if its all natural - Begin eliminating products from your regimen that contain silicones and parabens and sulfates. Choose styles make it easy to blend your natural hair with your relaxed hair without using heat. Detangle with care! The line between your relaxed hair and natural hair (demarcation line) is very fragile and can break easily if you are not very gentle when detangling.
Keep your hair well moisturized - Natural hair adores water and regular moisture is key to healthy natural hair. Use water based moisturizers (they will have water as one of the first ingredients) on your hair. Keep in mind that adding moisture is not only external but also internal. We should drink about half of our body weight in ounces of water each day.
Deep condition regularly - I would suggest that deep conditioning is key in any hair regimen but it is even more key with naturally curly textured hair. A great deep conditioner should aid in detangling and leave your hair feeling soft and moisturized.
Next let's talk about the mindset:
Realistic expectations regarding hair texture/curl pattern - Everyone's curl pattern is their own. Some are wavy, some are tightly coiled, while others are kinky. Some individuals don't have a curl pattern at all. Be prepared for your hair texture to be any of these curl patterns. You may also find that you will have a mixture of several curl patterns in your head. Be willing to embrace whichever one that is uniquely yours!
Have a support network - Which brings me to my next point. It is important that before you start your natural journey that you find a supportive network. This may include supportive friends and family members, natural hair boards, natural hair blogs like this one, or YouTube. Natural hair meetups are also a great source of information and encouragement in your local area. Sometimes when those close of you are not your greatest supporters, these support networks will keep you educated, motivated to stay the course.
Patience - It will take time to learn your hair in its natural state and to develop a regimen that fits your hair.
Products that work for others may or may not work for you. Just know that the work that you take in learning & caring for your hair will be rewarded with healthy locks and growing strands.
Have a good stylist - While it is important to do your own research, it is equally important to have a knowledgeable, skilled, supportive stylist to help you learn about and care for your natural hair. This could potentially mean the parting of ways from the stylist that you've had many years, especially if she/he has no knowledge of natural hair maintenance or doesn't support your decision to eliminate chemical processing from your hair regimen. Do your research. Get recommendations and always get a consultation before sitting in the chair for a style. Ask questions. A professional stylist will encourage your questions and be willing to answer them to make sure you're comfortable.
For those of you who are "seasoned" naturals, can you think of some other things that you wish you would have known before you decided to go natural? Share them below!
Check out the blog next week for some transitional styles!