How to transition from relaxer to natural:
If you like so many are struggling with the “big transition” or are wanting to make the transition and don’t know how, have no fear I am going to help you! While some people like myself are more biased to natural and has been natural for most of my life, I do understand that it is easier when you have always had the natural experience and not going through the transition of one to the other. In other words although I will say that the natural side is the best side for so many reason that I will share with you, but I do empathize with the many woman I have encouraged over the years to stick with it once they embark on the journey. Simply put that transition is one of the most difficult ones to stick with, and just about every woman I know that has attempted to take the plunge almost always go back to the creamy crack at least once.
For so long many of us have made relaxing the hair just as much a priority as food and oxygen every six to eight weeks like clockwork. The thought of stopping this process is enough to make your roots revert! Many women are now experiencing the breakdown of this long-term chemical use and are now forced to make the decision of going natural because of the inevitable breakdown that happens with hair over time. Unfortunately most of us wont be able to chemically relax forever so at some point most will face this decision. When it comes to hair relaxer, eventually it is like the age old adage that All good things come to an end.
Now assuming that you have gotten to this point and you are ready to make a change let me tell you my top advice for people who want to make the transition. I am always a big advocate for hair weaving whenever I’m talking hair transition. No matter what transitional phase you are in, growing out natural, hair damage, growing out a bad hair cut and just about anything else, if the hair is strong enough to be weaved up that is always my first recommendation. This is my top option because when done right it leaves the hair in a state to be left dormant while still having a hair style that you feel comfortable with. The average weave last about 3 months, and the hair goes through each phase of growth about every six weeks, leaving the hair alone for about 3 months at a time is a good way to see the hair growing out whatever the process is that you are trying to accomplish. In this particular case, if you are transitioning to natural you can see the new growth coming in every 3 months with each new installment making you feel more confident about the process. Also when the hair is going from relaxer to natural you are going to inevitably loose the hair that is straight because the hair is under distress so when putting the hair up into the weave you do not have to see that hair falling off everyday. Although there are other methods of putting the hair up such as braids and cornrows I am not equally fond of those styles. When getting these styles with synthetic hair added the singles tend to add weight by hanging on the hair strands making an already distress hair under even more stress. I am not a fan of the cornrows with hair added because sometimes it is too tight on the hairline therefore creating pulling. When hair is braided for a weave it is not done tightly if it is done correct, but with firm tension so minimal pulling is being done. Therefore when transitioning to a natural from a relaxer in my opinion this is the easiest way to go.
One thing I find to be important if you do opt to wearing a weave, wear a weave that is like your natural hair. This will help you get better used to the transition you are in the process of making. if you are not quite ready to go full out natural at least start with a slight curl pattern and work your way up. This can be baby steps, I know it is not easy, but if you fully plan to commit and never look back try your best to get away from the straight texture styles as soon as you can so that you can completely embrace the new journey. As your hair changes in texture find textures closer to how your new hair is becoming. The wonderful thing about going natural in this day and time is that the options of products and weaves for natural and tight curl patterns are a lot more resourceful now than ever before.
There is this great debate about the big chop; I say don’t do it until you are ready! Most black hair doesn’t grow that fast so you have to really make sure that you are ready for that chop. Black hair grows outward not lengthwise, therefore it is going to take some time to see the length that the relaxed straight hair gives you. LADIES THE SHRINKAGE IS REAL!!
SIDENOTE: DON’T RUSH THE PROCESS, REMEMBER MOST OF YOU HAVE BEEN RELAXING YOUR HAIR SINCE JUST A YOUNG GIRL. MANAGING YOUR NEW NATURAL HAIR WILL BE AN ADVENTURE ALL ON IT’S OWN. IT IS NOT THE SAME AS RELAXED HAIR, SOME WOULD SAY IT IS NOT EASY! BUT THE REWARDS FAR OUT WAY THE DISADVANTAGES! BE STRONG AND MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU.
ADVANTAGES OF NATURAL HAIR
- you get to have some hair ( long term relaxer use strips the layers of your hair away over time)
- more volume, thicker hair
- you can play with hair color
- less chemicals through the body and blood stream
- no more slave to the creamy crack