I made the transition from relaxed hair to my natural texture over ten years ago, at a time when it wasn’t so cool or trending in the way it is now. For the most part, I had shoulder length hair when it was relaxed, and I was quite comfortable with the straight texture, as that was all I had known. Wait—there was that one time in grade eleven, where I had it cut into a bob, due to some of my hair falling out, on one side, after getting it relaxed (*shakes head*). It grew back pretty quickly, after I had changed stylists and I was a happy camper once more. I think what did it for me was seeing people around me suffer from damage due to relaxers. So, I began to look into transitioning, and I had picked a few styles that I could live with until I decided it was a good time to cut off my relaxed ends. So, I had fun with my hair during this time, while the two textures were competing on one hair strand. I wore single braid extensions for a while, and I had done a straw set and cut it into a bob. After that, I decided it was time to let go. So, I waited until I had a couple of inches before cutting the relaxed hair off. I wore it in twists, twist-outs, cornrow-twist combinations, and other braided styles. I think it took me a couple of months to get comfortable with my new look, my new natural texture. I had gone through a bit of a shock, and I wasn’t feeling as confident as I did before with my relaxed hair or even while transitioning. I found that when my confidence had returned, it was a new type of confidence, one that I still have with me today.
THIS CAN GET TRICKY, VERY TRICKY! YOU HAVE TO BE READY! If not, you will return to your relaxed hair in a flash! Think about why you are making the change. I knew that relaxers were damaging to the scalp and hair and that was my main reason for the change. That was a strong enough reason for me to stick with it. You have to find a strong enough reason that will make you want to stick with your natural texture, so that going back to relaxers is no longer an option for you.
Also, do your research! I simply mean, speak to other naturals that you may know, speak to a stylist who specializes in natural hair, and try to familiarize yourself with what different products will do for your hair type (if you know what that is). It is easy to become overwhelmed during the research process because there is almost too much information available. As a new natural, it will be difficult to tell the difference between right and wrong information. Some people can just wing it, but my advice is to have a plan going forward. And please do not focus on the length of your hair, focus on the health of your hair, and the length will come if that is one of your hair goals. This is going to sound odd or surprise you, but you will need support, someone or people you can turn to if you are having doubts about going forward with your natural texture.
If you don’t plan on doing the Big Chop then you are transitioning, and you’ll definitely need some style ideas. Before we get into those, please note that because there will be two textures on your hair strands, that means there will be breakage. The two textures cannot compete for a long time on a single strand of hair without breakage. Some people are able to grow out their hair for a long time and others will experience severe breakage along the way, so to play it safe and maintain the health of your hair, it is best to cut off the relaxed ends once you notice breakage (preferably before). It really does depend on your texture, but I like the kinky twist extensions for a transition look or other extensions; such as, braids or crochet braids. It maintains your natural hair while getting you used to how you may look with twists or braids. Those are styles that you will most likely wear at some point when you go natural. It also gets you ready psychologically, as the twists and braids mimic how your hair will look. There is the least amount of shock with those types of styles while transitioning. If you don’t want to wear extensions while you grow out your hair, twists, twists-outs, braids, braid-outs, bantu knots, bantu knot-outs, and straw sets are great styles to experiment with during this time. This is a good time to practice those styles and get your fingers getting used to styling in that way. If you are still reading, Congrats! You are soon on your way to embracing your natural texture. Remember–be patient!
Hair By Glenna