Whether You Realize It Or Not, You’re On A Hair Journey

Single Braids/Box Braids
Protective Styling: Box Braids/Single Braids

My clients are awesome, every single one of them! I have a chance to work with women, who are well versed in natural hair care, all the way down to the newbies, who require a little more assistance with their hair care routines. I am glad to work with all of them. I learn so much from my clients and hopefully, they learn many tips from me as well. Every once in a while I get an opportunity to work with someone, who is new in their natural hair journey. There are many ways to transition from chemically relaxed hair to wearing your natural tresses. It isn’t a requirement that if you choose to make this decision, that you automatically do the Big Chop. Doing the Big Chop is great, but that isn’t something that everyone can do. Technically, everyone can do it, but the person may not be ready emotionally or psychologically for that big step, as it can be difficult to make the change in one go. Others choose to transition into their natural hair, by way of growing it out. All that means is instead of chopping off all one’s chemically straightened hair, they have decided to grow out their natural hair until they are ready to cut off their straight ends.

In the Natural Hair World, sometimes people refer to their hair experience as a journey. For some, it’s just something you did – going natural and they don’t really see it as a journey. For myself, I would have to say this is how I had seen it originally. I didn’t see it as a journey, but it really is a journey. As your natural coils and kinks grow in, you start to have a new relationship with your hair. You are getting reacquainted with your hair in a way…and in a big way actually. Going from straight hair to curly or kinky hair isn’t easy and requires patience. That is the first thing I tell the newbies. Patience will get people through trying out new products and trying out new hair styles with their hair.

I had the pleasure of working with a couple of people, who wanted to transition until they were comfortable with their lengths. In my line of work, this isn’t uncommon, but I wanted to write about these two experiences that have stood out recently. The first client, wanted to grow out her hair completely until she was at a length were she could do flat twist-outs and braid-outs—just a length were experimentation would be easier to do. For her transition phase, we went with protective styling, specifically kinky twists. She loved her kinky twists, they looked great on her, and she was happy with them. I also have to add that we managed her hairline well and there was no breakage, which always makes me smile. During this entire time, we had been discussing how she would style her hair on her own. It is very important that everyone know how to manage their hair on their own. I am a hair stylist that believes people should be educated with regard to home maintenance, styling, and product selection. She also did her own research, which was very important and she was very patient with herself, which in all honesty is more important than skill and ability because with time that will come. She is now at a place, where she feels comfortable doing her twist-outs, braid-outs, and wash and goes.

The second client had also decided to transition into her new tresses, but had a different deadline. Instead of wanting a specific length she had chosen Spring as being the time that she wanted to start wearing her own hair outside of protective styling. When we met, her hair was slightly damaged, so we went over what would be the best routine for her going forward. I like to keep things simple, so a lot of that had to do with developing a realistic hair care regimen that for her, i.e. wash routines, when to moisturize, etc. Her protective style of choice was Crochet Braids. I love this protective style, as there is no tension on the scalp (if done well), and lets your hair totally rest, as none of your hair is actually exposed. We did this style for her a few times and she loved the style. I knew the schedule she had set for herself, so I was surprised when she said she was ready to cut off her chemically straightened ends before Spring came. I was happy for her and I gladly got rid of those dead ends. She decided to do a total makeover. So we had done a cut and colour. She is currently sporting a short look with a new fresh colour that looks great on her. Her hair is short, but not a TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro). She is enjoying her new look and is confident in her new look. It always helps of course, when compliments come your way as well and they have been…which makes things easier. We don’t need outside sources to validate our decisions, but a compliment never hurt anyone, right?

I was happy for both of them and their new looks. Going from straight hair back to kinky hair is definitely a journey, and once that straight hair has been cut off it’s almost like you have graduated from something, if that makes any sense. You have worked hard to get yourself to a certain point, there is a celebration, and then you move on to the next part of the journey. It’s a beautiful thing. Protective styling definitely serves its purpose, whether that be a styling break, going on holiday, you want a new look or are transitioning like these lovely ladies did. If done well, using protective styling is a great way to get you to your natural coils and kinks again. Whether you decide to Big Chop or Transition, like these two ladies did, just ensure that you are well informed. If you have any questions regarding transitioning, protective styling or anything hair related, please feel free to drop me a line any time.

Hair By Glenna