Preparing Yourself To Cut Off Your Relaxer

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November 7, 2011 ‐ By Dolapo Roberts

"Big Chop"

Making the decision to go au naturale when you have been relaxed for most of your life is a BIG deal. The most some women remember about their natural hair is what they’ve seen in childhood photo albums. Your decision to go through the big chop means you will have to learn about a new texture of hair and it’s definitely not a walk in the park. There will be good, mediocre and bad days so prepare yourself for what awaits you.

If you’re considering chopping it all off, here are some tips to get you started!

Emotional preparation – getting cold feet?

As women, we are emotionally attached to our hair. If you’re the overly emotional type, get yourself a support system even if it’s just one person. It’s always a good idea to have someone who has been through the big chop because they’ll understand what you’re going through. This person will likely be your guide through the whole journey—think of them as a natural hair mentor.

Wait, how short do I want my hair again?

The brave ones will shave it all off in a heartbeat, while others prefer to have a few inches of growth. The great news is you can transition gradually into your natural texture. Once you’ve decided to go natural, just stop relaxing your hair and let it grow. When you’re satisfied with the length of your new growth, you can chop off your processed ends.

During this period, you have to take extra care of your hair because you will be dealing with two textures. The best styles for you will be low manipulation styles like roller sets, braids, sew-ins, braid outs, and wigs. The idea of low manipulation styling is that you don’t have to do much to your hair on a regular basis. Some women try to flat iron their natural roots to blend in with their relaxed ends, but that is not a good idea because you risk heat damage. Once your natural hair is heat damaged, it will not revert to its kinky state. You will have to cut and let it grow out again.

While transitioning your will notice tangling between both textures, so invest in a good detangler (I recommend Mane ‘n Tail Detangler). Remember not to comb straight from your roots. Instead, work your way up starting from your ends.

Time for a product overhaul!

Having a new texture means some of your old products aren’t going to work the same. You’re going to have to go through good ol’ trial and error to find what works for you. Oh, and try not to become a product junkie while you’re at it!

The top priority for new naturals is moisture–say no to ashy hair! Don’t settle for a product that keeps it “sort of moisturized,” find one that does the job and does it well.  Shea Moisture, Carol’s Daughter and Giovanni are some lines that my natural gal pals have found success with.

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