Why I Made The Decision To Transition Instead Of Doing The Big Chop
“I love my curls!” I love all the amazing styles that I can create with my hair from a twist out to a wash n’go. However, I didn’t always love my curls. To me, my natural hair was a struggle. I remember getting a relaxer put in my hair as a child to make it “manageable” and to create acceptable straight styles. Before I began my natural hair journey, I continued to rely on relaxers, hot combs, and flat irons to make my hair “pretty.” I thought about becoming natural, but I was scared. To me becoming natural was considered brave — and I wasn’t — so I always went back to straighteners. I was naive and didn’t care how my hair was straightened, I just wanted it to look “pretty.”
I got my final relaxer in August 2012, after a poor relaxer treatment from a stylist left me with relaxed roots, a natural mid-section, and relaxed ends. At this point, my hair had to deal with two demarcation lines (the point in which your natural hair meets your relaxed hair) and I realized I needed to put those hair straighteners to rest. I felt that I had no choice but to transition; I needed to start over.
As my hair began to grow out, I did research on caring for natural hair. I began to watch tutorials with natural hair advice and I took all that I learned and applied it. In a sense, I had to relearn my hair and how to take care of it. Becoming natural allowed me to understand and listen to my hair, what it likes, what is doesn’t like, and how it reacts to other products and treatments. I stayed away from heat styling and began using flexirods and performing protective hairstyles such as twists out instead.
By November 2013, my natural hair reached neck length and I finally cut off the remainder of my relaxed ends. Transitioning to natural hair wasn’t easy, but it was the best decision for me. Since my transition, my hair has become much stronger, longer, and healthier. I can say and truly believe that I love my curls.
Here are a few tips to make transitioning to natural hair easier
•Remember you are working with two different hair types, and your hair is fragile at this point. Be gentle and treat your hair right — no excessive heat, no product overload, no harsh pulling and tugging.
•Deep conditioning is a must. If you don’t have a special deep conditioner, use a regular rinse-out conditioner and sit underneath a hooded dryer.
•Transitioning to natural hair is definitely more of a challenge than big chopping. Hair is naturally dry, and sometimes loose and wiry without texture, plus your relaxed ends are susceptible to tangles and breakage. It’s best to use detanglers and styling products such as butters to help you work through those knots and tangles and maintain moisture.