So you have made the leap and decided to stop getting relaxers and “go natural.” Let me be the first to say “Congratulations!” As you embark on this journey, let me tell you of a few ropes to skip … and a few ropes to know.
As you are growing out your relaxer you will soon notice how fragile your hair is between the new growth and your relaxed ends. You will have to deal with it for the duration of your transitioning period. This area is also prone to dryness and breakage because of the two textures. Regular protein and moisturizing deep treatments (alternate each week) will help you to preserve this sensitive area. Only detangle your hair while it is slathered in conditioner so you don’t rip any hair out.
There are also styles that help you preserve this area as well. Roller/rod sets, flat twist sets, and even presses (to match the two textures), are each beneficial in taking the stress off this part of your hair. I transitioned mainly by getting my hair pressed or doing flat twist sets. During this period I concentrated more on maintaining my two textures and my length than the possibility of heat damage. Pick your battles!
Once you are further along during your transition and have a significant amount of natural hair, you may get frustrated with the curl pattern you see emerging. Don’t fret! Until your relaxer is completely grown out and cut off, and your hair has been in its fully “natural” state for a month or two, you won’t really see your full curl pattern. This is especially the case if you have been pressing your hair while growing it out. Patience is definitely the key, because the curl pattern I had when I first cut off my relaxer and what I have now is quite different. I love it!
Your main mantra during your transitioning period should be “and this too shall pass.” The dryness, possible breakage, styling frustration, and disappointing curl pattern will pass, and you will be like the thousands of other naturals you see who love their natural hair. Those of us who transitioned from relaxed to natural have been through the lows and the highs, and we all came through — and you will too. Learning your hair, as you work more intimately with it during this period, is just one of the many benefits you will reap during your journey. Having the versatility of so many styling options — textured or straight — is a plus as well. Add to that the numerous benefits of having healthier hair and scalp!
My last bit of advice to you is, when you are weak, weary, and think you may want to run back to a relaxer out of shear frustration, reach out to the community of naturals for encouragement. We are all here to help one another! Until next time, be Bold, be Beautiful, be Natural!
Kiki Montgomer is the Co-founder of www.mahogonyknots.com