Transitioning does not need to be a great challenge, however it does require educating yourself on your hair type and a great deal of patience.
The preferred method by a good deal of women is to do what is known in the natural world as the BC or aka THE BIG CHOP. By far, this is the fastest and most simple way to remove a relaxer from your hair completely. Nevertheless, some women find it to challenging to limit themselves with only a few styling options afterwards. Based on where you start in the transition, this can mean shaving your hair completely off or just trimming it down and rocking a fro or as it’s known in the natural hair community TWA aka Teeny Weeny Afro. This would be a wonderful opportunity for you to start with fresh healthy hair and learn about your hair as it grows.
If your answer is yes, you can slowly trim off the chemically processed hair and continue to style your hair as usual. Another option is to wear extension or wigs until your hair is the length you desire before trimming off the processed hair.
If you are serious about transitioning to natural hair you should setup a plan to do so. Hair grows on an average of 1/2 an inch each month. Make up your mind how long you would like your hair to be before cutting off the relaxer. For example, if you want at minimum of 3 inches of natural hair, plan on the final transition being around 6 months at least.
Experiment with Styles
Find a style that makes you feel beautiful and comfortable when you are transitioning. This will help you stick to the plan. A lot of women fall back into the routine of applying relaxers to their hair because they are not confident in the new look. Play around with extensions, wigs, twist-out, bantu knot-outs, and braids. The important thing is you find a style that suits you!
Avoid ANY Type of Chemical
If you have a relaxer in your hair, the last thing you should want to do is add another chemical to your already fragile hair. Do no use dyes on your hair or any type of harsh chemicals while growing out your natural black hair.
Avoid Breakage by Being Gentle
The hair is extremely fragile when it is growing out from a relaxer. This is because of the difference in textures. The strong new growth presses on the weaker hair and causes it to break. Unfortunately it is hard for your hair to prevent from breakage at the line of demarcation. The best way to try to prevent some breakage is to be gentle when trying to style or comb your hair.
Use Lots of Conditioner When Detangling your Hair
You should always detangle your hair while it is wet and with LOTS and LOTS of conditioner. You want to make certain you use a wide toothcomb so that you prevent from snagging your hair or damaging your ends. Start at the ends and work your way upwards to the roots. Doing the opposite, may result in further knots.
Keep Your Scalp and Hair Clean
Keeping your scalp clean will allow healthy hair growth and prevent your pores from being clogged. Keeping your hair clean will allow your hair cuticle to absorb any needed moisture; If you have to much product and dirt on your hair this may block needed moisture from entering the shaft. You should clean your scalp and hair at least every 7 – 14 days when trying to grow your natural healthy hair.
Moisturizing your Hair Should be a Daily Routine
Use a daily leave on conditioner at night or find a daily moisturizer such as Shea butter to use on your ends and scalp to prevent your ends from being too dry and breaking. Natural black hair tends to be more dry than all other hair types, therefore it is essential we moisturize daily.
Use a Deep Conditioner Frequently
African American hair is naturally dry so it is important to frequently do a deep conditioner. Try to use a deep conditioner at least every two weeks or once a month. Henna Treatments are great deep conditioners.
Avoid using Heat on your Hair
You may desire to get the roots of the natural hair as straight as the relaxed hair, however this is going to cause more damage and breakage than good. To avoid further damage to your hair re-frame from using styling tools that require heat. This includes, blow dryers, flat irons, curling irons, etc. There are a large number of styles that do not require the use of these items. For instance, bantu knot-outs, twist-outs, and braids.
Gradually Trim your Relaxed or Broken Ends
You should obtain a good trim every 6-8 weeks. Now some hair may differ, so you should base this on your hair needs. If you do not have any split ends, there isn’t a need for a trim. If you trim you own hair, make sure to use hair shears opposed to general scissors!
Hopefully these guidelines will help you on your journey to healthy natural hair! Best of luck and for more help and support from other transitioners visit our black hair forum.