I transitioned to natural hair from frequent relaxers twice: the first time was during my first pregnancy in 2010 and the second/last time was during my second pregnancy in 2011. I decided to avoid relaxers, not because my hair was damaged or anything close to the stories you’ve all heard before – I just wanted to see what my natural hair looked like. I’ve always identified my natural hair with unruly or nappy. I recall hearing my mother complaining about how thick and nappy it was. She first resorted to pressing it with a hot comb, then around the age 8, if I remember correctly, she gave me my first Just for Me relaxer. From there on, every 6-8 weeks – like clockwork – I would get a touch up. Many natural girls have had similar experiences, along with a small memory of what their natural hair looked like and finally rediscovering it during adulthood.
I never big chopped my hair. Instead, I slowly trimmed my ends, all while continuing to straighten my hair at least once a month. Once I finally decided to actually wear my hair curly, it was such a struggle learning my new found glory. I used flexi-rods, curlformers, and perm rods to maintain my hair in curly styles. Although I had a couple setbacks, I’m prepared to reach waist length hair in the next few years and most importantly, healthy hair!
Here are a couple tips to help you transition and maintain HEALTHY natural hair:
1. Minimize heat and/or reduce heat.
After almost six years of following natural hair vloggers, I’ve learned to take advice but use it with judgement. Everyone’s hair isn’t the same. Some people can use heat more frequently than others, while others are more prone to heat damage. This leads me to my second tip.
2. Know your hair; Love your hair.
Know your hair, and what works for your hair type. There are so many hair products out there now. Find the one that suits your hair best and stick to it until you find another. That may result in you having to test out different products until you find the right one. Find the curly girl that fits your hair description. While no two heads are the same, there may be someone out there who has similar curl pattern and type as you. See what products they use and try them out.
Love your hair! If you think that you’ll feel insecure with a big chop, then don’t do it. Gradually trim it until it’s at a comfortable length and you are completely natural. Also, don’t get too caught up in curl crushes. While it’s totally fine to admire other curly girls’ hair, don’t make it hard on yourself to love your own mane! Try cute styles that fit your personality and enhance your look.
3. Deep condition and trims
Frequent deep conditions and trims are very important. I deep condition my hair weekly. This makes sure my hair is really moisturized and healthy. I now get trims about every other month or two. Trims help your hair to maintain a healthy look. It gets rid of split ends and ironically helps to retain growth and length. This is where I messed up a few times in the past few years, but I’ve since learned my lesson and I’m hoping to achieve my goals in the next few years.
Hope these tips helped! I look forward to sharing more.