Transitioning Tips

Let’s start with the basics “transitioning” is the term used to describe the process someone takes to grow out their chemical processed hair. This is my simplistic definition for transitioning. Surprisingly, many women decide to embark on this journey without knowing the “terminology” used among naturals. The word “journey” is used often when describing the transitioning process because the emotional ties to our hair. Fortunately for me, my journey started after discovering hair boards and learning from other natural sisters about their journey. Now I want to share some tips that have helped me so far 15 months into my journey.

Tip #1 Love your new growth

This tip is very important because in my opinion loving your new growth will help with some of the emotional struggles. Before my decision to transition, I experimented with “stretching” my relaxer. This means that instead of getting my touch up every 6-8 weeks I will stretch the time frame to 12-14 weeks. After 12 weeks of stretching I accumulated maybe 1.5 inches of new growth. During my stretches, braid outs were my friend and I fell in love with the volume my new growth gave. The first relaxer after my second go round with stretching was my last relaxer. A week after my fresh relaxer my braid out was not the same. The volume my new growth gave me was gone and my hair seemed lifeless to me. At that point I decided to go natural. The love for my new growth outweighed my desire to have straight hair. The only time I flat ironed was for trims.

Tip #2 Identify and Eliminate bad habits

For me it was important for me to identify bad habits and eliminate them. In order to see results, changes in my hair maintenance needed to occur. Check out my post on the bad habits I adopted over the years. Not only did I break away from bad habits but I changed my mindset about hair. For instance, I had to re-evaluate the maintenance habits learned as a child like washing my hair once a month.

Tip#3 Research

Learn as much as you can about the structure and science of hair and use the knowledge to form the best routine for you. An excellent read I highly recommend is Cathy Howse book. Additionally, performing your own research will help to debunk hair myths that we tend to believe. For example, trims help to grow your hair but in actuality trims only improve the appearance of your hair. The more knowledge obtained about hair, you will understand that products and oils do not grow hair but help to retain length. This is very important to understand. While you are researching and learning about your hair, join a hair forum, blog, or subscribe to a you tube channel. Seek out assistance and learn from others who embarked on the same journey with similar hair textures and lengths.

Tip #4 Moisture/Protein balance

Now it’s time to find the right moisture/protein balance for your hair through experimentation. Yes, you have to experiment. Moisture is important for our kinky, curly, coily hair because our tight curl pattern prevents the natural oils from our scalp to lubricate the hair strand. Protein is important because it attaches to the hair strand and becomes a part of it; this increases the elasticity and strength of our hair. For me I learned that my hair needs more moisture than protein. Instead of alternating between moisturizing and protein conditioners every week, I only use a protein conditioner once a month. Soon after I noticed that my shedding improved tremendously. Please note that products that work for others may not work for you so do not get discouraged: continue to experiment and document the success/failures of the products used.

Tip #5 Protective Styles

This is the best method for protecting your ends. The ends of your hair are the oldest and most fragile. Experiment with heat free low manipulation styles that compliment your new growth.

Tip #6 Consistency

Consistency is important so please put together a wash day schedule that best fits your lifestyle. A pre-determined schedule will help you stay on track.

Tip #7 Patience

Honestly, I’m still working on this one because I lack patience. In the beginning of my hair journey I will compare my growth rate and length to other women. The outcome was depression and over obsessing. Please do not compare your growth rate to someone else. Everyone’s growth rate is different and the average growth rate is ½ inch per month. Secondly, handle your hair with care. Again the ends of your hair are the oldest and most fragile so be gentle. Find the right combing tools for detangling and maintenance that will not pull your hair out.

Hopefully, these tips with help someone with their transition. If you have questions or will like to add to my list please feel free to do so. Until next time take care…