6 tips for transitioning to natural hair

6 tips for transitioning to natural hair

Monday, October 19, 2020

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NATURAL hair has made its biggest comeback yet this year. Whether the natural hair wave was spawned by quarantine YouTube binging sessions that led to them discovering the vast natural hair community, new budget cuts that deemed the monthly perm to be too expensive, or conscious decisions to become more rooted in their African heritage, more Jamaican women are returning to their natural texture now more than ever.

You may be one of those women who keeps thinking of transitioning, but are too afraid of the thick, luscious mane that will grow from your scalp if you don't go for a touch up. How will you style it during the transition? What products will you use to make it manageable? How long will it take?

Certified hairstylist and natural hair vlogger, Nacketia Knight, curator of the popular Jamaican HairGoddess YouTube channel, says going natural does not have to be a terrifying experience.

“It's your hair that grows from your own scalp; there is nothing to be afraid of. It might seem thicker than usual because you got so accustomed to processed hair, but you just need to be prepared for it,” she said.

The hair goddess gives these tips for making the transition back to your roots:

Consider getting a big chop

“Many women find it way less stressful to just cut off all the processed hair and let their natural hair grow from scratch,” she begins. “Because transitioning requires a lot of patience and commitment. It's not easy having two different textures to care for simultaneously, and the contrast can make your natural hair feel extremely thick, and might even tempt you to abort the mission.”

But if you decide that a transition is what you prefer, read on for how to go about it.

Budget for it

Knight cautions that contrary to popular belief, well-maintained natural hair is not necessarily cheap, and it's definitely not free. “It might cost a bit more initially, because it can be a bit of a trial and error process to find the right products and styles for you. And with more volume, you will probably be using larger amounts of each product. How much your transition costs will also depend on whether you will be the one doing your hair or whether you will get professionals to treat and style your hair for you.”

Get to know your hair as it emerges

“You might find that as your hair grows, it doesn't feel quite like you remembered, and the products that you relied on before you processed your hair no longer work for you. Be willing to research your curl pattern and find suitable techniques, conditioners, moisturisers and styles for it,” she says. “Whatever your hair type or texture, you must keep it hydrated and moisturised for best results. Regular heat styling that you could have done with your perm, such as flat ironing and blow drying, is not recommended, as it can make your hair brittle, dry and damaged.”

Set aside time to care for your hair

The hair goddess notes that you will need to reserve time for a hair routine to make your transition as smooth as possible. “You wash days, for example, may be much longer, especially if you are deep-conditioning. Your hair might also take longer to dry than your processed hair did, and it will definitely take longer to style. You will want to budget some time for weekly or fortnightly wash days, and a little time each day to moisturise, lay your edges and style.”

Wear protective styles

These not only protect your ends while transitioning, but they save a lot of time too, she says. “Braids, cornrows, plaits, sew-ins — or any style that keeps your ends protected and requires little day-to-day manipulation — can be very helpful when transitioning. You won't have to worry about how your hair looks half curly-half straight, because it won't be as noticeable. It also saves a lot of time that would otherwise be spent detangling.”

Clip your ends

“Even if you don't want to do a big chop, it's still important to trim away your split and damaged ends as your hair grows out,” Knight points out. “You might even choose to do a 'small chop' and just do away with all of the processed ends once you have enough natural hair for a TWA (teenie weenie afro) or braids.”

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