The transition to natural hair is a journey that is completely unique to each person. It involves going natural from relaxed or chemically treated hair and should include a few essential steps to transition to natural hair encourage successful results. Whether you’re just starting your journey or 2 years in, it can always be helpful to tweak your processes and techniques to improve your experience.
Step One: Start with A Good Trim
If you don’t want to do the big chop, then work to gradually trim your ends. Once you decide to transition to natural hair, I recommend scheduling one major trim to get your started. After that, set up a schedule of how often you want to get these trims. I suggest once a month, but some Naturalista’s trim every time they shampoo, once every three months, etc. Do what YOU prefer. It’s YOUR hair – YOUR choice- YOUR journey.
Step Two: Stop Using Direct Heat
As you make the transition to natural hair, your hair tends to be in a more sensitive and weakened state. As a result, it is best to give up all direct forms of heat. In addition to the irreversible damage that heat styling can cause throughout this transition, heat also alters your natural curl pattern. So, put away the heat styling tools and focus on embracing your natural hair. Learning all about your true curl pattern, hair type, and porosity will save you tons of headache throughout this transition to natural hair.
Step Three: Put Together a Natural Hair Kit
Don’t go out and buy a billion products, start basic (a shampoo, conditioner and hair growth oil) and do research. I recommend putting together a natural hair kit that has all of the following essentials.
- WIDE TOOTH COMB
- HAIR CLIPS
- PLASTIC CAPS
- SATIN SLEEPING BONNET
- A MOISTURIZING CONDITIONER
- HAIR GROWTH OIL
- LEAVE-IN CONDITIONER
Step Four: Build an Easy to Follow Hair Regimen
When you start watching all these Naturlista’s on YouTube you are going to see a mass of tutorials that have 20,000 steps. Don’t even get me started on the language of “wash day routines and pre-poo” all that will have you all over the place. Here’s a 5-step routine that is easy to follow and readily customizable. Start with this and adjust as your get further in your transition to natural hair.
- DEEP CONDITION
Step Five: Wear Low Manipulation or Protective Styles
Typically this is the step that makes or breaks your natural hair journey. Finding a go to style or even an easy style can be discouraging since you’re essentially trying to blend two very different hair textures. I know it can be tempting to consistently rock a pony or bun, but this can thin out your hair line and damage your roots from the excess force.
Step Six: Major Key Alert – Moisture Moisture Moisture!
As you transition to natural hair, your hair is more prone to damage and breakage. To combat this, it’s important to focus on infusing and retaining moisture through the techniques mentioned below.
- PRE-POO BEFORE SHAMPOOING
- USE SULFATE FREE SHAMPOOS
- DEEP CONDITION EVERY WEEK
Step Seven: Get Educated
The Natural Hair community is steadily growing and flourishing. Get familiar with some of the more common terms so that you understand different methods for caring for your hair. To get you started, I put together a list of some of the more common terms in the natural hair community.
- L.O.C. stands for Liquid / Leave In Conditioner, Oil, and Cream
- CO-WASH Short for conditioner wash, this technique skips the shampoo, using only conditioner to wash the hair.
- Pre-poo or pre shampoo, conditions the cuticles and gets the hair shaft prepared for the manipulation to follow, it can be done the night before or day of, using oils, butters, creams
- Deep conditioning adds moisture back into the hair after normal wear and tear. This can be done with hair masks, creams, oils or a mix
- TWA stands for Teeny Weeny Afro, a short afro-shaped natural hair style
- Protective styles, literally protect your hair from external factors like dry weather, hats, and scarves. This could be a bun, braids, bantu knots, twist outs, weaves
- Bantu Knots Sectioning your hair and putting each section of hair in a tight ball or knot
- Heat damage, is the negative effect caused by heat from flat irons, curling irons, and hair dryers
- ACV Apple Cider Vinegar. This is used as a rinse to close hair follicles.
- BC – Big Chop or Big Cut. It means cutting off all the relaxed hair
- Clarifying Shampoo – Clarifying shampoo is a type of shampoo that is used to remove product build-up from the scalp and hair.
- Shrinkage This refers to relatively shorter hair length experience after washing or wetting natural hair due to the curls tightening up.
- Wash and Go when you shampoo, condition, and then go let it air dry without manipulating it via braids, twist, or anything.
The journey to natural hair is a mental one! Don’t get discouraged through comparisons. We ALL have our rough days, we ALL are working on improving our hair some way or another so just do you boo. You’ve made the decision to transition and that already is a major win.
Let me know in the comments below where you are in your natural hair journey!