The hair tips, advice and recommendations given on this blog are given based on the experiences of the authors. These tips may not work for everyone and every hair type and it is important to acknowledge this since we are neither hair specialists nor trichologists.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

O'Naturals 9-1-1 :Tips on how best to cope with the transition phase.

Hiya People,
We got this question recently:

I had my 1st child last year & my hair just got worse. I relax & in a week, you would never know. I cut my hair to half length thinking it would get better, but no, it only got worse.
So, now I'm in my transition phase. I wash my hair every 2 weeks, but was wondering if you could give a sister tips on how best to cope with the transition phase.
Hope to hear from you soon!

So we at O'Naturals thought about the question and...

Osa says:

Heya .........
Well I empathize with you here as the same thing happened to me when I had my first baby and then no 2. After both I actually went on to loc my hair.

Now the best way to enjoy your transition phase is to wash regularly; once a week is okay if you sweat a lot. While transitioning I always did something like braids. Never small braids as they tire you out easily. With big braids, you can take them out easily once you get tired and then decide to do something else. There is also the option of just weaving without any hair attachment and you can also twist your natural hair which I can assure you....... you will definitely like.

The best thing you can do really is to get some one who will be able to come to your house when you need to make your hair. You can always get from around where you live. That way you are best able to get your hair done without too much hassle.

Please DO NOT color your hair for no reason at all. If you do, your hair will look horrible. Totally washed out and limp. So make sure you have gotten to the totally natural nappy hair before coloring.

Omozo says:

Congrats on your decision to go natural. It is sure to be a great journey!
Here are some tips for your transitioning journey: 
1) Be sure why you are going natural. This is because knowing why will carry you through some tough "hair" days. Basically set a hair goal and keep your eyes on it. Knowing your goal will also help you if you encounter people who are antagonistic about your decision to go natural. I live in Toronto, Canada and I get some people who challenge my decision to keep my hair "relaxer free". (*whisper* I also challenge some people on why they choose to use relaxers ;>)). I guess we should all just be respectful. 
2) How long do you plan to transition? 6 months? One year? Or when your hair gets to a certain length? This is good to know also so that you have a destination, something to look forward to. 
3) Why transition? Why not just cut out the relaxer and start fresh? Transitioning requires that you take care of 2 textures of hair - the relaxed portion at the tips and the natural hair at the base. In my experience, this can be difficult and sometimes frustrating. It is more challenging to comb, there is more hair loss experienced and it gives a false impression that the hair is tough to maintain. This may be the source of some despair and discouragement when going natural and can lead you to deciding to relax your hair again. 
For example, I was helping a young lady transition and we used braids and corn-rows/weaving to transition her. She had long hair and did not want to cut her hair - so I had to work with relaxed and natural hair. Combing her hair was a nightmare for both of us! Both of us would sigh loudly as if we were going through the trials that Job in the bible went through! Her hair was always getting knotted and she was always in pain. When I felt her hair was long enough, I chopped off the relaxed portion completely. I think at first she was scared at the difference but she loves it now. Her hair is easier to manage now that we are working with one texture. 
To be honest, I think transitioning is not only about the hair – it is more about transitioning your mind system from relaxers to no relaxers. If I were to do it again, I would just cut my hair and take it from there because once you decide to go natural you have already transitioned.

Oghomwen says:
I’ll add a few more points here:

1.)  As Osa wrote, it’s very important to wash your hair at least once a week unless you are wearing something like braids with extensions or a weave. It is important to keep your scalp clean so as to aid the growth process of your hair. If you are wearing braids or weaves, try not to keep them in for too long.

2.)  Remember to trim the ends of your hair/the-relaxed part of your hair often. The sooner you get rid of the relaxed part the better.  So as your natural hair grows out make sure you are trimming the relaxed part off.

3.)  Have the right expectations. While it is good to admire other natural heads, make sure that you have proper expectations of your hair. For example, do not immediately assume that your hair texture is going to be the same as person B. It may not be so. And do not let that disappoint you. Also know that you are going to have to take the time to learn about your own hair texture and that could be a challenge. Natural hair is the opposite of relaxed hair in texture so everything that worked on your relaxed hair may not work on your natural hair.

4.)  Try to stop using grease and products that contain it on your scalp. Grease (products that contain petrolatum) clogs up the pores of your scalp and coats the hair instead of nourishing the hair.  Turn to more naturally based products.

5.)  Stay away from heat as much as possible (e.g. hair dryers, curling irons) Excessive heat applied directly to the hair can damage your hair.

6.)  Comb your hair when it is damp with water. Do not comb your hair dry. It is asking for trouble.

7.)  I would recommend that during this stage you try to limit the amount of styling you do to your hair. It could be frustrating having to deal with two textures. So style your hair at most once a week. OR just wear braids or weaves for the month and repeat the whole process again and again.

The Ladies at leave in the kinks have some great posts about transitioning here
and here 
Happy transitioning :)

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