We get it. The big chop ain’t for everybody. Maybe you don’t think you have right head shape to rock a TWA, aka teeny weeny afro. Or perhaps you’re not quite ready to let go of the buns and updos, you can do with longer hair.
Whatever your reason, there’s absolutely no shame in an extended series of little chops, also known as transitioning. It’s your natural journey and you get to determine what steps you take.
If you’ve stopped chemically straightening your hair, our goal is just to help you make the transition smoother.
How to Care for Transitioning Hair
Frustration will be inevitable. You have to learn your new hair type, as well as what will and won’t work for it; while maintaining the existing hair type. Let’s just say, it can be easy to start some bad habits.
So, first things first, resist the urge to replace your relaxer with excessive direct heat from a blow dryer or flat iron. You could end up with heat-damaged natural hair; literally a hot mess before you’ve even really gotten started. If you must use heat, be sure to keep your styling tools on lower settings and always remember to use a heat protectant.
Also, because you now have two drastically different hair textures; the straight, previously relaxed hair and your kinky, coily new growth, your hair is far more prone to breakage where the two meet. It’ll be more important than ever to take your time while detangling and focus on infusing moisture into your strands. While conventional wisdom emphasizes focusing on the ends of hair, you should pay special attention to the line of demarcation, between the two textures.
Styles For Transitioning Naturals
Please don’t get into the habit of just pulling your hair back into a bun. Sure, it might be easy but done repeatedly, it can create too much tension on the hairline. And do you really want to start your natural hair journey without edges?
So what options do you have? Transitioning natural hair, with its kinky coily roots and straight ends, actually resembles heat damage. And much like with heat-damaged hair, the goal is to look for hairstyles that disguise the difference between the two textures.
A twist or braid out never fails to deliver style and substance. The foundation for lots of other looks, there’s a reason why, it’s the go-to style for so many curly girls, and soon-to-be curly girls.
In this case, it seamlessly blends the two competing textures while transitioning. You might want to wrap the ends, with perm rods though, which will help give the relaxed portion some curl, as well as volume, which better resembles your roots.
You also don’t have to stop at your ends. Skip the twists or braids all together and set your entire head using perm rods. You can either sit under a hooded dryer or air dry. PLEASE just make sure your hair is completely dry before you remove the rods, or you could end up with a half-curled, two-textured, damp mess on your hands.
At which point you, feeling defeated, will likely slick it back into the aforementioned bun. And no good can come from that.
Protective styles, like braids, wigs and weaves offer an escape from the epic fails that are inevitable when you explore and experiment as a transitioning natural. We can’t stress enough however that out of sight shouldn’t mean out of mind. You’ll still need to take care of your hair, in order to give your natural tresses the best chance at success.
Remember, when stuck, and/or short on time, a vibrant turban can be a transitioning natural’s best friend. No one has to know that this chic style choice, is covering up a bad hair month, or four.
No matter what happens, don’t let anyone shame you into big chopping before you’re ready. You’ll know when it’s time to let the last of those relaxed ends go. In the meantime, we wish you peace, patience and the right products. Happy Transitioning!
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