Not every transitioner really KNOWS just what they are getting themselves into when they decide to go natural. I know I thought very hard before I decided. In fact, the year leading up to the decision is included in that time of contemplation. However, even the most prepared may find themselves caught out at the following hurdles. See if you have encountered any of these.
Your hair was never "that bad" with a relaxer
By this, I mean ladies with well-maintained relaxed or coloured hair. Your hair grew long and may even have been quite thick with the chemicals in tow. So you may not feel the need to "put up with" the extra thickness of your natural hair. You may not want to take the time to "tame the beast" each styling session.
If this is you, re-evaluate why you are transitioning and find more reasons to keep yourself motivated.
Examples include - Discovering you own texture. Being you. Free of chemicals.
Okay, we never said they would throw you a party to celebrate your decision. And we never said some people wouldn't feel like your impending transition chop is a ticking bomb above them. You need to understand their perspective too. This is how they have seen you all your life. The change will take time for them. Don't take any of their misguided and misjudged attempts at swaying you from your decision affect you too deeply.
Bottom line is, it's your hair. If you like the end result, who cares what anyone else thinks. Just don't phrase it like that out loud....lol!
"When are you getting your hair done?"
This is a phrase I heard many a time. And to consider that the lady giving me this has a TWA until her early twenties! It's funny how quickly people become used to the status-quo of relaxed hair.
Just smile and keep it moving. Now, people touch my hair and are surprised by "how soft it is" and "how versatile it is". You are the best example for them so just keep your cool and keep looking good.
This is not a license to go out with un-styled (unkempt) hair. That is never cute!
Not being down with "shrinkage"
If you are still hung up on seeing length, you may not be able to finish this transition. Or worse, you may finish it, only to return to the chemicals again in a few months.
If this is you, you may not be ready for the natural stage of your hair journey. If you still want to be natural, you may want to research using heat sparingly to show your length. By sparingly, I mean once every few months. This way, you satisfy that part of you that wants to see length.
You could also try heat-free ways to stretch your hair before styling. Check out this post on "Shrinkage" for more details. Here are videos on Curlformers and African Braiding - two styles that stretched my hair wonderfully!
Improper /Incomplete Research
Count the cost before you set sail. You need to be able to make the round trip. I printed off several pages of information on any new product or technique and gave each one a few weeks of trial before accepting or discarding them. This is what you must be prepared for in your transition.
Furthermore, your hair will change as the transition lengthens. You will find that certain products won't work as well anymore. Neither will certain techniques (my most shocking was needing to detangle in the shower).
Be ready to roll with the punches and always run back to the drawing board - hair forums- for more information whenever you hit a wall.
What have your transitioning stumblingblocks been?
I tried the other methods of cleansing my hair during my transition. I had already abandoned shampooing before the transition, however, I went back to it to try out new products as the transition grew close to an end. What a mistake! I had to really work hard to get the moisture BACK into my hair.
For me, co-washing was IT! Sure, Clay treatments are great for clarifying but I still would follow with a moisture-boosting co-wash!
More Deep Conditioning
I was downright lazy (sometimes) when it came to deep conditioning as the transition lengthened. I started with weekly deep conditions. Then fell into the bi-weekly sessions. I even remember buying a table-top steamer for the purpose of Deep Conditioning more frequently. Did it happen? Nope.
I just sacrificed deep conditioning for keeping certain hairstyles going for longer. However, in the last year, when I was wearing two-strand twists with my OWN HAIR, I really had no excuse not to do this more regularly. And still, two weeks usually went by before the sit down. And the steamer was usually out of sight.....
More Detangling Sessions
Here, I will be honest. There were times I would go for a month or two without detangling. Sure, I was wearing a protective style like braids or twists at the time. However, it just made my hair feel 'Alien' to me when it came time to detangle! I needed the regular practice to really learn how to keep the breakage to a minimum during these sessions.
Secondly, I wish I knew I could switch up my detangling method, By this, I mean that I was trying to detangle damp hair post-wash when my hair got to a stage where the majority of natural hair to relaxed ends meant shower detangling was now the right way. Again, I would have seen this sooner if I didn't put off detangling for so long.
More product swaps
That way, I would have realized sooner what became obvious later. My transitioning hair was changing. It went from having mainly relaxed and texlaxed ends to having more transitioning hair than anything else.
Obviously, the products that worked before soon became a joke to my new growth! No more silicone-filled conditioner bliss. No more light leave-in conditioners (did not make a dent in my hair). Definitely needed a lot more moisture in my products!
More heat-free styling
I initially used heat to do length checks until I realized that this practice was just breaking my ends. Once bitten, twice shy. I moved on to try protective styling. Imagine my surprise when I found that the African Braiding Method was great for stretching my hair, as are Curlformers!
I wish I had jumped on the heat-free styling much earlier!
What have your changed in your regimen during your transition?
I initially started doing these with extensions and graduated to doing them on my own hair. Box braids are a wonderful style for growing out your hair before the transition chop. Twists with or without extensions allow you to have your hair in a ponytail or bun and still take care of your hair. Video tutorial here!
The main thing is to ensure you moisturize your hair really well. A water-based spray is a good daily move. And wrap your hair with a satin scarf at night. Above all, rock it like Solange!
#2. Roller-sets/ Straw-sets
These are styles you can do with or without heat being applied to your hair. This will help you to blend your new growth with your relaxed ends. Roller-sets take quite a bit of practice to do by yourself but you can still pamper yourself with the occasional salon visit for these. Video tutorial!
Straw-sets give a more shrunken curly style to get your friends and family more used to you with curly, springy hair!
#3. Buns and Updos
Okay, these were my main stay for the first year of my transition. They are so easy to do and you can hide a multitude of fluffy hair days! Just spray with a water -based moisturizer, smooth back with a bit of gel and you're good to go! Video tutorial (sock-bun) here!
Long hair, short hair, curly hair, straight hair... you can achieve any look in seconds! These are the ultimate protective style. You can be very realistic with these and you are still able to see your hair every evening. Half-wigs allow you to blend your hair with the wig even better.
Remember to wear a good wig cap and keep moisturizing your hair every day! Video tutorial here!
Again, these blend your new growth with your relaxed hair and gets people used to seeing you with thicker, bigger hair! Enjoy! Video tutorial!
Newly Natural | 3 Months Post- length check + Twist out
Finally playing in my hair! For this twist out, I used Shea Moisture's Restorative Conditioner and coconut oil to set it and took down with a shea butter mix I made a while ago
(coconut oil and olive oil in it).
Click below for more pictures and to watch the videos.
Hair today | First twist-out - FAIL!
So I decided after seeing Laila-Jean's fierce twist-out on Sunday - at the Hairitage Event - that I would start wearing my hair out. I had those twists in place for a few days but daily spritzing with water and aloe vera juice meant my twists were still not 100% dry.
I couldn't wait, I separated and fluffed and went out for the day. Needless to day, my hair did shrink up as the day went on. I didn't mind though! It was nice to know my hair could defy gravity!
Here are some more pictures for you, ladies and gents! Enjoy!
Big Chop Time | You've waited long enough!
News | LolasCurls Shop
I've opened a T-shirt and tote bag shop on Spreadshirt this week. You can buy hair care and natural hair themed shirts and tote bags. You can also buy your length check t-shirts here.
There are even a couple of umbrellas - keeping it real in London.
And there's more:
Early Christmas shoppers are rewarded. Customers will get a chance to order without delivery costs on 28 October - NO minimum order value. Voucher code SAVEDAY2012 applies.
Don't miss out!
Click on the LolasCurls Shop tab at the top of the page to check out the shop!
In Review | Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner
I tried this conditioner after taking down my cornrows of 4 weeks duration. I had completed an overnight Deep Conditioning treat with Coconut oil and my hair was ready for some moisture!
Aqua (Purified Water) with *Tea Tree (Melaleucas Alternifolia), *Peppermint (Mentha Piperita) oil, *Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus Officinalis) oil, *Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris) Oil, Birch leaf (Betula Alba) oil, *Chamomile (Anthemis Nobilis Flower) oil, *Clary (Salvia Sclarea), *Coltsfoot leaf (Tussilago Farfara), *Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium) oil, *Mallow (malva Sylvestris), *Horsetail (Equisetum Arvense) oil, *Soybean Protein (Glycine Soja), Cetyl Alcohol (Plant derived), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Sodium Hydromethylglycinate, Grapefruit Seed (Citrus Derived).
Usually around $4 State-side but online for UK ladies: £5.41 on ebay (with a hefty Shipping cost ~£10).
We've worked with an upscale boutique to bring your this salon-quality conditioner that will rejuvenate your hair with its refreshing tingle. A blend of certified organic botanicals including peppermint and tea tree work together to moisturize and clarify your hair while alleviating dry scalp. Our product contains no laurel/laureth sulphates and is suitable for all hair types.
Massage for 3 to 5 minutes. Rinse. Avoid contact with eyes.
Rapunzel | To Big Chop?
Come on, admit it! How many girls want to be Rapunzel?
Not in the - locked in a tower way - but the longer-than-dreams hair!
Ok, so I don't really want hair past my feet... that just freaks me out! However, I would not say no to hair down to my butt when straightened or stretched! Pocahontas-style!
Hair anorexia: what's that, you say!
Well, it's a sign your hair journey is moving in the right direction! You start to see hair that used to be "long hair" to you, as short or mid-length now. APL used to be a dream length to me... literally, I did a post on a dream I had before reaching APL (shortly after the start of my hair journey).
Now I want hair that falls past my waist in front and past my hips in the back!
Yes, it's actually past my waist in the back already but I would like some hip action too!
So, how does this tie in with Rapunzel?
Well, I'm planning to do the BC (big chop) at the end of July....by God's grace after a length check. This will then allow me to continue my all-natural growth journey - 2 years and 8 months post-relaxer by then. Oh, and I've ordered a copy of Disney's Rapunzel to
The date is set (scary!): Sunday 29th of July 2012.
See you there!
Review | How I Grew it long.....Naturally!
So a couple of weeks back, I was contacted by the author of this book, who I'd met at the Curlvolution day event! She had given a brief talk about her book and her hair journey.
Needless to say, I'm a hair geek..... so I was more than happy to read and review the book.
How I Grew it Long ... Naturally! First published 2012
This book is simply wonderful!
It lays out in a very candid way her hair journey and the very true wish for longer, healthier hair from what she started with. She had some pictures of her hair as it progressed with the techniques she has been using for the last 3 years.
What I liked most, is that she starts from a place of honesty. She believed that natural hair could grow long with the correct care! A sentiment close to my heart.
The highlight of the book, which alot of other books haven't managed yet, is the flurry of pictures to show HOW-TO do exactly what she says. This helps get rid of any uncertainty about the putting the techniques into practice.
I recommend this to anyone who is starting out as a natural, transitioning or even already natural but "stuck in a rut!"
Thanks for reading!
The book is £7.99 and is available on her site: www.igrewitlong.com, Amazon and Waterstones.com.
I'm Lola - a hair obsessed doctor who stumbled into running long distances and baking all the cupcakes.
I blog about life, running and of course, hair! I'm an Altra "Team Red" Sponsored Athlete, so I will do the occasional running shoe or gadget review.
For business enquires, email me at email@example.com
I do not own the copyright to all the pictures so I will credit the source, where that is the case.