Aside from my pre-teen years, I’ve always had chemically processed hair. I once had a jheri curl and from there, I moved to having relaxed hair. For over 20 years, my hair remained relaxed. I knew I wanted to transition to natural hair at some point, I just didn’t know when that would be. Through a series of events, that moment happened sooner than later and I’m now 2 years post relaxer! I have learned a lot on this long-term transitioning journey. Below are some of my learning points of what I experienced while transitioning to natural hair:
Natural Hair Isn’t as Difficult as I Once Thought
Before my experience with transitioning to natural hair, I would have argued my new growth (natural hair) was dry, coarse and unmanageable. Actually, it’s the total opposite. It’s soft, detangles with ease and manageable.
The More Natural Hair that Grows In, the Easier it Becomes
I remember when I use to rush to the salon to get my hair relaxed when I would see two seconds of new growth. Now that I’m 2 years post relaxer, I realize things get easier and easier as time goes on.
My Curl Pattern Didn’t Form Until Removing the Relaxed Ends
I think back to when I had new growth, it seemed very, very kinky. Now that I’m fully natural in my nape, the curl pattern has formed and the curls are very springy and coily and not as kinky as I once imagined.
My Hair Grows at Different Rates
Now that I’m 2 years post relaxer, it would be really cool to celebrate this transition to natural hair with a big chop. However, my bang and parts of my crown are either slow-growing or maybe even tighter textured. Whatever the case, the amount of natural hair in these sections are shorter than what I have in other areas. This means, I have a lot of relaxed hair left in these areas.
Many Products and Techniques Are Universal
I always used natural hair products and techniques on my relaxed hair. Many believe you cannot treat the two the same. Now that I’m in a good place where I can assess this theory, I still believe many products and techniques are universal. In fact, my regimen has not changed much since I officially started transitioning to natural hair.
Natural Hair Products Are Not Necessarily the Best
I’ve gone back and forth and debated whether natural hair products were worth the money or is it all hype? Don’t get me wrong, there are some great natural hair products on the market that I love and will forever buy but over the counter works great too. Best of all, it comes with a return policy!
I Wanted to Quit
I have quit transitioning more times than I can count. But, when I would look at how far I’ve come, I refused to turn back. I’m glad I stuck it out and this is almost over.
I Eventually Stop Caring
I use to care about the amount of breakage I see on wash day. Now, I’m at a point where I don’t really care. I mean, I do but then again I don’t. The relaxed hair will be removed at some point soon so I’m just like whatever when I see a piece of broken relaxed hair.
Achieving Auto Pilot Status is Sweet Victory
About a year into my natural hair transition, I reach an auto pilot status where just about anything I would do to my hair worked. Just about any product I used worked. Clearly, my natural hair is far more forgiving than my relaxed hair. It gives me the freedom to whatever I want, whenever I want without much fuss.
Natural Hair Doesn’t Have to Appear Dull and Dry
While transitioning to natural hair, my appeared dull and dry. I hated that look and none of my research provided solid recommendations for how to correct it. I then stumbled upon the right solution for my hair – hydration and production combination. Now that I’m washing my hair weekly, my hair is hydrated, thus my curls are properly forming. In addition, I’m now using product combinations that works well for my hair. Those two things took my hair from dull and dry to shiny and hydrated.
Additional Expectations While Transitioning to Natural Hair
- Have patience or you will fail straight out the gate.
- You may have to revise your regimen a million times until you find what works.
- Don’t be afraid to use commercial products — they work great and may be what your hair need!
- Don’t be afraid to use sulfate shampoo! It removes product buildup which is necessary.
- Your current products may or may not work. Don’t be afraid to change and try something new.
- You have to be willing to part with the relaxed hair at some point.
- Wash days will be long and draining if you choose to long-term transition.
- People will encourage you to cut off your relaxed hair but do it when you’re ready.
- People may question your decision to transition to natural hair but be confident in your decision.
- Transitioning to natural hair can be fun and it’s totally what you make it.
- Last but not least, have no fear, you can always relax your hair if transitioning to natural hair doesn’t work out.
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I hope I get a good growth spurt soon so I can remove the rest of the relaxed hair without anxiety. I would love to end this transition when I have a nice bob. And so the transition to natural hair continues…