“We do not go natural, we return. Natural is where we began”-Unknown
The beginning of the year is a season of resolutions and new beginnings for a lot of people and what better time to finally change up your hair journey as you've been promising yourself you would. Some people put off returning to natural hair because they may not be ready to start all over and go through the big chop but there is an alternative which is transitioning. Transitioning is the process of growing out your hair to return it to its natural state after it has been previously chemically treated, subjected to permanent color treatments or heat damaged. There are many reasons why people transition to natural hair but whatever your motivation is, the goal is to have healthy natural hair. In this article we are going to guide you through the process of transitioning to natural hair. The concept can be applied to any kind of hair damage such as from heat or permanent color and not just for chemically straightened hair.
Focusing on hair health while you transition will make the process easier and help grow out your natural hair. To make sure your transitioning process is successful you need to keep your hair and most especially the damaged ends as healthy as possible. This reduces breakage, split ends and knots which would otherwise compromise the growth of the natural healthier part of your hair strands.
Protein treatments are essential when transitioning. Your hair requires the protein to build up the damaged parts of your hair and to reinforce the new parts of the hair strands which is two of the things you want during this process. Our hair is mostly a protein called keratin. The protein chains in the central shaft give our hair most of its strength these are protected by plates of proteins in the outer cuticle layer.
Every time you use chemicals, heat styling or hair color, the the Cuticle protective plates are lifted open. They never really close back down as tightly afterwards, so the central shaft becomes more exposed.
The protein treatments fill the holes in the lifted and damaged cuticles with proteins. A protein treatment is essentially a patch job that repairs your damaged hair and reinforces your new hair by filling in the gaps holes and damaged areas left by styling, maintenance relaxing and straightening. it also places a barrier around the hair shaft to lessen future damage At least one protein treatment a month should be sufficient to meet your hair’s needs without suffering protein overload.
Constant moisturizing is also very important during this process. Natural hair requires moisture for it to thrive. Moisture keeps the hair more supple and helps prevent breakage. you will need to deep condition more frequently. Consistent deep conditioning treatments, steaming, water based leave in conditioners and the good old spray bottle are now an integral part of your natural hair journey. focus on that area of demarcation between the new and the old. well moisturized hair is easier to manage so as you moisturize more try to manipulate your hair less.
Be friends with the Scissors
You may not be ready for the dramatic change of the big chop but continuously trimming off parts of the damaged ends is not only good for your hair health but will also have you all natural before you know it.
Hanging on to the damaged ends stunts your hair growth as they are prone to damage such as split ends or knots which in turn causes your hair to tangle and damages the rest of the healthier strand. Try and trim of at least the first 5 - 10 cm of your damaged hair to remove as many split ends as possible from the old hair. this will prevent those slit ends riding out into your new natural hair.
Educate yourself on what makes your hair thrive. Do not wait until you are completely natural to start treating your hair like it is natural. Start doing the wash day routines and learn which one works best for your hair. Learn your hair type, porosity and density so you can choose products that work best for it. It is a journey of discovery and you can only earn benefits based on how much you are willing to learn.
Lastly, put that hair in a protective style and leave it alone. While transitioning, the double textures of your hair will probably make it look weird and hard to style hence protective styles are most ideal. Besides their ability to make you look presentable, they also hide away your hair for extended periods of time giving it time to grow and minimizing exposure to potentially damaging elements.
This should kick start you on your natural hair journey and help you achieve healthier hair and any other hair goals you may have. We wish you a happy transitioning as you begin your journey back to natural. As always we will be here to inspire you and walk this journey with you until we all find the beauty in our Kinky Krowns of Glory.
Tell us about your transitioning journey in the comments below and remember to subscribe so you get all our future articles as soon as they are released.