How to Go Natural Without the Big Chop
For most of us, when we were kids, we could not wait to get our first perm or relaxed hair. Many of us viewed it as transitioning from being a little girl to somehow becoming more worldly or sophisticated. In many cases we end up keeping our hair relaxed for a long time until something prompts us to change. Sometimes its natural hair envy; seeing our sisters and girlfriends rocking fierce natural styles that are so beautiful we want it for ourselves. Sometimes it’s the severe damage that our hair suffers, either from heat styling appliances, over relaxing or just improper care, that forces to make a change to restore our hair to its former beauty, hence the decision to go natural.
Whatever the reason for wanting to go natural, the biggest decision that you will have to make is should you go ‘cold turkey’, chop of all your processed hair and have a teeny weeny afro until your hair grows out or should you choose the less painful approach and gradually transition from one hair texture to the other? Many women are choosing to transition rather than to do the big chop, let’s look at how you can do the same.
Transitioning as the name suggests is a gradual change from processed to natural hair and both textures are kept until the natural hair grows to the desired length and you are ready to cut off the damaged ends. The benefit of this approach is that one is less likely to return to previous damaging practices as there is more hair length to work with.
Some people may have a challenge with suddenly short tresses and this can create stress for them having to manage a totally new hairdo all at once. For others, having relaxed hair for years, it’s sometimes not easy to take on managing natural hair and many women get so discouraged that they return to relaxers in a moment of frustration only to regret it later.
How Is It Done?
The first step is to immediately stop whatever action was causing hair damage; so if relaxers were the culprit, you stop relaxing or if colour treatments like dyes or bleaching were causing damage, you cut out those practices as well. During transitioning, you will be handling both the new natural growth and the processed hair and it’s critical that you handle your hair with care but especially at the point where the old meets the new. This line of demarcation is extremely delicate and if not handled properly, it will break, defeating the purpose of transitioning.
With this is mind you should consider the following tips on how to handle transitioning hair so that you get the results you want.
Protective Hair Styles
Go for styles that do not require a lot of manipulation and that will protect the delicate hair ends. Styles like braid outs, buns, and braids are some of the styles you can try
Be Careful with Heat
You can use heat styling but keep in mind that heat causes damage, so use with extreme care or have a professional do it for you.
Whether damaged or not, black hair does need to be deep conditioned and if the hair is relaxed a protein treatment is needed from time to time. Ensure that you do a deep condition at least once per week and a protein treatment for the relaxed portion of the hair at least once per month.
Transitioning is not easy but it can be done but if you take the time to give your hair the care it needs during this period, and have patience, you will eventually be rewarded with those gorgeous natural tresses that you are longing for.
Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity