THE FIRST STEP
When you make that decision to not have relaxed hair anymore, here’s what you do:
You choose to do one of two things:
1. Chop off all your hair.
2. Stop applying relaxer to your hair, and grow out your natural hair. You don’t relax any fresh growth, let your hair kink, from the roots up.
2A. when your kinky hair reaches a height you are comfortable with, you chop your relaxed ends off. OR
2B. You don’t chop, you let everything, every straight strand go back to being kinky.
Option number 2 and its babies pretty much explain the period of limbo that is transitioning. It is the period between the day you get your last relaxer treatment, and the day your hair is relaxer free, back to it’s original natural state.
Chopping all your hair off, is a scary proposition to most girls. It was, to me. This is understandable because it’s a dramatic change in the way you look.
Transitioning on the other hand, is not beans. It is a lot of work, having to manage two different textures; one is curly, the other straight/frizzy. On the same strand. Throughout your head. Not only is this not very pretty, it’s not a very healthy time for your hair. The point where curly meets straight/frizzy is very fragile, so having to comb or brush your hair on the daily would leave you with a lot of breakage. For this reason, when you’re transitioning, you go from one protective style to the other, keeping your strands out of your direct reach.
I chose to transition because I was really worried about how I’d look if I cut my hair. One post alone could be dedicated to every thought, every worry that ran through my mind, some of them, very very ridiculous. I finally chopped off my relaxed ends, after eight months of transitioning. Whew!
HOW I TRANSITIONED
I already gave an update about the first three months in my January post here. In the latter five months, I wore a fringe (weave)- then I had box braids- then I did Kinky twists.
I was quite the lazy transitioner. Transitioning is not just about protective styling. You should give your hair some good TLC between styles, and try to seal-in moisture on the daily.
A Warning About Kinky Twists!!!
I love kinky twists. It’s great for African hair relaxed or unrelaxed. The texture of the extensions is rough, so it blends right in with the kinky roots. Kinky twists is a very easy style to wear, because it requires no care at all [just a wash when necessary], and it looks even better with time. This time, I wore my twists for TEN weeks. TEN. I’d just put shea butter on my stray ends, and brush the front in the mornings. This was very very bad behaviour because there was a lot of pressure on the hair in front, around the hairline, and I lost a lot of hair. 😦
I’ve been using ApHogee’s Weekly 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor, and I think it’s working, but you would not need any treatment if you do not put unnecessary pressure on your hair, that’s not being protective of it at all!
OKAY, YOU’VE BEEN TRANSITIONING. HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU’RE READY TO CHOP?
I’d say that, the point where the stress or frustration gets to you, would be the perfect time for you to chop. You know, when your hair is yelling at you like “Look. Make up your mind now. You either have to cut me or relax me.” A wise somebody once said- your natural hair is like a plant; when you’re transitioning, the kink wants to grow, but your relaxed ends will weigh it down. The earlier you chop, the better it is for you and your hair. Save yourself the stress. Take the first step and start your journey already! When I washed my hair after my kinky twists, I knew I had come to that point. It was so horrible. I knew it had to go.
After my visit to the salon, I asked myself “How do you feel?” The only word that came to mind was “calm.” Yes, calm. All my worries, everything seemed to have been swept away with the dull, dead, straight/frizzy hair on the floor. I looked at my face like yes. This is me. All my hours of self-conscious worrying, in that moment, seemed inconsequential. I’m still getting used to this though.
IT IS A SPECIAL JOURNEY
I like to refer to this going natural thing as a journey, because it is. I have had straightened hair for as long as I can remember. Nobody I know personally, is wearing their natural hair. Thankfully, I am not lost- the Natural hair community on the internet, is a very warm, open one. Plenty of information, so so much information. Blogs, v-logs, it is so amazing. There is a lot of research to be done, a lot to learn, but I am fully aware that I have to be in tune with my hair. Observe it, watch how it responds to this or that, figure out what it likes, what it does not like. Sounds like a lot of work, yes, but I’m looking forward to it.
This is beyond curly strands for me. I’m not one of those girls that would rather not come out of their houses without weaves sewn in. It was important to me that my relaxed hair was healthy, and I was much more comfortable with wearing my own hair, than I was with rocking a weave. However, when I thought about chopping, I felt like the girls in group A. I thought- Lord, I’m going to be ugly without my hair. Every single imperfection, real and imagined, I dwelt on.
I worried about my forehead. Though the truth is that, a bonafide opon will always shine through, no matter how you try to cover it, so you might as well get used to it. I told myself I had to be like a size 6 before I could cut my hair. You know? In the absence of bootay like Amber Rose, I might very well go for looking skinny, like a model. I said this in October, last year. Now I have cut the hair, and I still weigh as much as I did in October. Looking glamorous is nice, good fun, I like to play as much as the next girl. But it’s also important to me that at the end of the night, or when I wake up in the morning, I love the way I look, without anything extra. Technically, my own hair isn’t extra, but I mean- if having to not have long hair for a bit made me look like a troll in my mind’s eye, I knew I had to let it go.
I transitioned because I was scared, and now that I’ve finally cut, I feel awesome. I might even cut all of it off, soon.
Whatever your hair is to you, just do you. It is your hair, on your head. The way you choose to wear your hair, or take care of it, should depend on how YOU feel. People will ask annoying questions, and maybe pass comments that will prick. But they’re not you. They do not understand why you’re doing it, so they are hindered from being able to appreciate it. This is only for a while though- change isn’t easy to adjust to, but soon enough, you will be let be.
It has taken me like two weeks to put this together. I really want my writing mojo back. 😦
I hope it made a little sense.
Anything you’d like to ask, or share? Sound off in the comments, x.