If you have always chemically straightened or "relaxed" your hair and are thinking about going natural, you might have many many questions about getting started or what to do. Here we have a the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on the topic of transitioning from relaxed to natural hair.
Is it possible to have long natural hair? Yes!! As long as you take great care of your hair, condition it on a regular basis and wear protective styles along with keeping it moisturized and free from split ends, anyone can grow long beautiful hair.
What are the advantages of going natural? The top advantages of going natural are as follows:
- You will have healthier hair and a healthier scalp since you will be free of damaging harsh chemicals.
- You will end the abuse on your hair and scalp from chemical burns and chemical smells burning your lungs
- You will save money from not going to the salon and paying for expensive relaxers anymore.
- You will get to experience your natural hair. This in itself is pretty cool.
How do I maintain a long term transition? Just like growing long hair, the best way to maintain a long transition is to wear protective styles, keep hair moisturized, and take great care of it. Make sure that you protect your hair at all times, including when sleeping. You'll also need to introduce new hair care routines as your natural hair begins to grow and overtake your relaxed end. The best thing you can do is adopt a process of moisturizing and twisting your hair on a daily or weekly basis. Other things to make sure of are to:
- avoid too much combing, brushing, and manipulation
- trim or get your hair trimmed on a regular basis to avoid split ends
What is the best way for me to transition without doing the big chop? By following these tips!
How do I figure out my hair type? Do a Google search for "African American hair type" to find descriptions of hair types with pictures. Compare your hair to pictures to see if it comes close to one of the hair types indicated. Note that knowing your hair type is helpful so that you can identify the people who will have the best tips to help you figure out which products and styles will work best for your hair. However, it's not crucial to know your hair type precisely, especially if you are doing experimentation on your own.
How often should I wash my transitioning hair? When you think about washing your hair you want to consider the cleanliness of your hair and scalp, and also providing moisture. If your hair and scalp feel and smell clean, there is no reason to wash your hair with shampoo. However, the best moisture to provide for your hair is water, so you want to at least rinse or wet your hair often enough so that you are providing enough moisture to your hair. You do not want to wash so often that you are stripping out the natural oils in your hair. So for shampoo washing, once a week is often enough. Rinsing or wetting your hair daily is a good practice.
What should I do with my hair after washing? You might worry a lot about how often to wash your hair, but it is how you style your hair after washing or rinsing that makes the difference in how your hair grows or if you experience breakage. Make sure that you deep condition your hair on a regular basis. At least once every 2 weeks. After wetting your hair, you should put in a leave in conditioner, moisturize it and seal in the moisture with a nice natural oil such as shea butter or jojoba oil. Let your hair air dry or put it in a protective hair style. You should avoid using heat and also avoid manipulating your hair a lot.
What if I only have 1, 2, 3, 4 inches or less of natural hair? Try doing a twist style. This will stretch your hair out and can be a very lovely alternative to wearing wraps or just an afro.
How do I moisturize and seal transitioning hair? The best way to moisturize your hair is to wash or rinse it, then apply a thick cream conditioner to moisturize, then seal the moisture in with a natural oil. Great oils to use are jojoba oil, olive oil, grape seed oil, shea butter, coconut oil or any other natural oils. Additionally, a great way to seal the hair is to braid or twist it after applying the moisturizing treatment. These protective styles "lock in" the product and allow it to really absorb into your hair.
What is the best way to keep my natural hair moisturized? After you do a moisturizing treatment, you might find that your hair quickly absorbs the moisture and then dries out again. Make sure that you have sealed in your moisture with the right oil that works for your hair. You may have to experiment with different oils to find the right one for you. After sealing it, you should cover your hair with a scarf, braid it, or twist it until it dries. Binding up your hair helps it to absorb and retain moisture. When you leave your hair "out" to dry freely, it may be affected by friction of brushing against pillows, car head rests or even just the air, and this friction can cause dryness.
What are some of the best products for kinky hair or when transitioning from relaxed to natural hair? The best products for any hair are natural products and home made products made from natural oils. You can make your own hair butters out of shea or mango butter and mixing them with olive, jojoba, avocado, or other natural oils. Water is also a great, and often over looked hair "product".
What can I do about a dry, flaky, itchy scalp? Sometimes our inspiration for going natural in the first place is the damage we see with our scalp. If your scalp is dry and flaky or even itchy, you will find that applying natural oils and doing occasional scalp massage will greatly improve the condition of your scalp. Also keep your scalp clean, well moisturized and oiled to help it to heal quickly. You might also try adding fish oil supplements to your diet and eating more green leafy vegetables. Avoid using harsh dandruff shampoos and/or products with alcohol in them. You might see temporary relief using these products, but you'll find that your scalp will not heal in the long run.
How often should I stretch out my transitioning hair? You should try to manipulate your hair as little as possible while going through this transitioning process. This is to protect your hair and make sure that it does not break off due to styling. However, as long as you use the proper moisturizing techniques and protective styles, you can do a lot with your hair. Also, there are different kinds of "stretching".. if you have twists or short locs, you can stretch them by adding a little water, stretching them out, then allowing them to dry. If you want to show off your hair's fullness in a curly style, you can stretch it by doing a twist or braid out style.
Should I use a texturizer when transitioning? A texturizer is a mild relaxer which creates looser waves or curls when applied to kinky or curly hair. Anything you want to do is okay, however you should consider that if you are using a texturizer you aren't exactly going natural. However, if a texturizer works for you and you like the curl pattern that it achieves, then there is no real problem. Texturizers are not as harsh as relaxing your hair to bone straight, but they usually use the same chemicals as relaxers. It also usually doesn't touch your scalp in the way that relaxers do, or stay on as long, so the damage is less. You might think over your main goals in going natural. If not using chemicals wasn't one of your biggest priorities, then a texturizer is fine.