Monday, March 6, 2017

How To Prevent Breakage When Transitioning

Learn how to prevent hair breaking when transitioning natural hair

Transitioning can be a great experience. And while you learn several natural hairstyles to create with two different textures, you should also be concerned with preventing hair breakage. Hair breakage comes with the territory when going natural because we are switching from chemical-treated to naturally treated hair. Natural hair care has several components and hair loss can unfortunately become one of them. 

What Is A Natural Hair #NOHEAT Challenge?

You don't have to suffer from loss or breakage if you follow a few tried and true tips that keep natural black hair healthy. Check out these simple, yet highly effective tools to ensuring your hair breakage stays to a minimum!

Take your time detangling
Many transitioners suffer from long detangling sessions as they work with two very different textures of hair. One of the worst things you can do is rush the process. The longer you transition, the more fragile your relaxed strands become so make sure to take your time during detangling so you are saving strands as long as possible instead of yanking  tangles at the demarcation line. (the line between relaxed hair and newly natural hair). 

Be heavy-handed with the conditioner to help the session and make sure to schedule enough time during your day to do this. Most transitioners opt for wash day detangling only and I would advise the same. Be thorough yet gentle and find less breakage as a result.  

Deep condition on every washday!
I cannot stress this enough! Deep conditioning treatments during every wash day fortifies the hair with moisture or protein and helps prevent damage from heat and styling tools. Deep conditioning was made for anyone suffering from dry, damaged or brittle strands so never miss a washday!

Going Natural: What To Expect For The First Six Months

Make sure to deep condition with heat to increase the penetration of some ingredients into the cortex to help strengthen and moisturize more effectively. Overnight is not necessary but a great way to get it in but even just placing a plastic cap over your head for 15 to 30 minutes allow your own heat to allow it to work better is a great idea. Use a hooded dryer or a heat thermal cap (my favorite is ) for best results.

Work on your moisture + protein balance
Our hair needs a proper protein and moisture balance.  Moisturizing hair may be a daily or weekly chore but using protein treatments or protein conditioners should not be used nearly as often as they may cause protein overload and make hair brittle and/or dry.  It’s tricky trying to maintain the health and moisture balance of two different textures, but regular moisturization and deep conditioning treatments are the key components that can make all the difference. 

Our hair is made up of protein and it needs regularly to keep hair strong by reinforcing the hair's cuticle. I use a protein treatment at least every quarter but when transitioning monthly may be necessary try,  Aphogee 2 Step Protein Treatment or DESIGN ESSENTIALS® Coconut & Monoi Deep Moisture Masque and see if they work for you. 

Using color when transitioning can be damaging to your hair

Lay off the chemicals
Not just the relaxers but anything with chemicals like color too. I am not saying ditch all hair coloring systems, but definitely the harsher ones with ammonia like bleaching or Keratin treatments. Try natural coloring options like henna or try temporary coloring systems that are also fun like Manic Panic or hair chalk. Give hair a much needed break from chemicals while you transition to lessen hair breakage and/or hair trauma.

Get regular trims
You can long-term transition as long as you want, but don't skip the trims. They keep hair from breaking or allowing split ends to get worse. Your relaxed hair will become weaker as time goes on so trim them off slowly (monthly is a good timetable). Regular trims keeps hair from snagging and knotting up at the ends. Holding onto raggedy ends will not help with hair growth but instead deter it. 

Steer clear of (direct) heat!
Another point I cannot stress enough is leaving direct heat alone! Blow dryers, flat irons and hot combs can all be the death of natural hair so just only imagine what it can do to fragile transitioning hair. Heat damage is hair that has had heat styling tools set on temperatures too high, too long, passed over too many times (or all of the above) and the hair loses it's natural elasticity. This damages the hair shaft and changes it's original curl, coil or kink. 

Heat damage is irreversible AND there is no such thing as heat training. If your hair does not revert back to it's natural coil, kink or coil, it has incurred heat damage. 

Should I Big Chop Or Long-Term Transition?

Wear heat-less styles as much as possible and even straight styles can be achieved without using heat like roller sets that you wrap after hair is dry. Check out my previous post for Natural Hairstyles For A #NOHEAT Challenge some great styles to wear instead.

What challenges are you facing when transitioning? Share below!


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