Are you fed up with chemical relaxers that make your hair brittle and prone to breakage? Would you like to embrace your hair for it’s natural beauty? If so, you’re probably considering ‘going natural’. Natural hair, in the stylist-world, means hair that hasn’t been processed using a chemical relaxer and going natural means allowing your hair to grow in it’s natural state without altering it chemically.
If you currently have a chemical relaxer in your hair, you may be wondering how you can transition to natural hair. Luckily, transitioning is possible – without taking drastic measures like chopping your hair.
Since it takes about one year for the relaxer to grow out of your hair, I’ve assembled some tips on what to expect for the first six months when you decide to go natural. I’ll post a second blog soon on what to expect for months six to twelve.
What to Expect Months One – Three
Since most women relax their hair as soon as their roots start growing in, it can be a shock to see some “puffy” hair at the roots. To fix this, start using shampoo, conditioner, and styling products that are suitable for natural (not relaxed) hair.
Also, as your roots grow in, the ends of your hair will get brittle and weaker. To fix this, get your hair trimmed – just a little! There is no need to take off too much length. You also don’t have to go by any timetable on when to cut all the relaxed hair off.
New Styling Techniques & products
Your old styling techniques will start to become ineffective in dealing with your roots and brittle hair. I suggest switching to some new products. My favorite hair regime used to start off with Shea Moisture but there are so many products on the market now. From Pattern Beauty to Flawless by Gabrielle Union to Curls. The list is pretty endless. You don’t want to be overwhelmed so start off with one brand and go from there.
I suggest buying black owned products as the vast majority actually are designed by black men and women who have hair like you and created these brands for your hair care needs when going natural for the first or fifth time. Also, there are thousands of natural hair videos’ on Youtube, blogs social media sites that will assist you on styling techniques. Finding a local natural hair stylist is also an option.
You will start using adding new types of products to your routine like a leave in conditioner, a styler and maybe even a pre poo. You can learn more about these types of products in my book:
This is normal. The texture, feel and even color may change. My sister’s hair would change colors every time she got a relaxer. Leaving those chemicals alone is not only great for your health, but it also allow you to see a difference in your hair. Pay attention.
What to Expect Months 3-6:
Your hair will have grown about 3 to 5 inches by this point and is probably thicker, longer, and seemingly more unruly than ever. At this point, you’ve come far enough that there is no turning back! It’s still a bit of an awkward stage, where you’ll find that your relaxed ends are thinner than your new growth. Continue to get regular trims to take care of breakage and be patient with the transition.
New Styling Techniques
With your hair getting longer and thicker, you’ll want to switch up your hair care regime again. My suggestion is to avoid using oil moisturizers on your hair before applying heat like from a blow dryer or flat iron, use a heat protectant as if you life dependent upon it. If the hair ‘smokes’ while blow drying or flat ironing, you’re damaging it.
Also remember that wearing wigs and weaves is a great way to go natural, but you MUST take care of the hair underneath and wash it regularly. NOT monthly, or even less often than that. Weekly or bi-weekly is the only way to care for your hair properly.
Transitioning to natural hair can seem like a long process, but it’s well worth the effort. Good luck and stay tuned for my next blog post where I cover what to expect during months 6-12.