Over 12 years ago I decided to go natural purely for financial reasons. I was getting married and buying a new home and a bush cut was simple, cheap and easy. I kept my hair that way for over a year then went back to having it relaxed. Fast Forward to the Fall of 2011 and I told myself I would transition for about 6 months, then cut off my relaxed ends. Well I think that lasted about 8 weeks! LOL For a lot of women, the thought of doing the BIG CHOP is scary! I’ve been asked by several people for tips on how to transition relaxed to natural hair. While I didn’t do a long-term transition, I came across Lisa’s site Napturally Curly. Here are some great tips to help you get started (an excerpt from her post):
1. Start With a Good Trim
This means you need to get rid of all those dead, thin and split ends. The longer you transition, the more brittle they will become so you might as well let them go now because they will break anyway.
I got rid of a good 3-4 inches when I began my transition because my hair was very damaged when I started.
2. Give Up All Direct Heat (Flat Irons, Blow Dryers, etc.)
I know this is hard for a lot of you to read, but I think having a “no heat policy” was the reason my hair stayed so healthy throughout my 18-month transition.
Of course I had some breakage — that is to be expected, but flat ironing and blow drying would have made the problem worse.
The only heat I used was indirect heat from the hooded dryer and that was only for 20 minutes. Most of the time I let my hair air dry.
Almost all relaxed hair has some degree of heat damage, even if it’s subtle. So why continue to damage your ends if you know that you are going to keep them for as long as possible while you transition?
Not to mention, you run the risk of damaging your natural hair, and this is the hair you plan to keep. You certainly don’t want to fry it.
Wear your hair in rod sets, twists, buns, extensions, bantu knots and other styles that don’t require heat.
3. Trim Your Hair Regularly
I trimmed my hair at least once a month, sometimes twice. My ends kept splitting because my hair was really fried and brittle from relaxers and flat irons.
Sometimes I would just dust my ends — which means you take off less than a quarter of an inch. The healthier your ends are, the easier it will be to complete your long-term transition.
Remember, you’re going to have some breakage — it’s inevitable. But trimming keeps it from getting out of control.
Tip: Always use hair-cutting scissors. Paper-cutting or dull scissors can cause split ends.