Search This Site
10 Things to Anticipate During Your Transition!
In our article, Transitioning 101, we explored some of the basics of successfully transitioning to natural hair. We briefly talked about what to expect during your transition.
In this article, we will dig a little deeper into some of the physical things you can anticipate as well as some of the emotional changes that go along with transitioning.
As newgrowth comes in, the hair will naturally start to appear fuller and thicker near the roots. This will create the illusion that the ends are thinning!
The reality is that the negrowth just has more texture and is therefore denser than the ends.
So, don't be alarmed if you feel like your ends are starting to appear thinner.
Solution - One way to eliminate this effect is to add curls to the hair via satin or steam rollers. Straight hair shows thinning ends more dramatically than curly hair.
Because you will now have two textures on your head, you will experience breakage along the demarcation line, or the area where the strong natural hair meets the weaker relaxed length and ends.
The best way to prevent this is to anticipate it! Doing proactive anti-breakage treatments will help reinforce the demarcation line and keep the hair healthy and strong.
Solution - Alternate deep conditioning with a moisturizing conditioners and protein conditioners weekly. Once a month, use a hard protein conditioner concentrating on the demarcation line. For list of recommended conditioners, please download this pdf!
Shedding won't necessarily increase as you transition but you will notice the shedding more. Why? Well, for one, you are now watching your hair more closely.
Because you are making a transition, you will notice every little change that goes on with your hair. You shed the same amount of hair each month but this month, it will seem like your hair is falling out left and right!
In addition, if you are starting to do low manipulation styles, the shed hair may start to get trapped in your air-dried or roller set hair styles. It will seem like every time you wash your hair, a handful is coming out. The reality is that that handful would have come out anyway with a normal amount of brushing, wrapping or styling.
Solution - For excessive shedding, use a garlic shampoo like Nutrine Garlic Shampoo and Conditioner. Take a hair vitamin to discourage shedding and continue to do low manipulation styles to reduce the appearance of shedding.
When the newgrowth is straightened, the natural oils our scalp produces can easily slide down the length of the hair, conditioning it along the way.
However, as the curly newgrowth comes in, the oils have to travel along waves, curls and spirals to get to the ends of the hair. Naturally, our hair begins to look and feel drier!
Solution - Apply conditioner and/or a light oil to the ends and let sit overnight before shampooing. Each day, spritz the hair with a leave-in conditioner or apply a light moisturizer to the ends and seal with a light oil. These two treatments will help keep the length and ends moisturized as you transition.
5. Fullness and Shrinkage
Because the hair now as much more texture, you will notice that your normal styles look fuller and shorter!
Rollersets may appear more "helmut=like". Blowouts will start to look fuller and braid outs will look like they have a mind of their own! Your hair may start to look shorter eventhough you have not had a haircut in months!
Solution - For those that have always wanted fuller hair, enjoy!
For those that want sleeker hair, make sure to set hair on rollers or in air-dried styles when it is very very wet. This will cut down on the fullness and shrinkage as you are essentially styling (and stretching) the hair when it is heavy with water molecules. This is when the hair is at it smoothest, straightest state. Setting the hair at this point will ensure it dries sleek and smooth.
Note - for blowouts, a round brush, heat protectant and competent blowdryer will enable you to achieve sleekness and length. Therefore, allow to the hair to dry to 50% before heat styling. This will prevent breakage and heat damage.
We all know that words can hurt. A colleague or a family member may say things that are insensitive or downright mean to you. Just remember that people often fear change and react to it with humor or criticism.
Solution - When you encounter hurtful comments, remind them why are you are doing this and that you are still the same you. Show them pictures of hairstyles you like and what inspires you.
Just stand firm in your decision and make sure to articulate that you need their support, not their ridicule or criticism.
There will be times during your transition when you are downright frustrated with your hair!
Dealing with the dryness, shedding, breakage and unpredictable new growth will often seem like too much.. You may find that your favorite products no longer work, your hair takes twice as long to style and 9 times out of 10, the style will look puffy, dry or just plain weird.
Solution - When you experience these feelings, just remember that it is normal! There will be some growing pains. There will be days when you swear you look crazy.
Just remember that you are re-educating yourself when it comes to your hair. Some of the old products and philosophies no longer apply. Concern yourself with what is working and keep a journal to document your progress (and frustration).
One day, you WILL be tempted to relax. It may be your relaxed co-worker, cousin or friend who tempts you. It may be a commerical for a box relaxer or a stylist that talks you into a texturizer.
Solution - Be prepared for this day and know that it will pass. As a recent convert to veganism, I have temptations all the time. But, I realize that they are temporary and my commitment to this path will make me happier in the long term! Have the same approach when it comes to your hair.
You may experience an emotional transition as well. Suddenly, you may start to embrace and look forward to seeing your curls.
While there may be some initial fear or apprehension, you will experience a lot of "wins" along the way. Perhaps it will be when you see new waves and curls. Perhaps it will be when you find the product that seems to make your curls pop. Or perhaps it will be finding someone who successfully transitioned and provides motivation along the way.
Solution - Make sure to look forward to the "wins" along the way. This is a journey and there will be amazing revelations, discoveries and "aha" moments to come. Enjoy!
The day you cut off your relaxed hair will provide you with an amazing sense of satisfaction. You did it! You set your mind to something and accomplished it! Prepare yourself for an amazing sense of confidence, achievement and pride. Now, is the time to splurge. Buy some new accessories or your favorite line of products. Share your journey through a blog or allow yourself to be interviewed by a blogger. Each one, teach one :)