Yesterday, I covered Transitioning Tips Part One, and focused on my ladies who took the quick Big Chop route to get rid of their relaxed hair. For me, "Big Chop" = cutting off relaxed hair to wear your natural, but it can be done right away or after a longer period of transitioning. My "big chop" came a year after I stopped relaxing my hair. While I thought that would be a better plan for me than cutting it all off right away, doing a long-term transition comes with its own set of challenges.
If You're Going To Wait It Out...
- Figure out what transitional style you'll use.
- Braids or kinky twists with extensions? Great for putting your hair away and letting it do what it do. However, be careful to not have your hair braided too tightly, especially around fragile edges.
- Weaves are another great option. Similar to braids, ensure that your own hair isn't weaved too tightly, and be sure to properly clean your scalp to avoid mildew and product build-up that will stunt your hair growth. Check out this post here for some more info on weave hair care.
- Want to wear your hair out? It's doable! Roller sets/rod sets are great for creating a uniform style between your two textures - but don't forget the importance of not using excessive heat! Twist-outs and braid-outs after washing your hair will give you another great option, minus the heat factor. Flat ironing is my least favourite style due to the high possibility of heat damage to your natural hair...so if you take that route, beware!
- At least every 2-3 months, make sure to trim off some of the relaxed ends - this is the longest length of time that you should leave weave, braids, or kinky twists in before re-doing them.
- Before re-doing your hair style, make sure to give your hair a good deep treatment, and rest for a couple of days before re-braiding/twisting.
- If you don't already have a wide-tooth comb in your arsenal, get one! As your natural hair grows, you will have to treat it with care. Wide-tooth combs will help you to detangle your hair without causing damage.
- Get familiar with your hair's demarcation line. This is the point where your two textures meet, and is the most fragile part of your hair. Trimming regularly will keep you from damaging what will be the ends of your "new" hair, and will also help you to avoid ridiculous tangling when washing. Don't hang on to your relaxed ends for too long - it will just cause more problems down the line.
Did you take the long route to embracing your natural hair? What transitional styles did you use, and did you run into any problems? If you have any tips for long-term transitioners, leave them below!