(Disclaimer** Okay guys, if I’m honest, these are more like statements rather than tips but I just liked the alliteration. Seriously, try saying that title ten times in a row!)
Transitioning is difficult. Trust me, been there, done that and I couldn’t stand it all! I should’ve really just done a big chop but as I said before, the start of my journey wasn’t exactly intentional… And the thought of losing what little hair I had scared the life out of me. So instead I grew my miniature fro and the rest was as it is now I guess… It wasn’t incredibly difficult but these are just some of the things I wish I had known before I had started transitioning. Boy would it have helped.
1. You think you know how to two strand twist? Think again my friend.
Going natural really teaches you a thing or two about your hair and one of them is that twists ain’t easy. It will take some practice and you’ll definitely get enough time for that. But with both the relaxed ends and natural roots, it won’t look as polished as most. It will take time, but you’ll get there and the first perfect twist will get you excited!
2. Your hairstyles won’t be what you expect them to be in the beginning. It’s a part of the journey!
You’ll watch videos of YouTube gurus and see people on the street with amazing hair. You can attempt to re-create it and it really could work but most of the time it’ll come out looking NOTHING like you planned. It’s genuinely a learning curve. Don’t be put off by the style you attempted to achieve! Try again one day. Practice really does make perfect.
3. The two textures will drive you up the wall and round the bend!
There were days when I wondered why I bothered going natural. I was always told by my family and hairdressers that I needed a relaxer in order to manage my thick, course and unruly hair. Dealing with two different textures made this all the more believable but hold on to the reason why you changed your mind about relaxers! It gets easier, and rather than reach for the “sofn’ free ‘n’ pretty” decide if this means you’re ready to lose the straight ends.
The point between your new growth and the relaxed ends is very fragile. It could snap at a moment’s notice and it WILL. Be very careful when detangling because you’ll quickly realise that gone are the days when you could whip through your hair with a small tooth comb. The wide tooth comb will be your new bestie but you still need to remember that gently does it!
5. Once your natural hair grows out further, you might realize how damaged your hair was when it was relaxed.
Trust me, the comparison between the new natural hair and the previously relaxed hair will be a bit shocking. It’s enough to motivate you to keep going with your natural journey and for me, it was enough for me to grab the scissors!
6. Find at least 3 people in the natural community you can gain advice from - YouTube, blogs, friends, family
This is an important tip because the support is more helpful than you might think. Go through blogs, YouTube, friends and family and pick some people you think could benefit your journey. I find it’s best to watch videos from people with a similar hair-type to mine however, tips from a 3a person may be helpful to a person with 4c hair too.
7. Find someone you can personally take the journey with
Lucky for me, my sisters have been natural for a while. Having them there has made becoming natural a lot easier than it would have been otherwise. It gives you a lot of motivation and also allows you to share tips and ideas that could help the both of you.
|You wanna look like me?|
8. Find a simple routine you know you can stick to even if you’re in a rush
This needs to be done! If you’re the sort of person that takes a long time detangling with an array of different sized combs and three heat caps (ahem… that’s me), think about what would be the fastest and most effective way of completing it all. Getting your routine down to a just a few hours is a helpful way of knowing (if necessary) you can get your hair done quickly, with desired results and leave the house without looking like a troll doll.
9. Don’t throw out all of your products unless you know they didn’t even work in your relaxed days
Being natural can be expensive especially if like me and Mariama you can’t help but watch YouTube videos constantly. You want to buy everything they have! Work on using what you have already, you may find it’s great for sealing in moisture or adding shine – if it never worked anyway, bin it, give it away or use it for another purpose. (Hair conditioner makes good shaving cream for soft legs lol)
10. Not every product you use will work
You might find that the products you use will be more effective for the relaxed ends and others for the natural roots. Don’t expect everything to work because most products are made for a specific target market. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes creams and conditioners aimed at straighter hair-types might still work for you (Maz swears by Aussie Moisture) but just because it says it’ll “melt away” the tangles, doesn’t mean it really will. If you’re left with a Costco size tub of conditioner, see my above tip. Hehe. : P
|I can wish for her hair, but it ain't gonna happen!|
11. Don’t expect a curl – it may never happen
After staring at blogs and YouTube (damn you gurus with your amazing hair and perfect personalities! Grr) you may secretly expect your hair to fall at this perfect angle and hang with loose curls. It may never happen even if it does; no two naturals are the same! Embrace your beautiful hair and learn how to work it gurrl! (Okay. I promise never to do that again.)
12. Expect people to say mean things not know they’re being mean – it will happen.
This is my favourite tip - maybe because I’ve experienced it first-hand. People will say things to you that are so horribly rude but take it with a pinch of salt. They aren’t all hip to the natural hair movement! Let them say what they have to say, fight your corner if you need to and after that brush it off. Confidence is key and karma is a bish.
So this is it guys. I hope I helped somebody out there! Transitioning isn’t all easy but the results are wicked. Taking a pair of scissors to those relaxed ends is so worth it and it’s just the first step to being a fully-fledged natural! Enjoy it whilst you can. : D