SET A TIMELINE
Decide how long you want to transition. You may want to transitioning to natural hair for one month or two, or for eight months.
Decide what you will do once you’re done transitioning. Are you going to
opt to do a big chop? Are you going to install braids, a weave, or a wig
for another few months?
Ideally, you want to “chop” your relaxed ends. The point of transitioning to natural hair is to allow for the maximum growth from the roots (your natural hair) without cutting the hair. Once you cut the relaxed ends, your natural hair will continue to grow and may even change in texture. Don’t be surprised if you have to do a second chop or more trimming of your relaxed ends that you may have missed during your initial chop.
DIY VERSUS HAIR SALON
Many women choose to do the big chop at home and are totally comfortable with that. Other women choose to get it professionally done for many reasons:
- You may have a great relationship with your current hair stylist and trust no one else—not even yourself— to cut your hair
- You may want to add some color and would prefer that it be done professionally
- You may be leaning towards a certain shape or style that may not be achieved if you DIY
- You may not feel comfortable doing this yourself
- You may just want to be pampered, make a day out of it, record the big chop and enjoy the new you unraveling.
DO I HAVE TO TRANSITION IF I DECIDE TO GO NATURAL?
No. Transitioning is completely an option and a personal preference. Some women choose to skip the transitioning period and just do a big chop. If you’re comfortable rocking a TWA or shorter, than the big chop is a good choice for you. If you don’t mind dealing with two different hair textures simultaneously, the no transitioning may be for you.
Dealing with two textures can be a bit of a challenge for some women. It requires careful care and may even be time consuming at first. Remember, your natural hair (new growth) and your relaxed hair (old hair) are meeting each other somewhere in the middle and that can cause knotting and some breakage. However, there are many hairstyles suited for transitioners. Bantu knots are an excellent choice. You may find it difficult keeping braids or twists secured at the ends due to the relaxed hair, but with Bantu knots, your ends are tucked away and when taken down, produce beautiful curls. You can use elastic bands to keep the ends secure if you choose to do twists or braids, but keep in mind that elastic bands may promote increased knotting and breakage. Buns are also popular as well as your ends are also tucked away.
While transitioning, it is very easy to fall into the trap of buying a variety of products, but it really isn’t necessary. You’ll have plenty of time to experiment with a ton of products once you are completely natural—trust me. Feel free to use your same products and your same hair care regimen. At this time, too much exposure to water will cause frizziness, dryness, and knotting. If you choose to shampoo often, be sure to do this in sections, which will be less harsh on your hair and opt for a sulfate-free shampoo to reduce stripping of your new growth.
ENJOY THE PROCESS
This is an exciting time in your life so enjoy it. Don’t get frustrated and don’t give up. As long as you give your hair the TLC that it deserves, you will embrace the process more and more. Yes, you will probably experience some shedding and dryness, but it’s completely normal as your hair prepares to go into its chemical-free state. So, relax (pun intended) and have fun!