Once you have decided to go natural, there are ten things to consider along the journey:
1. Determine how long you will transition or grow out your relaxer before cutting your hair (also known as the Big Chop or BC).
2. Do some research. What books are available? What online resources are available? Read and take some notes before you go natural. Starting to read after the fact may be affected by the fear of the unknown if you are unprepared for the reaction you will give yourself and others’ reactions as well.
3. Keep it clean. You can still wash your hair while transitioning. Because your new growth and relaxed hair are different, it will be difficult to manage when wet. The straight hair will matte and the new growth will be easier to manage.
4. Detangle with care. Being sure to hold the hair closest to the scalp while combing your hair out will prevent pulling. There will be some hair coming out in the comb, this hair should be the relaxed hair which is brittle and weaker than your natural hair. Because there is no “give”, the hair will come right out. This will continue happening until you do the Big Chop.
5. Trimming. Trim at least a ½ of relaxed hair each month as you transition so you can graduate to the BC. It minimizes the shock of lopping off 10 inches of relaxed, straight hair and revealing and short, fluffy fro.
6. Condition. Your hair still should be conditioned. If you are transitioning for a long period of time like 6-12 months, you will want to be sure you are conditioning your hair along the way. Even the relaxed ends will still need conditioner to keep the hair from becoming frail, dull and lifeless.
7. Choose Styles that will blend the 2 textures. Curly styles, braids, twists, cornrows, and buns are all great ways to disguise the line of demarcation (where the natural hair meets the relaxed hair).
8. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask someone about their journey, their experiences and what resources they have used to help them have a successful journey.
9. Attend a meetup or start one in your area. If there aren’t any meetups nearby, you can always start one of your own. It doesn’t have to be a fancy shindig or anover the top professional presentation. Sometimes just gathering together with others who are already natural or on the way to being natural, you will find common issues and interests with one another that can be easily shared at a small gathering at a restaurant, park or club.
10. Document your journey. Some of us journal about various musings but documenting the journey to natural hair is one of most rewarding ways to see where you started and know how far you have come! Photos, journals, and videos all help you appreciate your journey the more, and can be easily shared with others on facebook or your own personal blog. Even if you never share it online with others, you can make your own keepsake and use it to encourage yourself throughout the journey and have an awesome memory of your experience.
Read the complete guide to transitioning to natural hair from a relaxer here.