Going Natural

Tran·si·tion – noun : the act of passing from one stage into another.

So you’ve decided to go natural. Hooray, not what?

Going natural is easy if you use the following steps:

1. Stop relaxing your hair.
2. Repeat Step 1

Okay so maybe I left off a few details, but you understand what I mean. The process of going natural can be an amazing journey especially to those who have never seen their natural hair.

There are two ways to go natural (1) the big chop and (2) grow out and trim through transitioning. I have done both and can say that they each have their advantages and disadvantages.

The Big Chop involves cutting off all the relaxed hair at once either with scissors or clippers leaving a TWA or teenie weenie afro. TWA’s come in varying lengths depending on how fast your hair grows and the date of your last relaxer, but are normally an inch or less.

Advantage: You are instantly liberated and free to start your hair journey now.

Disadvantage: You are instantly liberated and free to start your hair journey now. Those who are not prepared to “deal with” what they find may be discouraged or overwhelmed.

Transitioning involves growing out your natural hair while regularly trimming off the relaxed ends. This process can take up to a year or more to complete depending on how long your hair was initially, how aggressive your trimming schedule is and how long you can manage caring for two textures. While growing out your hair you may continue to straighten your hair by blow-drying and/or flat ironing or choose to wear hair extensions, weaves, or natural hair styles such as twists and braids. You may experience breakage at the weak point, which is the line of demarcation from the relaxed to the natural part of your hair. This breakage is normal and nothing to be alarmed about as you where going to remove the hair anyway.

Advantage: This process allows you to make the change slowly.

Disadvantage: You have to manage two different hair textures and that can be a bit of a hassle.

No matter which method you choose you may also experience scab hair. Scab hair is new growth of natural hair that grows from the scalp that is characterized as dry, rough to the touch and unmanageable. Most of the breaking that occurs is in this region and you may also have split ends. Scab hair may not curl, remains dry no matter how much you moisturize and can be just plain unruly. It is best to continue trimming the scab hair back to the healthy new growth. It can take 3-6 months to grow out scab hair while some may not experience it at all.

The transitioning process is incredibly personal and thus will vary for person to person. However it is the beginning of a beautiful love affair with your glorious waves, curls, coils or kinks.

For more information on getting started on your natural hair journey check out Natural Hair Starter Kit and Book Recommendations for Natural Hair.

5 thoughts on “Going Natural

  1. I went without a relaxer for 2.5 yrs and loved it, but didn’t want long hair any more so I relaxer it again and cut it all off. Well, I’m on my journey again (6 mos post). On my what I’ll call my 1st journey, I treated my hair as if it was relaxed. Didn’t change my regimen at all b/c I didn’t know I had to/should. I must have been a blessed lady b/c my hair transitioned wonderfully. Now that I am learning a lot more, I will incorporate some of the suggestions here. My intention is to have chemical free hair, but most likely only wear it in its natural state 10% of the time. If that makes sense.

    My question: Is it necessary to know your hair type? (3c, 4a, etc..) Looking at your pictures, my hair looks to be whatever yours is :). I’m trying to find a good creme to use for 2-strand twists that doesn’t make my hair look frizzy or dry. The way I have it now (right now, as I type) using some creme hairdress (yep, unbelievable how I pulled that off!) is good enough to wear to work. It LOOKS dry, but it’s not. It feels soft. Is soft, but has that dry look too. I’ve been through your blog, but still a bit confused on what to try when doing my twists. Any suggestions??? Thanks again. Love your site.

    • Congrats on your natural journey. Being natural is about avoid chemicals that alter your natural hair pattern but there are many naturals who give up perms but still choose to wear their hair straight majority of the time and there is nothing wrong with that.

      I’m glad you asked about hair type because honestly a lot of naturals fall into the what is my hairtype trap. Hairtype really is not important. There are many other hair properties that are like protein sensitivity, porosity, texture, and elasticity. I have posts on all these under the category Hair Facts so you can check them out.

      So to answer your questions about your twists here are a few products that I can recommend you try out. It is hard to say what will work for you without knowing your hair or what it likes but here are some suggestions: Organic Root Stimulator Twist & Loc Gel (available at Walmart and other drug stores), Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie (available at Walgreens) Darcy’s Botanicals Twisting Cream (available online). I have had great results twisting my hair with plain old conditioner or aloe vera gel also.

      As for dry-looking hair the issue is that naturally curly hair does not shine and reflect light as straight hair does that is just the truth. However you can use natural oils or butters to help add shine to your hair or use shine spray like Shea Moisture’s Shine & Hold Mist to give it that extra oomph. Try these things out and let me know how they work for you.

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