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.