On September 5, 2011, I completed my 18-month transition, and I am proof positive that you can transition to natural hair without a big chop.
And just to inspire you, let me just say that I am no hair stylist, and never did much to my hair when it was relaxed. Nevertheless, I was able to complete the transition process without the aid of a stylist.
My hair was in a pretty bad state when I began the journey. It was brittle from years of over processing due to relaxers, and I later learned I had a thyroid condition that was making my hair problem even worse (more thinning and breakage).
So if I was able to complete a long-term transition in the state my hair was in, so can you!
Here’s a video of the results and my first all-natural twist out. Enjoy!
Here are some of my transitioning tips…
Be Patient. Your Texture Will Likely Change
Sometimes your hair will be dry and brittle in the beginning because of scab hair — which is a protective coating that your hair follicles began making after overprocessing and years of relaxers.
The scab hair will likely stop after 3-12 months. Everyone’s hair is different so be patient.
Also, you will never know what your true texture looks like until the last of that relaxer is gone. Many people find that their hair is a lot more curlier after they trim the relaxer off because they don’t have the straight ends weighing the hair down.
You Probably Have Multiple Textures
This is completely normal and doesn’t mean anything is wrong. Most people have at least 2 different textures on their head. The top and sides of my hair have less of a curl pattern than the back.
Get Excess Shedding and Breakage Under Control
If you have excessive shedding and/or breakage (I’m talking handfuls of hair when you comb it), seek help from a professional.
Don’t let that issue discourage and stop you from transitioning.
Of course, you will have some breakage when you transition (the amount varies), but if you are seeing a lot and noticing your hair getting super thin, don’t be afraid to get help — especially if you’re shedding a lot.
Breakage is normal, but excess shedding (hair loss from the root) may indicate a health problem (thyroid, anemia, iron deficiency etc.) Be careful about using the Internet to diagnose your hair problem because no one can actually see what’s going on.
Most of us bloggers are not professionals — we’re just sharing our experiences. I can only make suggestions based on what I’ve learned with my own hair.
Consult with a local stylist who is skilled with managing transitioning and natural hair. Be careful about seeking advice from someone who does not generally handle natural/transitioning hair.
They might discourage you or tell you that you can’t transition. Remember, they often fear losing business so their advice can be biased. I know it’s tough, but you may have to part ways from your long-time stylist.
Ask friends, relatives or people at your church for a recommendation. With so many naturals around today, it shouldn’t be hard to get a referral.
Someone who knows how to manage natural hair will be able to tell you more about your situation and advise whether or not it’s the relaxer, transition or something else that is causing your excess breakage/shedding.
Consider trying a transitioning kit. It may help get your problem under control.
Be Careful With Product Suggestions
It’s so tempting to copy someone else’s routine and products, but your hair is probably not like their’s. Yes, you can use sites like this as a guide and you may be able to take some recommendations, but YOU have to experiment to find what YOUR hair likes.
I did spend more money than I would have liked in the beginning, but it was worth it because I discovered my staple products and didn’t spend much money after I figured out what my hair liked.
Also, learn how to save money using homemade products.
Keeping Your Hair Moisturized is Key
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for you to keep your hair moisturized. This will ensure your hair stays strong and prevent breakage.
There are certain things you must keep in mind about moisturizing — such as water is the foundation for moisture and oils are sealants, not moisturizers.
Need Some Inspiration?
Check out my length just 2+ years after my chop. This is what natural hair can do if you wear a lot of low manipulation styles (mini twists are my favorite) and minimize heat. My hair has never been this long.