Before completely going natural, I transitioned for 13 months. I just let my natural hair grow without putting any relaxer on it and I didn’t cut my previously relaxed ends either. At the time, I didn’t even know I was transitioning, all I knew was I was taking a break from relaxers after a horrible relaxer experience. I was 5 months post relaxer when I finally decided to fully embrace the natural hair path. I knew I wanted to keep my natural hair but I didn’t want to cut off all my hair for that. Honestly, I didn’t want my hair extremely short so I transitioned instead, to avoid the awkward phase of dealing with a TWA (tiny winy afro).
So in my head, I thought that transitioning will be just as easy to maintain as dealing with relaxed hair. I knew nothing about hair care or caring for natural hair, now I had to deal with these 2 completely different textures I knew nothing about. There are a lot of things I learned the hard way that I
I’ve had a lot of people ask me about my natural hair journey and I thought I should share a few things that I learned so far along the way. If you know someone who is contemplating going natural and wants to follow the transitioning road (I e. growing out natural hair without cutting off the relaxed ends) rather than doing an immediate big chop, share this list with them so they can be prepared.
What I wish I knew before transitioning
1. Avoid the “know-it-all’ hair stylists
The first thing I wish I knew earlier is to be careful with hair stylists. Most of them do not know how to deal with both textures in one head. Most will even try to persuade you to relax your hair.
Once I went to a hair salon for shampooing and detangling, the worst salon experience of my lifetime. The hair stylist clearly didn’t know what she was doing. She did the shampoo and used a dryer before trying to comb through and my hair is very thick and coarse so obviously detangling it that way was an epic fail and I ended up leaving with a very frizzy hair, tons of breakage and that’s how the hair on my crown area got very short. Throughout the time she was doing this, she told me to trust her, which I did but I didn’t know better anyway.
I wish I would have known not to trust every hair stylist that says they can style “natural’’ hair. Always do your research first and make informed decisions and don’t be shy to educate or guide a hair stylist on how to go about your hair cause at the end of the day, if anything goes wrong, you suffer the consequences most.
2. Hair is fragile
I wish I knew that hair at the state is extremely fragile and should be given much attention and managed with good technique. Knowing this should have avoided a lot of
3. It won’t always be easy
I wish I knew that as the months added up, styling and detangling will get more challenging and take longer hours than usual. Even the simplest things will become hard. By the 5th month mark, it was hard to comb through my hair, detangling became a struggle for me cause the new growth had already gotten quite long and they curled up a lot. I wish I knew I should detangle my hair in small sections. Definitely putting hair in sections makes it a lot easier to detangle.
4. Detangle properly
I wish I knew that combing should never be done on dry hair. Your hair should at least be damp or coated with a good detangling product. If I knew this early enough, maybe I would have been able to transition longer. I transitioned for 13months before doing the big chop because I already had so much of my hair breaking off. I used to detangle on dry hair and it was really hard to keep up cause my hair didn’t stay detangled for long, it will still get matted after for a few hours. Detangling on damp hair or detangling with a good detangling conditioner makes it a lot easier. I wish I transitioned for longer but these tangles kept getting in the way.
5. Dry your hair the right way
I wish I knew that I shouldn’t air dry my hair loosely. Coupled with detangling on damp hair, never let it air dry while your hair is still loose. I thought I was doing my hair
6. Handling both textures
I wish I knew that handling both textures(relaxed and natural hair) will need a new hair care regimen. Natural hair is not like relaxed hair, it is extremely curly and requires a lot of patience, products and a good routine to maintain and manage it. I wish I knew that my frequent shampooing and conditioning wasn’t going to work now that my natural hair was present. I needed a new set of products tailored to maintain natural hair and also had to find make up a hair routine that worked for my hair. It’s going to take time to learn to deal with your natural hair and understand what it needs.
7. Invest on good hair products
I wish I would have spent more money on hair products with better, more natural ingredients. I used to think natural hair products were overpriced and so expensive for nothing. At the time, I didn’t understand why I should spend twice the amount I spend on a regular conditioner just to purchase a natural hair conditioner which won’t even last long cause my hair is so thick.
I was so much into spending less such that I subjected my hair to all types of sulfates, parabens, silicones, and other toxic chemicals that damage hair. I thought that the cheaper products would work just as good, and many times I was wrong.
Natural hair requires a lot of trial and error, which means finding the right products for your hair texture will cost you. But while it’s not fun spending extra money on the right shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, oil, and spray for your curls, it is completely worth it.
8. Who do you turn to for advice
Mind who you complain about your hair to because most people will talk you into using a relaxer especially when you are still transitioning, you are the perfect prey for those kinds of talks. There will be people, even family, and friends that will think you are crazy for ditching your relaxer, don’t listen to them. When It became obvious that I was transitioning because my new growth was already so grown, many people thought I was crazy and the thought of me having to cut my hair freaked my mom so much that she would often try to sweet talk me into continuing with perms. Natural hair is so beautiful and most times people who try to convince you to perm your hair do not know better, sometimes they say it from a place of love and sometimes from pity.
Our natural hair is perfect as it is and it is not stressed so it doesn’t need a relaxer, being natural is the closest you can get to be yourself. People will make ignorant comments about your curls, natural hair can be perceived the wrong way and can become controversial in certain environments. But don’t let that stop you from proudly wearing your curls. If your hair does provoke an ignorant comment, take it as an opportunity to educate someone on the beauty of natural hair.
9. Enjoy being different
Natural hair comes in different textures, it comes in an array of several curl patterns. I wish I knew my hair won’t look or act exactly like my favourite YouTubers hair. One of the factors that fueled my decision to go natural is that I thought once I decided to grow my natural hair, it will look like Natural Neiicey’s hair. It’s easy to look at other girls curly hair or natural styles, and wish your hair would curl or bend the same way as theirs, but yours probably never will and that’s OK. The form, colour, shape, and texture of your hair
10. A little frizz won’t hurt
I wish I had learned to embrace the messiness, frizziness and shrinkage of my hair. I wish I didn’t try so hard to blend both textures(natural and relaxed). Natural hair can be hard to tame except you use
11. Over manipulation
I was so eager to style my hair that I didn’t realize that too much manipulation would also cause breakage. I was still in college and I had lectures every day so I would mostly do a wash and go, twist-outs, braid-outs or buns on a daily basis. In the long run, I experience a lot of
12. What product to use often
Generally, our natural hair requires more of products that offer moisture to the hair and less of products like shampoo since shampooing tends to make the hair dry. My hair was often so dry and I wish I knew that deep conditioning every week and wetting your hair with water and applying conditioner as needed to keep it moisturized in the morning and before bed, would make my hair a whole lot softer and help it to hold moisture as well.
13. Fake news
I wish I knew that not all information on YouTube was to be trusted. There are so many unreliable YouTubers everywhere and I’m not proud of how many times I’ve fallen for clickbait. From YouTubers promising techniques that will grow your hair overnight to others swearing on products that will make your hair 2 inches longer in 2 days, the struggle for views and watch time is real. Nowadays where just anyone can put information out there, the truth is hard to find, so you definitely need to do your research well.
14. The weather
Another thing I wish I was told is that the weather can greatly affect your hairstyle when you wear your transitioning hair out. Always check the weather before wearing your hair out. I could leave the house with an amazing twist-out and however, if that day is rainy or also partnered with humidity then goodbye amazing twist-out and hello big hair puff with straight unflattering ends. Meanwhile, very sunny days could make your hair look very dry.
The last thing I will add is that your hair is going to get a lot of attention, so be ready for that. Get ready for the comments, compliments, and constant questions about your hair. To be honest, it could be good attention as well as bad attention, so be ready because it’s going to happen regardless and blossom in all the attention, girl, because your hair is fabulous.
This is just my own list of 15 things i wish i knew before transitioning to natural hair, it might not be a very exhaustive list of things to know but the points here listed are very important.
What are other things you wish you knew before starting your transitioning journey? or what is stopping you from transitioning or going natural? Write in the comments below, you might be saving a soul with your story.
Don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family or anyone thinking of transitioning to natural hair.