By Sabrina Perkins of seriouslynatural.org
More and more women are making the transition back to natural hair, and with so much information out there it’s hard to keep track of what you actually need. Sure, split end mender, fancy steamers and $15 leave-ins may seem as though they need to be at the top of your list of product priorities, but maintaining some basic staples is really key to a successful transition.
Keep in mind that the simpler your regimen is, the less of a hassle your hair will be! So here are 5 must-haves to be a successful transitioner:
Conditioner w/ Slip
Dealing with two textures is difficult, especially when your relaxed ends are dry, damaged, and prone to tangling. Finding a conditioner that offers some great slip (making the hair slippery to ease detangling) can cut down on the headache of knots on wash day, immensely. This step will definitely take some trial and error, but if you’ve heard good reviews about a certain product known to cut down on detangling time, then give it a try and see how it works for you.
If you can’t seem to find a conditioner that gives you the slip you’re looking for, you can add ingredients such as marshmallow root, coconut oil, Aloe Vera juice, and/or vegetable glycerin to a one that you already have.
Aussie Moist (purple bottle) is one of CurlyNikki’s faves, and the price is right!
Deep Conditioner/Protein Treatments
Since you’re dealing with two textures, you need to make sure that they’re both as moisturized and strong as possible. Deep conditioning your hair while you transition, either weekly or bi-weekly, can help reduce breakage so you aren’t experiencing excessive hair loss. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t panic when you inevitably experience some breakage — it comes with the territory.
The line of demarcation (where your natural strands meet your relaxed strands) is fragile and prone to breakage. It is something that cannot be mended with deep conditioners or protein treatments, but you should continue to do them for the overall health of your new growth.
It can be hard trying to blend your straight ends with your new, kinky-curly roots. Rods and rollers give you that extra stretch without exposing your hair to any forms of direct heat. The best thing is that you can use them to set your whole head, or just use them on your ends to curl the relaxed portion of your mane. A lot of transitioners swear by doing the twist/braid & curl method in order to get a good idea of what their hair will look like once it’s fully natural.
Whether you are into flexi rods, rollers, or even straws, make sure they are in great shape, the right size for your preferred style, and that you clean them regularly. You can find them just about everywhere, but Amazon is a great spot for them, too!
Throughout the duration of your transition, there will come a time when your relaxed ends will test your last nerve, tangling into knots. You will be fed up. You’ll become tired of managing two textures, and you’ll want to chop it off. But don’t. Not just yet. Simply trim the knot or that particular point of damage. Regular trimming is important in order to keep breakage at bay, so keeping a sharp pair of shears on hand will allow you to snip away as much or as little as you want at any given time.
A Good Stylist
If you’re unsure of how to care for your hair while transitioning, you may need to invest in a good stylist who’s trained in natural hair care. This might cost you a pretty penny, but it will take away a lot of stress and give you access to someone who is knowledgeable and able to walk with you along your journey. Whether you turn to them to do your hair all of the time, or every once in a while, they will give you tips on how to properly handle, treat and style your crown.
What tips do you have for transitioners?
Sabrina Perkins is an author and beauty blogger of two successful blogs, seriouslynatural.org and naturalhairforbeginners.com. A natural hair expert with over 10 years in the field, her newest book, Natural Hair For Beginners – A Beginners Guide To Going Natural Successfully! has received rave reviews and breaks down the basics of natural hair and how to keep it healthy.