Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Beginning your Transition Phase

What is Transitioning?

When you stop putting chemical straighteners in your hair with the goal of wearing your natural texture, this process is called transitioning. According to Merriam-Webster, a transition is a passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another; or, a movement, development, evolution from one form, stage, or style to another. 

In this context, when your hair is transitioning, it is moving from its current form under the chemical straightener and evolving into its natural state. In many ways, this transition will also be physical, mental and even spiritual. Letting go of old habits is never easy. But strength, patience and sometimes even a better sense of humor can be gained in the process.

Why Transition?

Transitioning is not always the fastest way to achieve a head full of natural textured hair, but it will get you to your goal. Believe me, I’ve done it three times! There are several reasons why you may decide to transition. Transitioning from chemical straighteners to wearing your natural hair texture aids in the overall health of your hair and scalp. Like others, after I transitioned I noticed my scalp was less dry and itchy, and I experienced way less hair breakage and shedding.

Where to Begin?

The most important key to a smooth transition is patience. On average, hair grows one-half an inch a month or six inches a year, and that’s barring any preexisting health issues. So you can see, transitioning is definitely not a sprint, but a marathon.

Once your hair starts to grow, you have a few options on what you can do to reach your goal of a head full of natural textured hair.  As your new growth comes in, you can cut a half an inch off your chemically straightened ends each month. Or, you can hold on to your chemically straightened ends for as long as they are healthy, and once your natural texture grows out to your desired length, you can then cut off the chemically straightened ends.

With either choice you make, you have to be extremely careful with the demarcation point between the two textures. Harsh pulling, combing or using tight accessories in this area will cause breakage. So to prevent damaging your hair, be gentle and stay away from high heat styling appliances.

How to Maintain

As you transition, you will have to maintain two textures of hair—your new growth and your chemically straightened ends. While getting to know your new growth, you will find that what you used on your straight ends may not necessarily work on your natural texture.

In the beginning stages of transitioning, it wont be very difficult for you to blend in your new growth with your straight ends by using styling products, low-heat blow drying, etc., but as your new growth gets longer you will have to start wearing transition styles. Transition styles, are hairstyles worn during your transition, that don’t cause stress on your natural hair texture thereby, allowing it to grow healthy. Some examples are straw curls, two-strand twists, twist/braid-outs and extension braids. Tips for these styles can be found This will be part of the fun. The hairstyle options are limitless!

The last and final time I decided to wear my natural hair texture, I followed these guidelines. I won’t say that there were no bumps along the way, but my transitioning journey was a whole lot easier and I was able to stick with it—maintaining my natural hair texture for more than 10 years. Yes, a decade strong! I wish you the best on your journey as well!

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