So, you've decided to go “au naturel”? After years of chemical straightening and heat damage in between those root touch ups, you've finally had enough. Welcome to the wild side my friend, imagine a world of beautiful bouncy coils … Ah the dream, to go back to your natural hair overnight. We all wish it was that simple. But, nope! You're about to embark on a curly journey, so buckle up!
First things first, transitioning back to your natural hair doesn't always mean its from a harsh chemical relaxer, it could be from that “light organic curl softener” that you were led to believe would give you the beach waves of your dreams or the zero frizz myth, it could also be from that single yearly blowout that just had too much heat and your hair couldn't handle the bounce back. Whatever the reason, you're starting from scratch. Not to worry, we are here to walk with you on your journey and give all the advice needed!
Strong Chemical Relaxer: Are your roots a few inches grown out and all the mid-length to ends of your hair seem to be straighter than a horse's tail?!
Curl Softener: Are your roots a few inches grown out and the mid length to ends of your hair are all different textures but none resembling your natural? Are some completely straight, do you have a few kinks and then it straightens out, maybe a few are wavy or are a bit frizzy?
Heat Damage: For the most part your hair seems alright, but some visible pieces, like the front are stretched out, damaged, even completely straight. Maybe some parts are even permanently straight or stretched out from the heat?
And…. DOES NOTHING BLEND?
So what do you do, what are the options?
OPTION 1. The big chop. If you feel you can do it, then rock it! It's time for you to check out our Daily Curl Routine article.
OPTION 2. A TRIM, for those of you that want to keep length this is where you need to start. It's time for you to call up your stylist and talk about a trim for transition.
Before going for that trim, it's important to understand what you'll be working towards and how to go about it.
Styling is going to be your best friend during your transition.
Here are a few tips on how to blend those straight pieces with the curls on top.
Braids and twists: Leave your conditioner in after the shower from mid lengths to ends. Once you're out of the shower gently pat the excess water off your hair. It should still be very damp. Next, part your hair in half. Your part should be exactly where you want it to fall when it's styled. Braid or twist the two sections (you may do as many sections as you like, splitting the hair into quarters or even 6 sections will give more definition). Each section should be braided/ twisted tightly. Once completely dry, gently unwind and pull apart. Shake out the curls for more body. If unhappy with the results the first try around, throw up in a pony or bun leaving pieces out of it for a more whimsical/casual look.
RODs: for those few pieces that just won't curl back up, try flexi rods or perm rods (should run you under $5). Doing this to your entire head does take some time but if you're looking for a quick fix for just those front pieces it's a life saver and beautiful! After the shower, leave some conditioner in the hair from mid lengths to ends (especially on the pieces you'll be curling) make sure your hair is smooth and detangled. Find the piece you want to wrap, recognize the curl pattern from the new growth, decide where you want it to be placed. Then firmly wrap the hair around the rod snug. Make sure you're only wrapping the damaged hair and not your new growth (no reason to stretch out your natural pattern). Once completely dry, gently unwind. If too perfect of a curl, with a light hand, pull apart. Practice makes perfect.
IRON: Alright, alright, I know this is the complete opposite of what you'd think to do, but hear me out. Your hair is already damaged, it's not going to get any better, it's not going to magically curl back up. So in the meantime, while you wait for your natural healthy hair to grow back, let's blend it! CAUTION: CAN BECOME ADDICTIVE. I recommend a 9mm curling iron. Make sure your hair has some sort of heat protectant in it (can be conditioner or styling cream), your hair MUST be completely dry. When choosing how much hair or which way to wrap, its best to alternate so you have the most natural look. Very carefully, start from the top of the damaged area, quickly and closely wrap the hair around the iron. Once on the very end of the damaged piece, quickly pull off (you don't want to cause extra heat damage so be quick when pulling off, minimal heat is required). For a tighter curl make sure you wrapped the hair closely together, once pulled off leave be. For a looser curl or wave, wrap slightly apart, once off the iron pull the very end of the hair downward until cool.
Maintenance: It is important to give your hair the love it needs especially while growing out. Treat your hair like a fine fabric. Always condition, wash, and treat with a mask when necessary.
Be gentle, be loving, be patient.