Look at me after my big chop!  Tomorrow will be my two-year natural hair anniversary! 

Look at me after my big chop!  Tomorrow will be my two-year natural hair anniversary

Transitioning: Are “hair texture wars” real? 

Why I Transitioned and Hair Journey?

Monolithic? We Transition For Different Reasons Too (Part 4 of 4)

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According to naturals,  there are various reasons for returning to natural hair. The same can be said for those who transition. Although the goal of transitioning is to wear your natural hair, there isn’t one set reason why a person chooses to transition.  

I’ve listed various reasons below:

  • To retain length until you reach a comfortable desired result.
  • To become familiar with your natural hair texture until you’re comfortable with managing it.
  • To manage both textures while working with familiar and new territory.
  • To slowly cut relaxed hair while your natural hair grows.
  • To protect the ends of your natural hair; transitioning can be a protective tactic for new growth.
  • As a way to venture into natural hair care, styles, and maintenance; popular natural styles like braid outs or twist outs are common with transitioning ladies.
  • As a way to wean your hair from relaxers or chemical treatments by stretching your relaxers.
  • As a trial run.
  • As an inadvertent or serendipitous response from stretching your relaxers.

Transitioning Links and Series

Transitioning Prepared Me For Natural Hair

 Do you trust stylists and salons since you’ve gone natural (or transitioned)?

20 Questions Series: NATURAL HAIR -  Do you trust stylists and salons since you’ve gone natural (or transitioned)?

Relaxed? Thinking About Going Natural? (My Experience)

Transitioning to Natural Collage (Jan 2011 - Feb 2012)

The tipping point when black women decided to go natural

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After reflecting on my online hair care history, I wondered where the roots of this current natural hair movement began.  More importantly, what was the tipping point?

So, what was the tipping point when black women decided to return back to their natural hair?

Natural and Still Transitioning?

You can have natural hair, and still experience transitioning to natural.  This sounds crazy, but after seeing all the curl popping, curl-defining, hair stretching, natural relaxing techniques on Youtube, I believe many naturals are caught in the transitioning phase.  They haven’t adapted to their true texture.  

There are various reasons such as a learning curve, time, or acceptance.

Don’t get me wrong!  I believe curl-defining is a form of styling.  Styling is different from a person who desires to have a looser hair texture, and will continue to choose methods and styles to achieve it. I call this “natural and still transitioning?” This phase may be permanent or take time until the true texture is accepted, adapted, or managed.

Having a hair style is quite different from the avoidance of mastering your own texture.   Some styles and  methods (stretching, low manipulation) are great with reducing tangles or shrinkage, but others are done for long-term cosmetic  reasons of not adapting to your curls.   

What do you think?

Transitioning Hair: Does it prepare you for natural hair? (Part 3 of 4)

Did transitioning to natural prepare me for the days after I “big chopped?”  

Transitioning Preparation:  I watched hundreds of Youtube videos on every topic imaginable from styles, growth, homemade recipes to product reviews.

Reality: I gained knowledge of natural hair maintenance, but without true application, I was a talking box—-teacher, speaker, advocate.

Transitioning Preparation: I read the book, Curly Like Me by Terri Laflesh, and learned about the Tightly Curly Method.  In addition, I  watched Youtube videos of Terri Laflesh along with various other wash-and-go videos with Eco-Styler gel for curl setting styles.  

 Reality:  I gave myself room for mistakes.  Within four tries, I learned how to do finger coils and learned to clump my curls with the smooth-and-separate technique.  I realized that leave-in conditioners and gel products worked well for my curliest texture, but heavier products were less effective on my looser curls.

Transitioning Preparation: I removed many products from my transitioning/relaxed hair regimen because of a growth in product build-up and tangles.

Reality: After my  “big chop,” I reintroduce products such as glycerin, Giovanni Direct Leave-In, and coconut oil back into my regimen. Natural hair needs lots of moisture, humectants, and hair shaft penetrating oils.  I realized my weekly wash schedule during my transition needed conditioner washes in between. 

Transitioning Preparation: I rarely had issues with my scalp. 

Reality: After my “big chop”, my scalp does not like product build up and is prone to itch.  I believe the use of  heavier products for natural hair may be the source.



Transitioning Links and Series

Transitioning To Natural
- Ann Noire

Transitioning To Natural

- Ann Noire

Transitioning Hair: No TWA Please! (Part 2)



Transitioning from relaxed to natural hair can be a way to avoid the teeny weeny afro (TWA).  In many cultures, lengthy hair is the equivalent to blonds having more fun.”  It can be a sign of beauty, and to some black women, long hair is a sign of achievement.  

 
Many black women live with the myth that their hair can’t grow unless it’s in braids or a locked form (locs, dreadlocks).  Since many have accepted these lies, long hair represents more than beauty, but an aspirational achievement that can rival many other successes such as weight loss or a doctorate.  

 
Another rampant myth about short natural hair is the lack of beauty and versatility in it.  If you are not Nia Long nor Halle Berry, removing yourself from long relaxed hair to short kinky hair is a double blow in the beauty rankings. 

"The bigger the afro the closer to heaven?"


Avoiding the TWA may not be the reason for all transitioning women, but it plays a major role with avoiding the "learning curve" of a natural texture and shorter length.  Here are many questions transitioning women ask about TWA’s: 
 

INTERNAL

  • Am I familiar with short natural hair?
  • Do I see myself as beautiful with a TWA?
  • Will I look like a woman with short hair? 
  • Do I know how to care for short hair or style short hair?
  • Will I have versatility in styles with short natural hair?


EXTERNAL

  • How will others respond to my hair?
  • Will others, such as spouses or family, support it?
  • Will others stereotype me? 
  • Do others see my TWA as drastic? And how will they treat me?
  • Can I find a trusted stylist to assist me with my natural short hair?

These questions show that choosing to transition to avoid a TWA extends beyond beauty and image; it includes external reactions and adjustments to living with a new texture and length.



Transitioning Links and Series

Transitioning Hair: This or That? (Part 1 of 4)

Once I removed relaxers from my hair regimen, I lived in an ongoing dilemma as I transitioned to natural hair.  Caring for both textures can lead to a constant hair tug-o-war with products.

Dryness or Product Build up?

Tightly curly new growth needs constant moisture but heavier products like whipped butters, creamy leave-ins or conditioner washes, can easily weigh down relaxed hair.  

Adding extra moisture is great for relaxed hair to retain length, but as the curlier texture grows, relaxed hair can become overly moisturized, which can lead to tangle-causing build up.  

I tried to remedy this problem with light moisturizers, careful detangling, and weekly shampoos, but even “moisturizing non-sulfate shampoos” couldn’t remedy the problem.  I moved into the “dangerous zone” and attempted to “clarify” my hair, which removed build up, but rerouted me to treat dry hair, again!


Transitioning Links and Series