Transitioning Questions Answered

I asked you to submit questions about transitioning and here are some that were posted in the comments along with my answers.

Q: I haven't pressed my hair in 3 weeks and I have washed it 3 times but I am having problems with my ends. I have never had a relaxer but I have been having my hair pressed/flat ironed all my life so my ends are very tamed and straight. I have no idea what to do with them! I am doing twist out but they aren't lasting very long and unravel at the ends. What products do you think I should use? Do you think my ends will curl up again?

A: If you want to see your natural texture in all of it's curly coily glory, you're going to have to stay away from heat. Some people are lucky in that their hair reverts to a curly/coily state after a couple of super moisturizing deep treatments, but sometimes the heat damage is so bad that the curls/coils never come back. You can decide to cut them off or gradually grow them out. In the meantime, try to blend the ends with your natural texture by doing twist/braid outs and rolling the ends on perm rods or flexi rods to get a tight natural-looking curl/coil. As for products, you can read 101 Best Products for Curly Hair or visit product review sites like Makeup Alley or Naturally Curly's Curlmart. My personal favorites are any Aubrey Organics or Giovanni conditioners for deep conditioning and Kinky Curly's Knot Today and Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Lite for leave-ins/setting agents.

Q: I read and hear a lot about naturals having to moisturize daily (usually with shea butter) and seal with one or more natural oils. I'm wondering if this is necessary for those in transition? I still have 8-9 inches of relaxed hair and oiling it that often will weigh my hair down heavily and turn it into a greasy mess. Does the shea butter and oil regimen benefit only full naturals? Or should transitioners be doing so as well?

A: You have to do what works for you. You definitely want to keep your hair moisturized and be proactive about it (transitioning or not), but you may not need to do it everyday. My hair is easily weighed down and can feel greasy too if I have a heavy hand, but some people need to do that to keep their hair from drying out. Heavy butters and oils can be too much on certain hair types. You might try lighter oils and leave ins.  Moisturize whenever you feel like you need it.

Q: Next month (July), will mark my 3 year break-up with perms. I've told everyone I know. No one really cares b/c I change my hair styles every other month. But it's exciting. I have yet to wear out my natural hair. I'm not yet comfortable with the look. For the past 3 years I've had braids and weaves to help my hair grow. I use oils and greases but of course my front edges are a mess. What do you recommend to help my edges grow and what steps can I take to getting my natural hair soft? A few friends recommended that I find a good dominican salon and have them train my curls. I'm at a lost.

A: Congrats, that is exciting! First, why aren't you comfortable? Explore that. List all the negative thoughts you have surrounding your new look. Really go deep and figure it out. Try to flip all the negatives to positives. Surround yourself with inspiring images of women that have a similar hair type as you. Step up your game in other areas of your life that you do feel comfortable and confident in. Look at yourself in the mirror and say all the things you love about your hair. Wear your best outfits and give yourself a fashion show. Do it everyday before you sleep and when you wake up. Eventually, if you're diligent, you will grow to love it and be more comfortable and confident rocking it. If you're trying to repair your edges, you want to stay away from high tension hair styles: too tight braids, ponytails and weaves. You might also consider getting rid of brushes and fine tooth combs. You might even see a dermatologist to check for traction alopecia which is kind of common in women that wear weaves and braids often. I don't think going to a Dominican Salon is the answer if you're trying to repair your edges, they use round brushes and a lot of heat. If you're serious about repairing that damage, stick to no-tension, low-manipulation natural hair styles. You can smooth your edges without a brush by wetting and moisturizing your edges and then tying it down with a scarf for about 15 minutes for smoother edges without using brushes or gels.

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousJune 16, 2011

    @question #2: I just wanted to add that shea butter+oil is A LOT. No one does that. Everyone I know (including myself) moisturizes w/ a moisturizing conditioner AND THEN uses an oil to seal in the moisture. People may use a conditioner that has shea butter as an ingredient (i.e. Shea Moisture products), but the butter itself (or any oil) is used strictly to seal. Hope that helps.