Transitioning from relaxed to natural hair can be quick or protracted depending on if you opt for a long transition to acquire a bit of length before chopping off the relaxed ends or chop them off without waiting for length and resolve to rock a short style or get extensions. Whichever you decide, you'll probably wonder how long it'll take for the relaxer to grow out, what your natural texture will look and feel like, what products work best on both textures and if you should wear it out or keep it in a protective style. In essence, navigating this process doesn't have to be daunting.
1. Learn About Your New Growth
While growing out chemically treated hair, it's not uncommon for hair to feel dry and hard. This may be unsettling at first, but it's a completely normal outcome that results from years of damaging chemical treatments. What's more, it'll probably take about 4-6 months of new growth to achieve a TWA (teeny weeny afro) so it's important to be patient. Familiarize yourself with your new, natural texture and monitor it for excessive dryness or breakage as it may take a while for your scalp and follicles to heal and for healthy hair to start growing in. Returning to your natural hair comes with a learning curve, and you'll find peace of mind if you know what you're in for.
2. Don't Forget To Trim
As your natural hair grows in, it's important to start trimming your relaxed ends. This process can be short or gradual depending on how long you want the transitioning phase to be. If you fail to trim, your relaxed ends will start to split upward and lead to breakage where your natural and relaxed hair meet. A good rule of thumb is to start cutting off the straight hair after seeing about an inch of new growth.
3. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
Caring for relaxed hair is different from caring for afro/coily hair. To keep relaxed hair healthy, you need to repair damage and minimize breakage with protein treatments and silicones. To keep coily hair healthy, you need to gently detangle and style it to minimize breakage and keep it consistently moisturized to preserve your edges and ends and retain length. These are new techniques you'll need to incorporate into your hair-care routine. Neglecting to hydrate your hair will inevitably result in dry, brittle tresses. Depending on whether your new growth seems to suck up moisture, an indication that you may have high porosity hair or if moisture tends sit on top without being absorbed, an indication that you may have low porosity hair, you'll need a high quality moisturizer packed with nourishing ingredients to keep it soft. Our Amla & Olive Heavy Cream for high porosity hair and our Burdock Root Butter Cream for low porosity hair provide all the nutrients and moisture your hair will need to remain strong and healthy.
4. Treat It With Care
Most importantly, you'll need to handle your hair with the care and attention it deserves. In other words, you'll need to be delicate with your hair and as its texture changes, the way you style it will need to change also. Our Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee and Moringa Tree Conditioning Ghee offer 3 in 1 conditioning, moisturizing and detangling to help your fingers or a wide tooth comb effortlessly glide through damp or dry hair without excessive pulling and breakage. Keeping your hair manageable through the use of gentle combing techniques that involve combing a small section of hair from the bottom and working your way up, are crucial to preventing damage. Our Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee is an especially effective combing cream for extremely dry, new growth that's prone to tangling.
5. Find A Hairstyle
Now that you'll be working with two textures, finding a complimentary hairstyle will be a trial and error process. You'll find that your natural hair wants to grow upward while your relaxed hair prefers to grow down. With that in mind, you'll want to find a hairstyle and hair products that are compatible with both textures. Qhemet products can be used on both relaxed and natural hair (see our product guide here), so when properly moisturized with our Aethiopika Hydrate & Twist Butter before styling, cornrows, braids and twists can be great transitioning styles to consider. These styles can help prevent your new growth from drying out and give it a break from the daily manipulation that can lead to premature damage. Wearing your hair out is also a possibility but this means straightening the new growth to match the two textures and possibly damaging it right out of the gate. It's important to keep your new growth as healthy as possible before heat straightening as the stronger it is the better able it will be to withstand heat styling without becoming damaged. Our Moringa Tree Conditioning Ghee is an excellent leave-in to use before heat straightening as it'll keep both textures soft and smooth and help prevent the new growth from shrinking. For overall hair and scalp health, our Castor & Amla Nourishing Pomade helps heal and nourish damaged follicles, boost growth, prevent breakage at the demarcation line and keep your loose hair and protective styles soft and strong.
6. Be Patient While You Adjust
Transitioning from straight to afro/coily hair is an adjustment that'll take some time getting used to. You may feel discouraged by how long it's taking to reach your length goal or because the learning curve turned out to be steeper than expected but stay the course and keep in mind that nothing worthwhile comes easy. With patience, a healthy hair routine and our recommended healthy hair products, you'll turn the corner sooner than expected and realize that the results were well worth the effort.
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Our high performance products combine premium, ancenstral herbs and oils to give your hair the moisture and nutrients it needs to flourish and grow! Check out our product guide to find the best products for your hair based on its texture, porosity, density and condition.