Transitioning from relaxed to natural hair is no different.
I’ve been exposed to great advice along my hair journey so far. You can check out the blog roll to the left for links to a few of my favorites. The best advice I’ve received thus far is that you have to get to know your hair in it’s natural state.
Seriously, I cannot stress this enough. There are so many products, so many regimens, so much advice out there, but it will not benefit you one bit if you don’t understand what your hair needs and how your hair will react. When I first began my hair journey, I blindly followed several bloggers’ regimens, and I used whatever products they happened to mention. Don’t get me wrong, these were great regimens and great products. But it was great for them. I could follow their advice to the smallest detail and still not get the positive results because my hair required something different. Side note: this is why I really appreciate those who tell why they use the regimen they use, or why they chose the products they chose. This way, I can assess whether or not it will help me in my journey.
Now that I understand how important it is to know my hair’s needs, I’m realizing that these needs change, and they change often. What worked for me when I was 3 months in does not work for me now that I’m a little over 5 months in (yay!). And boy is this frustrating (LOL). I feel like every month I’m starting at square one with certain parts of my regimen. But hopefully my frustrations are another woman’s revelations! Below is a quick summary of my transition, and how I’ve had to adjust. I hope it helps! 🙂
My new growth was pretty much non-existent (I was used to dealing with an inch of new growth from stretching my relaxers to 3-4 months) so during the first couple of months after my last relaxer I was washing three times a week (one time with shampoo, the other two times were conditioner washes). I work out 3 times/week and would wash after each workout since it it was nothing to detangle and throw it into a bun or roller set. I kept a wrapped look (without wrapping) using the Pin Curl method.
I can’t quite recall the products I used during this time because I experimented with so many! I believe KeraCare Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner were my go-tos. There was no real rhyme or reason for choosing KeraCare. They were a trusted brand for me when my hair was relaxed. I also used a castor oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil mix (I read a random article on essential/carrier oils and got excited, LOL) to seal my hair after using Silk Elements Leave-In. Silk Elements has always left my hair feeling moisturized and soft, so this one is still on my shelf!
I still washed after each workout so 3 times/week (again, I was only washing with shampoo one time/week, the other two times were with conditioner only). Detangling became a headache so I started washing my hair in four sections. I detangled before I shampooed in the shower (with lots of conditioner and water running over my hair!).
I had to get more creative with styling since I chose not to use direct heat like flat irons or pressing combs. My rollers sets and pin curls weren’t working anymore sitting on 2 inches of new growth, so I had to switch up my styles and go a little curlier. I began doing Bantu Knot-Outs using Curlformers (to get amazing spirals!).
My products shifted only slightly as I felt like my new growth felt very dry. I started looking for products geared toward natural hair (no more sulfates!). By month 4 I was using Shea Moisture products (the shampoo, conditioner, and deep conditioning mask). I used the Shea Moisture Curl and Style Milk as a moisturizer and sealed with KeraCare Essential Oils. I guess I couldn’t completely let go of KeraCare, plus I was getting tired of making my own oil concoction. I also bought a relatively cheap conditioner to use just for detangling. For this, I chose Suave Professionals Almond & Shea Butter. It gave my hair the slip it needed.
Well, here I am today. I’ve stopped washing 3 times/week because detangling is getting more difficult. I’m washing/conditioner-washing twice a week now. And I’ve gone from detangling/washing in 4 sections, to 8 sections, then to 10 sections (LOL). About a month ago, I actually cut a nice amount of relaxed hair off since my relaxed hair was getting the most tangled. That helped for a moment, but I feel like my detangling time is increasing again.
I felt like the Bantu Knot-Outs were leaving my hair more tangled than usual. And the Curlformers were great, but they take a lot of time. I still do them from time to time, but my current go-to style is a simple Flat Twist-Out (once I learned how to do them!). I’m able to just wake up, take them down and pull it back so it looks like a big curly bun.
I still use Shea Moisture products, but it’s really only the Moisture Retention Shampoo and the Curl & Style Milk or the Curl Enhancing Smoothie (whichever my Walgreens has at the time). When I need a nice deep conditioning I go to (you guessed it!) KeraCare Humecto Conditioner. It has left my hair softer than the Shea Moisture Deep Conditioner Mask. I’ve added Cantu Shea Butter to my product line as a moisturizer because I heard this is good for a light protein, and I think my hair needs more protein in my regimen since I still have a lot of relaxed ends. For a similar reason, I use Aphogee 2-minute Reconstructor once a week. Sometimes after a wash/conditioner-wash, I spray with Chi Keratin Mist. When I used to get relaxers, my stylist used this so I guess it’s another product I couldn’t let go of (but I probably should). I’m actually not sure that it does anything (this may not make the month 7-8 cut). *Side note on protein vs. moisture: Ever since I introduced more protein to my regimen my hair isn’t as limp. My curls bounce back better, so I do think I’m heading in the right direction with protein (I don’t decrease moisture, I just increase protein).
Back to month 5-6 products. I seal with Hot Six oil for no reason in particular. It comes in a larger bottle than KeraCare Essentials and I like the ingredient line (first five ingredients are oils I approve of). Lastly, I heard so many great reviews about Herbal Essence Hello Hydration and had to give it a try and I love it! (I got tired of the smell of the Suave Professionals Almond & Shea conditioner, I’m really not sure what happened there lol). Herbal Essence provides the same slip as Suave Professionals, but I like the smell better (trivial, I know :)).
So there you have it. I’m sure you’ve noticed my product list has grown quite a bit lately. There are a few products that I am sure I can retire right now. As I get more new growth, I’m not sure I will need as much protein in my regimen, but I’m waiting to see how my hair responds.
Feel free to share your regimen and/or what adjustments you’ve had to make to transition with your hair!
- The BASICS of Hair Care (fortheloveofkinks.wordpress.com)
- Beginner Wednesday – Transitioning from relaxed to natural hair (africanhairblog.com)
- Moisture or Protein – What Does Your Dry Hair Need? (bellasugar.com)