Tag Archives: transitioning

Tales of a Transitioner: My Henna Transitioning Story

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hennatransitionstory

Usually, when we refer to transitioning, we are talking about gradually growing out a relaxer. Sometimes we are talking about heat damage. Well, for me, it was growing out henna-loosened* curls.

If you have followed Hairscapades for a while or have read my Henna and Me HairStory, you know that I experienced SIGNIFICANT curl loosening from henna. I was doing frequent, full strength, whole head applications from June-December 2010. In January 2011, I started to do roots only, full strength applications and a henna gloss (i.e. more conditioner than henna) on my length to keep the color and conditioning benefits of henna without the excessive loosening of my curls. When I say roots only, I mean that I apply henna to the first 3 inches of my hair to gradually get about 3 full strength applications on new growth (so, I overlap previously treated hair for 2 applications as I tend to henna once every 4-8 weeks and my hair grows about 1/2 an inch a month. See my full henna/indigo process here.).

Collage

Top Left: Several years prior to using henna (2005, I believe). My hair is frizzy, but you can get an idea of the curl pattern, which is a mix of 3b/3c.

Top Right: August 2010, after several months of frequent, whole head, full strength henna treatments. This pic was taken the day after I did a treatment and following a haircut/styling session with Tameeka aka Jaded Tresses. This is when I realized that I needed to stop doing so many treatments as my curls had completely changed.

Bottom Left: February 2012, after a little over a year of roots only henna applications. You can see that the top half of my hair is curlier than bottom half.

Bottom Right: Yesterday, January 27, 2013, after 2 years of roots only, full strength henna applications. Though my curls are still a little looser than they were pre-henna, the full length of my hair has now been restored to a more normal curl pattern. I do think that my looser curl pattern is a combo of henna AND hormonal/age-related texture changes, because my nape is straight now and I don’t apply henna to it. It was not straight and actually was curly 5 years ago, though it was always looser than my crown.

So, I essentially transitioned over the last two years. However, rather than transitioning out a relaxer or heat damage, I transitioned out henna loosening.

*Henna does not loosen all natural hair textures. It is more common among those with fine strands and S-wave curls.

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Have you transitioned out of something other than a relaxer during your natural hair journey?

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My Best Natural Hair Advice … BE PATIENT GRASSHOPPER

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I know you guys remember the beautiful Michelle and her luscious locks from our first GOC (she also shared her hairstory a couple of weeks ago)! Well, given that she transitioned from relaxed to natural for TWO WHOLE YEARS, I thought, “Who better to provide some helpful transitioning tips from her own direct experience?!?!” And with that, the Transitioning Series was born! Welcome to the first installment ;). 

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by Michelle of Happily Ever Natural

PATIENCE is key!!! I have been “fully” natural for about a year, but I transitioned for 2. I will say that transitioning was very hard! I had no idea how to do my hair in the beginning of my transition.The two textures were like night and day!!! I chose to go to the hairdresser every two weeks to have her do my hair, because I didn’t know what to do with it at ALL!!!. I wore my hair mostly straight during the beginning of my transition. As I learned more, I ventured out to try more styles on my own. I did mini chops while transitioning, meaning, each time I went to the shop, I had her cut some of the relaxed ends, little by little. I continued this until, one day, I just said, “Ok just cut the rest off!!!” I was just simply tired of having two textures and confident enough that my hair was a length of my liking :). My advice to anyone transitioning is that patience is key … whether you do the BC or decide to transition, you have to be patient. I know it’s hard looking at all of these sites, seeing all this beautiful hair that is big, long, full!!! But you will get there, it just takes time, nobody’s hair grows overnight!!! When I first started, I wanted my hair to resemble CurlyNikki’s … so bad!!

Here are a few of my tips:

To make it through your natural hair transition phase with little or no frustration, attempt to try these tips:

1. Make sure you choose the right styles for your hair.

One of the biggest challenges for transitioners may be what hairstyles to try. Try TnC’s and BnC’s, they help hide the two textures and are easy to manage. If you want to try the route I did, you can wear it straight most of the time as well. But you should try to experiment with different styles that work best for you. There are a TON of YouTube videos on how to do your hair just about every way you ever thought!! That’s how I learned :).

2. When Transitioning, you will need to have realistic expectations of your hair.

Don’t expect to have CurlyNikki’s hair right away (LOL) or that girl on YouTube that you have been obsessing over (her hair!!). It will take time for your hair to achieve the length, look or fullness you desire. You will have to play around with different styles in order to figure out what works for you. If you don’t have realistic expectations set for your hair, you will be upset every time!!!

3. Take your time with your tresses!

Good hair care is the best hair care. Make sure that you are using moisturizer and paying attention to your ends (they are fragile)! Don’t be overly rough with detangling (I know that this can be hard)!!! Pay most attention to the invisible line where you natural hair and relaxed ends meet, because you can have major breakage at this point. Too much heat styling can be bad (just an FYI), but, if it’s done right, there will not be a problem.

4. Be Patient, BE PATIENT and lastly, BE PATIENT! LOL!

I know, I know, you’re like, “Ugh, my hair is so not growing!!” But, actually it is!! It can be frustrating to try to deal with two different textures, I know…. but you can stick it out!! You will have a moment where you’re like, “Ok, that’s it!!! I’m DONE, back to the relaxer!!” WAIT!! NO!! DON’T DO IT!! You are only doing that because a relaxer is all you have ever known!!!! But, guess what? That won’t solve your problems!!! If you’re really serious about this process of transitioning and going natural, some patience will be required. Truth is: Your hair is growing (hair grows at an average rate of ½ inch per month), just like everyone else’s!

Another tip: Wear your hair in protective styles to help you through your transition (braids, twists, cute updos … the list goes on and on). I assure you that soon enough, your hair will be BANGING and your curls will be POPPIN’! (Well more than it already is, because it’s already gorg!!) You just wait!!

SO DON’T GIVE UP!!! YOU CAN DO IT!! If you need tips … email me, FB me, whatever you need to do!!! I’m here to help!!! -Love!

Transitioning Buddies

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by Sawah of Discovering Natural

When transitioning from relaxed to natural hair, you need all the support you can get to make the process an easier one. It is difficult enough figuring out how to handle your two textures. Sometimes, people that we think will be supportive of our decisions to go natural might let us down. We struggle with what to do to our hair. Many of us fail during the process and go back to the relaxer because we did not have the support we need.

This is why having a Transitioning Buddy early in the process can help make the process easier. As someone that plans to do a long term transition (2 or more years), I depend on my transitioning buddies to keep me in check. Yes, I do have more than one transitioning buddy. Pictured above is one of them.

Now, you might be wondering, none of my friends are natural … no one in my family is supportive of my decision … how am I going to get a transitioning buddy? Well, there are several online hair forums that have threads dedicated to Transitioning Buddies. CurlyNikki.com has a good support forum for Transitioning to Natural and there is a thread in there for Transitioning Buddies. This was where I found my online transitioning buddy, Uninibile. Check out her hair blog.

So, go online and get yourself a buddy! You can finally have someone to discuss natural hair information, rants and raves.

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Do you have a Transitioning Buddy?

 

Transitioning

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by Lia of Embracing Natural Hair

Transitioning from relaxed to natural is a big decision you have to make if you are considering going natural. First, you want to ask yourself the reasons for going natural. Is it for a change, is it because you are tired of the upkeep of relaxers, experience breakage or damage to your scalp, want to set an example for your daughter, or simply want to embrace your natural hair? Whatever your reason, you must remember it during your transition, especially if it gets challenging along the way. Your initial reason for going natural may be your number one motivation to stick to your transition, no matter what. Transitioning actually starts with a mindset. Once you make the decision to go natural, you have to be mentally prepared for what is to come.

There may be people around you that may not understand your reason for going natural. They may think natural hair looks “nappy” or “unkempt.” However, just know that whatever your texture whether 2c, or 4c, all hair is beautiful! For many years, unfortunately, our society has portrayed natural hair as unattractive and many black women see natural hair as a bad thing. Many black women feel they “have” to have a relaxer or straight hair to look presentable. This is not the case, and once you view natural hair as beautiful and unique, you’ll be more accepting of it.

You must be willing to embrace your natural hair and put aside what anyone else thinks! Don’t get discouraged if others aren’t supportive or if your natural texture isn’t what you hoped for. Learn to work with what you have and enjoy the ride.

When I truly made the decision to go natural, I knew I would have a long road ahead of me, but I was prepared. I did a lot of protective styling for length retention and also to avoid having to fight with the two textures. In the beginning, it was pretty easy, but as months went by, the detangling sessions got more difficult as I battled with the two textures. I wanted to do a 2 or 3 year transition, but at 18 months post relaxer I knew it was time to do the BC!

If you’re on the fence about transitioning, here are some great reasons to go natural:

  • No costly upkeep of a relaxer.
  • No more scalp burns.
  • Thick, full healthy hair (with the right regimen).
  • Beautiful God-given coils/kinks/curls.
  • Versatility in styling natural hair!
  • Easy to style and looks better as the days go by.
  • Can still achieve the look of a sleek relaxer without the permanent commitment of a relaxer.
  • The ease of Wash N Go’s…especially in the summer.
  • Don’t have to avoid your hair getting wet…Natural hair loves water!!
  • Don’t have to worry about “sweating out your perm” when working out.

Just think of transitioning as a journey or race you must take to get you that finish line … you may get tired, you may want to quit, but stick it through and you WILL accomplish your goal!

You can do it!!

Find Embracing Natural Hair on Facebook too!

Tales of a Transitioner: Maina’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
I’m a young soul, nineteen to be exact. An island child of Haitian descent, I love to spend my free time doing arts and crafts and drawing. I’m all about positivity, shedding light on everything that I come across. I’m totally nuts about natural hair care! I thank God every day that he’s made me open my eyes and pushed me to living a more healthy lifestyle and to share this knowledge with friends, family and even complete strangers!

When did you receive your first relaxer?
I received my first relaxer when I turned fourteen years old.

Why did you choose to go natural?
I chose to go natural because, as time went on, I started to see the long term effects of the chemicals on my hair and scalp. The breakage and dandruff were heartbreaking. My hair became so dry and unpredictable … not to mention fried! It also cost so much money to maintain … money that neither I nor my parents had! Besides, I missed my voluminous mane of hair and regretted wanting to be like all the other girls at school.

Are you a long-term or short-term transitioner and, if so, why?
Long-term. I started transitioning a few days after graduating from high school, June 15th of 2011. I am gradually cutting off my permed ends, about ½ an inch every month. I’m scared of scissors!

What was your initial reaction to your growing natural hair?
“Awww look at the little waves!”

How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
Well there’s always positive and negative comments. It was 50/50 response on both sides. As with anything, I embraced the good feedback and just shrugged off the negative.

What is your transition routine?
Well, every month I get my hair done in a protective style, mainly box braids or twists. While having these in, I have a “protective style” hair routine. It’s just washing and deep conditioning my hair every two weeks and keeping my hair moisturized with a leave-in conditioner and essential oil mix (usually vitamin E oil mixed with coconut oil, it smells like heaven!). I also have a “breather” period between styles where I just wear my real hair with no added extensions for about two and a half weeks. My hair routine then is the same as when I have plaits or twists in, it’s just repeated more frequently.

What is your staple transition hair style?
Senegalese twists, and when out, a Bantu knot-out.

What techniques/products do you to manage the demarcation line between your relaxed and natural hair?
Well looking at the two textures when my hair is wet is SUPER annoying, but I bear with it as best as I can. I try not to manipulate my hair too much with brushes and combs. Keeping my hair moisturized and sealed also helps a great deal.

What is the most challenging part of transitioning and how have you been able to overcome or cope with it?
The fact that since my mom did my hair up until I turned about twelve, I never really knew how to manage my real hair texture, so washing and maintaining takes FOREVER. I usually end up losing sleep over it because I’m up so late! Despite this, it only gets easier with time and practice so I’ve learned to cope.

What has been the most fun/best part of going natural? What do you love most about your natural hair and/or going natural?
Watching these waves and kinks sprout out of my head! I’ve always had thick hair, but the hair growing in naturally is even thicker! I also love the fact that it’s actually serving as a type of “guideline” on how diligently I should be taking care of my body with the most natural methods possible.

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
Yesss I do! Erykah Badu, Raven Symone, Tracee Ellis Ross, Esperanza Spalding <3.

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, YouTube, Fotki, etc.)?
I currently follow Curly Nikki, you (obviously hee hee) and Kimmaytube. You all give such great advice!!!

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
Do it! If you really want to change your life and live more naturally, shoot for the moon. Things may get a little tangled and frustrating, but remember, anything that is good for your body should be worth the time. And, by learning and paying attention to your hair, things will get easier.

Jen Big Chops!!

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Remember Jen, transitioning marine and my blogging buddy from the CurlyNikki presents Kim Coles GOC?!?! Well, guess what?! She’s a transitioner no more!! Jen Big Chopped and she sent me the video, so that I could share her huge moment with all of you!!

WOOH-HOOH!!!! Congratulations Jen!! You did it!! That ‘fro is nice!!

*I’m giving those household shears the side eye though. lol*

Tales of a Transitioner: Raven’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
Hey blog world, I’m Raven. I love God, music, food, the World Wide Web and, of course, natural hair!

When did you receive your first relaxer?
I actually didn’t get my first relaxer until my sophomore year of college. No matter how much I begged my mom growing up, she would not let me get a relaxer. Kinda proves the saying that, MOTHERS DO KNOW BEST.

Why did you choose to go natural?
I actually never chose to go “natural.” I currently attend college on the East Coast, but am originally from the West Coast. I only got touch-ups from my beautician back home. After my last touch-up last year, I decided to stop getting relaxers (since I was only getting them 1-2x a year anyway) and go back to press-n-curls. It wasn’t until I discovered YouTube and blogs like yours and BGLHonline.com that I decided to put the flatiron down and go NATURAL.

Are you a long-term or short-term transitioner, and why?
I’m a long-term transitioner, currently 16-months post relaxer. I am using this time to get to know my hair in its natural state and master certain hairstyles. I also would like to get my hair to a certain length before cutting off all my relaxed ends. My goal is to transition for 24 months total.

What was your initial reaction to your growing natural hair?
When I first began my healthy hair journey, my new growth frustrated me. I wanted those waves and curls to STAY DOWN AND STAY PUT. Little did I know that I would grow to love them…

How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
For the most part, I’ve had amazing responses from the people around me. A lot of my friends like the natural hairstyles I try on my transitioning hair and say that it’s a refreshing change from the straight hair that I used to rock in the past.

What is your transition routine?
Once a week, usually on a Saturday, I deep condition my hair prior to washing with my olive oil/honey/deep conditioner mix. I wash and condition my hair in four sections. Once out of the shower, I dry my hair with an old t-shirt and apply my leave-in conditioner, moisturizer and sealant to each section. I then use my wide-tooth comb to detangle each section from the ends to the roots. Throughout the week, I’ll moisturize my hair and seal it with olive oil or my shea butter mix.

What is your staple transition hair style?
Right now, it would definitely be my “big bun.” It’s so easy to do and is the perfect hairstyle for a night on the town or working out. (Check out Raven’s big bun tutorial here.)

What techniques/products do you to manage the demarcation line between your relaxed and natural hair?
I never detangle on dry hair. If my hair is super tangled and dry, I heat up some extra virgin olive oil, dampen hair and begin to finger detangle. I also wear my hair in some sort of updo 95% of the time to protect my ends.

What is the most challenging part of transitioning and how have you been able to overcome or cope with it?
The beginning of my healthy hair/transitioning journey was extremely difficult. Let’s just say I was late to A LOT of things and often ended up wearing a beanie as a last resort. However, as I’ve gotten to know my natural hair texture and learned how to do different hairstyles (updos, bantu knot-outs, etc.), I’ve grown to love my transitioning hair, despite the 2+ textures. In fact, I’m a bit worried what I will do when I have just one texture of natural hair!

What has been the most fun/best part of going natural? What do you love most about your natural hair and/or going natural?
THE NATURAL HAIR COMMUNITY-hands down. Since transitioning, it seems that I notice naturals everywhere, whether it be at church, on campus or at home. I love talking to people about hair, especially those contemplating going natural. Whenever my friends and I get together, we’re always discussing hair. Actually, we discussed it so much that on November 2011, we started our college’s first natural hair and beauty organization on campus called B.A.N.T.U (Beautifully and Naturally Tangled Up).

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
I love the hair of IvyCharlaine from YouTube. Her curls are just gorgeous. If you watch her videos, you’ll see that her hair has done a 180 since recovering from heat damage and coloring. It gives me hope that, one day, my hair can be fully healthy and restored to its childhood curls.

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, YouTube, Fotki, etc.)?
Maybe the question for me should be, “Who don’t I follow online?” LOL. I definitely enjoy reading the blogs AsiliGlam, UrbanBushBabes, and Kurly Kichana – thenaturalgirlsguidetobeauty.blogspot.com. On YouTube, I love watching Taren916 of course, 007newnew, and FusionofCultures. On Tumblr, I’m an avid follower of HeyFranHey, LeCoil, and NaturalHairEverything.

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural hair?
As Nike would say, “Just do it!” With practice makes perfect—so take the leap! Nowadays, there are so many resources out there for transitioners and naturals alike. Going natural is deeper than just hair; it changes your thinking, lifestyle, and more. Ask me how I know? Because it did for me!

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Check out Raven’s blog, Mind of a Nomad, and YouTube Channel, ALifeofPeculiarity, to learn more about her transitioning journey, styles and regimen!