Yay!! And congratulations on your decision to go natural. I know it takes a lot of thinking, planning and courage for some to return to their natural state. I know it seems difficult, but you can do it. We have so many naturals who are willing to help and give you tips, and, as you know, I’m available for any questions. Now let’s get into the nitty gritty. You decided that you’re not ready for the big chop and want to know what’s going to be happening for the next 6 months in your natural hair journey. I’m here to let you know what to expect or offer suggestions on how to handle the transition process so you can ease your fear of the unknown. If you can, make a goal for yourself on how long you want to transition. Trust me, sometimes it changes, but we change are minds all the time so don’t think you have to make it there. I want you to know there will be different emotions going through this process, and it’s okay. One day you might be excited, the next you’re questioning yourself and insecurities start creeping in. On these days, contact me or use another curl friend for some uplifting.
The first two months
In months 1 or 2 the natural hair process probably won’t even phase you because if you had a relaxer that’s how long you had to wait anyway to get to the next one. So, this should be a cinch, however use this time to start finding what styles work for you. Is it bantu knots, perm rods or maybe twist outs? The choices are endless. This is the time to work on you and get ready for the transition process.
When It starts to show (3 to 4 months)
Now, you’re in the mix of beginning to see your TWA (teeny weeny afro) creep through a little and your demarcation line, where your relaxer and natural hair meet are going to start needing your help. The demarcation line is an exceptionally delicate area where can easily experience breakage if you don’t take the time to care for your hair.
Start using your protein treatments once or twice a month. I personally switch off each week with using a protein conditioner and deep conditioner treatment to make sure my hair has the two most important factors: strength and moisture. It’s vital to keep the balance of protein and moisture to reduce breakage.
OH S@@@! What the hell was I thinking (5 to 6 months)
I know what word I’m thinking of, but you can fill in the S with whatever word you choose lol. However, this stage is when your two to three inches of new growth start to really show. As you probably noticed daily styling is more difficult at this stage. This is the time to embrace your curls. I know it’s tempting for some women to straighten the new growth to match the relaxed ends. However, that’s going to cause an adverse effect and you might cause heat damage and stress to your hair. Try utilizing styles such as perm rods, extension styles (box braids, marley twists, or any extension styles that can get you less focused on the growth stages).
How long can you go (6 months plus)
Now, here is where the ends look like they’re struggling to hang on. It starts to come to the point where you start wondering if you’ll make it to your goal. You can continue as long as you would like to keep the relaxed section. Just continue to utilize your protein and moisture treatments. However, the sooner you begin to trim the better. Why? It’s the time to start getting to know your texture and what does and does not work for you. When having the relaxer on your ends, it’s difficult to see the curls in their true form. I know some of us want to wear our hair long and will hang on to any piece as long as we can. You all know what I’m talking about. Sometimes it’s time to let it go and let your true natural beauty begin to show. You and your hair are so unique, fabulous and beautiful so we have to let the world know. Also, during this time in your journey utilize the support you have around you and in the online community.
Check out How to build your Natural Hair Support article