When I started transitioning to natural hair, I had no clue what I was doing. After all, I was that chick that could not make it past 10 weeks post without suffering loads of breakage, tangles and frustration. Fast forward, I’m beyond two years post relaxer thanks to my systematic approach to hair care. Below I share 7 tips that helped me along the way.
Ready. Set. Learn: 7 Regimen Hacks for Transitioning to Natural Hair!
Don’t Be Afraid to Revise Your Regimen
Don’t be afraid to revise your regimen, products and detangling methods while transitioning to natural hair. Just because it worked at 10 weeks post does not mean it will work at one year or two years post relaxer.
Add Nourishment to Your Hair with Pre-Shampoo Treatments
Pre-shampoo treatments are commonly done with oil or conditioner and provides the hair with hydration and nourishment and minimizes the stripping impacts of shampoo. Simply apply product of choice to your hair and allow it to sit for 15 to 30 minutes before you wash your hair.
You Must Detangle Your Hair Before Washing It
Trust me when I tell you, only a chosen few can wash their hair without properly detangling in advance. The rest of us require thorough detangling before allowing water to touch our hair. Thorough detangling will save you time, effort and strands in the end. Just don’t chance it unless of course, you like living on the edge!
Wash and Condition in Braids to Minimize Breakage
Tangling and breakage are huge challenges for stretchers and transitioners. If this is your struggle, try washing your hair in 8 to 10 braids. Smaller braids are better than big chunky braids because they lessen the probability for tangling and matting at the point where the shed hair collects.
Shampoo with Sulfates for Max Conditioning Hydration
Many healthy hair enthusiasts advise against sulfate shampoo. I am of the minority because I believe sulfate shampoo is an excellent way to remove buildup from the hair and scalp to promote healthy hair growth. Using sulfate free shampoos are great but they can cause buildup on the hair and scalp. The key is knowing when to use a sulfate shampoo and when to use sulfate free shampoo. I like using sulfate shampoos weekly but if my hair is low on hydration, I will skip a week of sulfate shampooing and opt for sulfate free shampoo until adequate moisture is restored to my hair.
Deep Condition at Least Twice a Month
Most articles suggest deep conditioning weekly and I totally support that, especially while transitioning to natural hair. However, life gets in the way and sometimes we don’t have ample time for long wash days. Therefore, you should deep condition at least once every two weeks to avoid suffering from extremely dry hair.
Use a Protein Treatment to Keep Your Hair Strong
Protein treatment type and frequency is a delicate decision, thus you have to do a little trial and error to figure out what works best for you. Applying protein to the relaxed hair is important for keeping the line of demarcation healthy and breakage free. The natural new growth should not require much protein, if at all, because the protein bonds have not been altered with chemical processing. You should use protein on an as-needed basis but a good rule of thumb is to use a mild protein treatment weekly OR a medium protein treatment every two to four weeks. Definitely listen to your hair and do what is best.