We talk a LOT about natural hair at NaturAll Club. We love natural hair in all its diversity of patterns, textures, lengths, colors, and styles. Going natural can be an incredible form of self-love and self-expression for many women who used to perm or relax their hair- and for many women who have always been natural, it’s simply a part of who they are and a lifelong journey of knowing themselves.
One of the most common questions we’re asked at NaturAll Club is how to go natural. We were so glad you all are asking that we decided to dedicate an entire blogpost to it. Our team has compiled all our tips and advice on what to expect, and how to transition in a way that keeps your hair (and you!) healthy and confident. We are a community, so feel free to comment on this post (or in the forum!) with your own advice, tips, questions, or challenges. Let’s learn from each other!
*Note: this post is written specifically for people transitioning from chemically-relaxed hair, but it is still relevant to people transitioning away from heat or color treatments!
How to go natural
Perhaps the biggest question asked when it comes to going natural is whether to “Big Chop” or transition slowly.
The Big Chop route involves cutting off all or almost all of your permed hair. This is essentially a “reset” button on your hair. By chopping off the hair that’s been chemically treated, you can start over with new, natural growth. Many women have embraced this choice! It can be incredibly liberating to let your hair go (along with any insecurities or identities you may have tied to it) and start fresh, experiencing all the different stages and lengths of natural hair, and the styles that accompany them.
If you decide to do the big chop, great! You can get started right away with taking care of your new, natural growth. If you decided on the transitioning route, things can be slightly more complicated. Here’s what to expect.
- Expect to make a significant change in your routine. Transitioning means no chemicals, no relaxers, no heat. There is no middle ground here, no “occasional” touch-ups or treatments. If you’re deciding to transition, you need to throw the chemicals away and store your heating tools in the back of a closet or at your friend’s house. We’re just being straight with you!
- Expect to be tempted to treat your hair again! Transitioning is a slow process, and it’s frustrating, and it can be discouraging at points. This is why we recommend that you decide now how long you want to transition for. Having a goal can motivate you to keep going when those straighteners or relaxers look really tempting. Note- you can always change your goal! You might get 3 months in and decide to do a big chop after all! That is OKAY.
- Expect to see a clearly defined line that divides your damaged ends from new, natural growth. This is known as the line of demarcation. The line of demarcation is the weakest point on each and every hair strand. It is extremely vulnerable to breakage. While it may be a challenge to blend the two textures, make sure above all to be extremely gentle with your hair at that point. Avoid over-manipulation and take care to keep your hair highly moisturized.
- No matter how careful you are, you should expect to see some breakage. Your hair has been permanently damaged by chemicals, and you simply can’t expect it to be as strong now as it will be eventually when it is fully natural. You’re not necessarily doing something wrong if you notice some breakage or hair loss- don’t get discouraged, and continue to treat your hair with the utmost care and love.
Want more tips on transitioning? We got you.
- Trim your hair regularly. This will remove split ends, help your hair grow faster, keep it healthier, and ultimately get you closer to being fully natural. You can trim according to what’s comfortable for you- maybe you chop off an inch every month, or maybe you’re more conservative- but make sure to keep an eye on your ends and trim them regularly.
- As much as you can, use products with natural ingredients which will actually nourish your hair and help it grow strong. Your hair needs its natural oils now more than ever, and sulfates will strip those away, leaving your hair dry and brittle.
- However, don’t stop washing your hair altogether! If you don’t regularly cleanse and clarify your hair, you’ll end up with a lot of product buildup. You can use a sulfate-free shampoo or another clarifier, whether it’s once a week or every two weeks- just don’t cut it out completely.
- Take the time to learn what your hair needs. Your hair is changing, so your regimen should be too! Don’t go out and spend all your savings on new products, but also don’t hesitate to get rid of a product that isn’t working for you and try a new one.
- Keep your hair moisturized- we can’t stress this enough. Dryness will cause breakage along that line of demarcation we mentioned. If you missed them, here are our tips for keeping natural hair moisturized.
- Find a go-to style that you can master and feel confident in. We recommend trying twist-outs, braid-outs, or perm rods to help you blend the two textures of your hair until you’re done transitioning.
- That said, don’t shy away from protective styles. You shouldn’t leave them in for months- but a protective style for a couple weeks can give you a needed rest from what can be a lot of hair maintenance.
- Deep conditioning is important for everyone, no matter the state or texture of their hair- but it is absolutely non-negotiable if you are transitioning. Just like we mentioned earlier, your hair is in a weak, fragile state while you’re transitioning, and it needs all the nutrients and moisture it can get. Make deep conditioning a non-negotiable part of your haircare regimen; doing it at least every two weeks and as often as every week. Here’s a link to our all-natural deep conditioners, which will get the job done better than anything else.
- Our final tip is the most important- love your hair and yourself! Enjoy the journey! You get to discover your natural hair slowly, and it’s one of the most exciting things you can do for yourself. Don’t forget to seek tips, advice, and words of encouragement from other naturals or people in your life that you trust.