Natural hair care is the reason that NaturAll Club exists. Our Founder and CEO Muhga desired to create natural, chemical free, and effective products for use on natural hair. Today, our products can be great for all hair types whether chemically treated or not, but if you’re looking to begin your natural hair journey then look no further than this guide for transitioning your hair!
We love natural hair and every unique hair type, curl pattern, and style! Because natural and the natural hair journey is so personal, it often feels like a huge step and lifestyle change. Although going from chemically treated to natural requires you to learn more about your hair and how to care for it, we strive to make it as easy and simple as possible! With the right products and techniques, transitioning can be a breeze!
For some people, going natural can be an incredible form of self-love and self-expression depending on the reason you decided to perm or relax your hair. The first and foremost most important step in going natural is to promise that you’ll accept your hair and find beauty in it, no matter what. Rather than beginning to fantasize about how your hair “should” look when the transition is complete or after a certain number of years can take a lot of stress out of the situation allowing yourself to learn through love, rather than seeing your hair as a problem that needs to be fixed.
*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 as well
What Is “going natural”?
The term “natural hair” in this context, refers to hair’s original texture. Perms and relaxers, or chemical texture softeners are used by many different types of people and across all hair types throughout the world. For the sake of this blog, we’re speaking specifically about the process that many ethnically Black, and those of African descent and ancestry, use to soften or straighten their hair using chemicals.
These products have been offered for decades, and for many they offer an easy way to achieve the styles they like and the look they prefer permanently. Because perms are a chemical process, new growing hair at the roots must also be processed for a seamless look. When going natural, the user ceases to process their new growing hair which results in their original or “natural” hair at the root and the chemically processed hair continuing down on the same hair strand.
The Line Of Demarcation
The point at which new growing hair meets the previously processed hair is called the “line of demarcation”. Simply put, this is the boundary between your original texture and the processed version. It sounds simple in theory, grow out your natural hair and then cut off the old processed hair, but unfortunately it just isn’t that simple.
The line of demarcation is also the weakest point of your transitioning hair. This is because the chemicals that were used to straighten your hair actually weaken it. The chemicals in relaxers break down certain aspects of the hair in order to make the hair lay flatter or straighter. In your natural hair however, these characteristics are still present making that hair stronger than the hair further down the hair strand. This causes great tension at the line of demarcation, with the two textures both requiring different products, techniques, and styling tools on the same head.
This line of demarcation can create such an intense hair care situation that some avoid it altogether by shaving their permed off., rather than battling between the two textures. This is a drastic change that many, understandably, may not want to attempt. In the natural hair care community, we call this the “big chop”.
The Process of “going natural”
A big chop can be accomplished at any point in the natural hair journey, and it doesn’t have to be a huge or big portion of hair being lopped off. Rocking a shaved head can be fierce, fun, and freeing, but it isn’t for everyone and we get that! You can transition your hair over any period of time, slowly growing out your natural hair while keeping your chemically processed hair intact. Transitioning is a different route to natural hair that involves cutting chemicals, relaxers, and heat out of your hair regimen. While your permed hair will never return to its natural state, you can retain length as you transition to natural hair by slowly trimming off the damaged ends until your hair is fully natural and at a length you’re comfortable with.
The method you use to become a naturalista is all up to you! Here are a few things to note when beginning your natural hair journey, and for those who want to transition over a longer period of time with both textures remaining intact. Always try to manage your expectations, and don’t feel down if your journey isn’t matching up with the experiences of others. We are all different, hair and hair journeys included!
- Expect to make a significant change in your hair care routine. Transitioning means no chemicals, no relaxers, no heat. There is no middle ground here, and you can’t get “occasional” touch-ups or treatments while on this journey.
- Expect to be tempted to treat your hair again! Transitioning is a slow process, and it can be frustrating when you want to try a style that worked when your hair was relaxed, but isn’t working now that you’re going natural. 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! It’s your choice, and no one else’s.
- Research and read up on natural hair. The process to find new styles that work for your new texture can be difficult if you aren’t particularly creative. Watching tutorials, reading articles, and testing out new products is always great to encourage exploration into getting to know your “new” hair. This is why
- Expect to see a clearly defined line that divides your damaged ends from new, natural growth. Remember the line of demarcation? Don’t forget that it is the weakest point of each of your hair strands, and 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 care!
- 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.
- Avoid products with toxic or drying ingredients, which will increase breakage and frizz. Here are some ingredients to avoid. 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 like NaturAll Club's all natural Cleansing Avocado Shampoo, 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.
- 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 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 part of your hair care regimen, doing treatments every two weeks or as often as every week. Here’s a link to NaturAll Club's 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.
In conclusion, beginning your natural hair journey is an amazing first step into a new world of discovery, acceptance, and fabulousness! It may seem hard at first, but we genuinely believe that the work you put into “going natural” is all so very worth it.
In this blog we discussed what it means to go natural, and how it is a personal choice that can involve a bit of strategy and planning. We recommended that you set a goal and time period for your “transition”, or your process from going from chemically treated hair to fully natural hair.
We discussed the “big chop” and how the process of going natural can take many different routes. You could start fresh, by cutting your hair completely and rocking that look. You could adopt wigs and other protective styles to keep your hair tucked away as it grows out, or you can wear your hair out and use styles and products that protect and nourish both textures as you slowly cut away the old hair as the new growth comes in!
Learning about the emotional impact of your hair’s transition was also an important piece of this blog. Although sometimes frustrating, we implore you to accept and love your hair’s natural texture, and stop comparing yourself and your journey to those of other people. We encourage you to get excited about discovering more and more about your “new” hair along with styles, products, and techniques that may make it easier to manage and maneuver with. This spirit of exploration will come in handy when you find that you may be struggling with one aspect, or several, of your new do.
Finally, we recommended our fabulous line of all natural products, formulated just for hair like yours! NaturAll is proud to create products that will serve you well along your transition, and throughout the lifetime of your natural hair journey. From nourishing deep conditioners to strengthening styling products for an array of hairstyles and curl patterns, we’ve got you covered!
Do you have any tips or recommendations for others that may be transitioning? Feel free to leave a comment below!