Welcome! Welcome to your hair journey. You’ve decided that you are going natural. You’ve decided to embark on an adventure to really get to know your hair and at some point you’ll end up learning about yourself as well. So now that you’ve chosen to go natural, you’ve hopefully started some research about how you’re going to go about this transition (of course you did, that’s why you’re here!). Maybe you’ve already decided on the feared but liberating big chop. Maybe you’ve gone the true transitioning route and plan to snip away your processed or damaged har end by end. While this method can feel tedious it can be equally
In between the moments you decide to transition and the moment you finally see your real curl pattern, you will have a world of knowledge to learn from during the more “awkward” parts of the transitioning journey. Now while there is the big chop as an option, we really want to focus on the art of transitioning slowly. This type of transitioning will have you looking for different styles to blend the various hair textures and patterns all over your head. Along with this search, you are looking for styles that are going to create a healthy environment so the products you use can properly help nourish the hair along with hydrating it.
Styling While Transitioning
The top concerns when you are transitioning from processed or damaged hair are as follows:
- Retaining moisture/ length
- Avoiding Heat
- Low maintenance/ Low Manipulation
Retaining moisture and reatingning length really do go hand in hand. If the hair is properly moisturized, the elasticity of your hair is stronger. Stronger elasticity results in less breakage.
Whether you're transitioning from a texturizer or heat damage, your hair is not going to do well in retaining moisture during this transition. So you want to be sure that any style you choose does this in abundance.
Heat is not your friend any longer! Honestly, it never was. See where it got ya? Just kidding! But seriously, say goodbye to heat. As you are transitioning, you want to be sure that you are letting all new growth come in undisturbed. By applying heat to your new growth you are only damaging from the beginning. Leaving heat alone will allow your hair to fully recover and gain the strength it needs to grow healthier. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to use it sparingly once your hair is recovered!
Natural hair does it’s best when it is left alone. Your hair wants to grow, it wants to be strong, but you have to let it! You also have to create the proper environment for it to so and the less you have your hands in your hair, the better! Low manipulation styling is when there are very few steps in the process. Along with these few steps, they do not create unnecessary tension by excessively pulling or brushing. Then, here comes the beauty of a style that is low maintenance. Not only do you have a long lasting style, it will be a style that will not tempt you to mess with your head. Lots of transitioning styles emphasize the fact that they are beautiful but practical.
These next few styles are great options for any transitioning NaturAllistas. All of them allow you to get creative. You can go about your day feeling confident knowing that your hair looks good while it is going through the ultimate change of your life!
When you are transitioning you’re bound to have multiple textures all around you head. Bantu knots are a great option for taking all of those textures and wrapping them all up. Another benefit of bantu knots is they are an ideal style for retaining moisture. When you properly layer your products to optimize moisture retention, as long as they are allowed to dry properly, you will end up retaining more moisture. This is needed for those thirsty, most likely split ends that you are experiencing during the transitioning period. Be sure to apply product in small increments, making sure each layer is evenly distributed throughout the strands. Our AvoKiwi LOC Method 3-Step Recipe is a great option for this style. Our creamy AvoKiwi Hair Moisturizer provides the perfect blend of slip and shine. The Hydrating Curl Custard enhances definition, promotes shine, and combats shrinkage. Finish off with Avokiwi Oil Blend to seal all of that hydrating goodness.
When styling bantu knots, be sure to be gentle! This style requires a bit of manipulation to install. Be sure not not to twist your knots to the point that they are uncomfortable. You should be able wrap them up in a scarf and sleep soundly. Too much tension or pulling will make your already weakened hair even more brittle and susceptible to breakage.
This category has to be the number one go to for anyone in the transitioning phase. When done correctly, protective styling does wonders for transitioning hair. The first benefit is the factor of low maintenance. Once a protective style is installed, you really only have to worry about minimal keep up. You just have to be sure you are moisturizing your scalp and roots. A lightweight oil such as our Hydrating AvoKiwi Oil Blend. This oil blend is light enough to hydrate any exposed scalp (i.e box braids, twists, etc.) while avoiding excessive build up over the life of your style. Our AvoKiwi Protective Styling 6-Step Recipe includes this oil and all of the other products you’ll need to prepare your hair to be in a style for an extended period of time.
With that being said, protective styles are not a set it and forget it situation. Most protective styles can be left in for a minimum of 2 weeks to a maximum of 8 weeks. Anything past 8 weeks, you begin to reverse all of the benefits you gained in the style. Build up will begin to matte at the roots and will become increasingly difficult to remove. You want to be sure you give your hair time to breathe in between protective styles so your hair is properly going through the hair cycle.
- Box Braids
- Box braids are the most versatile of the protective styles. You can throw them up in a bun or you can do a chic half up, half down. As mentioned before , make sure you are moisturizing your scalp regularly. However, be careful when installing your box braids that either you or your stylist try to be careful that the braids are not too tight. This will create too much tension on your hair and will create breakage.
- Cornrows w/ Extensions
- Adding extensions to a simple set of controls can really extend the life of your style. This will help to retain moisture at your ends since they will be tucked into the braiding hair.
- You can cut adding extensions to your cornrows and just slap a wig right on ‘em! Well in theory, it’s that easy, but of course there’s more to this. Be sure to thoroughly cleanse your scalp and moisturize the braids. You’ll want to use a breathable wig cap so you reduce the risk of too much tension around your edges and the nape of your neck. If you plan to use wigs, I would recommend initially moisturizing the scalp with our Strengthening Jamaican Black Castor Oil Growth Serum with Moringa Minoi and Carrot. This will add all the nutrients your hair could use during this down time. Since it is a thicker consistency, you want to use it sparingly.
- Faux Ponytail or Bun
- This style is a safe haven for any busy NaturAllista who is transitioning but short on time. You can quickly slip your hair into a slick high or low ponytail (whichever you desire or your length permits) and add a bun you found at your local beauty store. This will hide the multiple textures and create a seamless, sleek look.
Flexi rods, perm rods, foam rollers. I’m sure at one point or the other in your research, you have some across these bad boys. Roller sets are a great way to take your transitioning textures, (the split ends, different curl patterns, different levels of moisture) and make them a cohesive, singular pattern. Along with hiding textures, roller sets are a great opportunity to create more volume in somewhat lifeless hair. This will help you really start to see the end goal of your journey. Our medium hold Hydrating Curl Custard is a great option for setting your roller sets. The custard is lightweight and includes kiwi extract which is highly moisturizing and penetrates the hair shaft deeply. Once the rollers are properly dried, you can take them down and you’ll be left with soft, bouncy, voluminous curls.
Shelter Your Crown
A crucial skill you will end up learning while transitioning will be learning the art of hair/head wraps. Wrapping up your evolving crown is the best way to really nourish the hair growth and transition you will experience. This style can help you retain moisture, hide awkwards lengths and textures and can really help you level up your style in the process! Just like our hair, playing around with different head wrap techniques, patterns, styles, really allows us to showcase our personalities nonverbally.
When looking for headwraps, be sure you are choosing fabrics that are lightweight and do not tug at the hair strands. This will lead to breakage or tension, which will hinder any progress you’ll be making. Try finding wraps made of satin, silk or really any non cotton or denim material. Now, there will be a point where you'll find real funky, expressive wraps that you just have to have! No worries. Be sure to use a wig cap or satin cap to protect your hair (you can braid or twist it up your hair for easier manageability) and wrap your hair as you please! This is a great option for harsh winters or super hot days to prevent from trying out your hair and damaging it from the hot sun.
Twists (2 or 3 Strands)
A lot of the time in the natural hair community, hearing about twists, you usually hear about them when referring to protective styles. Which is true, they provide lots of protection! We wanted to honorable mention twists outside of protective styling because we wanted to emphasize doing twists WITHOUT adding extensions. Twists without added extensions are the best style for transitioning naturals because they are basically a two for one deal! When you first do a two or three strand twist, you’ll have a beautiful style of individual twists that you can rack for 1-2 weeks. Once you find it is time to take down the twists, you’ll unravel a gorgeous twist out that you’ll be able to rock for about another week! These twists will help your transitioning hair look more even and you will have a more natural but defined look that hides that pesky line of demarcation.
Now the key to achieving the success of two styles with one installment is your application technique. Layering your products and ensuring the twists are 100% dry are the absolute most important steps. We highly recommend our Hydrating Twisting Paste as your styling choice when installing your twists. Something that many transitioning naturals have heard is the fear of product build up. It can come very easily to hair that has been processed so you need styling products that will be easily absorbed and will not sit on the hair strand. Our twisting paste has a strong hold that does not dry white and will introduce moisture to the hair as well.
One Step At A Time
While the products you use are very important and it is something we stand for, it is also important that you really have a conversation with yourself before you transition. You will quickly realize that amongst the hype of finding products that work, styles that pop, and results, you have to know that you will most likely transform your inside as well as your outside.
Please understand that while you are transitioning there will be so many instances of trial and error. Finding the right style for you and your hair growth journey will get frustrating. Trying to find out what you're comfortable with and honestly what you can even execute will be a journey. Tutorials, blogs and advice from the natural hair community. Use the resources that are around you to remove the stress of embarking a new journey on your own. The truth is, you aren’t alone and there are so many people out here willing to help make this transition as seamless and fulfilling as possible!