I transitioned to natural hair for 16 months before deciding to big chop in April 2018. Did I plan on long-term transitioning? I sure did! I wanted a comfortable length before cutting the rest of my relaxed ends. When I started my journey, I wasn’t sure if I could reach that goal. However, I did my research and found motivation from other blogs and transformation pictures.
Long-term transitioning is any amount of time over one year. Although it can be difficult working with multiple textures, many women decide to transition because they don’t want to big chop and deal with a TWA (teeny weeny afro). I was used to having long hair, therefore, I couldn’t imagine going straight for the big chop.
During my transitioning journey, I had time to learn about natural hair and figure out what works best for me. I used this time to practice styles, research information to benefit my journey, and find motivation from others.
In this post, I want to share tips that made my long-term transitioning journey easier. Following these will help you have a smoother journey that won’t be so overwhelming.
Long-term Transitioning Tips
Stay Away from Heat
If you’re used to having straight hair, it can be difficult to stay away from heat. As I progressed through my transitioning journey, there were times I wanted to use heat because managing two textures became difficult. However, learning about heat damage prevented me from doing anything that would alter my curl pattern.
The last thing you want to do is damage your new growth. If you do, you’ll have to start your journey over. With the amount of work you put in to care for transitioning hair, you don’t want to end up back at square one.
Transitioning hair is already prone to breakage, therefore, you want to focus on styles that don’t require heat and will blend your two textures. Some examples are twist-outs, braid-outs, bantu knots, and perm rod sets!
Get Regular Trims
During your transitioning journey, it’s important to keep your hair trimmed. When you stay consistent with your trims, this will reduce breakage and shedding. It’s also a good way to slowly let go of your straight ends as your new growth comes in.
I received my trims every 3-4 months because that’s what my hair needed. You should get your hair trimmed when you feel the time is right. My hair was easier to manage and detangle every time I got it trimmed.
It’s good to have a date in mind for when you want to big chop. This will help you figure out how often and how much you should trim so you can get closer to your goal.
When I heard about pre-poo treatments, I thought it would be a waste of time. However, this is a step I recommend every transitioner add to their regimen. A pre-poo treatment adds moisture to your hair before shampooing. Doing this can protect your strands from being stripped of their natural oils and can help you gently detangle.
You can use a cheap rinse
As I continued to remain consistent with this step, I saw the benefits of doing them. Not only are you protecting your hair, but you’re also improving manageability. Although this step will take extra time on your wash day, I promise it’s worth it!
Related Post: Sis, You Need to Pre-Poo! Here is Why.
Shampoo In Sections
Washing your hair in sections will save a lot of time and frustration on wash day. It’s important to do this because your two textures will become difficult to manage. Transitioning hair is more prone to tangles and knots, therefore, washing your hair in two or more sections will help you properly cleanse your scalp without causing unnecessary breakage.
Imagine trying to shampoo your hair with tangles and knots everywhere, it’s not fun! Although sectioning your hair may seem like it’ll add on more time, it’s best to do this if you want to quickly and easily get through your wash day.
Related Post: 6 Amazing Shampoos That Won’t Dry Out Your Curls
Deep Condition Weekly
Deep conditioning every wash day will keep your new growth healthy and manageable. When you apply your deep conditioners, make sure you pay attention to the ends of your hair. Since they are the oldest part, they need the most care.
You want to alternate between moisturizing deep conditioners and protein treatments. Keeping a good moisture-protein balance is key to healthy hair. Transitioning hair may need protein more often since you’re dealing with two different textures. Depending on the look and feel of your hair, you’ll be able to determine what type of deep conditioner you need every wash day.
Regularly deep conditioning kept my transitioning hair manageable and strengthened! This is a step you want to carry with you, especially after your big chop.
Keep Your Hair Moisturized
I can’t stress how important it is to keep your transitioning hair moisturized. Dry hair will lead to breakage! How often you moisturize will depend on what your hair needs and your porosity. Porosity refers to your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. There are three different categories:
- Low Porosity
- Normal/Medium Porosity
- High Porosity
Figuring out your porosity will help you choose products that’ll keep your hair moisturized. If you’ve already researched this topic, then I’m sure you came across the “Float Test”. After reading more about it, I found out that it isn’t the most accurate way to find your porosity. It’s best to pay attention to the characteristics of your hair and how it behaves in certain situations.
Check out this blog post: The Guide to Learning Your Natural Hair’s Porosity to find out which category you fall into.
Long-term transitioning will not be for everyone. You have to make a personal decision and decide what’s best for you.
You have to be patient while dealing with two textures and stay consistent with your regimen. Before you decide to start long-term transitioning, find out how long you want to do it so you can have your end goal in mind. Although the journey won’t be easy, it’ll be worth it once you see your beautiful curls!