To Chop or Not to Chop? I don't want to do the big chop, so now what?
The term “transitioning means to move from one passage, or stage to another. Let that sink in for a moment... Transitioning is a process, a period in which change occurs. You MUST be committed to the process to reap the benefits. If you have decided to take the journey in uncovering your natural hair texture, CONGRATULATIONS! This is a daunting task for most Curl Friends, but thereishope! With the right regimen, products, techniques, and a huge dose of patience you will learn to love your new-found God-given texture.
It's funny how much fear lies in the process of “going” natural, but soon as the first curl emerges… INSPIRATION! Even though I am a professional Hairstylist, I too was anxious about the journey, so I can imagine how challenging it is for many Curl Friends’.
I started my natural hair journey in 2009 and quickly got frustrated with the process. I had decided not to do the big chop, but instead I decided to wear protective styles to camouflage my progression. Time management, lack of quality products, and chemical dependency had me frustrated to say the least... so I gave up. Well fast forward to 2019 and my hair is beautiful! My hair has bounce, body, and natural shine. I also notice that my texture has improved, my scalp is less irritated, and the versatility of styling is endless!
So how do you transition?
1. First, decide if you will do the BIG CHOP, or will you do as I did- gradually trim/cut away the relaxed ends. Be mindful that if you trim or cut away the relaxed ends you still have the option of wearing protective styles to camouflage textural differences. You can braid it, weave it, wear wigs, or wear heat-less curls.
2. Enlist the help of friends, family, and professionals to support your decision to go natural. There will be times when you will feel like giving up and you will need a shoulder to lean on.
3. Research, research, research! Search YouTube, blogs, Instagram, and Facebook to compile as much information about products usage/suggestions, watch tutorials, and get style inspiration.
4. Avoid using toxic and chemically laced products. Ingredients that are a curls worst friend are, parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, petroleum, phthalates, and (certain) alcohols.
5. MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE!! I cannot say this enough. Natural unprocessed hair can be extremely dry and fragile. The cuticle layer is tightly compacted making moisture retention difficult. Porosity also plays a part in moisture retention and loss. Make certain to use organic natural oils, butters, and emollients in your regimen to LOC in moisture, but always use the correct amount for your hair type. Fine hair usually needs less moisture than coarser/denser hair. You should typically deep condition once per month.
6. Be gentle! Natural hair is extremely fragile. The line of demarcation, or the area where the relaxed hair meets the natural hair breaks easily. You will notice a large amount of shedding during the transition process because of the weak link between the two textures. You can minimize shedding and breaking by being gentle, opting for roller sets, trimming regularly, using cream protein and moisture conditioners, and avoiding direct heat tools.
7. Last but not least, pay attention to your hair and skin. If you need help, book an appointment with a knowledgeable and trusted hair stylist who specializes in hair care.
Don't give up or in, remember that transitioning is a process but the rewards are well worth it! Stick in there and you will soon be ready to unleash your curls to the world!!!!
Licensed Master Cosmetologist
Founder Coco Kendyll