My first hair “consult” : Transitioning

Now of course I’m no pro with this fro thing but I do know more than some. I think the correct term is fauxfessional (taken from Zanele on phrophro). I do everything on my own (except braids which my cousin does) and haven’t been to a salon of any sort since my last relaxer almost 2 years ago.

One of my friends decided to just ask me to do her hair instead of answering an essay of questions for her so she can learn what she’s supposed to do by watching me. She’s decided to make a change and is transitioning (going from relaxed to natural). Her friend (also my flat mate) and I are still debating whether she’ll go through with it or not but so far she has stayed strong. The reason we are doubting her commitment is because we are both natural and we both know how hard it is to begin to ween your self off the “kinky hair is village like” belief that most people posses. And it doesn’t help that she’s a weave junkie so her definition of beautiful hair has rested on what she buys rather than what she grows and her mother is constantly telling her to relax her hair because it looks “messy”. She has to find the determination within herself to keep going so it will be quite challenging.  But according to her I have played a part in helping her believe that her hair could look great natural too so excuse me while I pop my collar… 🙂

She recently had a weave (she’s a weave junkie) and after she took it off she asked me to help her detangle, wash, condition, moisturize and seal her hair. Now of course she didn’t use those words but that’s what I did. We began by clarifying with a baking soda and shampoo mix. We only had to wash once which she found amazing. The baking soda took all the residue out in one go!

Second was conditioning. We used a mix of Pantene and aloevera juice. After her hair was saturated with it, I detangled from tip to root. This took ages because her hair was extremely tangled at the tips. I don’t understand why though because it’s the natural hair that is supposed to be tangled. She had tons of tiny knots that I had to take out as gently as I could with a wide tooth comb. We then let the conditioner sit for 2 hours (I had to dash out to the mall for a bit).

After rinsing I detangled again and moisturized with ORS Carrot oil and some JO’M orange oil spray. Then I sealed with JO’M shea butter hair softener. She had gone to purchase the JO’M products because of me! And yes, I’m smiling right now.

After rinsing off the conditioner…

We decided to use heat to dry her hair as she was on her way out afterwards. Using castor oil as a protectant (though it is not the most ideal), I blow dried her hair using the tension method. However usually I would have let it air dry in french braids.

After moisturizing and sealing. You can see the difference in textures in her hair.

Then with the aid of a clean weave piece and some ORS edge control she had I put her hair into a low bun.

After tension blow drying. Hmmm her hair needs a trim…I’ll suggest that next time!
Non stop weaving has began to destroy her hairline. I told her to buy castor oil to treat her hairline and to leave it out when weaving in the future.

She was pleased with how soft her hair was and relatively easier to brush. The next day she did french braids with her hair and has employed the use of a couple of wigs to get her through the next few months. Long term transitioning is not something I would have been able to do, I had to go the big chop route. However, she seems to be determined so we’ll see how it goes!

Here are a few tips I found online to help those that are transitioning:

  1. Find a go to transitioning style: My friend has opted for the wig and weave route till she’s brave enough to cut it off. Weave however is not advisable if you have weak edges.
  2. Detangle hair when wet or saturated with conditioner or moisturizer. The habit of combing every morning has to be let go. If anything a brush with wide set bristles is all you get to use.
  3. Wash your hair more often than you did when your hair was relaxed. Every 1-2 weeks is sufficient.
  4. Get used to deep conditioning.
  5. Moisturize more often. It is what will keep that new growth soft and manageable.
  6. Reduce the use of heat on your hair. Put away that blow dryer and flat iron. Your new growth will thank you.
  7. Be gentle when detangling. Because you’re not used to putting aside so much time for your hair you may get frustrated, but stay calm and be patient. Or you’ll end up yanking out your hair.
  8. Do regular trims. This is ideal for those who want to ease into the big chop. I sort of employed the same method. I cut off a few inches every 3 months till I was brave enough to take off all the relaxed ends.
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