Many soon to be naturals decide to take the long-term transitioning route. While this route will help you avoid the big chop stage, it can still be frustrating. Here are the main aspects of successfully transitioning from A to Z!
A: Accessorize– When you are trying to grow your perm out and maintain your fabulous-ness, accessories can be your saving grace. Therefore, head scarves, earrings, makeup, and hair clips can do a long-term transitioner some good.
B: Be gentle– You might decide to get box braids or a sew in weave to ease the pangs of transitioning. Or you might decide to wear a half wig and brush down the front. Whatever you decide, be very gentle with your hair. You are weaning your hair off of a drug (a hair drug) and it is quite vulnerable to breakage. So, no tight braids, extensions, or styles.
C: Create a chop date (big or small)- Eventually, you will have to cut the permed hair off to reach your goal. Don’t be vague with this date. Set a firm date in which you are going to do the chop. When that date comes, cut the permed hair off. Trust us, you will feel much better!
D: Detangle- Be sure to gently detangle the new curls that are emerging. Tangles can become especially difficult during transitioning due to the two different textures. Leaving it last on your list will just make it more difficult.
E: Exchange Your Perm Products for New Products– Now that you are transitioning, the health of your new curls is very important. These new curls also need different products than your permed hair. Therefore, as you get further into your transition, exchange one product you used for your permed hair for a product that you will try out on your natural hair. It will be trial and error, however, by the time you are completely natural, you will know what products work for you.
F: Frustration– Expect to be frustrated. It comes with the territory. Remind yourself of why you are transitioning to ease the frustration.
G: Get to Know Your Curls– If this is your first time transitioning, the look and feel of your natural hair will be new to you. Get to know the texture of your curls and how they feel. Seeing your curls sprout is one of the most exciting parts of transitioning and going natural in general.
H: Help– If you need help navigating your journey, then seek it. Check out blogs (ahem ahem!), magazines., and forums.
I: Intuition– Follow your intuition. You know when the time will be right for you to do your chop and you know what your hair needs. While all of the natural hair resources can act as a great guiding tool, you have to ultimately follow your intuition.
J: Join a Natural Hair Community– Natural hair communities can be wonderful resources. You can find women that have similar hair issues to you or even women that are having issues that you have gone through already and you can provide them with advice. Natural hair communities are vibrating with great energy and support. It is well worth looking in to.
K: Know What Styles Work Best For You– Often times, you will find that some transitioning styles look effortlessly amazing on some women and like a hot mess on you. If that happens to be the case, continue to experiment until you find the ones that work best for you and your hair. Flexi rod sets aren’t for everyone!
L: Love Your New Curls; Don’t Hide Them– When considering styles or how to wear your hair, try to incorporate your new curls rather than straightening out your hair to conform to your permed hair. That’s just silly!
M: Moisturize– Moisturize your new curls, your permed hair, and where the two meet. Moisturizing your hair keeps your hair from breaking and makes detangling much easier.
N: Negativity is a No No– Negative thoughts will yield negative results. So, keep the “I can’t do this” voice silent!
O: Open Mind– Always keep an open mind. You might have a natural hair idol like the beautiful Tracee Ellis Ross and you might think you guys have similar textures. While this may be true, keep an open mind and don’t limit your hair’s potential. Your hair may be thicker, more kinky, or thinner. Either way, when you keep an open mind, you will never be disappointed.
P: Patience– Transitioning is referred to as long-term for a reason. It takes a while to allow your hair to grow out. Patience is key because being impatient won’t make your speed up the process but it will cause unnecessary frustration.
Q: Quiting is Not an Option– Don’t quit! simple as that.
R: Remember Your Goals– Setting goals and keeping them in mind while transitioning will keep you moving forward. So, write a list with dates of when you want to do what. For example, your list might include when you want to big chop, when you want to have enough natural hair to begin trimming your permed hair off, etc.
S: Style– While this is self-explanatory and relates to knowing what styles work for you, you should also have go-to styles considering that your options may be limited during this time. With that being said, you can have a quick style, formal style, party style, work style, etc.
T: Trim– If you don’t want to have the shock of a big chop but want to get rid of your permed hair sooner than later, you can trim the permed hair off as fast or slow as you need to. Many transitioners go the route of every month trimming a half-inch to an inch until all the permed hair is gone.
U: Undo Your “Perm Brain”- Your perm brain tells you to blow dry and flat-iron the new curls to create an uniformed straight style. However, too much heat can damage your new curls before they even get a chance to be fab. Your perm brain might use products that are not made for natural hair like Blue Magic hair grease. Throw out that perm brain and as you explore your new hair, your natural hair brain will develop.
V: Vindication– Once you actually obtain success, the vindication will feel great! Especially in the face of all your haters!
W: What are your overall expectations?– Are you expecting to big chop within a year? Are you expecting to have long hair? Or short hair? Are you expecting to go to the salon to maintain your hair or figure it out on your own? That is for you to decide.
X: Xtreme– Don’t be extreme in anything you do with your hair. Extreme color, extreme products, extreme shampooing & conditioning, extreme is never good.
Y: You, You, You– This is all about you. So if your significant other thinks you look ridiculous or your sister thinks you should just big chop, it is all about you and what you think. I mean, it is your hair at the end of the day.
Z: Zone Out Negative Nancy– Negative Nancy can come in the form of your friends, family, and loved ones. They will suddenly become experts in all things black hair care. Negative Nancy will tell you every reason in the book to get you to perm your hair. Simply zone them out.