A Quick Intro
As a licensed professional who has worked in the hair industry for years, I have seen A LOT and even though I no longer work in a salon, I continue to educate myself M’kay! Lol! I will be posting all kinds of delicious morsels on products, styling tips, trends, how to’s, “tutes” formerly known as tutorials, and much more!
This info is for makeup junkies, nail polish slathering, brow plucking, moisturizing, wrinkle fighting, perfume spraying individuals with straight, wavy, swavy (hybrid of straight and wavy), curly, super curly, tight curly, coils, loops, tangles, dry and thirsty, damaged, color jacked, long, short, extensions, wigs, braids, fro’d out, blown out, slicked back, buns, formal, every language, every background with all kinds of HAIR!
Whew! Stay tuned and I promise that I will touch on just about every hair texture and topic! When I decided to create this post I thought of the questions that I’ve been asked as well as my own questions concerning natural hair, So I decided to start with this!
How To Transition From Relaxed Hair To Natural Hair Healthy And Strong
My hair is naturally curly and a mixture of 3C, 4A, 4B & why not, a little 4C!,
I also have shrinkage! I mean MAJOR SHRINKAGE!
I had a relaxer for many years, but decided to back on the chemicals until after the birth of my baby girl. Even with a relaxer I had versatility and could wear my hair straight by the usual flat iron method or I could wear it curly. All I did was add a curl shaping product and dried my hair with my trusty hair diffuser as seen below. I just popped it on my blow dryer and boom! Curls honey!
My curls were loose, easy to untangle and I didn’t have super shrinkage because my hair was altered chemically. I knew exactly what to do for my hair, but when I ended relaxing my hair I was catapulted into a new realm!!!
My hair began to tangle and nada, nothing helped! I mixed conditioners, deep conditioned and tried just about everything on my transitioning, pregnant hair! My strands began fighting with each other and the combing process took at least 1 hour! Not joking!
I was pissed because I knew hair! I mean, I’m a professional who has worked with ALL hair textures and my own was giving me the blues and leaving me extremely frustrated! I was pregnant, had constant morning sickness and the last thing I wanted to fool with were tangles. I noticed that my favorite products did nothing for me and I had to start all over by going back to the chemistry of hair in order to learn how to take care of my transitioning tresses.
Transitioning Hair 101
I’m not going to get too deep in this because I will be posting so many things, but this is a quick course on what happens when you go from chemically relaxed to natural. The hair closest to your scalp is known as virgin hair. This is new hair that has not been touched. It is usually strong, has texture, no color and should be dang near perfect.
Now, there will be a line right beneath your virgin hair that meets your relaxed hair and that line is known as the line of demarcation. This term is usually used in hair color, but I chose to use it for this as well. Everything beneath that line has been dyed, fried and laid to the side! Now, we slide a littler further down and that is known as the midshaft and a little further, the ends. Boom! Your hair goes from virgin, line of demarcation to midshaft and ends.
It looks like this
Notice how the virgin hair looks thick, shiny and healthy? Now, look at this image. What else do you see? If you said different textures then you are soooo right! Because the textures are different they will fight with each other until you understand how to make them get along!
The Big Chop!
As a stylist I have seen it time and time again! A client wants to say goodbye to relaxers and she thinks the only way to do so is to cut the relaxed hair off! I had several consultations with people with a desire for natural hair and almost 98% of the time I said something to them that made them look at me crazy! What did I say? I said, “You don’t have to cut all of your hair.”
All over the internet the Big Chop controversy is circulating and hey, I’m not one to judge because in the end you have to do what is best for you. However, I transitioned without the Big Chop and I helped other clients transition without it as well. Now, there will be times when it has to be done, i.e. severe damage, lack of care and the client not listening to instructions, but if the hair is in good condition, the client is ready to listen, follow instructions and be patient it can be done with great results. As time goes on the hair will be trimmed and eventually the old relaxed ends will be cut, but over time.
The way to do this is by understanding that the hair has morphed into 3 categories and each category has their own need. You will see the word, styling. This means when using heat like a blow dryer, flat iron, hair dryer, curling iron or wand. Check this out.
Categories of Transitioning Hair
Virgin Hair: Healthy, but needs moisture & heat protection while styling
Line of Demarcation: Fragile, needs moisture and light protein treatments & heat protection while styling
M/E (midshaft and ends): Dry, porous and the oldest part of your hair. It needs moisture, a rotation of moisture & light protein treatments & heat protection while styling
Each category needs 2 important elements and that is moisture & heat protection while styling! I can’t stress this enough for those who are transitioning from relaxed to natural hair! There are many reasons why moisture and protection are important to the hair, but I’m going to focus on 2 reasons and that is less breakage and growth. This is why the two are important to EVERY category of the hair.
I also mentioned Light Protein I say light because too much protein can cause the hair to become brittle and break. I cringe when I see the abuse of protein because I know what is coming next! Breakage! Protein is not to be left out, but should be used on a rotation basis throughout the month. Not all protein is created equal and if you are reading this and would like a more “in depth” post as to why, then please comment below and I will create one, but for right now I will give you a quick guide to follow.
That is pretty much it and all you have to do is apply that simple definition to the types of hair proteins that are on the market. If your hair is in pretty good shape, but you know that your line of demarcation is about 4 inches under the virgin hair and everything from that line down seems a bit dry, you need a product that moisturizes, conditions & has some form of light protein.
There are some amazing products that are for professional use only and I strongly suggest that you talk to your stylist to see what they have to offer for your hair and go forth, but if you can’t do that I will tell you what you can buy and in a future post, what you can make yourself that will keep your hair healthy. Now, before I go any further, I have to say this because some natural people get very touchy about products being ALL NATURAL, ORGANIC, NO THIS, NO THAT and the list goes on and on.
Look, I’m a professional cosmetologist who has worked with all kinds of products including chemicals. My view is like this. If you want to chemically alter your hair for a look that YOU desire, do so! If you want to rock curls and use all organic/natural products, do so! If you want to use both organic/natural and not so natural, do so! I don’t judge anyone on this topic because your hair is on your head, you make the choice and you must do what is right for you! Point Blank! I pray that I didn’t offend anyone, but I truly mean this from my heart.
I believe in using research, product knowledge and the use of the TWO to help me find the best products for myself & others. Some of these products may not be all natural, but they will work! Some may not cost $$$$$$, but they will work! I cocktail professional non-organic/natural products with organic all natural products that I make myself and my hair responds well!
The products posted for this post will be for those who are transitioning from relaxed to natural hair who would prefer not to do the “Big Chop” or in other words, cut all of their relaxed hair in order to have natural hair. Remember, you choose and I’m not here to PUSH anything on you. With that lovingly said, please continue
“I post in peace. If what you have just read ruffled your feathers please look a the pretty blue flower, breathe and smile.”
When I think of cocktails, I think of mixing something together in order to make it better! I used this method in the salon, I use it on myself, friends and daughter. Some will say, “That is such a waste of time and money!”, but I have found that a good cocktail saves time and money in the long run!
The Benefits of Cocktails
Remember the 3 categories I mentioned above? Virgin, Line of Demarcation and M/E (midshaft and ends)? Well, using cocktails will benefit your hair by supplying each category with the nourishment needed to keep the hair healthy and easier to manage.
” When you are transitioning you must remember that you have 2 to 3 textures living on your head that may not need or want the same thing, but must be taught how to live together.”
Easy Hair Cocktails
In beauty school, I was given scenarios on pretend clients constantly by one of my instructors. She would call my name and say, “Nichole, a woman walks in and she wants her hair to be a dark, reddish brown with caramel highlights. She has 3 1/2 inches of regrowth (aka roots), she is a level 8( Blonde) and she is 75% grey. What do you do?” I would cringe when she did that to me , but I’m so thankful she did because it taught me to think and plan! To this day I can formulate on the spot, just like that! I find myself doing it in the grocery store on unsuspecting shoppers, while watching t.v. shows and just about any time I see hair.
So, guess what? I’m going to throw a few out at you! Don’t worry, nothing on color and levels, only on the 3 categories of transitioning hair lol! I know the hair chart is above and to keep you from scrollllllliiiiiiinnnnnggggg I will show some love and bring it down to you!!!
Sheila has been transitioning for 4 months and she really doesn’t want to do the big chop. She has about 6- 8 inches of virgin hair and it looks like a 4A. She has this line where the 4A stops and begins to look like her relaxed hair. It is a little puffy, but it’s definitely straighter than her virgin hair. It looks that way all the way down to the ends, but they seem a little thin. Sheila notices that her hair is so hard to comb when she gets towards the line and when she combs past it, her hair feels very stretchy, almost as if it could snap. Her hair has some old highlights where her stylist used some bleach and her normal shampoo and leave-in conditioner seems to not do a thing! What can she do?
First, we know that she has 3 categories that needs to be addressed and they are
Virgin, Line of Demarcation & M/E(midshaft and ends)
Second, we know that each category needs
Moisture & if styling, heat protection
Third, we know that the Line of Demarcation is fragile and could use some
light protein & if styling, heat protection
And Fourth, the M/E are dry, color treated, have some damage because it seems stretchy, like it could snap any minute and her ends are thin. This part could use
light protein, heat protection during styling and a trim by a licensed professional or someone she trusts (Because I know not EVERYBODY will go to the salon for a trim. (I clear my throat in honesty and I move on) You can read about how to find a new stylist here.
Now that we know what each category needs, lets make Sheila a list and get her to the store! Sheila can go just about anywhere for these products including her local beauty supply, salon retail, health food stores or the internet. Sheila’s list should look like this
Here are some of the products that I suggest. These are products that I have used. They worked for me, my friends and family! You should be able to get these non-professional products (meaning you do not need a license to purchase them) just about anywhere.
I love them! If you would like a list of professional products that you can purchase FROM YOUR STYLIST then leave a comment below and I will create it!
Sulfate-free or Mild Sulfonate Moisturizing Shampoos
Giovanni Ultra-Moist Shampoo
Giovanni Smooth As Silk Deep Moisture Shampoo
Creme Of Nature Professional Argan Oil Moisture And Shine Shampoo
Creme of Nature Straight From Eden Plant Derived Hydrating Shampoo
Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Balanced Moisturizing Shampoo/Trader Joe’s Tee Tree Shampoo
Eden Body Works Jojoba Monoi Moisturizing Shampoo
Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Balanced Moisturizing Conditioner/Trader Joe’s Tee Tree Conditioner
Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Hydrating-Calming Conditioner
Eden Body Works Jojoba Monoi Revitalizing Conditioner
Creme Of Nature Straight From Eden Oil Infused Hydrating Conditioner
Light Protein Conditioners
Aubrey Organics GPB
Eden Body Works Peppermint Tea Tree Conditioner
Giovanni Blackberry and Coconut Milk Repairing Conditioner
Giovanni Smooth As Silk Xtreme
Deep Penetrating Protein Treatment Conditioners/Restorative Treatments
Giovanni Blackberry and Coconut Milk Repairing Intensive Hair Mask
Creme Of Nature Argan Oil Intensive Conditioning Treatment
SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow and Restore Treatment Masque
Eden Body Works All Natural Coconut Shea Leave In- Conditioner
Creme of Nature with Argan Oil Strength and Shine Leave-in Conditioner
Giovanni Direct Leave-in Weightless Moisture Conditioner
Natural Oil Blends That Can Be Cocktailed (found in the grocery store or health food stores)
Organic, Virgin Coconut Oil (This does have some protein in it, so please alternate is using a protein treatment or opt out all together.)
Grape seed Oil
Moisturizing Butters or Curl Creams
Organic Shea Butter
SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie
Eden Body Works All Natural Pudding Souffle in Coconut Shea
Any conditioner with slip will do! I like Suave coconut, Aussie Moist Conditioner, Tresemme moisture conditioner & my FAV… Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Balancing Moisturizing Conditioner!!!!! LOVE IT!
Please don’t get me wrong because there are many, many, many more wonderful non- professional and professional products that work like a dream, but I’m giving you a slimmed down list of products that you should have no trouble finding and that I know work! Now, lets make Sheila’s Cocktail!
Sheila gently shampooed her hair and then applied her moisturizing conditioner to the virgin part of her hair. She then mixed a little of the protein conditioner with the moisturizing conditioner and applied it to the Line of Demarcation and M/E making sure that each area of her hair was coated. She lightly untangled her hair, placed a plastic or processing cap on and then sat under a hooded dryer for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, she rinsed her hair in cool water and wrapped a towel around her hair making sure to gently pat her towel in order to remove excess water. After a good pat, she proceeded with her leave-in conditioner, making sure to gently untangle her hair starting from the bottom of the hair and slowly working her way up. After untangling, she separated her hair into sections and secured each one with a clip or bobby pin. Working in sections, she applied her natural oil blend to every area of her hair and then sealed in the oil by applying her butter or curly enhancing cream to each oiled section of hair.
Sheila didn’t want to use heat and decided to put her hair into a beautiful protective style like twists, bantu knots or a high bun and went out into the world looking fab-u-lous!
She decided to use her deep penetrating protein/restorative treatments only twice a month because too much protein will break the hair, co-wash 3 times a week, shampoo once a week and will use her butter/moisture/oils/leave-in at all times! Sheila called her stylist and has an appointment for a good trim in two weeks.
Her hair is healthy, growing, she continues to get trims once every 1- 3 months, she only uses heat for deep conditioning purposes, loves experimenting with protective styles, no big chop and she is loving her hair!
Yes, I made up this story, but it’s also a true story because following these directions will give you the ability to Transition From Relaxed Hair To Natural Hair Healthy & Strong!
I hope you enjoyed this post! Please don’t forget to share and as I mentioned before, I will be touching on Every hair texture and subject! If there is something concerning hair that you would like to learn more about or have questions, please comment below. I would love to hear from you!
Don’t forget to check my Life, Naturally page to learn of a more natural approach to care for your hair, skin and body. I’ve been making natural products for the body and home for years and I can’t wait to share them with you. I will have loads of tutes (tutorials) and much more! Until next time!!!
How often should I use protein treatments?
Too much protein can cause breakage, so please limit your protein use to once a month if your hair is in great condition and twice a month if your hair is very damaged. Please follow the manufactures instructions and only use on the areas where your hair is fragile like the line of demarcation and M/E.
Do I have to shampoo every time I need to cleanse my hair?
Absolutely not! You can use a very cheap conditioner and co-wash your hair if you don’t want to use shampoo each time, but please try to shampoo at least once a month to help remove product buildup.
Can I use my oil blend for hot oil treatments?
Yes! Just put them into a glass jar and place the jar in a hot water bath for 5-10 minutes and apply to damp, freshly shampooed hair. Some will do this step before shampooing hair as a pre-poo (pre-shampoo) treatment, but that is entirely up to you.
If I can’t find any of the products that you mentioned, how can I purchase them?
Hallelujah for the internet! If you can’t find these products in your local drugstore, health food store or beauty supply, please go on line and you should be able to find what you need there.
I’m reading this list and I need a little more help! What should I do?
There is so much when it comes to hair and I can’t touch on it all in one blog post, but I promise as time goes on, I will mention as much as I can. Until then, you can always leave a comment below, email me or you can visit a stylist who has knowledge of hair care. If you need help finding a stylist, please read this blog post. It will give you some awesome tips!
I’m having trouble determining my curl pattern. What should I do to make this easier?
I know it can be confusing, but looking at pictures on line is the best way to find out. Look at hair that is in a dried state and compare or ask a stylist.
I want a more natural approach to taking care of my hair. Do you have any helpful diy’s that I can try or videos that can help teach me how to style my transitioning hair?
I do! I completely get it and I love making my own hair care products. I will be posting them very soon in the form of videos and posts. If there is something you would like to see, please email me or leave a comment below.
I hope that this post helped somebody out there! And remember, no matter your beauty addiction or issue I will have something that you can relate to on a personal level or you can be a good beauty citizen and share with a friend!
If there is a hair & beauty topic that you would like to learn more about please, please leave a comment or email me and I will do my best to answer them. So, please stay tuned and blessings!