I transitioned from relaxed to natural hair, now what?
I always knew the day would come but had never thought quite so soon. I transitioned to natural hair some two months ago because I was sick of how disgustingly unhealthy my hair looked. My hair was uneven and the tips looked stringy and lacklustre and so I decided to chop off the relaxed, straighter ends and go natural.
Having debated going natural for some time but never quite having the “balls”, I knew it was now or never. Call me hair lazy but doing my hair is not a skill I look forward to improving. Undoing my hair is something I never do, I mean that’s what salons are for. However, with being natural, there were things I’d have to do on my own or so I came to realise.
I have always maintained that most black hair stylists don’t know TF they’re doing and they do more damage than good to your hair so the natural me would have to spend time doing my own hair, to avoid incompetent hair stylists from doing irreparable damage to my hair.
This is why I kept delaying the inevitable but as some decisions in my life go, on 6 October 2016, I went to the salon to have cornrows done and impulsively chopped off my locks on the day. Chopping my locks is quite an exaggeration, though, it was really more cutting the dull, lifeless, ugly -looking ends.
Since I started the transition phase, I discovered that there was still so much I needed to learn about natural hair. You see, the reason for my chop is to grow healthy, beautiful hair because relaxing wasn’t doing my strands any favours. I needed to know more about taking care of my natural hair and this is how I came to discover the importance of knowing my hair type. In knowing this, I would be better able to look after my natural hair.
What’s your hair type?
This is a question I never really bothered to ask myself until I transitioned. Knowing your hair type will help you understand the best products to use on your hair, best hairstyles and best care.
There are many different hair types. There’s the type 3 and type 4 but this post is for those with type 4 hair which is the kinky type of hair commonly seen on black Africans. My hair type is 4C but before I go into that, let’s first break down the different categories in type 4 hair.
Typically has a defined curl pattern like an “s” shape. It tends to retain moisture fairly well, but is prone to dryness as most curlies are. As a result of the naturally defined curl pattern wash and go styles is a great option for people with this hair type. Using the right products on this hair like sulfate free shampoos, conditioners and rich creamy products or hair butter helps to maintain the hair’s natural texture and keep the hair soft and moisturised.
This has more of a very fluffy look and the curl pattern resembles a “z” shape. People with this hair type often suffer from extreme dryness and hair breakage. The hair tends to experience 70% shrinkage and appears shorter than it actually is. Protective styles like braids, cornrows and buns to name a few is recommended to protect this type of hair to help reduce breakage. Frequent deep conditioning and moisturising is best for those with 4b hair.
This is my hair type and a lot similar to 4b hair except that it is more tightly coiled. Freshly washed and free of products, this hair type does not have a defined curl pattern. To get curls, you would have to manipulate the hair by twisting or braiding. Bantu knots is one of the most common ways to get a curl pattern with this hair type. Another similarity with 4b hair is that many 4c naturals have shrinkage of up to 70% or more. 4c is apparently the most fragile hair type so to grow your hair long, protective styles is the way to go. Avoid styles that require daily manipulation to give the hair a break and keep the hair from breaking off.
I hope this post has been helpful and for those of you who know what your hair type, please leave a comment on what you do to keep your hair soft and avoid breakage. xo