Natural hair care has it's challenges!
For black women, there comes a time in many of our lives where we may struggle with our hair and how to mantain it. Depending on the woman, and her own ideals of what is acceptable, the internal battle can be pretty insignificant or an all out war.
Commonly, at some point, quite a few of us will end up applying the "creamy crack", better known as relaxer, to get our kinks, coils and curls permanently straight. This can be a viable option and the hair can thrive with proper care and upkeep. But the challenge comes into play when those that had previously gone straight decide that removing the kink from their hair is no longer an acceptable option.
Choosing to no longer relax (or even continuing to do so) is a personal decision. Some decide that the chemicals involved are too harmful to be used on the body (scalp). Others want to show the world that coils and kinks are acceptable and nothing to be ashamed of. Then there are those that have daughters that are natural, and they'd like to show them that "mommy's hair is just like yours". The reasons for deciding to no longer relax are just as varied as the woman making the ultimate decision.
Transitioning to natural hair, in it's basic form, just means to no longer relax it with chemicals. You are allowing your hair to grow out, back to it's natural texture, from the root.
Where it can get tricky AND frustrating is when the new growth (the roots) and the previously relaxed hair, meet. Since there is no way to revert the chemically straightened hair back to it's natural form, you are now left to cope with two totally different textures (straight vs kinky/coily/curly). A lot of times the two different extremes do not play together nicely. The straight strands are typically easier to comb through, condition and keep tangle free while the latter is generally quite the opposite.
Transitioning is a personal journal. No two ladies will experience it in quite the same way and depending on how long the hair is, the transitioning time frames back to completely natural are varied as well.
There are two main ways to attack the problem of being left with permanently straightened tresses:
- Trim as you go - Cut off a set amount of relaxed length at intervals determined by the wearer.
- Do not trim at all - Allow the hair to grow until the chemical free portion is at the desired length and then cut off the remaining straight strands. This is also called a "big chop".
Though either way of transitioning is appropriate, for some women, these solutions just will not do. Going to battle everyday with their hair is just not something they can commit to. And though they try and try to make it work, after dealing with excessive knots, dryness, tangles and split ends for weeks, even months, at some point they throw up their hands and say ENOUGH!!
Either way you cut it (pun not intended), for many it is no small task to go from one extreme to another. With that said, making the switch from straight to natural isn't necessarily the easiest thing to do, but for many, it is one of the most rewarding.