How I Went From Relaxed To Natural Hair

Several years ago I decided to go from relaxed to natural hair. I worked in corporate America and had to maintain a professional appearance in the process. I had a stylist who helped me with the transition. During the transition I wore my hair flat ironed, in braids with extensions and sometimes I wore sew-in weave. The primary issue for me was learning how to manage kinky hair and look professional. Here is a summary of my journey.

1. My motivation for going natural was to be healthier. The chemicals from relaxers were thought to be safe. Yet I had worn relaxed hair for twenty-five years. That was long enough. I wanted a change and I wanted to be free from the rigor of maintaining relaxed hair. I also thought that there had to be ways of maintaining kinky hair without absorbing an excessive amount of time.

2. I began discussing my hair goals and objectives with my stylist. She was supportive and helpful. As my new growth came in kinky, my stylist would ensure that my hair was clean and well-conditioned. At first I wore my hair flat ironed most of the time. My stylist also trimmed about one quarter inch every month or so as my natural hair grew. While my hair looked the same to everyone, I was exchanging relaxed for natural hair. It was exciting.

3. The rub came when I washed my hair on my own. I loved my new hair texture, yet detangling took more time than with relaxed hair. I had to get used to this. I used deep conditioners more often and I parted smaller sections during detangling. At the time I had a demanding full-time work schedule and a family, so I would become frustrated if caring for my hair took longer than I had planned. I searched for styles that I could keep for a longer period of time.

4. At this point, I more clearly understood why people wore braids with extensions. When transitioning from relaxed to natural hair, braids are a blessing. Braids provide a consistent hair style that lasts for several weeks. Hair can be washed and conditioned with braids and, for a fee, you can get help removing the extensions. I had to be careful of the weight of the braids putting too much stress on my scalp. It seemed like my hair thinned in some spots as a result of the extensions.

5. In addition to braids, I also wore sew-in weave. This is something I thought I'd never do. But, it was helpful during transition. I had a friend who did a great job. It was simple and helped me keep a decent style for about a week.

My hair was about nine inches long when I began my transition. It took about one and one half years to grow nine new inches of hair. I am satisfied with my results and I have since learned great ways to care for kinky hair. I am glad that I made the change.

See the CONDITIONER and a mohawk twist-out hairstyle that I use on my and my daughter's natural hair.

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