Seven Effective Tips for Making Your Transition to Natural Hair Easier

1. Keep that new growth stretched! I find that it is worlds easier to manuever and style my hair for the day when my new growth is stretched out. The best way of stretching new growth is applying tension with no or very low heat. This can be accomplished by utilizing braids, twists, rollers, or gently pulling damp hair sections taut while blow drying them on a cool or low heat setting. Wearing braid-outs, twist-outs, and roller sets also have the benefit of giving your relaxed ends some texture, which further helps them blend with your new growth.

2. Rethink How Often You Comb. When I relaxed regularly it was just second nature to comb my hair into submission whenever I wanted to detangle it. Unless you have a very loose natural hair texture this becomes counterproductive as you go further along in your transition. You'll find that instead of detangling your hair you are actually causing more tangles and unnecessary breakage. I find that coating my fingers with oil and using them to mildly untangle my hair when styling helps to prevent breakage at the demarcation line. I find it best only to detangle my hair with a wide-toothed comb in the shower with conditioner or when moisturizing my hair in smaller sections. It's up to everyone individually to come up with an effective detangling method that works for them when transitioning.

3. Choose Your Hair Accessories Wisely. Some of your hair accessories may need replacing as you transition. Standard size hair elastics may have been your go-to method of creating styles such as buns or ponytails, but as your new growth comes in full force you may find it just does not wish to be choked in those tiny things! Well, at least that's what my hair felt, so I had to come up with a solution. Thin elastic head bands, claw clamps, and banana clamps are good alternatives to utilize when trying to accomplish pulled back styles because they provide ample room for your fastly emerging, voluminous natural hair to fit into. And, of course, Bobby pins are great for securing your styles for the day.

4. Scarf it up! Ahh, scarves... where would I be without you? You transform my puffy transitioning styles into beautiful, chic looks that never leave my 'do looking stale. You come in so many colors and sizes, and there are so many different ways of tying you! And you mask my new growth so wonderfully when I need you to. As you can see, I've developed a serious love for scarves.

5. Keep Your Hair Moisturized. This will prevent hair from becoming dry and prone to breakage. Many transitioners have benefited from shampooing their hair less often and co-washing more. Others decide to moisturize their hair or deep condition more often. Whatever way you choose, make sure those strands stay hydrated! In addition, sleeping with a silk or satin scarf or bonnet or on a satin pillowcase does wonders for helping your hair retain moisture during the night.

6. Utilize Protective Styles. Really, the most effective way to transition is to leave your hair alone and let it grow. Excessive handling and manipulation can lead to breakage and thinned out hair, which may cause you to end your transition sooner than you wish. But if you can figure out ways to style your hair and keep it protected for a day, a few days, or even longer you'll be allowing your natural hair to grow in without putting undo stress on your strands.

7. Utilize Strengthening Treatments. These will keep your hair strong and less prone to breaking, especially at the point where you're relaxed ends meed your natural hair. My favorite strengthening treatment is Nupur Henna. I use it as a prepoo from time to time mixed with EVOO and I find that it causes my hair to feel stronger and also leaves my new growth more manageable. If henna is not your thing then an occasional protein treatment may be just the thing for you. Remember, everybody's hair needs are different and, depending on the individual, your hair may need strengthening treatments more or less often. Use your discretion and remember to follow up your strengthening treatment with a moisturizing treatment.