By Christi­na of The Mane Objec­tive

Just a few weeks ago, I could’ve sworn it was all good with my tran­si­tion. My bun­ning was work­ing, week­end braid­outs were dope, detan­gling and co-wash­ing had become remark­ably swift, and I had seal­ing down to a sci­ence. Then I woke up one Mon­day morn­ing, and it seemed as if overnight, every­thing had changed. My hair became a tan­gled, dry mess. Where my buns were once awe­some, I now had a strange case of alien-head hair. My banana clips snapped in two, and my claw clips explod­ed as soon as I tried to use them. I almost said screw the tran­si­tion, and chopped off my heat dam­aged hair. Luck­i­ly, my sis­ter talked me off of a ledge by remind­ing me that my head was too big to have short hair. Plus, BF would have been incred­i­bly upset if I went from mid-back to chin length overnight.

I say all of the anec­do­tal infor­ma­tion to say…long-term tran­si­tion­ing is not a one-dimen­sion­al or a stag­nant process. On the con­trary it is flu­id — requir­ing change, flex­i­bil­i­ty, adjust­ments and assess­ment. Not to say that your hair’s needs will change from day to day or from week to week, but may­be about every two or three months you’ll need to take a time-out and see what’s real­ly good with your new growth. It just dawned on me that I was almost eight months in to the no-heat chal­lenge, and sea­sons were chang­ing as well. Time to rein­vent my reg­i­men, give my prod­ucts an update, and go back to the draw­ing board on tools.

1. Tweaking and Adjusting your Regimen

When I first began tran­si­tion­ing, it was noth­in’ for me to slap a banana clip in my hair and rock a big bun all week. After all, the major­i­ty of my hair was still con­sid­er­ably thin­ner. I also damp detan­gled with a wide-tooth comb, and it nev­er crossed my mind to sec­tion wash my hair. Fast for­ward eight months, and my hair eats banana clip for break­fast, I can’t accom­plish any detan­gling with­out my trusty fin­gers and my hair sat­u­rat­ed in water and con­di­tion­er, and sec­tion wash­ing is manda­to­ry. I say all this to say; some­times you got­ta switch it up.

As your new hair per­forms a takeover on your head, it demands adjust­ments in the reg­i­men depart­ment. If your new hair requires more mois­tur­iz­ing and seal­ing, per­haps you need to make your wash­es more fre­quent as to avoid buildup. May­be detan­gling ses­sions should be a once a week instead of every two weeks. If your old styles are doing more harm than good, you have to go back to the draw­ing board. Eval­u­ate every aspect of your reg­i­men – how fre­quent­ly you cleanse, detan­gle, manip­u­late, con­di­tion, trim, and every­thing in-between. Chances are, some things you were doing four months ago no longer cut it when it comes to your hair – or even worse, have an adverse effect.

2. Using Products that Add and Retain Moisture

Dur­ing the first few months your tran­si­tion, you are most like­ly work­ing with major­i­ty relaxed, heat dam­aged, or oth­er­wise major­ly straight­ened hair with a curl pat­tern that pales in com­par­ison to the nat­u­ral stuff that is begin­ning to sprout from your scalp. If you were like me, you went easy on the heavy oils and but­ters, and opt­ed for lighter or dilut­ed prod­ucts to mois­tur­ize and seal your hair, so that your straight­ened hair doesn’t get stringy. Some­where between the 4 and 6 mon­th mark, you prob­a­bly noticed that your new hair isn’t retain­ing as much mois­ture as it used to. You’re not crazy – you just need to kick your prod­ucts up a notch. More high­ly tex­tured hair – regard­less of “type” (which I hap­pen to not be a fan of) – requires heav­ier and more con­sis­tent mois­ture.

3. Using Gentler Shampoos

If you’re still using sham­poos fre­quent­ly (week­ly, or more often…especially sul­fat­ed), it may be time to wean your­self off the abra­sive for­mu­las and switch to some­thing that will cod­dle your new tress­es. Co-wash­es are always great for gen­tle cleans­ing, but if you are an avid work­out per­son or suf­fer from pro­duct build-up and need to clar­i­fy your hair and scalp often, apple cider vine­gar, Aztec Heal­ing Clay, and Shea Mois­ture African Black Soap Purifi­ca­tion Masque are great alter­na­tives for cleans­ing.

4. Start a Conditioning Regimen

If you don’t already, it’s high time to start con­di­tion­ing. I don’t mean deep con­di­tion as in walk around with a Tar­get bag on your head for 12 hours under a beanie while you run errands. But if you choose to do this, more pow­er to you. Unless you have uber dry hair that requires con­stant deep con­di­tion­ing, once or twice a mon­th for a thir­ty min­ute to an hour deep con­di­tion­ing ses­sion is suf­fi­cient. Per­son­al­ly, after a week­ly co-wash, I fol­low up with a reg­u­lar con­di­tion­er (either Tre­sem­me, TIGI Cat­walk, or Shea Mois­ture) for about 10 min­utes while I show­er. To retain extra mois­ture, I began only rins­ing 60–70% of the con­di­tion­er out of my hair and using the remain­ing pro­duct as a leave-in. This is option­al, espe­cial­ly for those con­cerned about buildup.

5. Using heavier products, like Butter and Creams

As I said ear­lier, you most like­ly start­ed out with lighter prod­ucts in this are­na. If you’re like me, you try to get the most bang for your buck and find prod­ucts that accom­plish both. Ear­lier in the tran­si­tion game, I blend­ed Aloe Vera Gel and Shea Mois­ture Coconut Hibis­cus Curl Enhanc­ing Smooth­ie to make a light mois­tur­iz­ing and hold­ing pro­duct – per­fect for twist and braid-outs. As more of this thick and thirsty hair began sprout­ing, I began rely­ing on heav­ier prod­ucts to help me out. For mois­ture, lay­er­ing a pen­e­trat­ing oil like Coconut Oil and top­ping off with straight up Curl Enhanc­ing Smooth­ie (no Aloe) has been great for retain­ing mois­ture and made for some ah-may-ZING braid-outs and flat twists. Depend­ing upon what your hair likes, incor­po­rat­ing shea but­ter, jojoba, or cas­tor oil (among a gazil­lion oth­er great oils) can help your hair retain mois­ture bet­ter than the lighter prod­ucts like aloes and spritzes.

6. Using Gentler Tools

As you tran­si­tion, your tools may need an upgrade too. Once I dis­cov­ered my wide tooth comb was a joke, I upgrad­ed (or is it down­grad­ed?) to fin­ger detan­gling. When my banana clips would ran­dom­ly just pop open and fall apart in the most dis­re­spect­ful man­ner pos­si­ble, I had to move on to oth­er meth­ods of pro­tec­tive styling. At some junc­ture, slick­ing back my edges with my hands stopped work­ing, and I had to adopt a soft-bristle brush. You may dis­cov­er that you need dif­fer­ent tools, or that you don’t need tools at all. Remem­ber, the things you use to han­dle your hair are just as impor­tant as what you put in/on it.

What oth­er areas have you had to change up dur­ing your tran­si­tion?

Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and liv­ing in Los Ange­les, Christi­na is BGLH’s res­i­dent tran­si­tion­ing expert and pro­duct junkie. In addi­tion to lov­ing all things hair, she is a fit­ness novice and advo­cate of wear­ing san­dals year-round. For more infor­ma­tion on tran­si­tion­ing, nat­u­ral hair, and her own hair jour­ney, vis­it maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pic­tures fol­low Christi­na on Insta­gram @maneobjective.

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19 Comments on "6 Regimen Adjustments that ALL Transitioning Naturals Should Make"

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Rashonda

Nutress Hair prod­ucts are sul­fate free and great for tran­si­tion­ers to use. They have a great tran­si­tion­ing kit that helped me through my jour­ney! I am now nat­u­ral and an inch past bra strap length so I would rec­om­mend that you try Nutress. I would not have beau­ti­ful long nat­u­ral hair now if it was­nt for those prod­ucts. I love them! And I still use them till this day! :)

Stephanie

I had shoul­der surgery back in August and can­not do my own hair. I have been hav­ing my daugh­ter braid my hair then put a weave in it. I haven’t had a perm since last year August. Does any­one have any sug­ges­tions on how to keep my own hair mois­tur­ized with the weave in it? My hair is just past shoul­der length. My daugh­ter is not help­ing me and it’s hard to only have one arm to help me take care of my hair. Any advice will be help­ful.

Tracy

Fin­ger detan­gling definet­ley stops the break­age from comb­ing it all the time and low manip­u­la­tion hair­styles too! Gen­er­al­ly being much gen­tler with my hair

Nad

I been in tran­si­tion­ing for 4 months. What are some good pro­tein prod­ucts. I learn the first step is my hair health. It was not. My hair is dam­age and is high posoity. So alot of pro­tein is a must. Do any­body know deep con­di­tions for the amount­ed time or leave it in long as overnight.

Jenean

Heyy, I would like to start transitioning…my hair is wear­ing out a relax­er so should I put like micros in my hair or go straight to co wash­ing it start­ing my tran­si­tion what do you think I should do?

Katrina

I whole­heart­ed­ly agree with revis­it­ing your reg­i­men every few months dur­ing the tran­si­tion peri­od as you grow more nat­u­ral hair. Also, the sea­sons may dras­ti­cal­ly change what’s hap­pen­ing with your hair AND skin, espe­cial­ly if you live in the Mid­west where we get the hottest of Sum­mer and the cold­est of Win­ter.

Good arti­cle! :-)

more

My issue is that my ends are crunchy! I don’t know if that is because of the relaxed ends or if that’s how how my hair will always be

Zanthe
A few of the­se apply to every­one. I’d add: Tai­lor make a reg­i­men that is JUST for you. Often­times new­er nat­u­rals, those who haven’t fig­ured out a work­ing reg­i­men and estab­lished nat­u­rals search­ing for length will fol­low anoth­er ‘suc­cess­ful’ natural’s reg­i­men in the hopes of achiev­ing the same results and are left defeat­ed and dis­ap­point­ed when it doesn’t work for them. I would say that you need to take the time to work out your nat­u­ral hair reg­i­men and that you may end up wast­ing time and mon­ey on tech­niques and prod­ucts that are not for your hair. That is just part… Read more »
Landry

+1 “I would say that you need to take the time to work out your nat­u­ral hair reg­i­men and that you may end up wast­ing time and mon­ey on tech­niques and prod­ucts that are not for your hair.”—> SO TRUE!!

You can have the same 4a/4b/3c (what­ev­er) hair type as some­one else, but not have the same type of hair over­all. Everyone’s hair is unique to them. Find out what works for you!

Zanthe

Lol yes! I nev­er tried fol­low­ing anyone’s reg­i­men because I’ve nev­er seen a nat­u­ral with hair like mine BUT best believe I bought into many pro­duct raves, poo pooed cer­tain things I lat­er went back to (but­ters) and adopt­ed things that just didn’t work for me (con­di­tion­er comb­ing any­one?) not to men­tion all the rest. It real­ly is a jour­ney and one that is com­plete­ly with­out short­cuts.

B

Tran­si­tion­ing IMO is the best way to men­tal­ly and phys­i­cal­ly pre­pare for 100% nat­u­ral hair. I have been tran­si­tion­ing now for 14 months and this has allowed me to find what prod­ucts works best for my “new” hair and get a reg­i­men down.…the key for me is I have treat­ed my hair like it was nat­u­ral since my last relax­er.

juanita617

Hi B…I’ve been tran­si­tion­ing for 15 months now and my major prob­lem is my relaxed ends com­plete­ly shed­ding in the show­er or when­ev­er I go to detan­gle. I know this hair is much weak­er than my nat­u­ral curls but the hair is com­ing out in clumps. You real­ly can’t tell once I’ve styled it but I’m afraid it’s going to end up real stringy and I’ll even­tu­al­ly have to chop it all off. Just like this arti­cle stated…that wouldn’t work with the BF going from long to short. Do you have any sug­ges­tions?

B

Wow, sor­ry to hear you are hav­ing issues. I usu­al­ly apply some type of oil, coconut usu­al­ly before detan­gling. The oil helps with slip. I also dont detan­gle in show­er I take my time and do it with a spray bot­tle and con­di­tion­er at the sink. I wet my hair under the sink and use the spray bot­tle to keep it wet. I use a wide tooth comb start­ing at my ends and work­ing my way to my roots.
Are you deep con­di­tion­ing?? I do so once a week when I co wash…I have had some break­age but noth­ing sev­ere…

juanita617

Thanks for the advice :)

B

How do you style your hair?? Your hair sounds like its break­ing from dry­ness. Are you mois­tur­iz­ing dai­ly and you should do a pro­tein treat­ment to cor­rect the breakeage issues…check out curlynikki.com mes­sage board and youtube.com for advice also

juanita617

No, I don’t deep con­di­tion on a reg­u­lar basis. I used a plas­tic cap that helps you use your nat­u­ral heat to deep con­di­tion but that’s it. I wish my hair could hold on. I’m going to get some coconut oil and try doing that next time. I’ve tried detan­gling from the the ends to the roots but I still lose a lot of strands. I’m just going to work this until it looks so ridicu­lous I’ll have no choice but to big chop. Hope­ful­ly it wont come down to that.

Hansy

Juani­ta, I think my hair was doing the exact same thing the first months and then it stop. Now the shed­ding is min­i­mal or what I would nor­mal­ly expect. I think it was get­ting rid of all the very dam­age hair and what’s left is the hair that will hold on. BTW my hair is very thin and that’s why it breaks so eas­i­ly.

MyCurlyMane

Relaxed hair is a polar oppo­site to nat­u­ral­ly curly hair. Sor­ry curlies. It requires that you learn about your hair all over again. Good news: Once you have a rou­tine down that works, your hair will thrive and grace you with boun­ti­ful cuu­u­urls! :)

goyta

amen to the fin­ger detan­gling. i wouldn’t dream of comb­ing my hair now. i tried it a few months ago just to see if any­thing had changed, and nope, it still broke my hair. for the first time in my life i have no split ends, and very min­i­mal break­age! i’m rather well pleased.

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