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By Christi­na of The Mane Objec­tive

It doesn’t mat­ter what stage of nat­ur­al you’re in, there’s always a band­wag­on for you to jump on. Cone free. Bag­gy method. Fin­ger detan­gling. Hair typ­ing. Paraben free. Organ­ic only. DIY. Ombre. You name it, and there is a legion of nat­ur­al fol­low­ers swear­ing by it.

Not that there’s any­thing wrong with band­wag­ons (the­o­ret­i­cal­ly), it’s just that some practices/bandwagons aren’t meant for ladies that are tran­si­tion­ing — and the truth is, they can do more harm than good. Here are four band­wag­ons tran­si­tion­ers should steer clear of:

1. Pineappling

 

Pineap­pling. I’m sure if you have a pulse, you’ve heard of this night­time tech­nique pop­u­lar­ized by the likes of Curly Nik­ki, Franch­es­ka of Hey Fran Hey, Jess of Mahogany Curls, and more. Pineap­pling involves gath­er­ing all of your hair at the front of your head with a satin (or oth­er non-dam­ag­ing) scrunchie, in an effort to pro­tect and not dis­rupt curl pat­terns while sleep­ing. For those that are com­plete­ly nat­ur­al, this may be a per­fect­ly viable night­time option. How­ev­er, for those tran­si­tion­ing, not so much. Although it does not pull/stretch the hair per-se, those with relax­er or heat dam­aged hair will find that the pineap­ple sim­ply reverts what­ev­er twist/braid/bantu/straw set curl or crin­kle back to straight and limp. Tran­si­tion­ers are bet­ter off let­ting the pineap­ple go until they are com­plete­ly nat­ur­al.

2. Hair Typing

Of all the hair band­wag­ons to be on, this is one of the most dam­ag­ing (sec­ond only to the per­fect curl witch hunt). Many fol­lks find hair typ­ing to be divi­sive, and to a cer­tain extent cor­re­lat­ed to eth­nic background/skin tone. While there may be some truth in this, my pur­pose in men­tion­ing hair typ­ing has noth­ing to do with prob­lems of this nature…maybe we’ll get into that lat­er on The Mane Objec­tive. The rea­son hair typ­ing is dam­ag­ing for tran­si­tion­ers is because well, you don’t ful­ly have a hair type…yet. It’s dif­fi­cult to project how kinks, coils, and curls will behave once the heat or relax­er dam­aged hair is gone. Rather than rely­ing on a typ­ing sys­tem to tell you how to care for your new hair, pay atten­tion to your new hair’s den­si­ty, thick­ness, poros­i­ty, and over­all needs. What works, works. And what doesn’t, doesn’t… regard­less of hair type.

3. Permanent Color

This one hurts me the most. Back in the day, I had fun with col­or — at the expense of my hair. As a tran­si­tion­er, I find that per­ma­nent hair dye is coun­ter­pro­duc­tive to the healthy hair jour­ney. For high­lights and all-over, not only does per­ma­nent col­or (gen­er­al rule of thumb: the lighter/harsher the col­or, the more dras­tic the impact) make hair more prone to dry­ness, it also has the poten­tial to loosen/disrupt your curl pat­tern. Dry hair is a chal­lenge for tran­si­tion­ers and non-tran­si­tion­ers alike; why exac­er­bate the prob­lem and increase the like­li­hood of break­age? Even ombre hair col­or presents a chal­lenge for tran­si­tion­ers. Tran­si­tion­ing hair is more prone to break­age, end split­ting, and is trimmed more fre­quent­ly than most nat­ur­al hair. I mean, the objec­tive is to even­tu­al­ly get rid of the dam­aged ends, right? So why would you dye the ends of your hair, if you’re just going to cut them any­way? (This gem comes cour­tesy of my boyfriend, who actu­al­ly talked me out of ombre hair col­or for this very rea­son). You’re bet­ter off exper­i­ment­ing with hen­na if you want a lit­tle col­or. There have been some reports that hen­na can also loosen curl pat­terns, I just per­son­al­ly have not expe­ri­enced that.

4. “The Perfect Curl” Witch Hunt

This is by far the most dam­ag­ing band­wag­on for any­one to be on. For some rea­son, many tran­si­tion­ers think that once they go nat­ur­al, these per­fect­ly behaved ringlets will emerge from their hair, and all they’ll need to do is fluff and go. Ha, if it were that easy, many of us prob­a­bly wouldn’t be trim­ming off relax­er and heat dam­aged hair in the first place. See­ing your nat­ur­al hair not behave in the afore­men­tioned fash­ion can lead to one of three things:

1. You become obsessed with find­ing the per­fect curl­ing prod­ucts, and launch full steam ahead into prod­uct junkie-ism, half used bot­tles of mir­a­cle prod­ucts that failed, and more.
2. You become dis­ap­point­ed in your hair’s nat­ur­al tex­ture, and start con­tem­plat­ing going back to high heat and Just For Me.
3. You accept your hair as-is, and move on.

For me per­son­al­ly, bul­let num­ber three is the goal — to accept my hair and move on. Although admit­ted­ly, this can be dif­fi­cult for tran­si­tion­ers (see #2, Hair Typ­ing). Search­ing for per­fect curl prod­ucts is usu­al­ly a waste of time for tran­si­tion­ers because well, it will only work on one part of your hair. Noth­ing you put on your hair is going to revive that heat or relax­er dam­age. If you see your nat­ur­al tex­ture emerge and you get the itch to straight­en or perm, that’s a per­son­al pref­er­ence and I am not at lib­er­ty to judge you. I just believe that for me, accept­ing my nat­ur­al hair tex­ture is the way to go. In the mean­time though, I do get annoyed with tapered ends and halfway straight strands from time-to-time. For me, play­ing with twist-outs, satin strip braid-outs, ban­tu knot-outs, and straw sets are fun ways to get that dam­aged hair to pre­tend like it has some char­ac­ter. I just know and accept that when wash day comes, it’s back to half curly (with a kinky crown), half straight…and I am per­fect­ly okay with that.

What are some oth­er band­wag­ons that tran­si­tion­ers and nat­u­rals alike should steer clear of?

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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37 Comments on "4 Bandwagons Transitioners Should Steer Clear Of!"

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Alucynda
I stopped using a relax­er in June 2013 (27 months) but I chose not to do a BC. I did the very short hair/mini curly-fro thing when I joined the mil­i­tary, it wasn’t a good look. Any­way my hair is just below chin length and I vis­it my styl­ist for a wash and blow-out (about every 2–3 weeks). I don’t use any heat between salon vis­its. I would love to stop the blow-outs alto­geth­er but there is no real way right now to deter­mine what kind of “nat­ur­al” curl I have left. I do look at it while I’m in… Read more »
Teddy

?Hel­lo,
I just want­ed to ask if you ever have any trou­ble with hack­ers? My last blog (word­press) was hacked and I end­ed up los­ing many months of hard work due to no back up. Do you have any solu­tions to pre­vent hack­ers?

lwheavenly
I’ve been tran­si­tion­ing for 13 months and it has been a jour­ney. I’m thank­ful to the wealth of infor­ma­tion we have now on wear­ing our hair nat­ur­al and car­ing for it in the nat­ur­al state. I remem­ber my hair before perm because back in the day, before Jheri and Cal­i­for­nia curls, I wore my hair pressed / hot combed. And with all due respect to the younger gen­er­a­tion, I have nev­er heard so much bick­er­ing and argu­ing about nat­ur­al hair vs permed hair in my life…I feel, what­ev­er suits you and you are com­fort­able with it.…then wear it!!!! I know while tran­si­tion­ing… Read more »
EmmaT
Hel­lo, Im glad I found this site. I have been tran­si­tion­ing for 9 months. I have to admit I am a youtube,product, junkie. How­ev­er with all that is out there, I have to say that the info and expe­ri­ences of tran­si­tion­ers is not as much as I would like to see. I also think that our hair is “OURS”. If we want to tran­si­tion long, or BC we should be able to do so with­out judge­ment. We also should not make any­one feel ” some kin­da way” because they choose not to go nat­ur­al, or don’t use all nat­ur­al prod­ucts,… Read more »
Kionnei
Hel­lo beau­ti­ful ladies, I find this an inter­est­ing top­ic. I find the com­ments just as inter­est­ing due to the diverse answers and opin­ions. I went nat­ur­al by mis­take. Yes you’ve read that cor­rect­ly. I always wore sew ins and left a leave out. For 4 years I have been doing this. I nev­er did a BC or trim for that mat­ter. I left my hair sewed in for 2–3 months, washed and deep con­di­tioned and the repeat. I’ve nev­er fol­lowed the nat­ur­al com­mu­ni­ty because as I stat­ed I went nat­ur­al unknow­ing­ly. Before the sew ins, I was a perm and… Read more »
Sheena

Love the top­ic. You make the impor­tant points and dis­tinc­tions. Hair typ­ing can be mad­den­ing! The focus on den­si­ty, thick­ness and poros­i­ty bring us back to the basics. Help­ing us elim­i­nate the mys­tery of hair. There is so much diver­si­ty in “black” hair but three things we know. Hydrate to cleans and add mois­ture. Nour­ish­ing for pro­tec­tion agains dry brit­tle hair and Strength­en after styling or as need­ed. THis is the sil­ver lin­ing. ~ty

peace & love
Sheena

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Love JAH

Con­grats to the long term tran­si­tion­ers, for the fear of short hair you’ll wear 2 tex­tures on your head…

Ashes

A lot of this is tri­al and error. I feel like, sure, try and band­wag­on if ya want. If you like it, stay on it. If you don’t, hop off. The biggest thing is patience. That’s real­ly the only thing that’s been con­sis­tent in my hair jour­ney.

Miss SP

I HATE the pinap­ple method. Always looks crap­py on me and my hair is 3A/B com­bo.

Yayer

Do not imme­di­ate­ly choose a hair idol or icon with­out know­ing what your nat­ur­al hair looks like, be your own idol. Often peo­ple make the mis­take of sav­ing lots of pic­tures of their dream nat­ur­al hair and being high­ly dis­ap­point­ed when they final­ly BC only to find that their hair is not like Corinne Bai­ley Rae’s, Tracee Ellis Ross’ or Rachel True’s etc etc. if you look at your own hair and think of how you can make it the health­i­est it can be before bcing, you’ll be much hap­pi­er with the out­come.

Imani

I’ve noticed that about the pineap­ple method too. So when wear­ing braid outs while tran­si­tion­ing, how do you sug­gest wrap­ping your hair? Putting it in a bon­net makes it shaped real­ly weird when I take it off because my hair is longer than the bon­net reach­es and hair has to be stuffed in. Rebraid­ing at night caus­es it to be huge and takes away the def­i­n­i­tion of the curl/wave pat­tern in my hair style.

Debra

I’m relaxed and pineap­pling works for me with braid­outs. I’d say try it and see. It may work for some and it may not work for oth­ers. A friend of mine who is nat­ur­al sug­gest­ed it. If you want to keep def­i­n­i­tion, light­ly spritz your hair with a spray mois­tur­iz­er before rebraid­ing at night.

Christina Patrice

I usu­al­ly just tie a reg­u­lar satin scarf over my hair, and let the ends hang free. Then I sleep on a satin pil­low­case. In the morn­ing I shake out/fluff and go on about my busi­ness.

rrstyles
@Stace, It took me 15 months with trim­ming every month to slow­ly cut the relax­er out because the more my nat­ur­al hair grew out the more I want­ed the relaxed hair off. I pressed through half of my tran­si­tion­ing stage because I thought I want­ed to be a nat­ur­al with pressed hair. The bad thing about doing it that way is if you decide to wear it in its nat­ur­al state then you have to grow out the pressed hair that has become almost as straight as the relaxed hair which then means it will take longer to tran­si­tion. I… Read more »
Stace

Thank you soo much for this response. Yes it does sound like alot of work, but the actu­al steps seem sim­ple enough. Yea I believe you about that pressed hair thing. I was think­ing about doing it that way, but I knew deep down inside that that would just pro­long the process. Thanks!

Stace
I think it would be great to get more sto­ries on peo­ples expe­ri­ence with tran­si­tion­ing, how they did it, what they did or didn’t do, and what they learned dur­ing the process. You only here that some­one is tran­si­tion­ing or how long they’ve been tran­si­tion­ing, but besides braids and twist outs what are peo­ple doing? Are peo­ple blow dry­ing their roots with a blow dri­er that has the comb attach­ment? Are peo­ple using the coconut “Relax­er” or bak­ing soda treat­ment on their roots? Haver your wash/shampoo process changed? Do you co wash btwn sham­poos? pressing/flat iron­ing? like stuff like that… Read more »
Sassy24

I don’t do any of those and Im near my 2 year mark of tran­si­tion­ing

honeybrown1976

I fin­ished my long tran­si­tion (31 months — you read cor­rect­ly — 31 months) and I can­not lie I fell prey to all, except the col­or, band­wag­on. It’s hard NOT to. But, with patience and care, you’ll grow out of it.

anon

wow well done,i did it for 20 months i would love to get highlights,as long as you deep con­di­tion it should be fine.

Jaida

The Nat­ur­al Nazi band­wag­on. It’s one thing to be a part of the com­mu­ni­ty and help each oth­er and give each oth­er sug­ges­tions on prod­ucts, tech­niques, reg­i­mens, etc., but polic­ing what OTHER peo­ple do with THEIR hair is a no-no.

JENNID
Can we drop this phrase please. The Nazis were a harsh group of peo­ple and that’s putting it mild­ly. Just because peo­ple like myself and oth­ers want open dia­log about the pol­i­tics sur­round­ing black women’s hair does equate us with mass mur­der­ers. In all hon­est­ly a men­tal tran­si­tion has to go along with the phys­i­cal. You ain’t got­ta chan­nel the slaves but know that our hair has a his­to­ry and con­tro­ver­sy around it. I say join the con­ver­sa­tion because it needs to hap­pen, plus I think it makes the jour­ney more inter­est­ing. It is and it ain’t just hair.  But to… Read more »
abhiola
please dont take the wrong way because this is not direct­ed to you per­son­al­ly. even if you just want to make peo­ple aware of the pol­i­tics that sur­round black hair and have con­ver­sa­tions about it, thats not to say oth­ers dont over­re­act. some peo­ple do take it way too seri­ous­ly and it turns into bat­tle of words and much dis­re­spect to oth­er women. i have seen many videos and com­ments which have turned nasty. the term may be offen­sive, and they may not be mass mur­der­ers but they are ruth­less and hor­ri­ble. rather than sup­port­ing oth­er women and encour­ag­ing oth­ers,… Read more »
JENNID
Oh no offense tak­en. I see what you guys are say­ing. No one wants to be policed about what they do to their heads. Some peo­ple do go too far and an inno­cent ques­tion can turn into a argu­ing match. I’ve seen it too. We should always try to remain respect­ful AND not be so over­ly sen­si­tive at times.If some­one ques­tions what you do sim­ply state it the rea­son and move on. Usu­al­ly the con­ver­sa­tion turns ugly by only a few peo­ple who don’t know how to have a mature con­ver­sa­tion with­out get­ting nasty. I get what you guys are… Read more »
JulesP
I think Jaida’s point was not focused around his­to­ry and dis­cus­sion, but more around defin­ing what nat­ur­al is for oth­ers. I’ve seen that alot on forums and Youtube. There seems to be a group of nat­u­rals (not all asso­ci­at­ed) that feel they can define whether anoth­er nat­ur­al is “nat­ur­al enough”. Like say­ing a per­son with hair col­or or some­one who uses prod­ucts that aren’t all nat­ur­al isn’t a true nat­ur­al. Even if a per­son choos­es to straight­en their hair, it seems to be an issue with some peo­ple. It has noth­ing to do with talk­ing about the his­to­ry of our… Read more »
B

As a long term tran­si­tion­er, 15 & a half months post relax­er, I say the num­ber on band­wag­on tran­si­tion­ers should avoid is fol­low­ing what those you tube favorites did for their hair. You real­ly to try prod­ucts and reg­i­mens out to see whats best for you and not assume that once you big chop your hair will look like that hair crush of yours. I hate see­ing com­ments on You tube & Face­book say­ing “because you of you Im going nat­ur­al” those ladies may be in for a rude awak­en­ing when they hair is noth­ing like their “idol”

Dy Dy

Peo­ple shouldn’t have to feel oblig­at­ed to do the BC while tran­si­tion­ing. For some peo­ple, that isn’t nec­es­sary. I haven’t had a perm in years nor did I ever do the BC and I have healthy hair. If you reg­u­lar­ly get your hair trimmed it shouldn’t mat­ter because it will all be gone at some point in time any­way.

Again, that doesn’t go for every­body. I def­i­nite­ly rec­om­mend dis­cussing it with a nat­ur­al hair spe­cial­ist if you can to get start­ed. For some­one that is lost in the world of nat­ur­al hair, they can be a wealth of knowl­edge.

T. Sanders

Tran­si­tion­ers should avoid look­ing for a “hair twin” with the hope to emu­late their hair care reg­i­men. Just because you’re both 4a doesn’t mean the prod­uct she uses on her hair will work for you. This is EXACTLY why the hair typ­ing sys­tem is irrel­e­vant. Your poros­i­ty and den­si­ty could vary sig­nif­i­cant­ly from your “hair twin’s.”
While there is noth­ing wrong with look­ing for folks who you think have sim­i­lar manes to get an idea of pos­si­ble prod­ucts or tech­niques, it’s prob­a­bly best to read more about poros­i­ty and den­si­ty to learn more about your hair needs.

CSI
And what needs would that be? When you’re just start­ing out in any­thing new in life you ask some­one who can help you. What’s wrong with look­ing for some­one with hair close to yours. To tell the truth, i’ve been nat­ur­al three years and still don’t know my hair’s den­si­ty or poros­i­ty. The den­si­ty changes from when hair has prod­uct in it or with­out prod­uct. That poros­i­ty test in a glass is a joke. I mean real­ly.…. Sounds good in the­o­ry but in real­i­ty, none of this means any­thing with­out tri­al and error.… Straight up Sci­ence Class. Copy­ing off some­one… Read more »
H$

@nikki a- many won’t rec­om­mend it as it may cause heat dam­age on your new, per­fect­ly healthy locks. Also, I think it’s fun to get reac­quaint­ed with your curl pat­tern and real­ly appre­ci­ate them! But of course, you’ll find what works for you :)

nikki alston

@H$ Thanks maybe I will hold off for a while and get some flat twists instead but i prob­a­bly will flat iron it from time to time at least.

Christina Patrice

@Nikki it depends. I am tran­si­tion­ing from heat dam­age, and it’s a doozy. Tran­si­tion­ing with heat is pos­si­ble, but it leaves you more prone to heat dam­age, dry­ness, break­age, and split ends. I per­son­al­ly only flat iron my hair every 3 months or less. Tran­si­tion­ing method is a per­son­al deci­sion, and you have to do what’s best for you and your hair.

ladyluo

Num­ber 4 and num­ber 2 are big for me. Hair typ­ing for me does not serve any pur­pose as it does not help me find the prod­ucts that will work for me. As far as try­ing to find the per­fect curl, there is noth­ing wrong with doing it every now and then for me as long as you do not hate and can still cel­e­brate your hair as is. I per­son­al­ly love the kink and there is noth­ing bet­ter!

nikki alston

is there any­thing wrong with tran­si­tion­ing with flat iron?

honeybrown1976

You could pos­si­ble have heat dam­age. You want to use as min­i­mal heat as pos­si­ble since the line sep­a­rat­ing your nat­ur­al hair/new growth from your relaxed hair is extreme­ly frag­ile. Roller set­ting or straw-set­ting is fine; but, flat iron­ing should be done as min­i­mal­ly as pos­si­ble.

SC

i shouldn’t think so. a lot of peo­ple even tran­si­tion with relax­er (even though i dis­agree) but if you only use the flat iron every month you should be fine.

nikki alston

Thanks for the info SC. Thats inter­est­ing. How do you tran­si­tion with relax­er? Although im try­ing to get away from relax­ers Im fas­ci­nat­ed as to how that would work. Seems like it would cause more dam­age

honeybrown1976

You don’t tran­si­tion with relax­er. You still using chem­i­cals. Don’t fall for this mis­in­for­ma­tion.

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