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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… 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… 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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