natural-series

By Christi­na of  The Mane Objec­tive

When I first decid­ed to tran­si­tion my heat dam­aged hair, I had no idea what I was get­ting myself into. Sure, two or three months in wasn’t that big of a deal. Most of my hair was still heat dam­aged, and I could fake a wash n’ go if I need­ed to. But as the months pro­gressed, and the new hair got big­ger, I began run­ning into a wall. Banana clips had become a joke. Scrunchies made my pony­tails have alien head syn­drome. I was begin­ning to resent my deci­sion to for­go the heat. I mean, I loved my new thick nat­u­ral hair (and the length I was get­ting), but man­ag­ing those three months in-between flat iron­ing ses­sions proved to be a pain.…until I learned how to enjoy my tran­si­tion­er hair.

We tran­si­tion­ers are in a unique posi­tion, where half of our hair will coop­er­ate with com­mon nat­u­ral styles (like twist and braid-outs), and the dam­aged half will look stringy, janky, and fall flat. We also have a hes­i­tant-at-best rela­tion­ship with heat tools (blow dry­ers, flat irons), because the evi­dence of their dam­age is still very much present. Although we cov­et huge curly-kinky fros and thick tress­es of our whol­ly nat­u­ral coun­ter­parts, there is still much we tran­si­tion­ers can do to enjoy the nat­u­ral hair jour­ney. We can:

1. Re-Vamp the Twist-Out

Tra­di­tion­al twist-outs just don’t work for me and my tran­si­tion­ing tress­es. They also don’t work well for some nat­u­rals with looser curl pat­terns. Instead of hav­ing sup­ple, round­ed twists, we end up with the­se flat-look­ing things that con­sis­tent­ly unrav­el. Fix that prob­lem with a flat-twist ban­tu hybrid that looks some­thing like this:

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Set your hair with your favorite leave-in and hold­ing prod­ucts. Flat twist each sec­tion until you reach the “hang­ing” part of your hair, then twist nor­mal­ly. Place your index fin­ger at the mid­dle of your twist, and loop the hang­ing hair around itself until you get a ban­tu-knot esque shape. Secure with a bob­by pin. Make sure your hair is com­plete­ly dry before tak­ing the style down. Fluff, shake it out (or not), and end up with some­thing like this:

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2. Take Braid-Outs to Anoth­er Lev­el

One of the chal­lenges for tran­si­tion­ers when attempt­ing braid-outs is the inevitable taper­ing of the braid. Taper­ing caus­es your braid outs to look great on the un-dam­aged nat­u­ral hair — leav­ing a nice wavy, uni­form pat­tern, until you reach the heat or relax­er dam­age. Because the hair is irre­versibly straight and thin­ner, waves trans­form down the shaft into the­se crispy crunchy zig-zag things that throw off the whole style. Alle­vi­ate that with a Sat­in Strip Braid-out! Cut an old sat­in scarf into strips (or buy a new one just to cut up…it doesn’t mat­ter), set your hair with your favorite leave-in and hold­ing prod­ucts, and get to work!

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As with all styles that involve manip­u­lat­ing or stretch­ing your hair’s tex­ture, make sure it is com­plete­ly dry before remov­ing the strips. Once dry, you will have a wavy, uni­form pat­tern that will last for up to a week! For more infor­ma­tion on Sat­in Strip Braid-outs, read here or watch my video tuto­ri­al.

3. Get Curls to the MAXXXX

If you walk around with big curly hair envy, and can’t wait to see what you’ll look like with a head full of volu­mi­nous curls, try a straw set! Straw sets are pop­u­lar curl-cre­at­ing options, com­mon with sis­tas rock­ing short­er tress­es. But even if you have longer hair (and about 3–4 hours), you can achieve amaz­ing curls with a straw set. Even bet­ter, it’s a reces­sion-proof alter­na­tive to pur­chas­ing a boat­load of Flexi-Rods or super expen­sive Curl­form­ers. All you need is drink­ing straws (I used 90) and bob­by pins! For a break­down on achiev­ing an awe­some straw set, click here.

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4. Get Cre­ative with Blow-Outs

Blow-outs are a fun­ny sort on tran­si­tion­er hair. One part of the hair is thick and lion-esque, and the rest looks almost like you flat-ironed it. Rem­e­dy that by cre­at­ing some tex­ture-blend­ing def­i­n­i­tion with­in your blow-outs. I rec­om­mend cre­at­ing big ban­tu-knots with a light styling serum, let­ting them set for a while, and then releas­ing them for super cute waves. Just remem­ber to always use a heat pro­tec­tant, and prod­ucts that will allow you to retain some mois­ture with­in your hair. I rec­om­mend Tre­sem­me Heat Tamer Spray ($3.99, Tar­get), Beau­ti­ful Tex­tures Curly to Straight Flat Iron Silken­er ($5.89, Sal­ly Beau­ty), and 100% Pure Jojoba Oil ($7.99, Trader Joe’s) to help pro­tect your hair in its blow-dried state.

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5. Still Have a Healthy Rela­tion­ship with Heat

Just because you are tran­si­tion­ing, that doesn’t mean your flat iron is off-lim­its. I know, this seems coun­ter-intu­itive to those like me, with heat dam­age. Chances are, your hair is heat dam­aged not because of the flat iron itself, but because of how you used it. May­be you made too many pass­es over the same sec­tions of hair. Per­haps you had the tem­per­a­ture up too high. May­be your heat pro­tec­tant wasn’t effec­tive enough. Or even, your flat iron is out­dat­ed or made of the wrong mate­ri­al. Quite pos­si­bly, it was a com­bi­na­tion of all of the above.

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My flat iron­ing arse­nal

Before safe­ly re-engag­ing with heat, check all the para­me­ters above. Make sure your flat iron has an unworn ceram­ic or tour­ma­line coat­ing, or is made of either mate­ri­al. The­se mate­ri­als con­duct heat bet­ter, are more effec­tive at straight­en­ing at low­er tem­per­a­tures, and decrease the amount of dam­age done to the hair. Next, check the age of your flat iron. If you have had it for more than 5 years, you may want to look at get­ting a new one. Using an old flat iron increas­es the prob­a­bil­i­ty of faulty tem­per­a­ture gauges or short­ages — mean­ing that your iron could actu­al­ly be hot­ter than what it says, or cool­er — caus­ing you to make extra passs­es.

Next, check your heat pro­tec­tant. I advise using at least 2 or 3 prod­ucts that mesh well, don’t cause mas­sive buildup, and can pro­tect your hair along each state of the straight­en­ing jour­ney. My picks in this area are Tre­sem­me Heat Tamer Spray (Tar­get, $3.99), ApHogee Ker­at­in & Green Tea Restruc­tur­iz­er spray; which acti­vates best with heat (Sal­ly Beau­ty, $6.99), and Gar­nier Sleek & Shine Anti-Frizz Serum (Tar­get, $4.79). Last­ly in the pro­duct depart­ment, I am going to make an unpop­u­lar rec­om­men­da­tion — Ion Straight­en­ing Sham­poo (Sal­ly Beau­ty, $6.49). It works by deposit­ing sil­i­cones (oh, the human­i­ty!) and poly­mers onto the hair that weigh it down (although you can’t feel them), mak­ing it smoother and work­ing again­st the hair’s nat­u­ral ten­dan­cy to curl back up. Now, your hair won’t look mag­i­cal­ly straight, but you will notice sig­nif­i­cant­ly short­er blow dry­ing and flat iron­ing time.

Two more things on this sub­ject mat­ter and I’m out — check your tem­per­a­ture and your method. If you’re a fan of The Nat­u­ral Haven Bloom like me, then you’ve seen Jc’s arti­cle on what hap­pens to hair at each tem­per­a­ture range. Now, each head of hair is dif­fer­ent. But as a gen­er­al rule of thumb, aim to keep your irons in the 300-350F range. I per­son­al­ly straight­en at 350 (360 in my crown) — but again, do what works best for your hair with­out caus­ing dam­age. Check­ing your method involves eval­u­at­ing how you go about straight­en­ing your hair. Do you do a series of mini-pass­es along each sec­tion, or 3–4 full pass­es on each sec­tion? To reduce damge, you may fare bet­ter if you part your hair in small­er sec­tions, and do 1–2 pass­es. Now, you’re ready to safe­ly engage in heat styling and not lose all your tran­si­tion­er pro­gress! For more tips, click here.

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What are some oth­er ways tran­si­tion­ers can enjoy their hair?

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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40 Comments on "5 Ways to Enjoy Your Hair While Transitioning!"

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Angeal

Your post is the TRUTH! I real­ly didn’t want to tran­si­tion because I like to style my hair but now I found bet­ter alter­na­tives to avoid heat­ing tools and grow healthy longer hair (which due to abuse should have been down to my waste). Thank you!

Edak

Pls I want some direc­tion on the blow out. Do I have to do the ban­tu knot before or after blow dry­ing?

urbanoaf

if you would like to know more I made this blog:
http://urbanoaf30.blogspot.co.uk/
:)

Karen

It has been exact­ly 7 months since my last relax­er and I have an arse­nal of tools to main­tain my length as I tran­si­tion. Despite all of this, I am at my wits end and was ready to do the big chop (reluc­tant­ly). I searched Google for tran­si­tion­ing to nat­u­ral hair­cuts and hap­pi­ly found this page. Instead of the BC, I will trim my hair and use your flat twist/bantu knot tech­nique. My ban­tu knots nev­er look right so I’m very excit­ed at the pos­si­bil­i­ty of hav­ing my curl look some­thing close to yours!! Thank you!!!

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[…] EcoStyler Gel for Slick­ing and Defin­ing Nat­u­ral Hair. 8. How to Use Olive Oil on Nat­u­ral Hair. 9. 5 Ways to Enjoy Your Hair While Tran­si­tion­ing! 10. 5 Med­ical Rea­sons For Slow/No Hair […]

Danielle

Omg! I am going to try the blowout ban­tu knots. I stopped doing ban­tu­knots because they take forever to dry.

kim2

Wow!! This infor­ma­tion was so help­ful to me! Just what I was look­ing for.… and more! Thanks Beau­ti­ful for shar­ing. :)

Angel Christian

Very nice ways you give that how to enjoy­ing your hair while transitioning.thanks for this post.

Aisha

Thank you! Since tran­si­tion­ing I’ve had a few hair­style set­backs. And i was real­ly con­fused with how to wear my hair effec­tive­ly. After try­ing braid outs & ..fail­ing, i had no clue what to try next. Pro­tec­tive styling tran­si­tion­ing hair, for me. Has been a headache. But this. This was a rev­e­la­tion. Now i feel like i can actu­al­ly work with my hair.

Eva Santiagaa

OMG love! Ahhh so beau­ti­ful! Does any­one know how to tight­en nat­u­ral curls? Mine are a mix of waves and 3bs and I hate the loose curls I want them tight, I am sooo close to start straight­en­ing and per­ma­nent straight­en­ing! :(((

Lisa

hair tran­si­tion­ing is bor­ing for me as i love the heat pro­duct which makes mwe more attrac­tive.

Stella

Yeah all the five you shared over here are the best way for hair tran­si­tion­ing. though its not a prefer­able way.

Think Like Linda

I love all the­se styles, just recent­ly I did ban­tu knots and they came out great :) 

Keep up the good work ladies ;)

BeautifulBrownSkin
I am a 16 year old girl and I’m seri­ous­ly strug­gling with my tran­si­tion­ing hair. I’m con­stant­ly buy­ing new prod­ucts to try to mois­tur­ize my hair. Sul­fate free sham­poos, count­less pro­tein treat­ments, creams, leave ins—you get it. My hair is SO dry. And to make it worse, my fam­i­ly (the wom­en of course) tell me how “bushy” and “nap­py” and “raggedy” my hair looks. And that I “NEED a perm”. I find myself stressed out and even cry­ing some­times because I just want beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral hair. I want to wear the hair god gave me and feel beau­ti­ful. :( could… Read more »
Bebe
Awwh I feel your pain Beau­ti­ful­Brown­Skin. My fam­i­ly keeps dis­cour­ag­ing me too. But with time, they’ll come to accept your deci­sion (My mum got me some hair­bands this week!). I also have very dry hair, and itchy scalp too because of dan­druff, and what to do about that is what I’m out on the inter­net look­ing for. So at the moment, the only advice I can give you is what to do about your fam­i­ly. Hang on. When­ev­er you feel dis­cour­aged, go to step 1 of this arti­cle; remind your­self why you chose to do this. There are many arti­cles… Read more »
Bree

My last relax­er was only 4 months ago when I grad­u­at­ed from high school and I moved up north with my aunt and every­one around me up here is nat­u­ral and I want to try it but I can’t decide

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[…] Les out­ils de coif­fure Curl­form­ers, flexirods, rouleaux à per­ma­nen­te (permrods), bigoud­is, pailles (straw set), cure-pipes, fers à fris­er… La lis­te des out­ils de coif­fure qui vous […]

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