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Me and my tran­si­tion­ing hair, cir­ca 2013…lol (stretched wash n’ go)I haven’t done a great job of show­ing it late­ly, but I get a lot of read­er e-mails with ques­tions about tran­si­tion­ing to nat­u­ral hair. Some ask for pro­duct rec­om­men­da­tions, oth­ers want to know how to get their curl back, so forth, etc. I love being able to offer advice and sug­ges­tions tai­lored to indi­vid­u­al heads of hair, but there are some truths that hold uni­ver­sal. If you’re tran­si­tion­ing or con­sid­er­ing a tran­si­tion to nat­u­ral hair, check out this com­pi­la­tion of 5 myths about tran­si­tion­ing (inspired by said e-mails), and the truth about each one:

Myth #1: You can only tran­si­tion from a relax­er.
Total­ly and com­plete­ly untrue. The whole idea behind tran­si­tion­ing is a move from unhealthy and dam­aged hair to vibrant, nat­u­ral hair. Of course, many wom­en tran­si­tion from relax­ers. I hadn’t had a relax­er in my hair since my first (and last) kid­die perm around 6 years old. So what am I tran­si­tion­ing from, then? Heat dam­age. There’s plen­ty of sci­en­tific and anec­do­tal evi­dence sup­port­ing the fact that repet­i­tive expo­sure to heat (and it doesn’t even have to be super duper high) caus­es heat dam­age; which loosens or com­plete­ly straight­ens nat­u­ral hair to the point where it looks relaxed. Per­ma­nent col­or can alter tex­ture as well, or your hair could just be suf­fer­ing from mechan­i­cal (high manip­u­la­tion) dam­age. Any way you have it, there’s some­thing to tran­si­tion from and tran­si­tion to.

Myth #2: You will get your curl “back”.
I can’t stress this enough. A con­tin­u­ing the­me in a lot of the e-mails I receive is an expressed desire for a curl or tex­ture to return. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, if your hair is dam­aged, that is not the case. There is no treat­ment you can do, no pro­duct you can buy that will make your curl return to you. Dam­age is dam­age is dam­age. Now, there is a caveat to this. Let’s say all along your hair has been healthy and tex­tured, and you decide to flat iron it one time on a tem­per­a­ture that’s a wee bit too high. As a result, your coils don’t spring back to nor­mal; they’re a lit­tle drab and stretched-look­ing. To help rehab your hair, you can pick up a pro­duct like ApHogee 2-Step Pro­tein Treat­ment, or Aubrey Organ­ics Glyco­gen Pro­tein Bal­anc­ing Con­di­tion­er. Even with the­se pro­tein and mois­ture restor­ing prod­ucts, there is no guar­an­tee that your hair will be as it was before. But if you’re a chron­ic straight­en­er (like I was), or had a relax­er, nei­ther of the­se treat­ments will do any­thing for you. Instead of wast­ing time and mon­ey on prod­ucts that won’t do any­thing but dis­ap­point you, focus on what is work­ing well for the new curls com­ing in that are replac­ing the long gone ones.

Myth #3: You don’t have to comb your hair.
Any tran­si­tion­er or nat­u­ral will tell you that this is an out­right lie. Sure, there are many who tran­si­tion using low-manip­u­la­tion or pro­tec­tive styles that don’t have to be touched for days or weeks at a time, but that doesn’t mean we don’t comb our hair. It has to even­tu­al­ly be detan­gled, to release shed hairs that get caught up in the mix. I per­son­al­ly detan­gle my hair once or twice a week. Most morn­ings I pull my hair into a bun or some sort of updo, but I don’t need to rake a comb through it every day. Truth is, most tran­si­tion­ers don’t comb their hair every day. The only excep­tion to this was with­in the first 2 — 3 months of tran­si­tion­ing, where my hair was most­ly heat dam­aged and combing/twisting/braiding every day and night didn’t cause many prob­lems. But the fur­ther I got into my tran­si­tion, the less I tried to manip­u­late my hair dur­ing the week because that line of demar­ca­tion is a doozy. But that doesn’t mean I don’t comb my hair at all. Per­haps the way to make this myth into a tran­si­tion­ing truth is to state that “I comb my hair less”.

Myth #4: “Curl enhanc­ing” prod­ucts are for you.
As tempt­ing as it sounds, put that jar/bottle/tube down. I know you hear blog­gers and vlog­gers (myself includ­ed) rav­ing about xyz prod­ucts mak­ing their curls pop, have super def­i­n­i­tion, and every­thing else. But dial it back to point #2 for a sec­ond. The­se prod­ucts will only work on hair that already has a curl/kink/coil pat­tern. It won’t re-acti­vate a curl that’s gone, or put one back where once once was. Let’s take my hair for exam­ple. I recent­ly cozied up to Miss Jessie’s Super Sweet­back Treat­ment (because it was on sale for $14.99 at a local Beau­ty Sup­ply Store), and tried it as a leave-in for a wash n’ go. It worked quite well, defin­ing my curls to the max. But it didn’t do did­dly squat for my heat dam­aged ends. They remained straight. Same sto­ry for every curl enhanc­ing, curl defin­ing, curl sculpt­ing, and curl mak­ing pro­duct out there. No mat­ter what the ingre­di­ents are, their prop­er­ties will only bring tex­tured hair to life. Not relaxed or heat dam­aged ends. So instead of focus­ing on curl def­i­n­i­tion dur­ing the ear­ly part (first 6 — 9 months) of a tran­si­tion, become more acquaint­ed with retain­ing mois­ture and hair strength.

Myth #5: It’s all about length reten­tion.
A while back, I wrote a piece debat­ing whether tran­si­tion­ers should be con­cerned with length reten­tion. In that arti­cle, I con­clud­ed that the answer was both yes and no. Yes, because length is an indi­ca­tor of health (not say­ing short hair is unhealthy, or long hair always is). No, because the very nature of the tran­si­tion is to grad­u­al­ly cut off dam­aged ends over time. For almost the first year of my tran­si­tion, I was much more con­cerned with length reten­tion because my goal was to hold on to the long hair I was accus­tomed to. I would trim min­i­mal­ly, pro­tec­tive­ly style dili­gent­ly, and put extra empha­sis on my scalp and ends. As I approach almost 1.5 years (the offi­cial mark is Sep­tem­ber), I real­ize that for me, now growth is far more impor­tant than length reten­tion. Not to say that I ignore my ends and don’t pro­tec­tive­ly style, but I acknowl­edge that much more of my ener­gy and atten­tion should be devot­ed to the nat­u­ral tex­ture I am grow­ing out; mak­ing sure it is healthy, strong, mois­tur­ized, and in tip-top shape. I even find myself trim­ming off some ends about every few weeks. Once I ful­ly tran­si­tion, this par­a­digm will shift again and I will like­ly become obsessed with length reten­tion, because I will not have a rea­son to trim so often. So in con­clu­sion, there is noth­ing wrong with a con­cern for length reten­tion. But that isn’t ALL she wrote.

What are some of the oth­er myths sur­round­ing tran­si­tion­ing hair that you’ve shat­tered, or learned oth­er­wise?

For more from Christi­na check out her blog, The Mane Objec­tive. You can also find her on Insta­gram and Face­book.

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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10 Comments on "5 Myths About Transitioning to Natural Hair"

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Rashonda

Great Arti­cle! You should try using Nutress Hair prod­ucts. 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! :)

Kyla

Good Arti­cle. I always see pic­tures of tran­si­tion­ing hair from relax­ers but nev­er from heat dam­age. I myself am also tran­si­tion­ing from heat dam­age.

Beverly

Hi my name is Bev­er­ly, I haven’t had a perm in my hair since June or July of this year and I keep it oiled and mois­tur­ized should I put box braids in my hair my is long enough so that I don’t need extension,and what type of sham­poo should I use. Thank You P.S I use coconut oil also.
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camyfai
OMG! im so glad i found this arti­cle! i felt like i was the only one tran­si­tion­ing from heat dam­age instead of relax­er until i found this arti­cle! i was start­ing to feel dis­cour­aged because i thought my hair would revert back to its nat­u­ral pat­tern but iv found out from expe­ri­ence and research that it will nev­er hap­pen although it is ALOT more curly than it was when i start­ed my jour­ney 3mos ago i know its still dam­aged and has to go. it was upset­ting when i came to this real­iza­tion a few weeks ago because my hair… Read more »
amyzgr8

Won­der­ful arti­cle with great insight. Thank you for shar­ing this; it came at a cru­cial time in my tran­si­tion. Good luck to you in your jour­ney.

beauty hair

Great tips…I enjoyed this arti­cle. ways to get healthy hair. beauttyhair.blogspot.com/2013/07/ways-to-get-healthy-hair.html

Leanne

Great tips…I enjoyed this arti­cle.

Kim

Your post real­ly inspired me! I am also tran­si­tion­ing to my nat­u­ral curly hair and I see your hair is a lot like mine. You can check my hair on http://www.beautifulblackhair.nl. It’s also a black hair blog but in Dutch. You can read it with the google trans­late fea­ture if you like. Any­way, I will fol­low you on twit­ter!

The Mane Captain

i agree on every lev­el. you can tran­si­tion from heat dam­aged nat­u­ral hair. You can opt for fin­ger comb­ing instead of using an actu­al comb. and for tran­si­tion­ers, you can prac­tice with retain­ing your relaxed her so that when you cut them off and go 100% nat­u­ral, you would have already devel­oped the habit of car­ing for your ends and retain­ing length. 

themanecaptain.blogspot.ca

Sassy24

Good arti­cle.

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