Why I Used a Texturizer to “Transition” to Natural Hair

by Taylor Law of Klassy Kinks

At the end of 2012, I decided that it was time to take control and go natural. No awkward moments of carrying two textures and trying to control my “puffy” edges. No more feeling like my hair never looked as good as that first week out of the salon. I was going natural and I was excited about it.

Except, my natural hair journey was a little different than the ones I commonly watch on YouTube or read about on natural hair websites.

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For me, the journey had an in-between stage. Yes, I had relaxed hair and years later I transitioned to completely natural. However, between the two polar opposite spectrums of texture, I had texturized hair.

 

Why The Texturizer?

A texturizer is technically still a chemical process on your hair, but not as harsh as a relaxer. The goal is to loosen your curl pattern and place your locks in wash-and-go heaven. Curly hair, but without the kinkier texture. Curly hair, but controlled, unable to reach big, afro-like heights.

My hairstylist suggested a texturizer because, at that point in my life, I was afraid to go completely natural. I was in high school and there weren’t a lot of students who looked like me. Also, I had heard too many horror stories about going through the transition to natural hair. In my head, I was already dealing with the woes of academia and the stress of social life in high school and I didn’t want another thing to worry about.

Looking Back

Now, years later, I sometimes wonder if this step was truly necessary. I think about how much longer my natural hair would be if I embraced it during those high school years. At times, a think about how the idea of a texturizer seems kind of silly. A lot of fellow classmates thought it was my actual hair. I can imagine them now, asking, “So you had curly hair, but it wasn’t actually yours?”

But what I always remind myself is that I needed to go through this stage. It was comfortable for me because I simply wasn’t ready to take the full plunge. I needed to see those texturized curls on my head before I really wondered what my actual curly hair looked like. I needed to feel the freedom of cutting my hair in a short bob or dying it to a mahogany color and not feeling so tied to the length or worried about the consequences.

By the time I had graduated high school my texturizer had started to turn on me. I used excessive heat to style my hair for prom and it was starting to show. Some sections had limper curls than others and it was extremely dry. It was damaged. My hairstylist convinced me that it was the ideal time to go natural and do the big chop. After all, I was leaving for college. There was no fear of what people would say because they had never seen me before. A new stage in my life, a new outlook on my hair. I haven’t looked back since.The Bottom Line

I think that it’s important for the natural hair community to recognize that the journey is different for everyone. You don’t want to big chop? That’s fine. You want to wear a weave while your hair gets a little longer? That’s cool. Want to rock a texturizer before going all in? That’s awesome. There is nothing wrong with “deviating” from the traditional natural hair journey — because the stakes are high, it’s your life, and you have to do what’s best for you.

Do you think the natural hair community needs to alter it’s views on how “the journey” should go? Can you relate to having a different journey?

Editorial

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23 thoughts on “Why I Used a Texturizer to “Transition” to Natural Hair

  1. I think everyone’s hair story is unique and there’s nothing wrong with that. Variety is the spice of life. I never saw my hair in an unaltered state until I was in my 20s. Up until my first relaxer at 11, the hot comb, the stove, and my mother conspired to keep my neck length hair laid. When I first wanted to go natural my senior year in high school, my family hairdresser went off on me, told me that my hair wouldn’t grow that way, and slapped a Jheri Curl in my head. It wasn’t until much, much later, (after I had gone to college and big chopped for the first time) that I realized her reaction was purely out of fear of losing business. Even after learning that, I got so caught up with my hair looking a certain way, I damaged it to hell and back and had to big chop again after my sophomore year of college. 3 years later, I finally love my hair just the way it is. It takes time to love something that you’ve been taught to hate your whole life. Kudos to the author and everyone else who has finally gotten there.

  2. I agree completely. I started this journey quite by accident. I had tried something on my relaxed hair that didn’t work. ACV! I know a lot of naturals use it, but I’ll never put it in my hair again. My hair was a couple of inches past my shoulders and the ACV took it out. My hair has never been so short (except for when my hairdresser misunderstood my request at age 14, but that’s a story for another time); about two inches! At any rate, that’s when I decided to get my first weave. In the meantime, while my hair was healing and growing there were no chemicals of any kind used on my hair. That was over a period of two years. Then I tried the texturizer. I loved it. Until my hair began shedding like crazy. Now, another two years have passed and my hair is completely natural. But it’s always in a protective style–braids under a wig. Truthfully, I am still going to the salon. I have never dealt with my natural hair on my own. I am scared to death of messing it up. I am also tired of the wigs. But I feel overwhelmed about what to do, which products to use, and how to care for it daily-weekly, and so on. Is there a book/guide for newbie naturals? Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    • There are so many resources for natural hair! I can see why you might be overwhelmed. Before you leap into maintaining your own mane, I highly encourage you to browse around sites like this one and ponder a few things:

      1. What are your goals for your hair? Do you want to grow it long? Or are you more concerned with health than length? How would you like to style it?
      2. What’s your lifestyle like? Do you have a lot of time to yourself? Or are you always on the go? Do you want to style daily, weekly, or monthly?
      3. What’s your hair like? Is it kinky-coily with high shrinkage? Does it shrink a bit and form defined ringlets or loose zig-zags when wet? Or does it do all of the above in different places? You’ve said it dislikes ACV–what else does it dislike?
      4. Are you ready to deal with possible setbacks? Learning to take care of your own natural hair sometimes means making mistakes. Can you still love yourself even if you have to chop it short again?
      5. Do you have access to a natural stylist who can help coach you along the way? I’m all for DIY, but I think it’s unfair to expect yourself to be able to care for your hair all on your own right away when you’ve been used to having help. And there’s no shame in having a stylist.

      When you can answer those questions for yourself, I’d recommend you consult a natural stylist who has experience dealing with loose natural hair. She/He can help you develop a regimen that works for your hair and lifestyle. There are tons of books for newbie naturals, but some might lead you astray from what’s best for your particular head of hair, and I’m uncomfortable recommending any for that reason. Make sure whomever you consult with comes recommended from other naturals. If you can’t find someone highly recommended, try to meet with them before they get their hands on your hair and ask them about their philosophy on caring for natural hair. If they try to pressure you into straightening or braiding, run away! I hope this was helpful! Best of luck in caring for your hair :)

      • Thank you so much for your suggestions and help, Dananana. Your questions really made me think. In fact, I don’t know the answer to several of them. I will definitely ask my stylist the ones in #3 that deal with whether my hair is coily, etc. I do remember her telling me that I have a really nice wave pattern. But I’m not sure what that means in the way of typing. I would have thought my hair was somewhere in the 4’s, but now I’m really not sure. I do realize that wet relaxed hair acts differently than does wet natural hair. And that wet relaxed hair in need of a touch-up is not the same as natural wet hair. I could not believe how soft my natural hair is — wet or dry. As opposed to how hard and brittle it was when I was relaxing it (when I’d get past the point of needing a touch-up). That was one of the things that woke me up about relaxers. Again, thank you so much for taking the time to help me out.

  3. If you’re really trying to be natural then a texturizer can be a step but not the final step. Or else just like relaxers, a texturizer is another chemical hairstyle

  4. A texturizer is just a mild relaxed left on the hair for a shorter period of time. I haven’t see to many good looking hairstyles most people look like a Jerry curl or flat iron and end up with looser straight pieces.

    • I never wore it in the wet style nor did I flat iron it. Instead, my stylist would braid my hair and I’d sit under the dryer; after which, she’d take the braids out and I’d wear it for a month. Taking care to moisturize it and wear a satin scarf to bed. I could style it several ways from there. I really loved that. If I could do that with my natural hair, that would be lovely. Thank you.

  5. Well I have both Big Chopped and attempted to transition(the ends broke off in 2 months)from a relaxer. As for those AND the other ways mentioned my feelings are as Oleta Adams beautifully sang “I don’t care how you get here. Get here if You Can.”

  6. You should do what makes you feel the most comfortable and not be apologetic … At all.
    Hair journeys are very DEEPLY personal for us all. There is very painful history, conscious and unconscious pain. As much as any of us might have liked that you would have just taken the plunge, in the end, it’s you living with your choices. We’ve internalized a lot about what the world around us says is pretty… Or not Even if everyone you knew told you that you looked fantastic if you had done a big chop, it’s still going to come down to how YOU feel. Plus you’re not some old head like me who at this stage in my life it’s scary how much less I can care what someone likes about me, thinks about me or what they say. But guess what – that’s my comfort level now. (Rambling)

    What’s great is that everyone is learning new stuff about themselves, their comfort level, we’re learning a lot from each other and we’re talking about it. So congratulations on taking your time and look to the wisdom of these young ladies as you embark on your hair journey.

  7. Is a texturizer a Jheri Curl?? If not what exactly is?? An “S Curl” kit or kiddie perm, please someone explain.

      • It’s a weak relaxer or a normal relaxer left on for a shorter time period.

        The type that the a hair stylist would use depends on your hair.

    • Some people mistakenly believe that there is no difference chemically among a texturizer, a Jheri Curl, and a relaxer. At the end of the day, all three are chemical processes that permanently alter the hair to which they are applied, but there is a reason why you can’t use them over each other: They are not the same. I’ve read the boxes, and I know.

      When a Jheri Curl is put in, the hair is first washed, then the edges are “based”, that is, Vaseline is applied around the edges and over the ears to protect the skin. The processing cream is applied to the wet hair, and the hair is rolled onto perm rods. You have to remember to protect the ends of your hair with curl papers so that the hair doesn’t get stuck to the little teeth in the surface of the rod. The larger the rod, the looser the curl. Once the hair is rodded, a liquid is squirted on all the hair in the rods. The aim with the liquid is to saturate all the hair in all the rods. This saturation is helped by the fact that perm rods have holes in them. Once all the rods have been squirted, you cover the hair in a plastic processing cap similar to the BSS shower caps and sit under a dryer for awhile. I seem to remember 30-45 minutes being standard heating time. Once that time is up, you carefully remove all the rods and put neutralizer on your hair to stop the processing. Then you wash again with a specific kind of shampoo designed to get out everything you just used to process and neutralize. Lots and lots and lots of rinsing happens here; leaving any trace of processor in your hair will potentially cause major damage. When I did this on my own hair, I always did this final shampoo twice. Then there was some sort of conditioner I had to use. I always left this in a little longer than it called for. My hair thanked me for that. Finally you put in a couple of different products to soften, moisten, and “activate” your curls, and that’s it. In all, you use about 5-6 different chemicals in the various steps to doing a Jheri Curl. It could take me about 4-6 hours on average to do this for myself from first wash to final style. Which I then had to “feed”, as I called it, by continuing to spray curl moisturizer on it as it dried so that it didn’t dry crunchy and under-moisturized. It would take my hair a couple of days to finally be “right”, and I went through a lot of curl moisturizer.

      The texturizer is far easier to use. A kit typically has only four items in it, and I usually did one in about 2 hours, which is technically 90 minutes too long, but it works out when you include time with my head over the kitchen sink. What I don’t remember with the texturizer is having to wash my hair twice. I based, applied the processor, waited half an hour, washed with a neutralizing shampoo, conditioned, moisturized and styled, and “fed”. That was it. No rolling. Instead, you smoothe the processor through with an afro comb. At least, that’s what I did.

      My hair grew quite well with the Jheri Curl and the texturizer. Not so much with the relaxer. I should have let someone do it for me, I freely admit. But I was forced from the age of nine to become a huge believer in—and practitioner of—DIY hair care, and so I self-applied relaxer kits at two different times in my life. I slowly but surely combed both of them out onto the bathroom floor.

      Given the experiences I’ve had, I love being natural best of all, and I love being CG the best of the best. But if I were asked to recommend one of them to someone who was determined to do it, I would urge the texturizer hands down. It’s by far the easiest to use and probably the gentlest on the hair when it’s applied and maintained correctly.

  8. This is so funny, I actually did the same thing. I had been natural 18 years to the date but mostly wore my hair in braids. So I had no idea how to style, care for my hair, etc. Thankfully I didn’t have damage or thinning anywhere from the years of braids though. I got my texturizer (it wasn’t actually the same, but a modified version at a great salon) and eventually it helped me with the basics without stress. I didn’t have the intention of transitioning back to natural so soon actually it just sort of happened the moment I started using rhassoul clay to clean my hair, it just made everything seem ‘possible’…like I can do this too.

    After that I discovered the source of many of my hair related issues was the fact that my hair was high porosity. Once I figured that out, I overhauled and now I have a mostly DIY regi. suited for my high porosity thick 4a hair. I was happy to see this story here, I thought I was the only one who actually feels a chemical treatment helped them learn the basics.

  9. I got my texturizer at the age of 16 after struggling for a long time with bullying. I as a person still didn’t mind it in its natural form and thought a texturizer rather than my mums bone straight relaxer would do the trick. It ISNT gentler, yes your curl patter is less straight but the endless burns, tingling and inconvenience are the same. It was nice for a while but it’s also been nice to transition to completely natural and learn to love my texture again, without my hair breaking off in clumps when I so much as look at.

  10. I believe everyone’s hair journey is their own. There is no “right” way to go natural. Everyone has different hair so it’s sort of silly to think we should all share the same steps to going natural. People should do whatever makes them comfortable. Period.

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