How I Transitioned To Natural Hair

Transitioning

Me and my natural locks 🙂

 

I recently did a post on why I decided to go natural a few years ago. It’s been about 3 or 4 years since I embarked on the natural hair journey and less than 3 years since the big chop. A number of you expressed your desire to go natural as well but said that you have either tried and found it difficult to maintain the natural hair or you believe your hair is super coarse and are afraid it won’t be manageable. Some of you just asked for guidance on dealing with natural hair. I understand cause I was just as nervous when I went natural. I’m going to do a number of posts discussing my transition journey; my hair care regime; products I use and where I get them (plus other products that are in South Africa); hairstyles and how I do them etc. So be on the lookout for these.

To get us started, I thought to start from the beginning. I wanted to share about my personal journey of transitioning to the natural hair state. For those who are new to the natural hair game, transitioning is when you decide to let your natural hair grow out with the relaxed hair until you’re ready to chop off the relaxed/chemically treated hair. This was a personal choice for my sister and I, but you could choose to just chop it all off instantly. The main reason I chose to transition and wait for the natural hair to grow a bit longer was the fact that I didn’t think I had the face for a bald or really short haircut. Lol. To each his own!

Anyway, these are some of the steps I engaged in for the duration of my transition to natural hair (which lasted about 1 year):

 

  • Using Heat and a Comb

As my natural hair grew out, I would use a comb to my hair as well as blowing it out with a blow dryer when needed at home or at the salon. I don’t use heat any longer on my natural hair now, but at the time it helped to get my desired results in terms of styling my transitioning hair. It was mostly painful but I made sure to use a wide-tooth comb to reduce the pain and better comb out the hair. I also avoided using heat on the regular and probably blew my hair out once a week when I was wearing it out. Heat is generally not good for your hair as it dries it out and leads to breaking. Try to avoid it as much as possible.

Wide Tooth Comb

Use a wide-tooth comb. Photo Cred: Shopify Online

 

  • Monthly Oil Treatments

During my period of transitioning, I still went to the hair salon for treatments. Since I chopped off my relaxed hair I have not been back to the hair salon to have it treated except for the one time I did a blowout. Instead, I wash and style and care for my natural hair myself at home because I find that at the salon they still don’t understand how to best treat natural hair. Anyway, during transition I would visit my hair salon of choice to get an oil treatment once a month. This was great to strengthen and nourish my hair as it grew and I felt that it helped with styling my hair better. Also, the salon stylists still knew how to deal with transitioning hair in this regard. I would sometimes do my own oil treatment at home using egg yolk – about 2 egg yolks for my hair. I would just beat the two egg yolks and rub them into already wet and shampoo’d hair that had been rinsed out, and sit with it under a shower cap for about 30 – 45 minutes before rinsing out and conditioning. So, make sure you give your hair the oil treatment it needs regularly as you transition.

 

  • Products Used on Hair

In terms of the shampoo and conditioner that we used on our transitioning hair, my sister and I chose the Organic Root Stimulator range which we found at Clicks or Dischem. We made use of their Creamy Aloe Shampoo and the Replenishing Conditioner when washing our hair. I would wash my hair once a week or once every other week depending on how lazy or busy I was. Every so often, I would co-wash which is when you wet your hair and wash it with conditioner only. This has benefits for your hair because the chemicals in conditioner work well with our natural curly hair. You just need to be careful about the conditioner you’re using. In fact, knowing what is in the products you use is so important when going natural and the less chemicals, the better.

Shampoo and Conditioner

Organic Root Stimulator Shampoo and Conditioner. Photo Cred: Amazon Online

In terms of a leave-in conditioner, we chose to use the one from Motions. Again, we would purchase it at Clicks or Dischem but I am not sure if it is still being sold there. Nevertheless, as I said above you just need to look for a leave-in conditioner that is as natural as possible i.e. when you look at the ingredients it has, it should first list water and should not have a long list of other chemicals. You can also always Google what kind of chemicals to avoid in the shampoos and conditioners you use on your natural hair.

Leave in Conditioner

Motions Leave-In Conditioner. Photo Cred: All Women’s Talk Online

  • Regular Protective Styling

When I was transitioning, I did not leave my hair out as much as I do now that it is completely natural. This is because it was harder for me to maintain the transitioning hair because of the two different textures. Also, combing it out and trying to style it wasn’t always easy. This meant that I regularly invested in protective styling which in my case came in the form of braiding hairstyles. I would do singles or cornrows. I would also go to the salon or to a friend to do thin and neat twist outs on my own hair that I would wear out and style. It allowed for my hair to grow, and it minimized breaking. I would advise you to do the same if you choose to transition to natural hair. It certainly makes the process easier and more bearable.

 

  • Hair Moisturizer/Hair Food

As I transitioned, I wasn’t very fussy about what moisturizer to use. I would make use of the Organic Root Stimulator Oil Moisturizing Hair Lotion. I would also make use of any other hair food or lotion that I felt I could trust at Clicks or Dischem. As mentioned above, the key is to look for hair food/moisturizer with less chemicals on its ingredients list. This is always the key when shopping for products for your natural hair.

Moisturizing Hair Lotion

Moisturizing Hair Lotion. Photo Cred: Hair Wig Harlem Online

 

  • Watching YouTube Videos

My sister and I became natural hair YouTube video junkies. Lol. That is where I got most of the information about how to best take care of my hair while transitioning. That and visiting blog sites for natural hair. If you just type in “Transitioning to Natural Hair” in Google you will come across hundreds of blog sites and you can just pick the few that resonate most with you. The point is that many people have gone ahead of you on this natural hair journey so that it can be a much easier process for you. It doesn’t have to be that daunting or overwhelming. The key is to research as much as you can and tailor what you find to your own hair until you’ve found your rhythm. Don’t visit too many different sites as this will confuse you, but find one or two that you’re comfortable with and can keep going back to for advice.

 

This is a general overview of my journey to natural hair. I wasn’t so obsessed with the whole “What’s your hair type” and working with that. It confused me and I could never actually tell what my hair type was – if I was 4C or whatever. Instead, as I tried out different products and methods of taking care of my hair, I began to notice what worked best for it. I paid attention to what brought out the nice curls in my hair in terms of what I was using to wash it or to moisturize it etc and I would repeat. Also what gave it a healthy and long-lasting shine and bounce. As you do this, you begin to recognize what works best for your hair type. What works for me will not be exactly what works for you but the key is to get ideas here and there and tailor them to your specific hair type.

Above all else, have patience and perseverance!! This is not an easy journey. More times than not, you will feel like giving up but don’t. The end results are so worth it. I would say that when you’re getting tired of your hair, just braid it. Hide it for a while until you feel revived to try again. And keep reading up about the benefits of keeping your hair natural and reading about other people’s experiences with natural hair. It will encourage you to feel like you’re not the only one and will keep you going.

 

I will be posting more about my experience with my actual natural hair now in terms of how to best take care of it and style it etc. You will find these posts under the new category “Natural Hair Care”. If you have any other experiences or thoughts around going natural, let me know! Would love to share your experiences with others.

 

With love,

Sonia Dee

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Why I Decided To Go Natural

Natural Hair 1

Photo Cred: Pinterest

 

I’m someone who delights in beautifully kept and styled hair on women. There is something captivating about a woman who takes good care of her hair and nurtures it. When a hairstyle has grown old it tends to easily appear tacky and can affect the entire image of the woman regardless of how smartly she may be dressed. It’s all in the detail. And no wonder, cause the Bible says that a woman’s hair is her glory and is given to her as a covering (1 Corinthians 11:15).

 

Hair must be something that is important to God if He takes the time out to have it discussed in His word. There are some topics that don’t even feature in the Bible and so when they do appear it’s for a good reason. The Bible speaks of how God has numbered every hair on our head (Matthew 10:30). He knows exactly how many strands of hair sit on your head and is acutely aware of when even one strand falls out or grows. He pays close attention to that. He also gives counsel to women about how best to wear their hair (1 Timothy 2:9; 1 Corinthians 11:6). Hair is also something very personal and precious, not to be touched or handled by just anyone. I mean, most women I know are very fussy about who gets to be their hairdresser. This is also seen in the story of Mary and Jesus when she chose to wipe Jesus’ feet with her hair, her glory, her covering. That was very intimate and a sign of her love for her Master. Thus, we can briefly conclude that hair is truly important to a woman. Just look at the amount of money a woman spends on her hair and that’s enough evidence on its own.

 

Now, hair is a whole series of books in itself in the world of the black African woman (bAw). There are so many different thoughts and preferences when it comes to how a black woman can best keep her hair, especially on the African continent. These days a bAw has so many options for her hair from relaxing her natural hair, to putting in a weave, or braiding her hair in various styles, or my favourite – choosing to keep out and maintain her natural hair. I remember growing up my hair was kept natural until I was about 10 years old or so when my Mum allowed me to enter the world of relaxed hair. I was so fascinated by this because my hair was silkier, easier to comb out and resembled the hair of my white girlfriends. I no longer had to wear skirts on my head to pretend that my hair was soft, silky and could move. This was, is and I believe will always be big for the bAw. That’s one of the reasons why we put in fake hair that moves when we slightly move our head (that’s a whole topic for another day). Our own natural hair does not even try any of that (unless you’re patient with growing it out and nurturing it accordingly).

 

Anyway, back to my story. I continued relaxing my hair well into my adult life. Then I remember watching the movie Good Hair by Chris Rock which opened my mind up to the harmful effects of using relaxer on your hair. I’d never really been a fan of weaves (I can count the number of times I’ve had a weave on one hand) and so that didn’t really phase me. I mean, I learnt for the first time that some of the weaves we purchase in the Western world and here in Africa have been shaved off of the heads of women in other parts of the world like India who are sacrificing to their gods. That makes you think twice about putting that hair on your head – well at least in my world. But more disturbing to me was the strength of relaxers and the damage they actually do to our hair especially when we don’t do it right. I mean no wonder why almost every black woman who’s had her hair relaxed has burnt her scalp at one point or the other. And no wonder why your hair starts thinning out at some point in some instances. You’re subjecting it to something it was never meant to go through.

Natural Hair 3

Photo Cred: Pop Sugar online

This brought me to start really thinking about my hair and what was best for it. I mean, I was on this journey to just be wholly myself. To discover who Sonia was and live her out in all aspects of her life, and for some reason my hair was an important part of that. I eventually came to the conclusion that organic/original is always the best. Even in terms of diet. The world is finally catching up to what the Adventist community has known for years (thanks to a lady called Ellen G. White) in terms of health – that it’s best to adopt a diet of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and so on i.e. a plant-based diet. This was God’s original eating plan for man. In the same way, I don’t believe God foresaw us using harmful chemicals in our hair just to look pretty. There is always purpose behind what God desires for our lives regardless of how small or unimportant it may appear, and I believe that that includes the upkeep of hair. He’s always provided everything we need in the natural realm that not only is good for us but brings out our best beauty. I believe that this also applies to our hair. And besides, I am sure that what we put on or into our bodies ends up affecting our health. And boy was that relaxer strong! Who knows what it was doing to my health.

 

So I decided that I was going to transition to become natural. It was a big shift but it helped that my sister decided that she’d join me on the journey. This led to hours on the internet looking up natural hair blogs and YouTube videos; talking to other natural sisters that we knew; and just experimenting really. It was a bit tough to do because most of the products that are best for your hair are found in America and the few that are on the African continent are super expensive! But, with determination, you learn to make do with what you have and you learn to be so creative. And so, my hair is normally found in its natural, glorious state or in braids. There is something just so captivating about rocking your very own hair. There are no frills, no complications, no pretenses. You present yourself as you are and at your best. And the funny thing is, people are so drawn to you and your choice in hairstyle. You inspire people and bring some wholesomeness into life. You feel really great about yourself too, and you walk with your head held up a little higher.

 

I believe your natural hair, your crown of glory, allows your best self to come through. It allows the original design of God for the black woman to be wonderfully displayed before the entire world. It adds to your mystery and allure as the crown of creation. It allows you to stand apart and be your own individual, to be authentic. There are no questions brooding in your mind about whether it suits you or any such thing because it was created with YOU in mind! It was designed specifically for you by the Creator.  It will look good on you. Thus, I encourage any bAw I get the chance to discuss this topic with to give natural hair a shot. Yes, it’s a hang of a lot of work. Yes, it’s something we’ve grown so unaccustomed to, but are thankfully waking up to. Yes, it’s not as shiny and flowing as your weave or relaxed hair. But it’s your healthiest, authentic, most beautiful option for your hair. There really is no harm in trying it out. At the end of the day, the choice is yours to do what you want with your hair and I respect every woman’s choice in this area. Yet, you’ll never know if you’ve made the best choice if you never try something different with your crown of glory 🙂

 

In conclusion, I decided to go natural because I believe it’s the healthiest option for my hair. I also wanted to allow the beauty God originally intended for me to be what I walk in and embrace. With time, just this one decision has opened me up to so many other aspects about myself as a bAw and embracing me in my entirety and originality. It allows me to affirm that when my Creator created me it was certainly good 😉

 

Are you also a natural sister? If so, why did you decide to go natural? If not, would you ever consider it or is it something completely foreign to you? I wanna hear all about your hair experiences.

 

With love,

Sonia Dee

IMG-20150328-WA0001

Keeping it natural with some of my sisters 🙂