Once you decide you want to stop chemically straightening your hair, you may wonder what the process will be like. How will your transitioning hair look and what you should be doing to get you through this period. You may have heard stories, some of which may have you feeling anxious. If you don't want to do the "big chop" and get rid of your processed hair all at once, here are some transitioning Do's that may help you through this period.
- Do use less direct heat. Reduce or totally eliminate the use of direct heat like flat irons and blow dryers.
- Do Deep Condition weekly. Use a moisturizing deep conditioner weekly to help strengthen and soften your new growth and prevent breakage.
- Do wear protective styles. Protective styling such as Rod sets, twist out, braid outs, or braids are great for days when you are having difficulty with styling.
- Do limit combing or brushing. Limit manipulation of your hair as much as possible. The only time you should comb your hair is when you detangle on wash day.
- Do trim your ends every 4 - 6 weeks. Split ends will travel up your natural hair and cause breakage.
- Do drink LOTS of water and eat LOTS of protein. While the rate of growth and texture/hair type are genetic you can positively impact your hair growth with proper diet. You should be drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day. You should also be eating at least five ounces of lean protein each day, more if you are physically active.
- Do watch the line of demarcation. This is the point where your relaxed hair and new growth meet making it the weakest point of your hair. It is important to keep your hair moisturized and not pull excessively with styles or brushing.
- Do give yourself a hot oil massage. Waiting for your hair to grow out is often the most frustrating part of the growing process. You can promote new hair growth by giving yourself frequent scalp massages. This will stimulate the hair follicles and help the strands to grow faster.
- Do block out the naysayers. The Naysayers is one thing you can't control as you transition. You will meet people who will tell you that you won't be able to get a job with "hair like that" or that you "need" a relaxer to make your hair grow. Just remember that this is your hair and your decision not theirs.