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7 Hair Care Practices Transitioners Should Do More Frequently

Avatar • Jan 4, 2013

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By Christina of The Mane Objective

When I first began to transition seriously, I made a lot of mistakes (like most people). But perhaps the biggest mistake of all was attempting to follow — to the tee — the regimen of the natural blogger/vloggers who’s hair I simply adored and felt mine had the potential to “look like”. Now it is said that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. I would like to offer up an alternative definition: doing the same thing that a completely different person is doing, and expecting identical results. This is not to say that ideas, routines, methods, and products are not worth sharing — but simply that more often, not all the rules apply to you in the same manner. I have found this to be especially true for transitioners. In fact, there are several practices that are done more frequently by transitioners than by full‐on naturals. Here is that list, in no particular order…

1. More Frequent Trims

Most naturalistas trim their hair once, twice, or in rare cases, three times a year. This can be frustrating for a transitioner to read about or see in a YouTube video because well, transitioners have no choice but to trim or cut their hair more frequently. As the natural hair comes in, the heat damaged or relaxed hair must be trimmed or cut — that’s the point of transitioning, right? More than that, heat damaged and relaxed hair is more prone to splitting and breakage (because they are damaged), thus requiring more frequent cutting. I used to be upset that every 2–3 months, I was cutting off more of my length. But then I realized, that was the point of the transition and I got over it.

2. More Frequent Co‐Washing and Clarifying

Some naturals wash their hair weekly — others monthly or beyond. As a transitioner I must say, I envy you. I used to believe there was something wrong with having to hit the “reset” button on my hair twice and sometimes three times a week. As I get further along, I realize that there is nothing wrong with co‐washing or clarifying hair more often. Whether it be due to a failed styling attempt (hello, big flexi rods), because of tangles from frequent manipulation, or product buildup due to searching for the perfect creams, pomades, and oils — co‐washing and clarifying more often than weekly is perfectly okay for a transitioner. Just remember to be gentle, patient, and take your time.

3. More Frequent Pre‐Poos and Deep Conditioning

Some naturals pre‐poo and DC once every few weeks or every month — not because they don’t benefit from these processes, but because they wash their hair more infrequently, and therefore these pre‐and post‐wash treatments are done less often. As we learned in the previous paragraph, some transitioners benefit from more frequent cleansing sessions and therefore — would stand to benefit from more pre‐poos and deep conditionings. In addition to that, these two treatments have been proven to lessen damage to the hair cuticle, help retain moisture, and strengthen against breaking — three critical functions for transitioners looking to retain length and prevent hair from further damaging.

4. More Frequent Detangle Sessions

For the longest time, detangling had me baffled. I would wear my hair in buns for 3 or so days, take it down, and my hair would be completely tangled. How on earth did my hair get so tangled, from being in a bun?! And what frustrated me further was the fact that my hair would not cooperate the next day unless I detangled it. Then it dawned on me — I have in theory, two hair types: damaged and non‐damaged. The two types of hair behave differently, and have different needs (so to speak). I actually find that the culprit of the majority of my tangles is the heat damaged hair, and that in order to avoid a matted mess, I have to detangle all my hair (finger or wide‐tooth comb) at least two or three times a week. Detangled hair is happy hair, so if you have to do it more often than not, that is okay. Again, the key here is to have a good, slippery product, and patience.

5. More Frequent Manipulation/Styling

Twists, braids, and other low‐manipulation styles done by other naturalistas need not apply. Unless you are adding in fake hair, achieving styles that stay put for a week or more at a time are virtually impossible. Twists won’t stay twisted, braids unravel, and mini‐twists become a major mess. Even bunning becomes an everyday occurrence. Many naturalistas that protectively style with buns are able to rock them for days at a time. Transitioners may find themselves re‐doing buns daily — and it is what it is.

6. More Frequent Product Switching

Transitioning hair is ever‐changing. As more natural hair grows, and the damaged hair is trimmed away, you may find your hair needing different conditioners, cleansing products, styling, and sealing products. Not that this is an excuse to become a product junkie, but it is a reality. Products that once worked for my hair are now too light. Styling aids that gave me the sleek looking hair I adored now are counterproductive to my big‐hair goals. Some conditioners are now not moisturizing enough. Now, if you’re transitioning and have found your holy grail products then great. But if you haven’t quite found your stride, don’t fret. It’s perfectly okay.

7. More…PATIENCE

Your hair may be multiple textures, on top of the damaged ends. Some styling tools that worked last month may not fit on your hair in 2013. No, you can’t rock a wash n go yet. You may feel like you hair is tangling too much, too dry, or taking too long to grow. You may start to miss your flat ironed or straightened hair, and get frustrated to the point of contemplating saying “screw this natural thing”. Trust me, I understand — I have felt all of the above and then some. But the key is to remain patient, and stay encouraged. Natural hair is on the way!

Transitioners, what aspects of your regimen have you amped up?

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About 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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honeybrown1976
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honeybrown1976

While transitioning, I amped all of these aspects and they help me a great deal. I’m now a month natural and happy. In addition, I am now happy that my braids don’t unravel or that my twists stay twisted.

francine4koko
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francine4koko

I have the benefits of doing deep conditioning at every wash. I am noticing my hair has starting to stay moisturized longer. I use the Shea Moisture Retention Deep Conditioning Masque. So Far,so good.
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/2012–11-07_08-57–30_406.jpg[/i

B
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B

16 months post relaxer,the items I do more frequent is deep conditioning weekly and frequent styling, I do my hair every day ( I braid and use satin sponge rollers every night)

Martha Asingura
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Martha Asingura

Hello BGLH :),

Could you please feature more links and articles about natural hair in braids? I would really appreciate it. I am currently transitioning, I’ve got my hair in braids and want learn how to look after it whilst in braids. Thank you.

Martha

Lena
Guest

Great Post. In the first 3–4 months while I was transitioning starting in February 2012, I too would of followed some regimens from some of my favorite vloggers and bloggers, only to find out that my hair is not quite like there’s. But now since getting more knowlegdge about my hair and about going natural, my hair is growing and doing me well, besides the relaxed ends that I still have. I did change my regimen for 2013 and will be deep conditioning every week now instead of every other week, I co wash every week and shampoo once a… Read more »

S. Amy L.
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S. Amy L.

As a transitioner for only a few months, I started out very enthusiastic about styling my own hair. My flat twists didn’t last long and neither did the buntu knots I once tried. I had to spend more time detangling because I cut off the use of heat and now relying on longer term protect styles with extentions. Like Martha, any tips from BGLH on this would be appreciated. I have committed to longer term protective styles for 2013 but find that I do need to wash my hair once or twice a week which was fine without the cornrolls… Read more »

Nigeria
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Good luck! You can do it girl!

leslie
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I want to go natural , i just have no clue about how the process actually works. Is there anyway that i could get a Big Hair Natural Sister to help me through this ( lol i only said sister because i dont have a big sister )

C. W.
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C. W.

I wish I’d had this information sooner. I went into the whole natural thing thinking I had to treat all of my hair as if it were natural and I haven’t seen my texture since 4. This was very helpful and hopefully the rest of my transition (currently at 9 months) will be smoother.

rw
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rw

ahhh, finally.…someone said it, i have to do full out regular shampoo/condition minimal twice a week, these women who go 2 weeks or more without shampoo, i envy you. i tried to cowash for 2 weeks, and the buildup was incredible. my hair needs shampoo about every 4 days, not a vinegar rinse, not a conditioner wash, it needs SHAMPOO

Jailyn
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Jailyn

I’ve been natural for a while but have been alternating between actually taking care of my hair and straightening it. There is some heat damage but nothing a few trims and deep conditioning can’t fix (the heat damage has greatly decresed since I stopped using heat less and when I do, i make sure that it’s low enough to not burn my hair) Anyway, to transitioners looking to try protective styling, might I suggest sponge rollers. I recently did some twists on my hair and was worried they would unravel. To solve the problem, I braided the twists in medium… Read more »

Jamila
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Jamila

I have been officially transitioning to natural for the past 6 months. I’m 9 months post Relaxer. I wash my hair weekly. I have been doing wet sets for my go to styles during my transitioning. I started with Conair wavy clips then started doing flexirods and currently I’m doing Straw sets. Love the Straw Sets. They take forever to do but are well worth it. I just tie my hair down with satin scarf then fluff and go in the morning.

Saniyya
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Saniyya

Ive been natural since oct 2011and im not regreting a min of ot I had yo do my research and o found a great product that noy only works for me but my children as well its called mixed chicks I highly recommend it I use the sulfate free shampoo, the detangling deep conditioner and the serum for heat protectant since I used this product I have had minimal shedding and healthier looking hair and slso due to the hair vitamin biotin but I think u have to try different things until you find what works for you.

nscmonroe
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nscmonroe

Great post. I transitioned for 21 months and chopped on November 6, 2012. While transitioning, I could never get braid outs to turn out right and twist outs were a no‐go. My hair wouldn’t even stay twisted. Now that I’m fully natural, I still do pre‐shampoo (pre‐poo) treatments weekly and deep conditioning montly, which are things that I learned during my transition.

Jennifer
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Jennifer

I have been transitioning since November 2011 and I have been lazy, but began more deep conditioning sessions and have experienced great results — hair remains moisturized longer. My twists out look so much better and have been lasting longer. I will continue to keep it up.
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/150113–1559.jpg[/img]

Hansy
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Hansy

Hi everybody, Today I decided to become natural which really happened by accident. I haven’t relaxed my hair since the beginning of Nov 2012 for many reasons. I was supposed to relax for a trip but then I couldn’t make the trip, then later for my bday but I got sick, and then the holidays came and I just didn’t make the time. So it’s been about 3 months and today I was browsing my FB and came across a picture of Latrice Thompson in the Black Girls with Long Hair group and then I said to myself: Why not??… Read more »

Brownsugasmile02
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Brownsugasmile02

Hello, Hansy!!! Welcome to the wonderful world of transitioning. I am 8 months post relaxer (6 months transitioning). Its a rocky road but you can do it. My goal is to reach 1 year (June 2013) and then I will BC. I have had a few setbacks when trying to do my hair by myself. I can flexi rod my hair but as the article stated I have to redo some of the curls. I find that rocking protective styles can help ease the transitioning process. I keep a photo journal of styles that I have rocked since month 4… Read more »

Sierra
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Sierra

Hi Everyone I’m not really sure how this natural hair process works. For example I wanted to know when can I say that my natural hair journey began? Is it the 3 months after my last perm? Because when I permed my hair I would always go back 3 months later to perm again. My last perm was in April of 2012. I still have ALOT of relaxed ends, my hair is really thick now (which I’m grateful for). I resort to doing two strand twist and the Grecian hairstyle. I love wearing beanies with my satin cap underneath. The… Read more »

Sierra
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Sierra

Oh and also I decided not to use blow/hair dryers, curling irons since August and I’ve just stop straightening my hair. The last time I straightened my hair was the beginning of December.

Alicia
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Alicia

I stopped getting perms last year during August. Since then, I’ve been washing and flat ironing my hair every two weeks. Sometimes I flat iron my hair once a week depending on how frizzy it is. I’m tired of adding heat to my hair all the time. I tried doing the two strand twist on my hair after washing it, but it didn’t work so I went back to flat ironing it. Can you give me some advice on how I can get my hair to work with natural styles so I can break away from the heat without looking… Read more »

TeeCeePDX
Guest
TeeCeePDX

I co wash daily — 6 months into my transition I can finally wear and style a wash n go. I did a big cut (not a big chop) so my hair is short. Unless its the weekend — trying to keep the style for 2 days is difficult. I think this will change as my transition progresses. But for now, I condition every day (co‐washing when I feel its needed). Deep condition weekly, and clarify shampoo/condition, always followed by another deep conditioning treatment, once a month. I do a modified CG method essentially. At first I followed the CG… Read more »

Shirley
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Shirley

Hello everyone. I NEED HELP!!!! I am in the transition phase and have had no retouch since September 2012. In the beginning my styles were okay(but not perfect). I started doing the rod sets and those were awesome. Then I put henna in my hair, bad idea(for now). My hair is getting drier and drier every two days even with a satin cap. I deep condition every week and co wash twice a week as well. I even use the LOC(liquid, oil and cream) method and it is failing me. I don’t know what to do. The summer is coming… Read more »

TeeCeePDX
Guest
TeeCeePDX

Hang in there Shirley! Maybe its just too soon to LOCk 🙂 yourself into a specific routine! Be open to experimenting with more products! Including the gel stylers (assuming you are not dealing with allergies or any other medical conditions which are causing your avoid them). I tried several cream stylers but found that they were too heavy for my relaxed hair. There are options that are non‐drying, alcohol free gel stylers (like ECCO Styler and KCCC (Kinky Curly Curly Custard). I never thought I would like a gel styler but I do and there were so many positive testimonials… Read more »

djoya
Guest
djoya

I was natural my entire life until august 2012. I used PCJ relaxer on my hair and left it in for about 10 minutes. My hair type is.. probably 4a, so the relaxer stretched the curls out. I didn’t really work a comb through my hair so the relaxer didn’t take full effect. About two weeks passed, and I grew tired of the stretchy look. I wanted my old hair texture back. I washed regularly and it came back really fast! I would also flat iron my hair about every 2–3 weeks. However, I’ve just recently started a better hair… Read more »

Kay
Guest
Kay

This article is extremely helpful. I was natural for seven years and made the titanic mistake of relaxing my hair (I had midback length). Now that I’m older and have my head on right (well, smarter than before) I am going back to natural. I’m creating a plan and I made a journal simply following my journey and developing my regimen. I am currently transitioning and it’s complete frustration so this article is everything I’m experiencing and it’s comforting to read and get some advice. I plan to do the big chop in 2 months (because I just can’t take… Read more »

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