When you decide to transition from chemically processed hair to your natural hair it is important to understand that the initial hair you have is NOT your natural hair’s true texture. The integrity and texture of hair that has been chemically processed over a long period of time has been compromised for years. Internet research suggests that a study was done about 10 years ago on black women who chemically relaxed their hair. The study found on women who had extensively relaxed their hair over a long period of time, a thin residue between the scalp and the skull from what they believe to have been as a result of the chemicals penetrating the scalp skin.
In my opinion this is not hard to believe because the pores of our skin can be a point of entry as well as an exit point on the body. If this was not possible then neither would the chemicals and ingredients of the nicotine patch, weight loss patch or other transdermal patches be able to get into the body’s blood stream via the pores. We use products such as Vick’s vapor rub, Icy Hot and other sports crème’s to penetrate the body to aid in healing.
If this is indeed the result of chemical processing after years of relaxing the hair, this will not just dissipate over a few months time. My understanding is that it actually takes anywhere from seven months to a year for this to disappear after ceasing the chemical process. This would mean that you will not be able to achieve your hair’s true natural texture until all chemical residue has had the chance to vacate the body. This is just my own personal theory, but I would think that as long as that chemical residue is there, the new growth passing through that film before surfacing the scalp would still be affected by chemicals.
For this reason I encourage my clients to be patient with the process of defining their curls and encouraging their true texture to come forth before becoming discouraged with the process. We have trained our hair to be straight, now we have to train it to be curly. If you give your hair the care and attention it needs, I assure you that it will deliver back to you what you want in the way of appearance. I have clients who started out with one texture and could not believe what they ended up with. I too had this experience. My curl pattern is FAR different from that which I started out with! Was not sure I could do it at first, but am so grateful that I stuck with the process because I LOVE the end result and you will too if you stick with and embrace the journey.
I must stress here that our hair was created to naturally do something. My hair may not be able to do what your hair can and vice versa. Taking the time to “learn” your hair will help you to appreciate what your hair naturally wants to do. For example I have never met anyone who had natural black hair that had only ONE hair texture. Personally I have four different textures and discovering this came through making a decision to learn my hair; what it is, what it needs and what it naturally wants to do. The following is knowledge will tremendously help you on your journey:
- Most important when transitioning to natural hair is to keep the hair MOISTURIZED. Natural hair loves moisture. Do not over wash your hair, doing so can cause it to be very dry which is a real problem. You need not shampoo your hair more than once a month, however at least once per week I recommend cleansing by way of the co-wash method (washing the hair with conditioner). If you are going to cleanse with shampoo, it is better to use sulfate-free products. If your hair has a tendency to be more on the dry side, you may find it necessary to refresh and remoisturize 1 – 2 times per week.
- Natural hair thrives better when less is done to it. Your natural hair should not be combed or brushed in its dry state. Doing so can cause dryness, breakage, shedding and frizz. Your fingers are your best friends for styling.
- Understand that finding the right products for your particular hair type and texture will come mostly through trial and error. What may work for your friend might not necessarily work for you. Purchasing products in sample sizes is the best way to go if that is an option in the beginning of your natural journey. Be patient with this process because finding the right products is essential to achieve the look you desire for your hair. Use a good food-based oil such as extra virgin coconut oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil to seal in moisture. (In a few cases I have found clients whose hair does not like oil, but more often than not oil has a great moisturizing benefit to the hair.) Incorporate a conditioner that you leave in (regular conditioner can be used as a leave-in) and a styling product to define your curls.
- Stay away from products that contain petroleum by products or mineral oil. These ingredients do NOT aid in moisture, they rather act as a barrier to moisture and can cause clogging of the pores.
I have authored a book entitled Natural Hair and Hair Products especially for women who desire to embrace and own their natural tresses and need to understand how they can best care for them. You can purchase this in hard copy at https://www.createspace.com/4049791 or in e-book format by going to www.gethealthyhairnow.com.
Remember…..embrace and ENJOY the process for it truly is a beautiful journey. Here’s to your natural beautiful journey!