Transitioning to your hair’s natural curls is a scary and often frustrating phase of your life. Scary because you don’t know what’s going to happen; how it’s gonna look, are the curls ever going to come back and how long does this phase last. But more than the unknown is actually what we do know, and that is the frustrating waiting period for your hair to take its natural shape.
Seeing as we are living in an on-demand culture where we are so used to immediate gratification, Nature is here to tell us that that’s simply not how things work. Having your hair come back to its natural curl will take a long time.
Sure there are products on the market to help you along the way but hold off on running to the shops just yet, there are more important things you need to do before you splurge on products that wont actually work for your hair while you are in the transitioning period.
Does your Hair Feel Damaged?
Focus on how your hair feels instead of how it looks. This is where the illusion/reality game comes in to play. When we straighten curly hair, it looks super shiny (in a non greasy way) and it’s not a knotty mess so it’s easy for us to manage.
But straightening curly hair is damaging curly hair and completely breaking down your hair’s natural curl pattern.
Coating your hair with ceramic or titanium plates to give it that shine is all just an illusion of what you think healthy hair looks like. So when you begin to go natural and you leave curly hair to dry without heat styling it, without any product on it, you’ll see it’s nowhere near shiny. It’s more than likely to be extremely dry, brittle and on the verge on breaking, if not already breaking off.
We’ve been so focused on how our hair looks and not how it actually feels; we ignore the dryness, we ignore the thinning of our strands, we ignore the inability to retain moisture and we definitely ignore all the breakage from our flat irons.
Now we need to focus on the right things; it’s time to treat your hair and repair the damage.
Why Transitioning Hair Won’t Curl
This is a big mistake that rookies making when going curly. The moment you realise your hair can’t curl, you’re off to the drugstore to spend all your hard earned money on styling products; products that promise to define your curls, to give you bouncy curls, to enhance your curls and to hold your curls. And after a frustrating trial period of set products, your curls are still lacking and your hair’s all greasy from heavy creams and butters and you are back to square one.
So what’s the problem here?
Transitioning hair won’t curl because it’s still damaged.
At least not in the beginning phases i.e. the first few months. So buying styling products to help your hair curl isn’t gonna do much or anything if you are not treating the damaged hair.
Transitioning hair needs moisture to nourish the exceptionally dry strands and protein to repair the individual strands so that your hair shaft becomes stronger. If you are not focused on these to key aspects of healthy hair then you have wasted your time, your effort and your money.
Deep Condition your Hair
When I say deep condition, I mean DEEP condition as in, you leave a treatment on your hair for 20-30 minutes and apply heat to it to better absorb into your hair.
This means stepping out of the shower for half an hour (your hair’s damaged don’t be lazy), wrapping your hair in a warm towel and then getting back into a cold shower after feeling warm and fuzzy and doing a cold water rinse.
Sounds terrible? Well it is. But if you want healthy hair or healthy curls then you need to do what’s best for your hair even at the expense of your own convenience.
Transitioning hair is in all sorts of trauma; really taking the time to treat you hair is really going to make a difference.
This is where your need for instant gratification comes in, this is the part where you see results in terms of moisture, in shine, in the strength of your strands, this is what your hair needs. Your self care rituals can come into full effect on this one.
I found a lot of luck with coconut and castor oil, which is both hydrating and strengthening.
I also use the Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil strengthen and restore mask about twice a month for a bit of protein.
So between the JBCO mask and my DIY oil mask I feel my hair gets both protein and moisture and this is what works for my hair at this stage.
Deep conditioning treatments have made the biggest difference in the health of my hair and this would be my biggest tip for anyone trying a healthy hair or curly hair journey.
Well that, and cutting out heat styling, of course.
DIY Hair Mask for Transitioning Hair
- Coconut oil
- Castor oil
- Rosemary Essential Oil (optional)
- Heat a teaspoon of castor oil over a hot plate. Add 2-3 drops of rosemary oil. Massage into scalp.
- Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil over a hot plate. Apply to hair, root to tip. Comb through/Detangle to distribute oil evenly.
- Wrap hair up in a shower cap & t-shirt (or a warm towel). Add heat onto t-shirt with a blow dryer to help oil absorb into hair shaft. Leave on for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Shampoo X2 to remove excess oil.
Read the first blog post in my new hair series Starting a Healthy Hair Journey!