It’s another beautiful day people. I said I was going to put up more hair care posts and here we are.
First I would like to give a little background gist. Flashback 2015. I had hair on my head and it was doing really badly. It was falling off and it was breaking. My scalp was almost always sore and the hair was brittle. Almost everyday for me was a bad hair day so I used weaves a lot which meant my hair couldn’t breathe. So one day, I came home, sat in front of a mirror and I chopped of my hair with a scissors. My big chop.
Fast forward three months later. I had a TWA and I had a wedding and I had no idea what to do with my hair. So I bought a small cup of creamy crack and put it on my hair. Let’s just say the results were terrible and I resolved never to do it again. And so my transitioning began.
That was September 2015 and well today, let’s just say my hair is way better than it ever was. Before I made the decision to go natural, I did research, like I researched like it was my PhD. I read articles, joined natural hair chat sites, followed so many hair bloggers and I even downloaded a full-blown book and read it cover to cover. I wasn’t about to make any mistakes. Today, I talk to so many people about natural hair and I have even learned so much more.
So I wanna share the top 10 things I think anyone should know before getting the Big Chop or doing the transition thingy.
- It is far from easy. Like very, very far. Especially if you are starting afresh. In fact, I don’t know which is worse, Big Chop or transitioning. For the Big Chop, you have to worry about the TWA stage and that time when there is absolutely nothing (I’m exaggerating the nothing here) you can do with your hair. For the transitioners, you have the almighty demarcation line to worry about. The invisible line between new natural hair and old relaxed hair. You also have that stage where a wig may be the only thing to save you because your braids are not just it. It is not easy but I’m here to tell you, it will pass. The storm would soon be over😁.
- Trimming is necessary but it can be overdone. When I started, a girl I met at the salon was good enough to give me this tip and when I started reading, I saw how true it was. You want to trim, yes. For the transitioners, you must, to get rid of old hair. However, the mark is 1/2 inch or less if your goal is not to chop off old relaxed hair. Over doing it will just be over doing it, like no gain whatsoever.
- Simplicity is the utmost sophistication. Do not become a product junkie. Once again, proverbial black pot speaking🙈. I was obsessed with products, Good Lord! Stay as natural as you can. Do not try to put too much on your hair, you just might weigh it down and block your pores with all the build-up.
- Never neglect the L. You will hear of things like LOC, LOCO etc. L is for liquid, O is for oil and C is for cream. Seriously, moisture is the koko. You do not want dry hair. Always, always work on maintaining moisture.
- There is a difference between sealants and penetrating oils. Let’s go back to O and C from the point above. Most oils are penetrating, for example, coconut, olive and jojoba oils. Creams are sealants, this is your ori (Shea butter), and any other cream you want to put in your hair. Penetrating oils go into the hair. They enter the pores and follicles and do magic. Sealants seal. They lock in moisture and oils.
- Learn the hair jargon. Seriously. Sealants and penetrating oils are the easiest terms you will deal with. Humectants, laurates, prepoos, co-wash and so many other terms, you will find regularly on natural hair blogs and sites. Hair porosity, hair types, split ends, alopecia are others. Also, if you really want to be careful, you would want to learn how to read labels and ingredients on anything you buy so that you stick to those with good ingredients.
- Tie it all up at night. I will be completely honest. I do not always do this but I can tell you that it is useful. Get you a silk scarf and tie up that hair at night. Use silk pillowcases if you don’t have a silk scarf (I use my law school scarf sometimes 🙈🙉🙊). It helps to prevent split ends you can get from rubbing your hair on cotton pillowcases or rough bed sheets.
- It will help you so much to know how to, at the very least, twist hair. Hair dressers will try to ruin your life! Get you some twist and lock gel (I use ORS Lock & Twist Gel. Good for hold and moisture) and twist your hair yourself. Your arms will die some days but no hairdresser will be up in your business doing nonsense. Until natural hair salons become regular in Nigeria, we might have to stick to this. If you find a good hairstylist that treats your Natural Hair well, allow your hair to marry her. THEY ARE RARE! Also by doing your hair yourself, I don’t mean use a hot comb or hair straightener on it every day. We don’t want too much heat to burn or damage those tresses now, do we? Exactly…
- Too much clean is not always good. Shampoo is not a must for you. Very early in the game, I learnt about hair things and what goes into my shampoo. It didn’t take so much for me to lose my shampoo. Co-washes are just as effective. Co-washes involve washing with just conditioner. Most available shampoos strip your hair of good oils and just leave it ‘clean’. It will take some time to convince your brain but it is doable. You can clarify once in a while with lemon or baking soda to get rid of build up though.
- Finally, Stop touching your hair! Really, over manipulation breaks hair like nothing else and deals with your edges especially. All of you that fiddle with your hair when nervous, you might want to find another stress act. Just keep the hands away from the hair. That’s one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is for all those of us who like to wear a new look every other week. It’s all well and good till you lose all your hair up front and out back. Don’t carry hair styles for too long (3 months max depending on the style. Kinky twists can be worn for longer cos you can wash and treat your hair even with the extensions in) but don’t do it too often either.
There! It looks like a lot but believe me you, it’s nothing compared to all there is to know. These are just 10 basic tips to help you start your journey. Are you planning to go natural? Are these tips helpful? Do let us know, Thank you! 😚
Ciao, Clandie Chi.