The Transitioners Guide
While straight, relaxed styles have their charms, more and more women are opting to forgo their expensive, tri-monthly beauty parlor excursions, allowing their natural hair to roam wild. I myself, have relaxed my own hair since early adolescence, and can't even recall what my god given hair texture is like. My only frame of reference is the fuzzy roots that make an appearance every 4-6 months, and upon their emergence, I am faced with the same conundrum; should I drop the equivalent to a month's rent on another straightening, relaxer treatment, OR can I be patient with my hair and wait for it's natural texture to come completely in?
My friends have always encouraged me to, as they say, "grow the fro," but I've been hesitant to do so- not because I prefer one texture to the other- but because I'm nervous about the transitioning period. Managing two drastically different hair textures, super straight and tight curls, starts to feel like a full time, high maintenance job, even in the earliest stages of the regrowth process. My roots become so lush with curls that when pulled up in a ponytail, my head looks like an onion bulb; tight curly roots encompass my crown as thin, straight ends stick up and out the top of my head.
The "onion head" phase is typically the most growth I can tolerate, before caving and heading back to the salon. I am currently due for my annual root straightening touch up, but this time I'm really considering being patient, allowing my natural curls to reach their full growth potential. Undergoing the BIG CHOP may be right for some, but I've had super short hair before, and I personally believe that super short styles are not flattering for my facial bone structure.
I consulted with the Miss Jessie's curl experts and was relieved to discover there are ways to manage and style transitioning hair, without chopping off my straight ends before I am ready.
Deep Condition and hydrate hair to maintain dryness, shrinkage, and frizz, especially around the crown. Because all curly textures tend to be coarse, keeping hair moisturized and nourished is crucial for optimal strength and shine. The Miss Jessie's Créme de la Curl Shampoo and Crème de la Crème Conditioner are an unstoppable lightweight duo, excellent for enriching dehydrated curls. For more intense hydration, try the MJ Super Sweetback Treatment and the Rapid Recovery Deep Conditioning Treatments contain protective and reparative elements, smoothing out strands for pretty, plump curls.
While diffusing on occasion is not terribly damaging, as the structure of a diffusing nozzle allows for heat to be more evenly distributed around the hair, try to avoid hair tools that utilize extreme heat and increase breakages, such as flat irons or curling irons. Wash 'n Go styling is probably the most ideal avenue to protect hair, so after washing hair, try applying a little MJ Transitioners-Magic. This leave-in conditioner/styling combo will not only provide soft hold, but it also evens out hair textures, maximizing health and shine.
Experiment with styles
Opt for styles that will camouflage differing curl patterns, creating the appearance of consistency in texture. Roller sets, straw sets, twist outs, coil outs, or braid outs, are great ways to achieve a variety of curl styles, even on the chemically straightened portion of hair. Also, try experimenting with the diffuser nozzle, then style with a dollop of MJ Baby Buttercreme, Curly Buttercreme, and Transitioners-Magic for daily moisture and wash and go styling.
Don't toss your head scarf out, just yet! Tying transitioning hair up before bed is just as crucial as it is for completely relaxed hair because it protects hair against possible breakage and split ends, due to late night tossing and turning. Also sleeping with a silk pillowcase eliminates the threat of any frizzy, morning bead head. As I stated above, there are a number of ways you can set your hair prior to wrapping, to effortlessly achieving luscious curls in the AM, but for sleeping, I'm personally a big fan of a simple ballerina bun, fastened together with spiral bobby pins. Though a completely accidental discovery, this has become my favorite nighttime wrapping style. They are comfortable to sleep with and after wearing these pins for only a few hours, I had the luxurious curls of an old Hollywood movie starlet.
Have patience, curlfriend!
Trimming your hair every so often is good for your hair, and though a legitimate option, do not feel pressure to undergo the BIG CHOP! The onion pony is never a good look, however, it does seem like a much less scary alternative to completely cutting off all the relaxed portions of hair, inches away from the roots. Don't get me wrong- I think short hair on women is gorgeous and incredibly chic. I wish I could pull off a look similar to Halle Berry or Jill Scott, but I know it's not for me. The BIG CHOP is a personal choice, and for those who are bold enough, more power to you. For those who aren't fans of short hair or also share an irrational fear of your actual skull shape, patience. Patience. Patience. ONLY cut remaining relaxed hair when you feel comfortable with the length of your natural hair.