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FEATURES Jul 22 2012 10:20PM

Natural Beginnings: How to Manage Your Hair While Transitioning

by Chai, BackToCurly.com

For many women, and sometimes men, the transitioning process opens the door to a slew of questions about how to best care for hair that can appear, for the most part, unfamiliar. Are you currently doing all that you can to obtain healthier, stronger, more manageable hair while still trying to figure it all out? If you haven’t found the rhythm of how to make your newly natural hair routine work for you, here are a few tips to get started:

Let your hair’s health be your guide

If you are starting your journey at the big chop phase, chances are your outlook may seem a bit discouraging, especially if the primary aim is length. But while longer hair should not always be the goal during any transient stage, in this case it can steer you on the right track to getting the hair you want. Focusing first on hair’s health puts you at an easy advantage if you are adequately moisturizing, preserving your ends and concentrating on your scalp.

Hold yourself accountable

Are you more rough than tender when it comes to detangling? Do pangs of frustration trip you up when it is time to “manage” your hair? OK, so while you may not be alone in answering “yes” to this question, you canbe one of the few that does something about it. Have you invested in the right tools? Set aside a special time to get to know your hair, what it needs, what it does not? Natural hair — while without question, beautiful — is by and far delicate, sometimes fragile and in need of proper care, and not just an afterthought. Invest in the time and the rewards will be great. Treat your fro to a weekly steam treatment or a hot-oil scalp massage just to start. Remain consistent and you will start to see the benefits of your hard work.

Form a Truce

Your hair is not the enemy. Do not be afraid to repeat this. While it is often difficult finding the ebb and flow of a solid routine outside of a traditional salon, especially in the beginning of any transition, the balance can and will happen with more patience and a gentler hand. Our curls are precious cargo, now is the time to treat them as such with a lot more TLC than they were used to. Healthier, more manageable hair comes with better understanding. Now is the time to explore and uncover what your hair truly needs.

Become a Pro

Not all of us are or will ever be good at styling (cue the choir), but at some point during your transition many of us will learn that we can, in fact, learn a few new tricks. If you have found a new groove with deep conditioning, becoming an at-home mixtress, you are already on the right track. Become a pro at some aspect of your hair routine — any part — and practice! Make sure it benefits the whole of your regime.  Instilling small adjustments to your hair routine can mean even bigger results for the long term.

Reduce your stress load!

Stress can show up in the most unexpected places, our hair being one of them. If you are feeling tired, overwhelmed by your day to day, chances are your hair follicles are paying the price. Our hair follicles tend to shut down and forget to do their job when under extreme stress; our curls become more fragile, thin and, in worst cases, can fall out. While there is no way to avoid stress altogether, you can find better ways to cope, and understand the reasons behind the “what” and “why” of how our hair reacts to certain situations. If you are routinely under stress and notice more tangles and have even more difficulty with knots and split ends, do something new and become your hair’s best-kept secret by learning coping mechanisms.


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