10 Tips for Transitioners
Protein is your friend - Chemically processed hair needs a bit of help in the form of protein treatments. This keeps your hair strong, and also helps with the elasticity as well. Remember you want to minimize breakage and shedding during your transition, so regular protein treatments are key [once monthly is good for starters]. Also remember to deep condition AFTER each protein treatment.
Low Manipulation Hair Styles - Too much manipulation is like death to your tresses, now is the time to handle your hair with kid gloves. Low mani styles are your friend! Don braids, twists, roller sets, flexi rod sets, braid outs, low tension buns, bantu knot outs, and twist outs.
Invest in a GOOD detangling comb - As you can see, the theme here is reducing excess breakage. Detangling can wreak havoc on your hair, but you can overcome that with the purchase of a good detangling comb. Preferably a seamless comb [as hair tends to snag on the seams of combs].
Silk Pillowcase, Satin Bonnets, Satin Scarves - Are indispensable little "tools" - My favorite is the silk pillow, perfect for those who can't keep on a silk scarf at night.Try to AVOID sleeping on regular cotton pillowcases, as they can cause breakage as well.
Try to go sans heat for the first 6-8 months - Thermal straightening can have the same effects as a relaxer in a sense that it can break down the protein bonds in your hair. When the protein bonds are weak, your hair will break. This is why you normally get breakage on or near the line of demarcation [the weaker hair and new growth meet at this point]. Thermal straightening can cause the following woes;
- Hair that is too dry from improper straightening techniques
- Protein bonds weaken, then hair breaks at or sometimes even above the line of demarcation
- Heat damaged hair [you don't want to spend all that time transitioning only to have hair that is heat damaged]
Deep Condition Regularly - Keeping your hair conditioned is a regular part of most if not all healthy hair care regimens. But with all of this talk of protein treatments, it is imperative that you keep your hair moisturized. I recommend deep conditioning once weekly WITH heat.
Shampoo hair in sections - This is a good piece of advice for naturals and transitioners alike, as my hair tends to tangle and knot when I work with sections smaller than four. Relaxed hair is very prone to matting and tangles, so shampooing hair [and conditioning hair] in sections will cut down excess detangling time, and unnecessary tangles and shedding.
Try to use Sulfate Free Shampoo - This can help retain some of the natural oils that regular shampoo's tend to strip from your hair. For all of you that aren't quite ready for the 'no poo regimens; this is one you should definitely try.
Always use a conditioner when detangling - Load your hair up with conditioner, and make sure your hair is saturated with plenty of water. Take your seamless comb, and detangle! [Work in sections of 4] - Detangling should be a breeze if you are careful, and have enough conditioner & water in your hair. Another trick is to detangle under a stream of low pressure water in a shower, bath tub or sink.