In 2011, chemically formulated hair straighteners and dyes have become prevalent. The hair straighteners are used to straighten natural kinky hairs while the dyes are applied to enhance the hair aesthetically by changing its color. However, continuous use of these products entails a certain extent of hair damage depending on the amount of application. Due to this arising problem from chemical substances, many people, nowadays, prefer to maintain their natural hair.
What is Natural Hair?
Natural hair is basically defined as the hair that has not undergone any physical alteration using chemically formulated substances like relaxers and dyes. Depending on your genes, you may have a different type of natural hair from others. Some hair types include afro, large curls, small curls, wavy, and straight hair. The hair texture also differs from one type to another. Some hair textures include frizzy, smooth, and oily.
Hair can still be called natural if it has undergone a physical alteration that would not last for a long time. For instance, pressed hair using flat iron is still considered natural since it transforms back to its initial state after washing.
In terms of characteristics, natural hair has a wide array of features. One person may not have the same hair with another person. However, similarities between individuals can be observed when the characteristics are categorized into texture, color, glow, and overall shape. A combination of these characteristics defines a unique natural hair.
Many people are now embracing their natural hair, which constitutes its appearance and color. One main reason is that people learn to accept the differences among races and realize the beauty of natural hair.
What is Chemically Processed or Relaxed Hair?
People, who are born with curly hair, usually opt to straighten their hair through a process called relaxing. This hair straightening process involves disrupting of disulfide bonds present in the strand follicle and permanently restraining them from reformation. Such bonds are responsible for creating a wavy form of hair. This process is initially introduced to bring “controlled damage”, wherein the alteration of hair does not lead to frizzy and unhealthy hair. However, the process contributes greater damage when performed repetitively.
Natural hair usually appears strong and smooth, but it can be damaged as chemicals penetrate the strands and roots. Hence, chemically processed or relaxed hair requires regular application of moisturizers and conditioners. In addition, it must not be exposed to direct heat to reduce drying and uneven tone of hair.
When Should One Consider Transitioning?
Chemically processed or relaxed hair has its own advantages and disadvantages as compared to natural hair. A person should consider transitioning from relaxed hair into natural hair when its disadvantages dominate.
Some people often undergo transitioning if they want to maintain healthy hair and embrace their identity. Relaxed hair often leads to damaged hair due to over-processing, repetitive, and/or improper chemical application. Such hair is more sensitive to prolonged sunlight exposure and thus, chemicals coating the hair may entail negative effects to the hair due to the temperature rise in the immediate surroundings.
Another reason why people should opt for transitioning is when they start to experience hair fall-out. Chemical relaxers applied on your scalp create hazardous environment for hair growth. Thus, the roots tend to lose its strength and eventually, scalp experiences hair fall.
Hair thinning is commonly experienced due to repetitive hair relaxing. People often want to grow their hair thick as it is commensurate with healthy hair. Thus, if you prefer thick and healthy hair, you may start transitioning back to your natural hair.
Pros and Cons of Transitioning
If you are torn on deciding whether to undergo hair transitioning or not, then you have to weigh its pros and cons. Given below are some of the pros and cons of hair transitioning to its natural state.
- You will learn to appreciate the beauty of natural curls. Each hair type has its own distinct features that make someone stand out. As you transition to your natural hair, you’ll begin to love your hair grooves and enjoy styling it. It has a distinct pattern that can remain beautiful and in-style without putting hairpins on or ponytails.
- Embrace a healthier hair. As you refuse from using harmful hair products, you free your hair from possible hair fall, split ends, and breakage. However, healthy hair can be achieved and maintained by following a consistent haircare regime. Just be careful on choosing the appropriate product for your hair so that it can be as manageable as you want.
- You are about to enter a wide array of styling trends due to its different wave patterns. Some must-try styling patterns for curly hairs include braids, knots, wash-and-go, two-strand twist, and afros.
- You will be more confident to represent yourself as you embrace your real identity. Although the pre- and post-response of people undergoing the transition process differs for every person, it starts to unleash your self-appreciation and finally disregard your self-doubt. Being able to be proud of your true self is the most fulfilling part of hair transitioning.
- It tends to be costly since you will need to procure several conditioning products and tools. This is usually experienced by those people who prefer slow-and-steady transitioning. If you don’t want it to be costly, you may want to try “big chop”, which refers to cutting a large portion of hair, leaving the naturally grown out hairs.
- Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion. Others may or may not like your decision about transitioning. Their comments may be encouraging or discouraging, which may alter your decision. Always remember that it is helpful to hear and comprehend their comments, but the final decision must come from you.
5 simple steps to help one begin their natural hair transitioning journey
To start your journey to natural hair, you need to fulfill the following steps:
- Establish your commitment
Hair transitioning may take a long period of time before you reach a full-grown natural hair. Hence, it requires you to establish a strong commitment to achieve your goal. Aside from its duration, you will be more likely to deal with your own insecurities, self-doubt, fears, and prejudices with regards to your natural hair as it represents your identity. Hence, the initial step is to assess yourself about how eagerly you want to undergo transitioning.
- Choose a method that you are comfortable with.
Hair transitioning may be done by undergoing either of the two processes: “big chop” or slow-and-steady transitioning. “Big chop” is a process where you cut a huge portion of your hair and allow it to grow from there onwards. On the other hand, the slow-and-steady transitioning requires greater amount of time as you condition and maintain your hair with non-hazardous hair products while your natural hair grows.
- Establish your hair regimen.
A hair regimen is a series of haircare processes that you need to perform regularly to nourish your hair. It takes trial-and-error to find suitable haircare products depending on your hair characteristics. A common hair regimen includes cleansing, softening, deep conditioning, and moisturizing.
For each process, you can buy different hair products, either organic or with non-hazardous chemicals. In buying these products, you should always read the components to check if you are not allergic to these products. If your hair is sensitive, you can opt to buy hypoallergenic products, but they are usually available at a higher price.
- Invest on essential hair products and tools.
A healthy hair is an end-product of regular haircare regimen. You should not skip your haircare regimen. Hence, you should have regular stock of haircare products. Aside from that, it would be helpful to procure some tools including hair pins, clips, and spray bottles, which can be used in styling your hair.
- Learn to do different hairstyles.
Curly hair tends to be messy if not managed properly. To look neat, you may want to clip on your hair or tie it in a bun. By doing this, you look more presentable and your hair will not hide your beautiful face.
Products and Tools One Should Have on Deck When Beginning the Natural Hair Journey
As you try to make your hair as manageable as it can be, you will need the following products and tools in your journey to natural hair:
- Tools for Detangling
For curly hair, you need a wide-tooth comb to detangle your hair. Narrow-tooth combs are not advisable since it becomes hard to pull when used on curly hair. You may also need spray bottles to moisten your hair with water or “slick” conditioner. It will become easier to detangle. Another common tool is the tangle teezer, which is a type of hair brush that detangles your hair like finger detangling. You may also use a denman brush, which is made of nylon bristles. It is helpful for even distribution of conditioner.
- Tools for Conditioning
From time to time, you may want to condition your hair through soaking into hot oil or hair spa. In doing this, you need a plastic cap to hold your hair in a stable position as it absorbs the replenishing ingredients of the haircare product. An optional tool is the applicator bottle, which can serve as a storage bottle and applicator of your hair creams and conditioners.
- Hair Products
For cleansing, you need a hydrating shampoo that would cleanse your hair from its strands up to your scalp. You also need a conditioner to ensure that your hair remains soft and unruly. To maintain the natural glow of your hair, you will need to soak it in hot oils or hair spa once a month. It is advisable to avoid using products with intense chemicals. You may also opt to organic regimen such as using honey and banana for conditioning your hair.
- Tools for hair drying
After washing your hair, you need a microfiber towel to completely absorb the excess water after rinsing it. It is optional to use a hot air dryer. If this tool is not available, you may opt to comb your hair in front of a fan to easily dry it. It is important to dry your hair immediately to avoid dirt from accumulating.
There are a lot of hair treatments that you can buy in the grocery or drug stores. You may perform do-it-yourself hair treatments, but it is best to seek advice first from a hair expert before doing so. If you are not confident to perform it by yourself, you can go to a hair salon and ask a hair expert to provide you with hair conditioning treatment regularly. If something unexpected or suspicious happens to your hair resulting from do-it-yourself hair treatments, do not hesitate to consult a hair expert and perform an immediate home remedy.
DIY Recipe to Prevent Hair Fall
Hair fall is commonly experienced by those people who put a lot of chemicals on their hair. If you are one of them, then the DIY recipe below is a must-try.
Aloe Vera Hair Oil Recipe
Aloe Vera contains Vitamin A and Vitamin E, which are responsible for moisturizing hair and prevent breaking and drying. With sufficient amount of these substances, the hair is maintained with healthy follicles, improved hair growth, and smooth and silky appearance. This hair oil constitutes coconut oil and rosemary essential oil, which helps in minimizing hair fall and enhance blood circulation.
2 pcs. aloe vera leaf
5 drops of rosemary essential oil (optional)
½ cup of coconut oil
- How to Make
Cut the aloe vera leaf into tiny pieces. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the leaf to extract its juice. Mix it with one-half cup of coconut oil. Let the mixture simmer under low heat for approximately 7 minutes. Let the mixture cool afterwards. When the mixture is already cooled, add five drops of rosemary essential oil and mix until evenly distributed. Transfer the mixture in a dark container.
Using a spatula or applicator, apply a generous amount of mixture on your hair. Make sure to apply the mixture on your scalp too.
Put the container in a cool, dark place. It can last only up to 2 weeks.