Hair Tip: Tips for transitioners (part 1)

You don’t have to cut your hair to become natural. It is possible to go completely natural without cutting all of your relaxed or texturized hair. You don’t have to do the big chop (bc) as others have done. Many persons transition for various reasons, for instance, they are not ready to part with their hair. They are not comfortable or not used to wearing short hair or don’t know how to style it. They are fearful about what others would say. The list goes on and on. But there is hope for persons that do not want to cut their hair, TRANSITIONING!
You can choose to do a short term transition that can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few short months. Or you can long term transition as I did for a year and there are persons who have gone up to two years allowing the chemically straightened hair to grow out gradually snipping off processed ends until it has completely grown out. Here are a few tips to help you on your journey to transitioning.

Tip # 1
Handle hair gently
Natural hair on its own is fragile by nature but the area where the natural hair ends and the chemically processed hair begin, which is called the point of demarcation is the most fragile part of the hair. If extra care is not taken when manipulating the hair, it will break at that point leaving the end of your hair ragged. This will eventually create a split end if it is not trimmed. Any time you must handle your hair, whether washing, combing or styling take all precautions not to damage the strands.

Tip # 2
Treat all of your hair as if it is completely natural
It can be very frustrating when transitioning to deal with the natural texture of your hair and the chemically straightened hair especially if you are not used to it. But the best way to deal with that is by treating both textures as if they are the same and in time you will get used to it. It will make the transition to understanding and caring for your natural hair easier rather than going cold turkey, as it were, by doing the big chop.

Tip # 3
Moisture moisture moisture
Kinky and kinky curly hair is dry by nature because, due to the coils and curls of the strands, moisture is not able to travel the length of the hair effectively on its own from the sebum that is naturally produced by our scalp. We must manually add moisture in the form of water or water based products to our hair, depending on how much moisture our hair craves. For some people, that can be as often as twice a day or as far between as once a week. But one thing is clear. Hair must be kept moisturized and it is very important to seal in that moisture with a heavier product if you are having problems retaining moisture with an oil or cream.

Tip # 4
Minimal manipulation
When transitioning, the less you manipulate your hair the better. Since the hair is so fragile, especially the point of demarcation, you want to handle hair only when necessary, that is when washing and when styling. It is advised that you wear styles that do not require much manipulation and wear it as long as you can before the next wash day.

Tip # 5
Keep hair clean
There is a misconception that dandruff or dirt “makes your hair grow”. That is quite the opposite of the truth. Hair must be kept clean so that it can absorb and retain moisture which is critical in the overall health of your hair, particularly when transitioning. If you have an underlying condition that causes build up on your scalp, please consult your physician or hair care provider to treat that problem as it may require that you use special or prescribed products and medication.

Hair Tip: “Don’t wash your hair too often because it won’t grow…”

This is another very common phrase that I still to hear to this day.

Hair must be kept clean in order to retain moisture. When your hair is dirty, there are different factors that take place. Firstly, dirt and hair products will build up on both the scalp and hair. When the scalp is dirty, just as it is with your skin, it cannot breathe Neither can it absorb the nutrients or moisture it needs. You wouldn’t go three months without bathing, so why would you want to do that to your hair. Treat your hair like you would your body. Keep it clean, handle it gently and keep it well moisturized, you will surely see the difference. Hair that is dirty looks dull and dry because the strands are covered and weighed down with dirt and/or hair products and cuticles become coated which prevent moisture from entering. Keeping hair clean ensures that the strands are not burdened with products or debris and moisture will be able to penetrate the strands, giving it a shiny and healthy grow.

There are many different types of hair cleaners that can be used. Since every head of hair is different, sometimes it can be a trial and error game finding what is best for your hair. What works for one person’s hair may not necessary work for another, even though both may have similar hair textures. There are many debates about what one should use to get hair cleaned and how often it should be cleaned. Whether it is a silicone or sulphate free shampoo, be it organic or homemade or just a conditioner to clean your hair, one thing about which we can all agree is that hair must be cleaned and be kept clean in order to retain moisture effectively and to have healthy strands.

Hair can be cleaned with a shampoo or a conditioner so create a wash routine and keep your hair clean, your hair will thank you

Hair Tip: “Water is bad for your hair”

This is actually one of the biggest misconceptions about natural hair. Like many others, I also believed this until about a year ago.

Water your hair so that it may grow!!

Although my hair was softer and easier to manage when it got wet, I never understood why and never knew the principle behind it. Water is the ONLY product that truly moisturizes your hair and is capable of moisturizing from the inside out. Just as plants need water to grow, so do your hair and skin. That is why it is essential to drink a lot of water; to keep skin hydrated. Drinking water every day is just as important as applying it to hair. Spraying a little bit of water on your hair as needed and sealing it with a cream, butter or oil product, can help to keep your hair well moisturized. How often you spray water on your hair will totally depend on what your hair needs. When you mist some cool water on your hair, you are encouraging the water particles to penetrate the cuticle layers and hydrate the strands. Following with oil, butter or cream will help to trap that moisture in the strands and make hair softer. You will instantly feel the difference when your hair is well moisturized. Learn to listen to your hair and give it what it desires.

Your skin will also reap the benefits from just water. Well hydrated skin is brighter and more supple. Water helps to eliminated toxins from your body, thus making you healthier. Like your hair, skin should be moisturized. Use a moisturizer after a shower while your skin is still damp.

Water alone has many benefits and you should include it in your hair and body routine. Drink up!

Hair Tip: Hair growth Factors

Factors that influence hair growth

Now let’s get into what most people are interested in, HAIR GROWTH.
To understand hair growth, you must first understand what causes hair to grow and what prevents it from growing. Now that we understand a little bit more about the hair growth cycle, let us look at the factors that influence or reduce hair growth. I will divide these into the following:
1. Internal factors
2. External factors

*NOTE*: If you haven’t read the post on the “Hair cycle”, now would be a good time to read it before moving on [:-)]

Internal Factors

1. GENETICS: As much as you would like to think that your genes do not play a part in your hair growth, it does. As mentioned before, hair grows on average between ¼ and ½ of an inch per month. Depending on your DNA make up, it can grow faster or slower. Nothing is wrong with you if you hair does not seem to be growing as fast as someone else’s. The important thing to note is that everybody’s hair is different, so DO NOT COMPARE. Study and understand YOUR hair and work at making it as healthy as it can be. Healthy hair will grow. Once you master the art of caring for your hair, growth will come. Don’t worry too much about it.

2. HEALTH: What you put in your body is what you will get out! If you are packing your body with unhealthy food, both your body and hair will suffer the consequences and produce the same poor quality as the food that you put in it. Eating healthy will positively reflect on your body, skin, nails, and even the way you think. A starved body also has a starved mind. Having a well balanced meal also includes keeping your body well hydrated. It is therefore recommended that we drink at least 8 glasses of pure water per day and exercise regularly unless otherwise indicated by a physician.

3. HORMONES: There are many different types of hormones produced in our bodies. The same goes for men as well as women. The differences are in the quantity and types produced. Women of child bearing age in particular undergo a lot of hormone changes which can then influence how their hair grows. Medication, either prescribed or otherwise, and stress also play a vital role in hormone production.

External Factors

1. ENVIRONMENT: The sun and wind can be both good and bad at the same time. Although we can all enjoy the sun light, especially on a cold day, and the wind on a hot day, they can both be very damaging to our skin and hair. Just as the heat and sun can cause forest fires in heavily dense areas, it can cause burns to your skin and hair. The sunlight with its UV waves can literally burn your hair if it is not properly protected. The wind can be just as damaging by lifting the cuticles of the hair strands or by allowing strands to rub on each other creating knots and breakage. So it is essential to cover and protect your hair and skin from these and other elements. I live in Antigua & Barbuda, in the Caribbean, where it is sunny year round, but in countries where there is winter and drought, you have to protect your hair from the snow and the scorching rays. It is important that you protect your hair, particularly the ends since they are the oldest and weakest part of the hair. So by simply wearing a cap or having your hair in a bun, you can reduce the amount of damage to your hair.

2. PRODUCTS: There are no magic portions out there that will make your hair grow. Products DO NOT make your hair grow but they can influence the quality of your strands so it is important to keep your hair clean. You would not go four months without taking a shower, would you? Just as it is essential to clean your skin, so it is with your hair. When there is a lot of product build-up on your hair and scalp, it can weigh down the strands, close the cuticles and prevent moisture from entering. If your hair is not sufficiently moisturized then it will eventually become very dry, weak and brittle. The only way to see growth is to keep your strands well moisturized and healthy.

3. TOOLS & ACCESSORIES: As simple as it may seem, just brushing your hair can cause it to break. Styling tools, if used incorrectly can be traumatic to both your scalp and hair. Extra care must be taken with your hair, particularly when using styling tools and hair accessories. There is a misconception that you must pull tightly on the hair strands in order to stimulate growth. But it is quite the contrary, pulling on your hair actually makes it weaker and weak hair leads to breakage. So be gentle with your hair particularly while washing and styling it.

Remember, the health of your hair and, ultimately, hair growth is influenced from the inside (DNA, eating healthy, hormones) and outside (weather, products, hair tools).

Have fun growing your hair!

Hair Tip: “Defining my curls” with a wash and go

Wash and go

Best wash and go ever. I love my curls!

Wash and go is a great way to define your curls. There are many different ways to define your curls using various hair tools and products. There is no right or wrong way to define your natural curl pattern. I define my curls using only my fingers and very few products. It is important to note that products do NOT produce curls in your hair, they only bring out your already existing curls and coils. How do you define your curls?

Watch tutorial below to see how I define my curls

Tools/ products used

water

olive oil

shea butter

alcohol free gel

finger racking

Steps

  1. Wash hair thoroughly with shampoo and warm water to remove excess products or build up.
  2. Condition Hair and rinse with cool water
  3. Remove excess water with towel not overly drying hair
  4. Make sure hair is saturated with water but not dripping wet
  5. Seal in the moisture with olive oil and shea butter (or moisturizer sealer of choice)
  6. Taking hair in small sections and rake in alcohol free gel with fingers
  7. Style as desired
  8. Allow hair to air dry