I transitioned for 6 months…Every month like clockwork, I would go to my hair dresser who would weave or braid my hair. At that time I didn’t know there was a word for it-transitioning.
Then one warm October day exhausted with all the weaving and braiding, and braiding and weaving-I told my hair dresser cut all of permed ends. In swift stoke of her scissors, I was left with a teenie weenie afro (TWA). Even though there was some hair to make an afro. My hair was weak, my edges were thin and I had split ends.
As a Kenyan woman going natural, I made mistakes along the journey of transitioning.
1.I didn’t know why I was transitioning to natural
As Kenyan women we love to be on trend. If there is a new hair weave on the market, 20 of us are immediately on River road looking for that hair extension. Before long half of Nairobi women have it on their head.
Natural hair is not a trend that you can just simply jump onto.It takes courage and a deep understanding of who you are to transition to natural. (yes it is that serious) If you are not able to understand why you are doing this-and this takes time, you will have difficulty transitioning. As Stephen Covey says, ‘you need to begin with the end in mind’. What are your transitioning hair goals?How long do you want to transition?What styles do you think will help you transition for long?Without the understanding of why you are transitioning you can get discouraged even before you start.
2. I didn’t set any transitioning hair goals
I didn’t set any transitioning hair goals. If I did I probably would have lasted longer in transition. The goals are important to have so that you are able to set a mon
If you ask a Kenyan women on the street her hair goals are, she will look at you in confusion. Hair goals?wharrathose? Hair goals are the long term desired results you want to see in your hair.
Your hair is your crown you wear with it pride, it is part of society’s definition of beauty and because there are so many options for hair…weaves, braids, relaxed, texlaxed, curly kit (yes, there some women who still rock a curly kit), dread locks, sister locks…you need to understand what your definition of beautiful hair is.
If you fancy looking like Gabrielle Union then maybe natural isn’t for you. If you want your hair to be healthy and chemical-free as part of an overall health goal then maybe going natural is the way to go. ‘
3. I listened to naysayers
All life journeys have negative people. It will be easier to stand firm on your decision to go natural when you have goals and vision. Funnily enough when they see you rocking your natural curls they will respect you more. Don’t let naysayers keep you from transitioning to natural hair.
4. I didn’t have realistic expectations
We all got our celebrity natural hair crushes -Solange Knowles, Naptural85, Mahogany Curls but at the end of the day your own African hair texture is unique-learn to embrace it as you go along your natural journey. Don’t look at a natural sister’s hair on the streets of Nairobi and say, ‘yasss, that’s going to be me’. Have realistic expectations of your hair texture and hair growth.
5. I didn’t like trimming our hair
As your natural hair grows, it’s good to keep trimming the oh-so dead processed ends on a regular basis. Trimming is part of the geography of transitioning. This is because your processed ends have been damaged by relaxer and heat. The ends are dry and rough. By trimming your ends you protect your hair from further damage from split ends and the overall appearance of your hair is better i.e. bouncy, with body, moisturized, shiny.
If you are a long term transitioner (8 months plus) keep trimming your dry split ends. It will look more healthier and have more body
6. I hid my natural transitioning hair
If you keep braiding and weaving and hiding your hair, it sort of defeats the purpose of going natural. It’s good to give our African hair and scalp a breather. Try showing it off, even if it’s on the weekend. Too much braiding and weaving will result in further breakage. Try gentle no-heat styles such as braid outs, twist outs, flexi rods etc.
7. I blowdried my hair
As your hair grows long, expect two different textures that make it more difficult to turn into one texture. You will be tempted to straightening it using a blow dryer. There is a line of demarcation between your natural curls and your processed ends.This line is weakened with heat. The less heat, the less breakage. Turn to gentle styles that require less heat. Set your hair with flexi rods, perm rods, braid outs or twist outs
8. I feared wetting our hair
As your african hair turns more and more natural, it will only get easier to manage with moisture. This means not only washing it on a reqular (weekly basis but also locking in the moisture with a natural oil (castor oil, coconut oil, avocado oil) etc. Welcome to Natural town, shrinkage is part of the package.
9. I didn’t stand up to my hair stylists
It’s not easy getting a good hair stylist in Nairobi who will actually care about the welfare of your hair. Case in point, at Kenyatta market, nobody cares how crappy your hair is. There is a fixed routine to braiding hair. Wash with harsh low-grade cheap sulfate shampoo, blow dry until it is straight and braid. Who said you need heat to braid your hair. How about you deep condition at home. Put your hair in twistouts and then go braid your hair. When someone says blowdry, just say no thanks.
10. We stick to the same products
There is a friend who is transitioning for 4 months and she is still using the same leave-in conditioner even though it is thick and heavy and sitting on top of there hair leaving it greasy, oily but still dry. I have advised her to first moisturise, use a natural oil like coconut oil to strength and soften her natural roots that way it will blend well with the straight ends.
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