When I first decided to transition my hair from relaxed hair to natural curls a little over a year ago, I knew the road ahead would be long, sometimes disappointing, and definitely stressful. And it was.
But, the one thing I can admit after this 13-month-long journey? I would have never seen such healthy, amazing and transformative results without the help of the natural hair community.
Natural hair bloggers and their beloved communities were ― and still are ― beacons of hope in my transitioning process.
I found Facebook pages, followed Instagram experts and scoured their YouTube channels for advice like the ultimate wash-n-go, the do’s and dont’s of curly hair, and how to recover from damage. I turned to them for their tried-and-true guidance on important natural-hair questions, like how to go about getting the “big chop,” or what their “Aha!” moment was that pushed them toward the path of natural hair acceptance. Honestly, natural hair bloggers and their beloved and engaged communities were ― and still are ― beacons of hope in my transitioning process.
That’s why I spoke to some of these Instagram-famous experts in the natural hair world, to help others on their transitioning journey. From beloved stylers, gels that don’t leave a hard cast, lightweight conditioners, and some basic hair-accepting guidance, they shared their best transitioning tips, products and advice for loving your natural locks.
StyleFeen’s instagram will definitely have you feeling some hair envy with her gorgeous head of curls. But, like many curly-haired bloggers, there was a period of some serious transitioning struggle. When asked why she decide to embrace her natural hair, she explained how she had had it with the straightener.
“I couldn’t go a day without the flat iron, but it was a constant struggle to straighten it everyday because it was so damaged,” she said. “So I did the big chop and said to myself, ‘No more heat!’ Regardless if I liked my curls or not, I just wanted healthy hair. And in the end I learned to fix it and love it. If you’re not ready for the big chop, but still want to rock cute styles without feeling like your hair looks ugly due to damage, protective styles like braids or bantu knots will help.”
She swears by:
“Their leave in conditioner as a styler was my go-to! It didn’t weigh my lifeless damaged curls down and it encouraged my curl pattern to show.”
“Weekly deep conditioning treatments will assist in regaining curl pattern and adding some love back to your curls.”
2. M.A.D. CURLS
After years of relaxers and chemical processing, TaylorAnne and her mom, Lorianne, were basically forced to transition their hair. “Our hair was utterly damaged”, TaylorAnne said, “and we were literally losing it by the handfuls. We were told to stay away from any chemical altering processes...so ‘back to natural’ it was for us!” And they’ve never looked back.
This dynamic duo swears by three three products and three mantras when it comes to transitioning your hair: Patience, research, and do not compare.
“Read and watch as many articles and YouTube videos as you can on natural hair,” they said. “There are so many women today stepping back to their natural hair...that will help you on this journey.”
And why do they think it’s important to not compare your hair journey to others? “No two heads are alike, no two journeys are alike, no two back stories or histories are alike,” they said. “Enjoy your hair in whatever state it is in.”
We can get behind that.
They swear by:
Lorianne swears by anything Curl Junkie and this liquid styling gel offers brilliant shine while taming frizz.
M.A.D. CURLS used No-Poo as their go-to cleanser when transitioning.
3. Hi F3licia
If you’re a part of the natural hair community, you already know who hif3licia is. Curl coach and consultant, Felicia, was my official starting point for transitioning. For Felicia, however, her starting point came from an unexpected life event in the family. When her sister passed, she took it upon herself to fulfill one of her dreams ― to develop beautiful and healthy curls. The rest is history.
During her transitioning journey, Felicia meticulously read the ingredients on any bottle before purchasing to ensure she stayed away from any silicones, sulfates and drying alcohols. Her number one no-no? No heat. “Remember, everyone’s journey is different, but it will be worth it,” she said. “Give your hair the time and care it needs to flourish.”
She swears by:
“This is for severe damage. It’s not a deep treatment, but repairs damage from heat, chemicals, brushing and tight styling.”
“I used this twice a week and would add a few drops of organic lavender oil. Cover with a plastic cap or use a hair steamer for deeper conditioning.”
TV host Danni Washington has been natural for the last 10 years, dating back to her college days. “When I noticed my natural curly roots growing after not relaxing for nearly a year, I decided it was time for the big chop. I cut 10 inches and made the best decision of my life.”
Going natural has completely liberated her, she said, which isn’t an easy thing to admit since Danni is a true water baby and spends her time in and out of salt water. Her advice for transitioning? “Let it be”, she says. “Focus on having clean, healthy and moisturized hair. And, remind yourself that hair is hair. It’s designed to grow back.”
She swears by:
“Once or twice a week, I’ll deep condition with this product with a shower cap and scarf.”
“This is the best gel that I’ve used because it doesn’t leave your curls feeling crunchy but adds shine and moisture while...reducing frizz.”
DevaCurl SUPERCREAM, $28
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- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.