TRANSITIONING FROM RETOUCHED TO NATURAL HAIR FOR WOMEN OF COLOR.
The recent craze in the black community of women seeking to return to their natural hair has transitioned from rarity to being a popular movement. Diversity exists in culture and style but women of color stand out and are identified by their unique tresses. From Afro, twist, curls and dreads, we stand out in beauty, aesthetics and professionalism. In contemporary times, statistics show that black women opt for relaxing their hair as a belief that it confers elegance, beauty and a sense of belonging, but who is to say our thick, frizzy and full natural hair does not convey the same expression and even more with of course the right principles of care and nurturing. Others feel it expresses naivety in fashion or a state of being unkept. Recent trend statistics have revealed that this ideology is wrongly conceived. From my point of view, our hair shows personality and builds confidence. Thinking of transitioning to a natural hair, I am reminded of the principles of bush fallowing, were after a period of farming, the land is left fallow to boost nutrients and fertility. The same principles are applied in transitioning were the relaxed hair is trimmed off at intervals until the relaxed hair is completely lost, in a bid to embrace the natural hair texture we are born with. Trimming could be done weekly or monthly depending on the individual and the nature of individuals hair. This process is subjective. The big chop alternative is avoided for fear of going from lengthy to a teeny weeny afro(TWA) or the fear of not knowing exactly how you would look. Women often question if the chemically treated hair can become natural again, but that is not possible, as once it is treated it cannot return to is natural state except being trimmed off gradually until the natural hair underneath is left. Transitioning for women of color is one healthy fashion trend, believe me I speak from experience although I opted for the big chop. I just wanted to get it over with. This method is healthy because in transitioning, the use of relaxers is brought to a halt. Relaxers contain harmful compounds and sometimes toxins that impair the hair structure generally. Have you ever wondered why the salonist has to wear gloves just to apply the relaxer to your hair or why it has to hurt the scalp in the process. This is solely because of its adverse effects. Constant usage of relaxer tends to make hair weak, cause burning of the scalp, natural hair color change and breakage. Ultimately the sole purpose of having hair asides beauty is to cover up the scalp and wane the chances of having a cold. This benefit is partially ripped off with the constant application of relaxer as it tends to make hair light. Creativity is seen in different styles women wear while transitioning, from the Mohawk to the twist, buns and curls. These styles coverup the weak relaxed ends. Transitioning to becoming a naturalista is easier and more fashionable with proper care and maintenance while applying the right hair nutrients like natural oils such as coconut oil, shear butter which moisturizes and grows the hair. Braids and extensions also aid in transitioning because it masks the contrast between the new natural hair growth and the relaxed hair. As a naturalista I go for swims without having to be bothered about my weave. Here in the tropics with the hot weather and all, I don't fear having a stinky hair day. Being a naturalista is actually a freeing experience and I get to really express myself. The effort in proper natural hair maintenance may be difficult but it is always worth it at the longrun. While transitioning it is only wise to avoid the usage of direct heat on the hair like application of flat irons or blow dryers on the hair, because they denature the hair proteins, which may, depending on the individual cause weakening and breakage of hair. Hooded dryers are alternatives that can be used occasionally. Shampooing and conditioning with sulfate free product is of paramount importance, in that it rids the scalp of dirt and whatever microbe that may fester there. Preferably the use of natural shampoo products is a better alternative than other harsh synthetic products. Make do to set appointments with the salonist for trimming, hair check ups and hot oil treatments, believe me they do wonders to the hair. It does not hurt to read books about transitioning for women of color. Transitioning is all about embracing your hair texture and having fun while doing it. Celebrities like the Musician As a, Solange Knowles, TY Bello and Yemi Alade show the charisma in transitioning and been a naturalista. The ultimate joy of transitioning is pulling tresses and discovering the actual length of the hair and just basking in it. That is one of the beauties in women of color. Following from the above, I employ you to join in the trend of women who have set the pace of time and have revolutionalized the concept of beauty in naturals and still look fabulous and elegant while showcasing the African pride. Credits to all the original owners of images used. Images featured are from Google and Instagram respectively. Till my next post, have a lovely day. XOXO Ivy Ekong