Still holding on to the length…

So you’re not quite ready to take the plunge and get rid of your relaxed hair. Here are somme facts about your hair to keep in mind.

Curly or Straight:

You can’t have it both ways, your hair is it’s strongest when there’s not abrupt change in texture down the shaft. This is a great time to explore the world of twist sets. If you’re not quite ready to go full curl then a blow out maintained in a wrap may be the style for you.

How to rock either one:

To achieve a set, you only need to start with well conditioned hair and a pattern in mind. Braiding or twisting the hair in a consistent pattern from scalp to ends allows you to take the stress point away from where your curls and straight ends meet. This reduces breakage and allows you to test out some look. If you decide to start with wet hair you may need some product to help the relaxed ends conform.

Note:if you’ve been getting professional relaxers that maintain a slight curl in your wet hair you won’t have as many problems as if you’ve been going for bone straight and working out of the box, it’s not likely that this set will hold up through humidity.

If you start dry, you will need a water based product to start your set. Try to avoid mineral oil, petroleum based products as they shut down the cuticle of the hair and will not assist you in holding the look.

Allow the set to dry completely and when it’s time to take it down finger comb to separate the curls/waves.

Should you chose to keep your hair straight, just remember to be mindful not to allow too much new growth to stay unstraightened. This is due to the weak spot that is created more so than appearance. I do not suggest trying to achieve this look at home as you may apply too much heat or tension to your hair. I also suggest you maintain a  Shea butter regimen

Shea Butter
Shea Butter (Photo credit: LilyBaySoap)

to keep the moisture that the heat removes.

Satin scarves will help maintain both looks at night. Retwist the set if possible to keep it fresh, and wrap your hair the same as you would in your relaxed hair days.

Enjoy!

Hope this helps you get a game plan together to keep those relaxed ends in check.

The first week after the big chop!

Lauryn Hill at Central Park
Lauryn Hill at Central Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Congratulations! You’ve taken a large step into this journey and you decided it was best to dive in head first. Depending on your curl pattern you may be experiencing straight patches and flyaway hair. If you conducted the ceremonial ritual at home, there’s a chance that you may need professional assistance soon. Some of the questions that I’ve encountered from people in this stage include:

Why doesn’t it look like an Afro?

Why isn’t it even, even though I keep chipping away at the stray pieces?

I love the curl when it’s wet, how can I keep that when it’s dry?

Answers:

This is the week of discovery. Freshly cut ends on any texture of hair need some time to settle. Increase your water intake, grab some Biotin and be patient. If you have the curl pattern that will produce a stunning Afro as pictured, this is where you pay your dues.

Try not to clip at the stray hairs, until your curl pattern starts to really reveal itself, which will probably be this time next week.Then it’s time to select an approach. The nightly care for hair that’s long enough to twist or braid includes moisturizing the hair and sectioning it off into braids to retain the moisture, the more you chip away, the more difficult that process becomes. If you’re not comfortable roughing it out, this may be a good time to get a braid style. Be mindful of the tension put on your hair. Some braid stylists, even now that natural is popular, put additional stress on the hair because it may appear to be difficult to manage. A professional will be sure to analyze your hair prior to attempting a style to be sure it is executed in a manner that does not compromise your hair health.

This is the time to observe your hair, your curl pattern is not ready to be diagnosed yet. I suggest holding off on purchasing an abundance of products until you see what you can come up with as naturally as possible. A whipped Shea butter product from a trusted Shea Processor will provide light-weight moisture which allows your hair to breathe and come into its own.

Hopefully this puts some of the first week jitters at ease. Leave comments and feel free to send questions. I’m here to help.

~Margaret Ellen