I was able to start slowly because I had time to do my research, limited resources (I was in a different country), and a friend that was willing to encourage me. I didn’t realize how crucial it was to have these things above until my sister (she has a channel on YouTube, find her here) told me that she decided to transition as well. She’s in nursing school and has a thousand of other things to do, so it may seem daunting to go into a store and pick out products. That could be a problem for a lot of newer transitioners so I wanted to give tips of how you can create a simple yet successful transitioning hair regimen.
- decide what your goals are
When I say decide what your goals are, I mean what are you trying to accomplish on this hair journey? Obviously healthy hair is one of your goals. But do you want to attain more length, stop using heat, learn how to do other styles? Thinking of these things is important because it gives you something to work towards. I knew that I wanted my hair to grow longer and to strengthen my hair, which was prone to split ends.
- learn to read labels
This is also essential. At first, all of the ingredients may seem like they just run one into the other, and you may have no idea what they say or mean. When I was in Sephora looking for shampoo and conditioner, I had literally no idea what the bottles said. I just chose a shampoo and conditioner that claimed to be 99% natural (meanwhile my shampoo turned out to have sulfate in it, but hey- you live and learn).
The main thing that transitioners hear when they first start are the dangers of sulfates and parabens. You may not want to use them and don’t even understand why. Just to quickly explain:
Sulfates: You may see sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate in your shampoo/conditioner. It dries out hair and leaves that squeaky clean feeling you may know or be accustomed to. It isn’t good on a normal basis because it strips your hair of all of its natural oils.
Parabens: Parabens are used to preserve the shelf life of certain beauty items, including hair products. Although it may be further down the list of ingredients, its supposed to have a scientific link to cancer. While I don’t avoid it as much as sulfates, I’m hesitant when picking a product with parabens. Be on the lookout for Methylparaben, ethylparaben, and propylparaben, which are some of the most constantly used parabens.
Another good reason to learn how to read labels is that you learn what products are dominant within a product, and which are good for your hair. When reading a label, the first 5 ingredients are the most used. This is an EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THING TO KNOW. Like I said before, companies are more apt to market products as “natural” or having “natural ingredients”, while the ingredients they’re promoting are hardly in the product. It’s something to keep in mind.
- pick your products
Woo, so we’re here already huh? *wipes forehead* So now you’re standing in your pharmacy, drug store, BSS, wherever. NOW WHAT?!Well first, take a deep breath and don’t get overwhelmed. Most stores now have their hair care sections divided, with their own “natural” section. My suggestion is to simply pick an all natural shampoo, conditioner, and an oil. I understand that there are hundreds of styling products and curl elixirs and a bunch of other things that you don’t need right now at this point. To prevent yourself from becoming a product junkie, and to give your hair a chance to adapt to your new hair journey, those three things are sufficient.
I feel like my hair was able to grow at a nice pace while I was abroad because I wasn’t able to get caught up with all these different products. My hair grew to respond to the products I was using because they were natural and I didn’t constantly switch up. The conditioner you choose is important, because its purposes can be multifaceted. Your conditioner can be a rinse out, deep treatment, and a leave in all at the same time.
At this time, especially if you’re coming from a relaxer, your hair has to find out what it likes and needs. This is a testing period. At that leads me to your oils. There are a lot of different oils out there that benefit your hair. They all have different purposes and can be used at different times. They can all be interchangeable, depending on what you want to do to your hair. My biggest question when I first started was ‘Whats the best oil for my hair?’ ‘When can I use it?’ ‘Where do I put it and how?’ The answer to those questions is simple: you use oil how YOU want to. And that goes for any oil. My suggested top three are: coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil.
- decide on a realistic committed regimen
Shampoo: 1x/ 2 weeks
I say shampoo every two weeks because I want to preserve the moisture and oils that are in my hair. Otherwise I cowash, which is basically just washing your hair with a conditioner.
This is your rinse out conditioner. The main difference between a rinse out condition and a deep condition is the amount of time you leave it in your hair. I leave my rinse out in for about 5 minutes before washing it out.