Once your hair is completely natural and between 2-5 inches you can do a comb twist out, two strand twist out, or other twisted styles. Another option is to wear extension styles until your hair grows to a length that is comfortable for you. If your hair is more than 6 inches long two strand twists, flat twists, cornrows and many other styles are available to you. For those of you who might be considering locs, they can be started at any length. It is never too late to start locs! Most importantly natural hair is a journey and the journey is different for each person. Just try to embrace and love each stage of your natural hair because it is you!
Because of the two different hair textures your hair will be very fragile. Hair that has been used to getting relaxed on a regular basis can break if not cared for during the transition period. A line of demarcation will form where you will be able to clearly see the two textures. In order to style and blend the two textures I suggest either a straw set or twist set to give a curly/wavy look all over. Extensions are also an option such as two strand twist extensions which can last up to ten weeks. This gives you a natural look prior to having 100% natural hair. Others opt to press the new growth in order to blend it in with the remaining relaxed hair, but excessive heat can damage your virgin hair. Do NOT use heavy gels or pull your hair into tight pony tails. Let your hair grow in with the least amount of stress as possible.
As your natural hair grows it’s now time to get rid of the products you used to use for relaxed hair. Use shampoos that do not contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfates. This is a harsh lathering detergent that is very drying to natural hair. There are many natural shampoos that don’t contain any sulfates. I prefer Dr. Bronners brand. There are also a lot of “No-Poo” Shampoos that also work well. Do not use products containing petroleum, mineral oils, and alcohol as one of the first ingredients. Essential oils are best for the scalp and hair. To start with you need a shampoo, conditioner, hair oil, leave in conditioner and whatever styling products you need for your specific style. Please note my product list and links.
Condition, condition, condition! During this time you must do deep conditioning treatments on a regular basis (twice a month is good), steam treatments and masks are also good to keep the hair cuticles moisturized while it grows. Some people find that co-washing or using conditioner instead of shampoo contributes to softer more supple hair. Beware of build up, you may need to do a good clarifying wash every now and then to thoroughly cleanse your hair.
Some prefer to go without a relaxer for approximately 10-12 weeks and then proceed with the “Big Chop” to remove the rest of the relaxer. The thought of wearing a short natural is scary to some, but it looks beautiful on African American women and the hair will grow surprisingly fast! Others prefer to grow their relaxer out for about 1 – 1 1/2 years but continually trim off the relaxer a little bit at a time. Remember you can never “grow” or the relaxer out or revert your hair to its natural state, it has to be removed either by cutting or as a result of breakage. As your natural hair grows the relaxer will still be on the ends even 2 years without one! Gradual trimming allows one to let their natural hair grow approximately 6-7 inches in a years time while getting rid of the damaged relaxed hair. The relaxed hair does tend to break at the line of demarcation in some areas. Most people give up and do the “Big Chop after nine months because the two different hair textures can be hard to manage after some time. **TIP: always comb hair gently with a wide tooth comb starting from the ends working your way down to the roots.