Transitioning to natural hair can be easy. You don’t have to approach transitioning like it’s something to fear. I transitioned for three years without even realizing it! I wore my hair straight or in braids most of the time. One of the key things that helped me survive the transition was not noticing that I was even dealing with two different textures.
You don’t need to spend hundreds in products to transition successfully. Here are three great, budget-friendly products that will make working with your new growth easier. They can also blend that new growth in with your relaxed ends. Before you know it, you’ll be rocking those hairstyles on YouTube you’ve been so anxious to try.
An Oil to Seal in Moisture
African textured hair is naturally dry, and 4C hair is the driest of all textures. It is crucial that you moisturize your hair every day. An important step in moisturizing that women often forget is sealing. If you don’t lock the moisture in with a good oil, your hair will end up drying out. Although I love extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)—it’s a great sealant, it’s light weight, nourishing, and moisturizing—my go-to oil is castor oil. Castor oil brings the full package. You can use it as a moisturizer, deep conditioner, styling aid, and like olive oil, it promotes healthy hair growth. I usually moisturize, seal, and style all in one swoop using just water and castor oil. No need to spend money on a leave-in conditioner, styling milk, or butter. A spritz of water and literally a drop of castor oil can help you finger detangle, moisturize, seal, and style. Because castor oil is so thick, the curls created by the twists or braids hold nicely and are more defined than with a leave-in. Also, with one drop of castor oil, your hair won’t feel as greasy or caked as with a heavy butter. I have used castor oil for twistouts, braidouts, curlformers, and other styles. Each time, it has left my hair feeling weightless, moisturized, and extremely soft, which is great when you’re trying to blend in two vastly different textures.
A Moisturizing Deep Conditioner
It’s also essential that you deep condition your hair at least once a week while you’re transitioning. Currently, my favorite deep conditioner is nuNaat Brazilian Keratin Intensive Hair Mask. This is the best deep conditioner I have ever used, and it’s cheap. You can find it for less than ten dollars at your local Walmart. This deep conditioner just melts your tangles away. You can easily detangle with your fingers, which eliminates the breakage that may come with combing. What I like to do is rub it onto my hair and follow it up with EVOO (to seal in that moisture), twist it in two strand twists, and cover it with a plastic cap. You can choose to process with or without heat. I choose to do it without heat, because I think the body heat emitted from my head is enough. The instructions say to leave it in for 15 minutes, but I promise, if you leave it in overnight, your two hair textures will be so soft that styling will be a breeze.
A Co-Wash with lots of Slip
Now that you’re committed to embracing your natural hair, there’s one common product that you need to get rid of—the all-stripping shampoo. I know that there are shampoos out there that promise moisture, and claim to be sulfate, silicone, and paraben free, but for me I don’t even take the risk because I’ve found that even those shampoos leave my hair feeling dry. A great alternative to shampooing is to wash your hair with conditioner, or co-wash. The best thing about co-washing is that it doesn’t strip your hair of its natural oils, and it leaves your hair soft and moisturized. My favorite co-wash is Cantu Shea Butter Conditioning Co-Wash for Natural Hair. You can find this at Walmart for under five dollars! When washing your hair, do it in sections to prevent tangles. Massage the co-wash into your scalp, finger detangle and rinse under the showerhead, twist it up, and that’s it! Your hair is cleansed, still soft and moisturized, and is already prepped for styling.
A common misconception about 4C hair is that it doesn’t have a curl pattern. I promise you, it does. What I love about all of these products is that they make my curls pop. If your natural hair has grown long enough that that you can see it as you’re working the product in, pay attention to how those curls clump together. Look at those kinks, curls, and coils. That’s what you have to look forward to when you finally cut off those pesky relaxed ends.