Chemically straightening through various treatments can help alter the natural texture of your curly, wavy, kinky hair to look straighter. These treatments have existed for decades, being used by black women to change the texture of our curly hair to fit some outdated, arbitrary standards of beauty.
God bless the natural hair movement for helping us come out of our shell and embrace our hair for what it is and give it a chance to be free. This doesn't mean you give up styling it all together, but it does mean saying goodbye to texturizing treatments, relaxers, perms, so on and so forth.
But before you take the leap, keep these tips—and list of terms—In mind to help make the transition slightly easier and more manageable:
The first rule: have no expectations
This one's difficult truth that not many of us are willing to accept. Natural hair journeys rarely look the same for different people. Your sister or best friend’s journey will have been very different for yours, even if you think your curl patterns are similar. There’s a lot more than just the apparent texture when it comes to hair, including porosity, protein sensitivity, heat and chemical damage, etc.
So don't expect the transformation to look a certain way or happen within a few months. Give yourself at least 4-6 months to let your hair grow and show some length, especially if you went really short with the Big Chop.
The fewer expectations you have, the less likely you are to feel disappointed that things didn’t go as you’d imagined.
Read, research, ask, take help
Read up on what other people’s experiences have been like, some of the tips they shared, maybe tips related to the weather, certain haircuts, and styles that helped, or anything you're worried about. There is a wealth of knowledge out there, and you can learn a lot from it. Use resources, join communities, reach out, connect, and find your tribe.
The right products, care, and maintenance
This is important to emphasize. Don't choose products based solely on things influencers tell you, or salespeople recommend. The most expensive price-tag doesn't guarantee the best results. From shampoos to conditioners to moisturizers, serums, or anything else you use, be very careful. Your products can impact your hair health immensely.
Ease up on the washing, but keep your scalp clean. If you’re styling your hair in braids to keep it safe and healthy, be sure you build up a cleansing routine for your scalp and roots. Moisturize and deep condition on the regular to give your hair a chance to repair itself.
Ease up on the use of heat styling
Sadly you might have to say goodbye to the heat styling tools for a while, save a few special occasions. Heat can damage your hair by drying it out, leading to breakage, porosity, and ruining your curl patterns. While it's safe to style once in a while using protectants, you're better off avoiding heat until absolutely necessary.