6 Tips for Easier Transitioning

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Are you curious about going natural, but fear the Big Chop? Do you want to reconnect with your natural texture without losing length? Luckily, you can transition from relaxed to natural hair without cutting it all off! With a little time and patience, you can grow out your relaxed hair to reveal your natural texture. But in case that’s the route you decide to go check out my blog on the big chop.

Here are six easy tips for transitioning naturally – without a drastic cut!

  1. Be realistic

Going natural is exciting and chances are you’d love to see quick results. But the reality is that is involves a little patience. Stick to your plan for 4 months and then you’ll be seeing some results. After one year, you’ll be 100% natural beauty!

  1. Get excited about a transitioning style

With your roots being very different from your ends, it will help you immensely to find some transitioning hairstyles that make you excited. Try a bantu knot out or the twist out or great in-between style.

  1. Detangle with care

Never try to detangle dry hair. Detangle when your hair is wet and supple with conditioner. Use a wide toothed comb and go slow, working from bottom to top.

  1. Stick to a shampoo and conditioner schedule

Depending on your oil levels, you’ll have to cleanse your scalp every few day to every once a week or whatever fits your lifestyle. Experiment to see what works for you. After you’ve cleansed, follow-up with a deep-moisturizing conditioner or hair mask.  Synergi has the best Deep conditioner best used under a steamer. Quench 2.o it takes adding moisture to your hair to a new level. www.synergisalon.com

  1. Cool it on the heat

Instead of risking more damage to your gorgeous locks, ditch the hair dryer or flat iron and air-dry your hair instead.

  1. Trim your ends regularly

Head to your salon every 6 to 8 weeks for a regular hair trim – using shears, not scissors! Keeping your hair trimmed will minimize split ends and breakage and keep your hair looking healthier. Best if done by a professional stylist that you trust. More information on when is the best time to get a trim: http://curly2strait.com/trimming-natural-hair-how-to-tell-it-is-time-for-a-snip/

Good luck! While transitioning your hair from chemical relaxer to natural can seem like a long process, the results are well worth it. It will be no time before you’ll be embracing your natural hair, and wishing you’d made the switch years ago.

Guest blogger, Karen Coleman is the owner of Synergi Salon: www.synergisalon.com

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What to Expect in Your First Year Relaxer Free: Month One to Six

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Are you fed up with chemical relaxers that make your hair brittle and prone to breakage? Would you like to embrace your hair for it’s natural beauty? If so, you’re probably considering ‘going natural’. Natural hair, in the stylist-world, means hair that hasn’t been processed using a chemical relaxer.

If you currently have a chemical relaxer in your hair, you may be wondering how you can transition to natural hair. Luckily, transitioning is possible – without taking drastic measures like chopping your hair.

Since it takes about one year for the relaxer to grow out of your hair, I’ve assembled some tips on what to expect for the first six months when you decide to go natural. I’ll post a second blog soon on what to expect for months six to twelve.

What to Expect Months 1 – 3:

Big Roots 

Since most women relax their hair as soon as their roots start growing in, it can be a shock to see some “puffy” hair at the roots. To fix this, start using shampoo, conditioner, and styling products that are suitable for natural (not relaxed) hair.

Dry Ends

Also, as your roots grow in, the ends of your hair will get brittle and weaker. To fix this, get your hair trimmed – just a little! There is no need to take off too much length.

New Styling Techniques

Your old styling techniques will start to become ineffective in dealing with your roots and brittle hair.  I suggest switching to some new products. My favorite hair regime starts the Synergi Thermal Shampoo and Conditioner or the Hello Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner www.synergisalon.com . Once you’ve washed your hair, use the Restore Leave-In Conditioner on your hair while it is still wet. When your hair is dry, continue to use the styling products that you normally use  – but ONLY on your relaxed ends. Blow-dry your hair to ensure that the ends blend well with the roots.

What to Expect Months 3-6:

Unruly Growth

Your hair will have grown about 3 to 5 inches by this point and is probably thicker, longer, and seemingly more unruly than ever. At this point, you’ve come far enough that there is no turning back! It’s still a bit of an awkward stage, where you’ll find that your relaxed ends are thinner than your new growth. Continue to get regular trims to take care of breakage. How to know its time to get your ends trimmed http://curly2strait.com/trimming-natural-hair-how-to-tell-it-is-time-for-a-snip/

New Styling Techniques

With your hair getting longer and thicker, you’ll want to switch up your hair care regime again. My suggestion is to avoid using oil moisturizers on your hair before applying heat, if you’ve been flat-ironing. If the hair ‘smokes’ while blow drying or flat ironing, you’re damaging it. Continue to use Synergi Thermal Shampoo and Conditioner or Hello Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner. Then use Restore Leave-In Conditioner between salon visits.

Transitioning to natural hair can seem like a long process, but it’s well worth the effort. Good luck and stay tuned for my next blog post where I cover what to expect during months 6-12.

(Written by guest blogger, Karen Coleman, owner of Synergi Salon!!)

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BHM Blog Series: Those We Lost in the Natural Hair Movement

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During 2014, we unfortunately lost three important women known for encouraging us to embrace our beauty and accept our curls. They each had their own unique style and way of inspiring us based on their personal experiences as Black women. Without them, 2015 will not be the same.

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BHM Blog Series: National Attention on the Natural Hair Movement

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Last year was a monumental year for the natural hair movement.  I don’t remember seeing as much media attention on natural hair, TV shows focused to the topic, natural hair products in stores, or social events dedicated to natural curls.  Yet, the movement boomed and reached what I believe is a tipping point last year!

Here is how the movement made national headlines in 2014!

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Should White women join the natural hair movement?

Alicia KeysBo Derek 2

If you haven’t heard about the recent beef between the most widely known natural hair site Curly Nikki and Ebony Online, then you must have been living under a rock.  It all started when a White woman was featured on Curly Nikki sharing her hair journey and natural hair struggles.  Some were confused as to why a White woman was included in a movement that has been mainly dominated by Black women.  In reaction, Jamilah Lemieux, wrote the article, White Women on #TeamNatural?  No, Thanks!, arguing against the inclusion of White women in the natural hair movement by citing cultural misappropriation and sacred “Black Girl Space.”  Curly Nikki’s response was that she created the site for all women who are struggling with their natural hair texture, including White women.

I read both pieces and feel that both have their valid points.  I respect Curly Nikki’s stance on this issue and her right to create an online space for all women and I also can identify with the concerns raised by Lemieux.

What I know most about are my personal experiences as a woman of color in this world.  Particularly, my professional experience in social justice movements have shown me firsthand what happens when there are no spaces for individuals who experience unique circumstances.  I will give a brief history.  In the violence against women movement, Black women and White women originally worked separately in their own neighborhoods and families to protect each other against the violence in their homes and in their communities.  After the women’s movement became integrated, it quickly became clear that the unique experiences Black women faced were not a major concern for their White allies.  Eventually, Black women and their specific circumstances, were essentially pushed out of the violence against women movement.  Today, if you walk into any mainstream domestic violence program or rape crisis center, you will see a number of White female employees and very little, if any at all, women of color on staff (other than culturally specific services, which are rare).

So, what happens when you are a women of color on staff at one of these mainstream social justice programs?  One of the ways women of color are supported is through the availability of Women of Color Caucuses.  These caucuses provide a safe, private space for women of color to discuss the concerns of their communities and their unique challenges within the movement.  The caucuses address the need for rejuvenation, and sisterhood among women of color.  They are a place to celebrate ourselves without having to explain why, because we have a shared experience.

The need for private space is not only necessary for our safety and sanity, it also protects our intellectual genius.  Our culture has been adopted many times, especially when it comes to hairstyles.  In 1979, the movie 10 was released and featured Bo Derek (a White woman) wearing cornrows in her hair.  After the movie, she was named the most beautiful woman in the world, and cornrows came to be known as “Bo Braids” even though Black women had been wearing them for years including Roberta Flack and Cecily Tyson.  Recently, Marie Claire tweeted a photo of Kendall Jenner with braids in her hair calling them “new” and “epic.”  It ignited a firestorm of backlash on Twitter.  Since when are 6 cornrows on the side of your head “epic?”  When Alicia Keys wore braids for the first half of her career, they didn’t create the same kind of uproar in mainstream media as Kendall Jenner’s did.  Why does it take a White women wearing the same hairstyles that Black women have worn for years for them to be seen as acceptable, epic, or beautiful?  Why were they not acceptable, when a Black woman wore them?  Why were Black women and our culture, not given credit for our unique styles?

Marie Claire on Kendell's "bold braids"

I say all that to bring us back to consider having spaces within the natural hair movement that are either inclusive of White women or are not.  What I know is that women of color, particularly African-American women, have a different experience with our hair than do White women.  Historically, Black hair has been systematically, socially, and politically assaulted and deemed as ugly and unkempt.  Black hair has been practically banned in the military, viewed as unprofessional in the workplace, and during slavery, scientifically deemed as not even real hair!  Black hair as been noticeably missing from mainstream media, ridiculed by beauty standards, and has the least available hair products (just check out your local grocery store aisles).  This has not been the experience for White women.  Because we share this experience, we also need to share a space where we can support each other through our shared struggle.

The taking of our movements and culture brings me to ask many questions about integrating the natural hair movement.  What will happen if the natural hair movement is shared with White woman?  How will the movement be different?  Will there be space for our unique experiences?  What will we have to give up?  What might we gain?  These are questions we must consider and conversations we must have. 

I am certain that White women face challenges with their curly hair texture, and I validate their specific challenges with a beauty standard that none of us will ever measure up to.  Do not get me wrong, I believe in being inclusive.  I believe in the power of coming together and the ideals of unity.  However, unity implies shared power and shared understanding.  Until there is real shared power and understanding among African-American women and White women, I am left wondering if there can be real unity within the natural hair movement.

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