Early 2010 is when I decided to give Natural a 2nd try. I had transitioned from 2001-2003 and because the products weren't on the market yet, it was a disaster. Transitioning was the easy part. The disaster came when I had a head full of kinky Natural hair and no clue. Why was transitioning so easy? I kept things simple. When transitioning, it can be challenging to navigate 2 completely different hair textures. I stuck with roller sets and still use the same rollers and setting lotion I do today. The reason this was so successful is that the curls hid what was growing underneath my relaxed hair. Relaxed hair usually responds well to roller sets and Natural hair does as well. When you're rolling your dual-textured hair, be gentle. Your hair is in a very vulnerable state while it's transitioning. The trick is to protect the Natural hair growing in, while also maintaining a style. Here are some tips to help:
1) Use a good conditioner. Making sure hair is well conditioned and soft (before you roll) will help it be more manageable while working through the 2 different textures.
2) Roll hair damp. Dealing with 2 textures can easily lead to breakage. Cut down on that by making sure hair is well saturated with a good setting lotion before rolling.
3) Use a good oil. Natural hair tends to be dryer and needs more oil that relaxed hair. Be sure to add a light oil like PURE coconut oil or Argan oil to your scalp and Natural roots while maintaining your roller set. On the relaxed ends use a different, heavier oil to maintain the curl.
4) Take advantage of the time. Transitioning is a delicate process and takes a lot of patience. Use this time to get used to your hair tightly coiled to your head. Keeping your hair in braids and then taking it out for the big reveal may seem easier, but transitioning is about a mental state as well. Use the growth time to educate yourself on what your hair likes and what products will give you the best results.
Buns, braid-outs and twist-outs are all good transitioning styles as well. I personally stuck with roller sets and found that I was more than ready once I cut off my relaxed ends. As my roots grew in, my hair became denser, fuller and this helped me to envision myself with what I eventually have now. Afro hair! Be patient, set realistic goals (treat yourself to something nice each week or 2 weeks you go perm free!) Above all: listen to your hair! Everyone's hair is different. What works for one person might not work for another. If your hair doesn't like something it will let you know. The more you become in tune with your hair, the easier the transition to Natural will be!