Stay Firm, Don't Perm!You've been natural for a few months, and now you're thinking "I'm about to perm this mess!" It's only natural (pun intended) to miss the old state your hair was in for so long. However, perming your hair and undermining all of your hard work isn't going to make your hair issues go away; stay strong, and follow these tips to fighting your perm withdrawal mind.
Utilize Alternatives To PermsPerms are used to straighten the hair making it 'easier' to manage and silkier. There are less strenuous ways to straighten the hair without flat ironing the strands or stripping the hair follicles of its protein and changing its chemical structuring.
Keratin TreatmentsKeratin Treatments range anywhere for $100 to $200 and are required to be repeated every two to three months, way longer than a blowout! Getting this treatment performed on the hair takes approximately ninety minutes. Keratin occurs naturally in hair, but when infused with heat and pressed through the hair several times it allows hair to remain in a straightened state for an extended period. The process forms a coating within the hair shaft and 'seals' the hair in a straightened state. Keratin treatments will protect the hair frizz, rain and will not fade with shampooing. Be careful when getting Keratin treatments because although healthier than perms, the flat ironing used to seal in the keratin and help the hair dry could cause thinning or permanent damage to the hair.
Hair StretchingStretching your hair isn't a chemical process at all. The use of plates and clips will naturally stretch out your curls out and make your hair easier to comb, style and straighten. Hair stretching is common in the hair world, but many people shy away from this method because it can be time-consuming compared to blow drying or flat ironing. However, this method takes some of the heat damage away from the hair. Hot Oil Treatments are good ways to restore moisture and strength to your hair but also a means of softening the hair and is best used on transitioning hair. Hot oils include jojoba, coconut oils or a mixture of oils to treat the weaknesses in hair and slightly loosen the curl pattern.
Extra Tips To Going and Staying Natural
1. Ease Into Being NaturalOk, hear me out, I know a lot of people will say 'go for the big chop, start fresh, let those damaged ends go!' but my advice is the opposite! If you have never been natural before, struggle to maintain your hair, or you are conditioned to doing comfortable styles for long or straightened hair, you might want to ease into being natural. Additionally, if you are a person with extreme buyers remorse, do not make hard and fast decisions like shaving your head or chopping off six inches of your hair. Translation: Maybe you should hold off on doing the big chop. Contrary to popular belief, whether you transition or big chop, hair continues to grow at the same rate. The big chop doesn't speed up hair growth, it does, however, ensure that all hair is at the same level of length, health, and hopefully, possess the same curl pattern. I suggest transitioning for a few months before heading straight for the scissors. Transitioning will allow you to have time to get used to the texture change in your hair and work out what products are for you before you are entirely natural. Furthermore, transitioning will give you time to adjust to the idea of shorter, curlier hair over time instead of going into the salon with shoulder length and coming out with above ear length.
2. Know What You Are Signing Up ForGoing natural can flood anybody with a wave of emotions. I know for myself, I looked at other naturals and believed that my hair would be super curly, grow fast and I would have a plethora of styles to rock; however, this was quickly dispelled when I the 'creamy crack' down myself. The truth is that you may be wearing the same two or three styles for a year or longer until you learn the right routine, products, and hairstyles that fit your hair. When you go natural, you are committing to adjusting your hair routine, taking time with your hair and embracing all the hair nuisances that come along with natural hair. Patience is a must when going natural; either for transitioning or for the big chop, you will need to be able to maintain your sanity as your hair grows out and requires new things from you.
3. Find A Couple Cute New StylesFinding a new style can be difficult. But as we talked about in our last bullet, you must be willing to accept what comes with natural hair and that means stepping outside of your box. If you want to stray away from the natural fro, pineapple or french braids when you are first natural, then attempt a new look! Add in braids, twists or jewelry to your usual styles to look more flair. I liked to get a perm rod set because it is not hard on the hair, last at least two to three weeks and enhances my natural curl pattern.
4. Use Protective StylingAnother option of going natural is utilizing protective styles such as braids, twists, and weaves. Braided styles are great for natural hair because they allow you to keep your hands out of your hair and time to stop obsessing over the lack of growth while the hair tucked away.
Remember Why You Went NaturalThe key to keeping your resolve and not reverting to a perm is to remember why you went natural. There is a reason you decided to leave perms whether it be for your hair health, you wanted to know your natural curl pattern or the fact that your scalp was begging for a break, you made the conscious decision for your hair and scalp to leave the perm behind. To fight your struggle against perming and stick to the new naturalista life, try new styles, get a good hair care regimen going and remind yourself why you chose this hair path in the first place.
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