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Making the decision to transition from relaxed hair to natural hair comes with many questions. Do I really want to go natural? Why do I want to go natural? How do I make the transition? Should I big chop? How will I look with natural hair? What will family members, friends, or co-workers think? Which products will I use? Will I be able to maintain this style on my own or will I need to see a professional?

All these questions racing through your mind can make the decision even more complicated. When I made the decision to go natural I did transition for a few months but I was so anxious that I couldn’t wait and decided to big chop. But if you are in the transitioning phase here are 5 stages that you will experience during the process.

Stage 1: Pre-transitioning

I like to call the pre-transitioning stage the “thinking stage”. You’ve thought about going natural but it’s hard to visualize what you will look like with natural hair and what others may think. Take time to make sure this is the right decision for you but please don’t ponder too long on what other people will think. Yes, it will be a shock for others to see you with natural hair but do not let this be a hindrance to your decision. How you feel about this change is what matters most.

Stage 2: Early Transitioning

In the early transitioning stage you are interested in transitioning to natural hair but your commitment is not solid. At this stage of the game you’re likely to spend countless hours researching the internet for information about going natural or asking other women with natural hair for advice and to share their experience with transitioning.

Stage 3: Preparation

Okay so you’ve thought about going natural long enough and it’s time to take action. The decision may be to decrease the number of times you apply relaxer to your hair, stop the chemical process completely or be bold and big chop! While deciding on where to start you are also mentally preparing your mind, body and soul for this new change in your life.

Stage 4: Action

It’s time to get this natural hair show on the road! You’ve made the decision to get rid of your relaxed hair by completely stopping the chemical process and doing a semi-big chop by cutting off the relaxed ends or you’ve made the decision to do the dramatic big chop by cutting off all your hair and starting new.

Stage 5: The Maintenance Stage

Now that you’ve made the decision to free yourself of relaxers or to big chop, the maintenance stage can be challenging. You’ll probably spend countless hours watching YouTube videos trying to figure out which products to use. But beware because during this stage you could become a serious product junkie. Take the time to learn about your hairs texture and porosity level which will save you time and money. Plus the money you save you can buy some cute accessories to go with your new look.

Are you thinking about transitioning? Have you transitioned? How long have you been natural? Leave a comment below.

Nicole Patrick, founder of thenaturalcole.com is an online hair care resource for women of color with natural hair. To learn more visit thenaturalcole.com or contact her at cole@thenaturalcole.com.

Stars Rocking Their Natural Hair
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