Did you, like me some years ago got told by a salon you should get rebonding, smoothening or keratin done? And then few months later after all that damage and hair loss made you wonder how to get your curls back from chemical straightening?
If that’s you, you’re going to find this post very helpful.
Hi there, I’m Pallavi and I blog about natural hair care.
Like you, I grew up extremely frustrated with my curls. I hated the frizz (lovingly called Jhaadu by some bullies) & was hell bent on getting them straightened.
My hair used to originally look like this.
One day, just before my 12 std college farewell, I got my curls ‘smoothened’ which is basically a treatment that doesn’t last as long as straightening and isn’t AS damaging. It adds spaces between the curls in our hair and makes it smooth.
I was SO HAPPY. People around me were happy.
Soon enough, my hair became ‘weird’. There is no better way to say it. Plus the new curls that were growing from my scalp were curly and frizzy and the lower sections straight, almost wonky.
I was told to get another treatment even after I told them the crazy hair fall I was going through.
Here’s a tip to salons in India– stop bullying young girls into getting treatments like this and learn how to ACTUALLY work with curly hair as it is.
I still can’t believe the people who you’d think should know everything about hair don’t even try to figure out natural hair except to treat it with chemicals.
One day, in my first year of college (around 1.5 years after I got this treatment), I went to get a hair cut.
Unknown to me, this hair cut was a blessing in disguise.
The man had cut a lot of damaged hair off. And at that point my hair had grown quite long, leading to rough curls from my crown to the middle and the ends were these wavy messy damaged strands.
You can see the two textures in my hair below.
Table of Contents
How to Get Back Your Curls After Chemical Treatments
This hair cut was my initiation into ‘Transitioning’.
In the natural hair universe transitioning means – Going back to your roots, literally!
So if you have gotten any chemical treatment like Brazilian Blowout, Smoothening, Rebonding or Straightening done, you need to slowly chop off the damaged hair while taking care of your new curls the right way.
But Pallavi, why is chopping off the straightened part so important? Can’t I just follow your tips & get them back?
This is not easy to hear or accept, but chemically altered hair is NOT going to go back to your natural curls.
In chemical treatments , the products used (also called relaxers) alter the chemical bonds of your hair permanently, making it straight. It can’t go back now.
Some girls are brave enough to chop off ALL the damaged hair completely. But you DON’T have to do that if you’re not comfortable.
Do it slowly as your new hair grows but remember that this will take a few months or even a year.
My Hair Transformation After Transitioning
Some time after that hair cut, I discovered WHY my hair was always rough and frizzy.
This post should help YOU understand- 10 Things to Remember About Curly Hair
So I started to do the following-
- Applied a gentle shampoo for the scalp
- After rinsing out the shampoo, I generously drenched my hair in conditioner. And I mean generously.
- Using my fingers, I detangled gently.
- I detangled once again with a wide tooth comb followed with a narrow comb.
- Now that my curls were smooth and clumped together, I rinsed out the conditioner, but not completely.
- Next, I smoothed on a leave in conditioner and combed again. (If you have thinner or wavier hair than me, then smooth on your leave in conditioner or stylers. DON’T comb after since it can break your clumps.
- Next, smooth on a gel and scrunch up sections of your hair gently, removing excess water and product. (Gel is optional but fantastic for humid weather)
You can watch my Youtube or IGTV videos to see how I do these steps!
How to Take Care of your Hair During Transitioning
If you can’t cut off all the damaged hair in one go, please do it slowly.
Check the picture below to see how much change happens when you take care of your hair naturally!
Products You’ll Need:
- Gentle Shampoo (Ideally, try switching to a non sulphate shampoo like).
- Moisturising Conditioner (If your shampoo is non sulphate, make sure your conditioner doesn’t have silicones.)
- Deep Conditioner (You can also make deep treatments at home)
- Leave-in Conditioner (No this is NOT a serum.)
Find out why leave in’s are SO important in this post: What is a Leave in Conditioner
- Alcohol Free Gel (You can make DIY Flaxseed Gel as well.)
- Wide-toothed Comb
- Plain T- shirt
You can choose them from this handy list I made for all budgets! : Curly Hair Products in India
Do’s & Don’ts of Transitioning
1. Don’t apply any heat on your hair. This means no straightening, blow drying, even if it’s ‘just the bangs’.
2. Don’t brush/comb your hair dry. Or this will happen.
3. Do oil your scalp and use a gentle shampoo (preferably sulphate free).
4. Do apply conditioner on your hair generously from mid length to ends. And I mean GENEROUSLY!
5. Do finger-detangle & use a wide-toothed comb after conditioning.
6. After rinsing it off, on wet hair do remember to apply your leave in conditioner/ Curl Cream & gel. Want to watch how I do it? Check out my routine below. Don’t forget to subscribe once you do!
7. Do trim your damaged length every 2-3 months. You can also chop off all the damaged hair in one go. It’s completely your call.
8. Do deep treatments/hair masks every week– This will help your curls to remain moisturised & reduce breakage. Super hydration is the key! You can check out 3 ways I deep condition my curls in my video below or try these 5 DIY Hair Masks!
9. Do put your hair in protective hairstyles
A big issue girls with transitioning hair have is that they can’t stand how ‘weird’ their hair looks- straight at the bottom, curly at the top. In order to avoid that & until you have only curly/wavy hair on your head, you can put your hair into a plait, a loose bun or any other protective hairstyle. You can find plenty of suggestions on Youtube on this.
10. Don’t Lose Hope
This is the most important rule! This will take time – hair grows only a couple of inches naturally every month. You can take hair vitamins and oil your hair regularly to speed it up but you can’t do this without trusting the process & having patience.
If you want to see more of reader’s transformations, head on to my Instagram profile and check out the highlight called Testimonials.
To stay motivated, especially on the days you are sick & tired of trying so hard, visualise how awesome your curls will look in some time. Do not compare your hair with other curly girls right now, as tempting as that is because this process is to find out about your curly hair pattern, not to match to anyone elses.
Hungry For More Tips?
Check out my post for beginners – Curly Hair Tips For Beginners
You can also watch more helpful tutorials on my Youtube channel.
Lastly, start researching now on your own! Check out ‘Transitioning to natural hair’ & you’ll find many curly haired girls talking about their journey on the web & Youtube.
You can see their struggles & recommendations & arm yourself with enough tips to stay determined.
All the best & stay positive! See you on my Instagram @thecuriousjalebi for more post updates & tips on hair care.