A lot of you have asked me how to get your curly hair back after having them straightened. The top 2 pictures in the grid below show how my hair looked a year after having them chemically straightened at the parlour. I’ve received messages along the lines of “That’s how my hair looks too now but the tips aren’t helping much! My curls aren’t coming back.”
This is not easy to hear or accept, but chemically altered hair is NOT going to go back to your natural curls.
It is not like reversing the heat damage that comes with using a blow dryer or straightening iron now and then. In that case damage can be reversed (to a point) with conditioning & deep conditioning.
In the chemical treatment however, the products used (also called relaxers) alter the chemical bonds of your hair permanently, making it straight. It can’t go back now. That is why it is called permanent straightening (even though for us curly girls, it hardly lasts more than a couple of months!).
Within a few months, the silky-straight quality goes & your hair becomes a mixture of textures- wavy & straight with lots of frizz.
If you really want to love & live with your natural curls, you need to grow new curls & slowly chop off the damaged length. This is called Transitioning.
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 but remember that this might take months or even years.
BUT you CAN & WILL get them back if you’re willing to put in the effort. (I’ve done it & at that time I had no idea that what I did is called transitioning!) Check out my hair journey below.
My Transitioning Rules
- My Goal: Grow out my heat/chemically damaged hair & keep my new curls healthy, without breakage.
- Products I’ll Need: Non-sulphate shampoo, moisturising conditioner, strengthening deep conditioner, leave-in conditioner, wide-toothed comb, t- shirt, my hair oil of choice. Gel, serum, spray bottle & a micro-fibre towel are optional.
- I will avoid: Heat in all forms (no straightening, blow drying, even if it’s ‘just the bangs’) & most importantly, losing hope.
- I will keep a consistent routine: Even on the days when I feel really lazy. This will also prepare me to take care of my hair the right way when it gets curly again.
- I will keep my scalp clean & oil it weekly– A dirty, dry scalp stops hair growth.
- I will NOT brush/comb my hair dry. Or this will happen
- My routine will be – Oil scalp & hair, shampoo scalp or co-wash (it means using your conditioner to clean your scalp if I’m not oiling), condition hair, finger-detangle gently (to avoid breakage) & comb with a wide-toothed comb inside the shower. Rinse and style with a leave-in conditioner, gently comb again & seal the ends with oil. You can watch my routine here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5sgj8z9pwU
- I will trim my damaged length every 2-3 months, ideally at the Line of Demarcation. If I want to trim it more often, I’ll do it! It all depends on how fast my hair grows.Line of demarcation is the spot where the curly hair & straight hair meet. You need to treat hair gently to avoid breakage here.
- I will pamper my hair with protein & deep moisturising masques every week– This will help in strengthening my hair & reducing breakage. Super hydration is the key!
- I will put my 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, I can put my hair into a plait, a loose bun or any other protective hairstyle.
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. Make patience your best friend when you do this.
Another thing, get on YouTube! Search ‘Transitioning to natural hair’ & you’ll find many curly haired girls talking about their journey. You can see their struggles & recommendations & arm yourself with enough tips to stay determined.
All the best & stay positive! Feel free to comment or DM me on Instagram (@thecuriousjalebi) for any queries.