I always said I would be honest to my readers about my experiences with natural hair… and my first week after 12 years of locing and returning to loose hair was a toughie lol 🙂 I looked up this transition stage online and realised that there are SO many forms of transitioning in natural hair… not just from relaxed to natural – but also from loose to locs and from locs back to loose… it’s the shift that happens in our Self as we learn/re-learn to appreciate our hair!
I got a few questions from long-time locers about what I am doing on my first week back to loose hair… I didn’t find any blog posts or videos on the transition from locs to loose hair so I thought I would post one up – plus my tips and pics of what I did to transition back to loose hair after locs.
If you have been locing for a few years and feeling “out of touch” with your old loose hair routine I hope this helps! This also applies to many people out there who went straight from relaxed hair to locs and maybe haven’t experienced their loose natural hair yet ( there are many locers I’ve come across over the years who did just that).
My experiences of locs to loose natural hair
As I said, my first week was tough. On my first day I was even looking at my old cut off locs and wondering what I got my Self into after seeing the mass of hair I had to work with after my wash. It really was a bit of a mental shift… not just for me but for others too. Here are some tips I found helpful on my first week back… I’ll update as I go along 🙂
My tips and thoughts…
Get some basic tools together before taking down your locs or doing the big chop off to loose hair.
Moisturising silicone-free conditioner, bobby pins, a hair natural butter, eco-styler gel (if you want to dive into the wash and go styles), small and large hair bands, satin scarf and a wide tooth comb. Those were the main things I had ready for my step back into loose hair.
Get your basic stuff ready so you can start with a new routine as soon as you are ready ‘n loose lol 🙂
If you’re out of touch with your loose hair, don’t worry – it will take time but this is the beautiful thing about natural hair! 🙂
Just like any transition, it takes time to get used to things – This was what I told my Self all the time! Get used to your natural texture by washing/no-pooing and just moisturising with a light oil and see what your texture is like when wet and dry first – without any defining products.
Throw away any expectations of what your hair *should* look like.
I say this especially if you’re like me and you haven’t really seen your natural texture pattern for a while.
I sat down, looked at my drying hair after my first wash and thought “Where is my 3C hair?!?”… I was thinking that my curl pattern was different from what I remembered it to be… And I saw more 4a texture than expected. Like most of us, my hair texture is all different on different parts of my head… my curls aren’t really defined either when I thought they would be… blah blah blah… my mind filled up with thoughts on my texture like this. Then I stopped… breathed in deeply, exhaled all my expectations and said a loving affirmation “I accept, enjoy and embrace my hair for all that it is!”. It worked 🙂
Throwing away all your thoughts and your expectations about your loose texture is a great way of accepting what you hair is and loving it. It makes styling much easier too! And all textures are beautiful!
Make the first week/days all about moisturising and getting your loose hair as healthy as possible!
I haven’t really been styling my hair during the first week – I hardly used any gels or heavy products… I worked on making sure that my loose hair was clean, very moisturised and detangled. I trimmed a few sections too and that made a big difference. I also plan to deep condition.
I suggest that for the first week or first few days, care for your hair without many/any styling products – to get it back into good health. Focus on your ends (with a natural butter or trimming), cleaning with caring gentle products and detangling after each wash. Also, add as much moisturising natural oils and natural butters as you can to get your natural thirsty hair feeling soft and nourished 🙂
There’s plenty of time for styling after nourishing your hair 🙂
Have some “go to” hairstyles prepared!
I was not sure what styles to work on… I have seen MANY videos of beautiful loose hair tutorials over the years, even with locs. And I wasn’t sure where to start. So my first go-to style was the good ol’ bun… using a donut or sock bun. Saved my life the first few days lol 🙂 Especially as I didn’t have much time that week due to work etc.
Find a few styles for the length you will have to easily use when you are not sure what to do. Youtube have so many videos, I found that by typing in “easy natural styles” for the search, many videos came up showing a few simple styles at once to get started on.
Make more time in the morning!
Locs are an easy “style” in the morning, no need to think about doing them unless you are going for an actual loc style. So my first week was a little hectic in the mornings as I realsised I needed to make more space for hair styling! Sounds basic, right?! But it did take me by surprise on the practical side of things.
Back to experimenting!
Just like all transitions, you will need to experiment again – products, hair routines, styles etc. Have fun with it and take your time. The good thing is there is so much info online and videos to guide you through the process 🙂
Be prepared for the questions!
I think I shocked a few of my clients when I got in to work and the amount of questions from curious friends/family/clients/etc overwhelmed me a bit lol. But hey, that’s what change is all about I guess! I just answered back by saying “I’m releasing old energy” and most of them responded with a friendly smile!
I found it very different transitioning from locs>loose than from relaxed>loose as (surprisingly) a few locers I personally have known over the years believe cutting locs is a negative thing…”You will lose your energy/power” etc. So, this was a reaction that I was ready to face if needed. Also, people have already seen my natural hair in loc-form so they weren’t so surprised that I had afro hair… whereas when I transitioned from the relaxer, people were not used to seeing my kinks. Just a few random observations lol 🙂
So yeah… be prepared for many questions… Have a quick answer ready for curious people… remind your Self that this is *your* hair… and if you get negative comments (I had one or two), don’t take it personal! Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, you know why you did it and that’s what is important 🙂
Some pics of my first week back!
As you can see, I did practically no styling, apart from using twists and buns as my go-to quick styles. My current routine is simple…
- No-pooing every 3 days (Summer time) with Treseme naturals conditioner
- Detangling my hair with fingers when it is wet only
- Gently drying with an old t-shirt, no towel
- Using sweet almond oil (nourishing, easily absorbed and leaves no scent) to lock in moisture when damp
- Using whipped shea butter on my ends
- Sectioning my wet hair into 4, then braiding each section to dry
- Air drying, no heat
- Wrapping my hair in a satin scarf at night to sleep
- Waking and either fluffing it out, putting it in a donut bun or twisting it up