Welcome to part three of our “Great Growout” series, where we break down everything you need to know about growing out your relaxer. This week, we’re focusing on how to keep “transitioning” tresses healthy. Since dual-textured hair can be very fragile, stepping up your maintenance game is a must! Here, we talk healthy hair with Titi Branch who, along with her sister Miko (above), is co-owner of Miss Jessie’s hair salon and co-founder of its beloved, cult-status product line for curlies, kinkies, and everything in-between. Here, Branch gives us expert advice on how to keep your half-relaxed, half-natural hair healthier than ever.
“The key to healthy transitional hair is keeping it hydrated,” says Branch. “It’s important to do weekly or bi-monthly deep conditioning treatments like ”http://www.missjessies.com/01_shop/shop_list.htm#rapid" target="blank">Miss Jessie’s Rapid Recovery Treatment ($48). If you don’t moisturize, the hair gets dried out and breaks off."
Transitioning hair tends to get dried-out and dull without proper hydration. For a quick fix, amp up the shine with Ellin Lavar InstantShine ($7.99). Loaded with moisturizing botanicals, this silicone-based spray is formulated to glossify and de-friz curly, coily, and kinky strands.
“After you’ve rinsed out your conditioner, it’s important to apply a moisturizing hairdress like ”http://www.missjessies.com/01_shop/shop_list.htm#rapid" target="blank">Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercreme ($32)," says Branch. “The line of demarcation between your natural roots and relaxed ends is very fragile. A great hairdress helps keep it soft, moisturized and healthy.”
According to Branch, when dealing with dual-textured hair, nothing’s more important than moisture, moisture, moisture. Most shampoos are loaded with harsh soaps, which further dehydrate Black hair—so, try a hydrating, suds-free formula like Hair Rules Daily Cleansing Cream Moisture-Rich No-Suds Shampoo ($22)—it contains no harsh detergents, so it won’t strip your hair of its natural oils.
“When growing out your relaxer, try to stay away from heat styling,” says Branch. “I know it’s hard, because many women straighten their hair so their natural strands matched the relaxed part. The problem is, if you apply too much heat, you run the risk of permanently straightening pieces of your natural hair. And then you’ll have to start the process all over again!” If you absolutely must go straight, Branch suggests spraying strands with a heat protecting spray like Motion Heat Seeker Protecting Spray ($5.99). “It coats your strands, so the blowdryer or flatiron is heating up the product, not your hair.”
In October ‘09, Titi and Miko Branch (left) teamed up with NaturallyCurly.com to launch the first-ever Miss Jessie’s Growout Challenge (www.naturallycurly.com/growoutchallenge), where you can share stories about transitioning from relaxed to natural, and also check out other readers’ experiences. Once a month, the Branches will select four entries to receive a Personal Hair Prescription, as well as $150 worth of Miss Jessie’s products. “Over five hundred women have blogged about their experience going natural,” says Titi Branch. “It’s such a powerful community…when you’re transitioning, it’s comforting to communicate with other women going through the same thing.”
To ensure healthy, well-moisturized hair, Titi Branch suggest hitting your salon for a steam treatment (ie, you sit under a steam machine while letting a deep conditioner sink in for twenty minutes). “Natural hair isn’t very porous, so products tend to just sit on top of the hair shaft,” says Branch. “The steam helps the deep conditioner penetrate the hair.”
On a budget? Create your own steam treatment at the shower by closing the bathroom door, applying a deep conditioner and allowing the steam to fill the room. Or, you can wrap your hair in a hot, wet towel and sit in front of a facial steamer like Revlon Ionic Hot and Cold Facial Sauna ($34.99).
“Transitioning hair can get very tangled,” says Branch. “The porosity of natural hair is a lot different that the relaxed portion, which is a recipe for knots.” She recommends a spray on detangler, like Pantene Detangle Light Spray Conditioner ($4.99).
According to Branch, getting regular trims helps keep transitioning hair healthy. “Straggly ends can lead to tangles, and since your relaxed ends are fragile, this can result in breakage.” Schedule your trims once every six to eight weeks.
“Many of my clients say that when their natural hair is growing in, they can actually feel it popping in through their follicles,” says Branch. “This sensation can cause itching, so I like to oil their scalps with ”http://www.hairproducts.com/view_product_BLA-MIZ112.htm" target="blank">Mizani Comfiderm Scalp Oil ($19.16), a nice, lightweight formula that massage follicles and soothes itchy scalp."