Once you make the decision that you no longer want chemicals in your hair and you’d like to grow your hair out naturally you start to transition. This is moving between chemicals and what’s referred to as virgin hair because it’s new from your scalp and untouched.
There are lots of styling relaxed hair tips. You can allow your relaxed hair to grow a few inches so that your virgin hair emerges from the base of your scalp. Some women usually keep the hair in plaits or braids will doing this so the two different textures don’t show.
Or, slowly stop using chemical treatments and let your hair grow out by prolonging the months between relaxer treatments and eventually stopping the treatments altogether. Relaxed and chemically treated hair is finer in density, more visible and is most likely to break as it grows out. Leaving you with a base of thicker virgin hair.
Opt to go for a complete overhaul and cut off all your chemically treated or relaxed hair and start with a fresh base of virgin hair. This is referred to as the big chop, obviously because it’s a major step.
If you’re not a fan of completely cutting, speak to a professional hairstylist who can slowly cut off the relaxed ends as your virgin hair starts to show through.
Here are a few tips on how to turn relaxed hair to virgin hair.
How to style relaxed hair that’s growing out
So you’ve chopped your long straight relaxed hair and you’re left with a teeny weeny afro or TWA as it’s referred to. There are more styling options for a short afro than most think are available.
Colour it proud
If the virgin hair that’s growing from the base of your scalp is healthy and not sparse, a great styling option is to first play around with colour.
It’s always advisable to have your colour professionally done at a salon, and discuss with your stylist the different colour options that go with your skin tone and your lifestyle.
Using hair dyes like henna can be a good idea if you don’t want any harsh peroxides or chemicals on your virgin hair. It’s important to deep condition your hair after any colour treatments.
A fade is where the hair is grown longer in certain areas and cut shorter in others. Celebrities such as Grace Jones popularised the fade in the ’80s and local celebs like Nandi Ngoma have brought the trend back, with many women even having their hair styled with the same cut that Nelson Mandela had in his youth. Barbers can even add patterns of lines for anyone who likes a touch of edge.
Before there was Rihanna, actress Nia Long wore her hair in a pixie cut. Our own SA actress Connie Ferguson chopped her long locks in a pixie style in the early 2000s and the trend had since taken off.
The pixie cut is usually done with relaxed hair but if your natural hair is very soft and you struggle making it look voluminous, then the pixie is perfect for you. Hair can be blown out using a blow dry lotion or with a dollop of serum for extra shine to achieve a fuller look. The sides are usually trimmed very short.
The pinned faux hawk
A sexy and sassy style that can be achieved by pinning the side of your hair with bobby pins and leaving the top out to create a mini bouffant with your afro. This is a great day-to-evening style.
Avoid using products that build up if you want to slick the hair down flat. Edge Tamer which is made to keep flyaway hairs at bay is the perfect product to help you smooth down the sides of your hair, plus it’s easy to wash out.
TOP TIP: Any style that will pull the edges of your hair can defeat the purpose of growing thicker natural hair by damaging your crown or hairline. So. be gentle to your scalp and you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful mini afro.
Words by Thami Kwazi
Disclaimer: The information provided within this site is strictly for the purposes of information only and is not a replacement or substitute for professional advice.
Intern Digital editor at woman&home magazine. … Experienced digital editor with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry.