Sunday, September 26, 2010

Transitioning v. Stretching

So, my cameras are en route as I went away and left them.  I miss writing here, it seems to alleviate the need to speak to a physical person.  I decided to create my photo for this post. 
Whilst visiting my friend in California, we got into the natural v. fake topic.  She's been relaxed, her sister natural.  Fortunately for her, she's not obsessed with beauty, fashion, makeup all of my downfalls.  She posed a question and I never realized some people don't know the difference between "transitioning" and "stretching."
Transitioning, simply put, is the process one takes before their "big chop" which begins the journey to going natural.  The term natural should be used with caution as there are few who agree on what defines natural (i.e. colouring, products, protective styles) so let's stick with the topic at hand.
Most people transition to avoid the shock of shaving all their hair off.  By allowing the hair to grow awhile, it's easier to accept the tiny Afro, than the shaved head.  To be honest, any drastic change is an initial shock, and I think there is a period after of mourning, fear, anxiety and regret.  For others, they are so happy to have healthy hair, it feels liberating. 
Stretching is the process of extending a relaxer for a prolonged period of time with the intent to decrease overlapping between touch ups.  By "stretching" the time between relaxers it also allows the length of the hair to be a bit more pronounced.  If you wait five months between relaxer touch ups, versus 4-6 weeks, the difference is impressive.
The downfall to the two is that the line of demarcation will literally make or break the results. The line of demarcation is the point where the hair's natural texture and the chemically treated area meet.  Because of the difference in texture, the hair can easily snap and break.  During the process of transitioning or stretching, many opt to wear their hair in protective styles.  It's also important to ensure hair is not manipulated without plenty of patience, care and gentleness.  The hair is very, VERY vulnerable so make sure if you are washing and conditioning you allow plenty of time to complete your regimen.  I also recommend researching hair forums, books, and any information pertaining to your hair's texture.  What works for some, will not work for others.  Make sure the hair has PLENTY of slip.  That coating will alleviate tangling and prevent that dreaded "snap" breaking the hair.


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