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Transitioning From Relaxed To Natural Hair

Lady with a short cropWhat is the best way to accomplish your transition with the minimum of fuss?

More and more ladies are looking to transition from relaxed to natural hair texture. Whether it’s because you miss your natural texture and wish to wear your hair curly or you have having great difficulties in growing your relaxed hair long, transitioning is a decision that will empower you. Transitioning however, is also more than a little intimidating, how do you do it with the least amount of fuss, not to mention hair breakage?

Well, there is some good news and some bad news. Transitioning can be breakage free, almost, but only under controlled conditions, that’s the good news. The bad news is that some degree of breakage is inevitable.

As your natural texture grows in the line of demarcation (the point that separates the two textures) will be the weakest part of your hair. As you manipulate your hair whether you are detangling or doing any type of styling, this is the point that will most likely break. Depending on your hair type, your line of demarcation will be more obvious and it’s also worth a mention that the curlier your hair is, the weaker your line of demarcation. With 3b and 3c hair, the breakage will be markedly less than with 4a and 4b type hair.

Here are 3 ways to transition:

1.    An early big chop: You may decide that you don’t really want to deal with two totally different textures and if you don’t mind having short hair for a while (and you have the shape of face for it!) then this may be the solution for you. Many will balk at the thought of such an extreme change, especially if your relaxed hair was quite long, but you will save yourself a lot of hassle by starting from scratch. You will also save yourself a few bucks on the cost of hair care products for the time you are wearing a TWA (teeny weenie afro)!

2.    Transition with ‘hair hiding’ protective styles: Braids, weaves, wigs, just any style that will keep you from manipulating your hair while it grows out. If you can stand continuously hiding your hair, you can successfully transition with the minimum of breakage. The obvious downside is that you won’t be able to show off your length often without risking breakage, in which case it may not be worth it for you.

3.    Blend the two textures: You can use heat to flat iron your new growth to match the relaxed hair but constant heat is not healthy for black hair, particularly if you are going natural for the sake of healthier hair. If you have 3b and 3c type hair, a roller set can easily blend your two textures without heat but if your hair is 4a or 4b then generally only a flat iron will get it straight enough to match your relaxed texture. Another way of blending the two textures is to do braid outs, twist outs, bantu knot outs or straw sets to give all your hair a similar curl. The problem with doing this continuously through your transition is the sheer amount of manipulation your hair will experience which as your natural hair grows longer means breakage, breakage, and more breakage!

You may also choose to combine the last two methods until your hair is long enough for you to be comfortable to go ahead with the big chop. Another possibility is to use fab hair accessories to draw attention away from the difference in textures and vary your styles. Headbands, oversize floral clips and ribbons all look wonderfully chic and you can use them anyway once your transition is over!

Floral headband     Black floral clip   Blue hair clip       Orange headband

Whichever method of transitioning you choose, keeping up with moisture and protein deep conditioning treatments will ensure that for the most part, your hair remains where it belongs, on your head!



15 Ways To Get Longer Healthier Hair


About Alma

Hi! I'm Alma Ruddock, a full time blogger. I stumbled on a hair care forum in 2008 frustrated with my breaking relaxed hair and the information that I found there changed the fate of my hair forever!. I started as a way to help both myself and other women of color achieve their dreams of long healthy hair. I have now achieved my goal length and I continue to bring new information about hair on both this website and my personal blog.

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  1. 1

    I transitioned with various braided styles, mainly cornrows, for 4 months, and then tried a wig in the 5th month, then BC'ed. The braids helped me not think about my hair but were so darn expensive, so I decided to give a wig a try, then got fed up with the 2 textures and just cut it off. If I could do it all over again though, I would have just done kinky twists myself. I started doing those immediately after my BC from learning how to by tutorials on youtube.

    • 2

      I actually transitioned for 16 months before bcing! Braids were the name of the game for me but eventually I had so little relaxed hair remaining, it just seemed silly to leave it there! lol

  2. 3
    teachermrw says:

    I came to your blog by way of a Google search re: how to wash and condition hair while transitioning. I just finished watching several You Tube video tutorials by women transitioning, and one blow dries and flat irons her hair so that the natural and relaxed portions are more or less consistent in texture. I'm nor sure why she chose this approach to transitioning, but, everyone needs to find her own voice.

    Thank you so much for your blog. :)

  3. 4

    I did my transition by doing braid out once a week or when needed as well as wearing a weave for about 6 months…(of coourse getting it done a few times) All is well and I really do love my natural hair. I never realized my natural texture was so beautiful.

    • 5

      Great to hear. I know a lot of ladies who were pleasantly surprised at how easy natural hair is once you get your routine down.

  4. 6
    Danapose says:

    I am transitioning using Kay Vel Creme Press. I wanted to keep my length. So I blow dry and flat iron with the Kay Vel creme Press which is All Natural and smokeless and greaseless. It has been 6 months and I havent lost any length.

  5. 7

    I am nearly 6 months into the transition from relaxed to natural hair.  My hair is fairly long – past my shoulders and I am determined to keep my length.  I am also a fan of straight hair, so I have been blowing it out and using my flat iron.  I have found that it helps to invest in good tools to make this task easier.  What I need to learn about are products that will keep my hair manageable, and prevent my edges from looking soooo kinky!  :)  Any advice or recommendations are welcome!

  6. 8
    Phoenixr5 says:

    am nearly 1 1/2 year into the transition from relaxed to natural
    hair. I really enjoy having my natural hair around I wear my wigs
    while my hair is braid I don’t mind covering my hair
    in public but when I get home its all free. I have been using
    different types of hair stuff but I don’t put any heat on
    my hair. So when I wash it I let it air dry a little then I put some
    hair cream on it. But I don check my hair from time to time to see if
    it have grown any I take a part of it and tug on it just a little to
    see how long it have gotten. So far it pass my shoulder and my
    hair us to only come past my ear. Some hair stuff I use if anyone
    want to know is at first I use to use Optimum hair products.
    Then I start use Mane n’ Tail products. Now I use Mega Growth
    Profective and Tea Tree Oil Gro they all works great I just like
    Profective and Tea Tree Oil Gro it works better for me and no
    breakages well ok just a little bet it hard to get no breakage at
    all.  Hope some of this would help.

  7. 10

    Can your relaxed texture help determine what your natural texture will be?

    • 11
      Shaniqua43 says:

      Afraid not my dear. You can only truly determine texture when you are all natural with at least two inches of hair.

  8. 12
    Joyce_madu says:

    Am relaxed just started my hair  journey, 2weeks ago stormed into your blog, just need your advice my hair does not grow at the edge am so worried it is completely bald  started applying castol oil and wild growth oil do you think this will help me. Need help please!!

    • 13

      Is you damage caused by relaxer or by braiding too tight at the edges? I would suggest that you try ORS temple balm or Nioxin follicle booster. Whichever you choose, use it regularly enough to see results.

  9. 14

    Im 15 years old, I have been relaxing since i was 8 my mom couldnt handle my hair. over some time she stopped relaxing because she didnt have the money. From what I remebr my hair was thick and I would always brush it back with water and and put it in a ponytail. When I was 10 my grandma got to it and it was relaxed and went down to my shoulders. I would use pertulom and minrail oil based products. So for many years I thought i had dandruff. In middle school i was obbsecivly putting heat to my hair and it became stiff and short. My last relax finshed off my hair its contining to break. So i stopped all shampoo (prior to that i havent used heat in 5 months). Month ago I came across this website its helped me so much. Slowly with my new growth I cut away my relaxed breaking hair. I desided not to chop it all off because I dont want to walk around bald. I cant affered braids, weaves, or any of that stuff. So i keep my hair in a hair chomp or banana comb and use clips to keep the end done making a cool bun. I take vitmains I dont use shampoo anymore, or cheap greases. I began to read the backs of bottles. Another is baby shampoo if they dont use harsh chemicals on babies why should you. Burts Bee’s Baby shampoo is great. My condtinoer I use Palmers coconut and kertian all natural. It only cost 4 something. (I got all this at walmart cause once again I have to pay for everything my self. another good is Eden Bath and Body also at walmart. that was made by a black girl and its has natural stuff in it.) I put some in a spray bottle and added more water shook and whola I have a condtioner spray. I spray on my scalp and hair when dry and it really helps. I may not have much growth but it has came in darker, thicker, and a tad bit shinier then I have ever seen my new growth. Hopefully by prom I have a full head of my natural hair. You have inspired me to transition thank you.

    • 15

      I am so glad to hear that Jay’La and all the best of luck with your transition. You really don’t need to spend a fortune on good hair care and I have no doubt that you will have a head-full of thick natural hair very soon.

  10. 16
    rosshy242 says:

    I’m technically on my 2nd month of transitioning to natural (last time permed was in November or so) and already I’m told by friends that my new growth is pretty which is more motivation to continue my journey :) I’m honestly excited…I’ve always liked natural hair and haven’t seen my own natural hair since primary school

    • 17

      Hi I am on my 4th month of transitioning to natural i have been relaxing for the past 33 years a very long time. My last relax was November 2013, so i want to take a brake from all the heat and relaxing. People are asking me why I want to do that, my hair is pretty long about 17 to 20 inches long. I don’t want to cut so want to see how long I can go with out doing the big chop, I am excited.. which i had not relax my hair. What products can i use for moisture as i transition.

  11. 18
    Gloria Anderson says:

    I have been in transitioing for a year now but I have a bald spots in the front of my head. I have tried everything but it seems like nothing is working. I wash my hair every Monday with Aphogee shampoo and the Aphogee deep conditioner. I use Dr . Miracle scalp treatment hair grease.What am
    I doing wrong?

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