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Transitioning from Relaxed Hair to Natural Hair!

Transitioning from Relaxed to Natural Hair!

Thinking of going natural? Have you already decided but haven't done the big chop yet? Don't know where to start? Then continue reading.

For some women like myself, transitioning from relaxed hair to natural hair was a very scary thought. Having a small Afro was terrifying to me. Confidence was something that I had to learn. I wish back then, I knew what I know now. Below are some tips to make the transition from relaxed hair to natural easier for you.

Tips on Transitioning from Relaxed Hair to Natural Hair!!

  1. If you haven't stopped relaxing or texturizing your hair, then stop now. You need to start growing out your hair and keeping your new growth natural.

  2. Handle With Care. I cannot emphasize enough how important this step is. You have two textures working with on one strand of hair; so you can easily break the hair where the two textures meet. Every time you touch your hair please be mindful of that delicate section.

  3. Moisturize! Moisturize! Moisturize! You have to keep your hair moisturized at all times. You might need to get 2 moisturizers (a thick cream base and a light leave in). What might work for your natural hair might not work for your relaxed hair. But right now, you have both natural and permed hair.

    A heavy cream like Shea Moisture Smoothie will moisturize the natural part of your hair and make it feel soft and supple. However it might weigh down the relaxed ends and make it look limp and lifeless. For the permed ends you will probably be happier with a light leave in like Shea Moisture style milk or Garnier Frutis cream leave in conditioner or Giovani direct leave in - just to name a few. Always seal the moisture in by applying a light oil on your hair afterwards.

  4. Co-wash more than you shampoo. What this means is that you will wash your hair as you normally would but with conditioner instead of shampoo. You don't have to run out and spend loads of money. You can buy cheap conditioners like V05, suave and herbal essence. If you are going to be washing few times a week you want to use something cheap.

  5. Get a good sulfate free shampoo to use when its time to shampoo. If I did not co-wash during the week then I shampoo weekly. If you have been co-washing then a monthly shampoo is all that you need. Learn how to shampoo your hair properly. Shampooing too often can result in dry hair because you are removing the natural oils from your hair.  Make co-washing a part of your life. You will thank me. Lol!

  6. Choose styles that will blend the new growth with the permed hair. This is the biggest frustration we natural girls faced while transitioning from relaxed hair to natural. I was scared to chop but styling my hair was dreadful. Dreadful I say. Lol! Styles best worn while your transitioning to natural hair are braid outs, Bantu knot outs or protective styles like box-braids, flat twists or corn rows. Braid outs and Bantu knot outs are great because the entire length of your hair can have a uniformed texture.

    Braid Outs:
    The key is to braid the new growth as tight as possible without pulling on your scalp too much then braid loosely when you get to the permed section. To make it more curly and flattering, put small rods/rollers on the ends.

    Bantu Knot Outs:
    The key to Bantu knot outs is to make sure they are completely dry before you take them down. Two strand twist first then wrap the hair around and under itself until the end. Wraping under so that the hair slowly look pointy versus wrapping around the hair (this way the hair looks more like a ball) - makes the definition better.

    Also styles that hide the relax ends like Flat twist updos. Check out this post on Flat Twists as a great transitioning style.

  7. Minimize the use of heat. My last relaxer was February 2011 and I wore weaves until July 2011. I was flat ironing the exposed hair a lot so that it could blend in with the weave. In July I went to London and the humidity reverted my hair every day so of course everyday I flat ironed the front. MY HAIR DIED. In August I decided its time stop this madness and do the chop. Due to all the heat damage I got in the front I had to cut the rest of my hair lower to keep it even. I wasted all of that time transitioning under a weave.

    Use heat only once in a while if at all. Don't let what happen to me happen to you. From Feb 2011 to now I should have had a lot of hair instead of having to start from scratch with a TWA in Aug 2011.

  8. Do your research. Educate yourself on products, techniques and everything natural. Don't just take someone else's word for it. Follow lots of natural hair blogs. Join natural hair forums such as or mega hair infrotmation websites such as are lots to learn. Be involved in the natural hair community.

  9. Never expect your natural hair to look like someone else's. I remember spending loads on hair products to make my hair curly like some natural hair girls. What I failed to grasp then, was that no two natural sista is the same. No other girl's hair is better than the next. That's the beauty of being natural. We are all unique. Accept and love the natural hair springing from your scalp.

What are your biggest concern or frustration while on your natural hair journey?


  1. Great advice, Shelly! :-) I think styling was also my biggest issue while transitioning; finding something to blend the two textures seemed so difficult at times. I also struggled with the hair texture thing. I was expecting the huge, massive, Afro when I BCed...and I got curls, coils and waves instead. My face was like o_O

  2. Thanks for the advice, Ive been transitioning for eight months now, i kept my hair braided for the first six my seventh month i did Bantu knots and twist and braids out. I do not have too far to go because before i decided to go natural i had my hair cut in a style so, i barley have perm ends. I also cut my ends every time i get a new style. I have my hair in kinky twist since last year, and im going to keep it in until next month. But i think this will also be helpful to me.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Nice post on transitioning. I transitioned for 14 months with braids and bantu knots. I felt like the bantu knots were my best style for dealing with two textures.

    1. yea girl! Bantu knocks is one of - if not the best - style for transitioning to natural hair.

  5. I'm 14 weeks post this week. And usually by this time I would have touched up, as I do 12 week stretches since embarking on my journey. I already bought the ORS box and everything. But something has been stopping me. I want to put in box braids, to switch up my look and I don't want to install them in freshly relaxed hair. In the same vein, I have got fro envy these days (my best friends 3C fro gives me goosebumps) AND I'm curious as to how I would look if I grew the relaxer out. At the same time, I've been relaxed for almost 20 years and the idea of dealing with a whole head of virgin hair scares the living daylights out of me. Especially considering that I've only been on my healthy relaxed hair journey for a little over a year and I'm still learning every day. Okay, I'm rambling. Point is - could you please help me sort out all this mess running through my brain to assist me to make a decision??


      Hey Hun ,

      I know how you feel cause I have been there. I big chopped right before it was time to my weave back in. See, I am 29 and been perming since I was 8. So you know I knew jack boots about natural hair. But I was curious.

      Like you my best friend Islandessence was natural. You can YouTube her and add to Instagram. She inspired me. But I was scared out my wits. However I decide to think about it like this: 'if I don't like it I can just weave it right back or perm it wear it low'. Lol!

      At first i cut a piece in the middle and looked at my natural new growth hair. It looked foreign to me but now I wanted my entire head to look like that patch. I just grabbed a scissors and chopped it all off. Girl, it was the best thing I ever done. Not sure I will ever be able to explain the chills that went down my spine as I looked at my lil TWA. But I felt so different in a good way. Sweetie I have not picked up a piece of extension or a box of relaxer. To be honest, I flat ironed my hair twice in the 2yrs I am natural so that I can get a good trim and shape up. However after a day or two I began to miss my nappy hair. So I reverted it. I looked like everybody else around me with straight hair. I did not like that.

      It's so crazy because every other girl's natural hair is different. Being around natural hair Sistas make me feel so good too. I started going to meetups. Maybe you should search on for natural hair meetups in your area.

      Let me know when you finally big chop. I know it will be soon. Lol


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