Transitioning to Natural Hair Without the Big Chop


When I made the decision to return natural, I had no desire to do the “big chop” so I did a long term transition. I had an idea of what to expect after previously transitioning for 7 months, but I still didn’t know how to transition to natural hair after having relaxed hair for so long. Dealing with transitioning hair for 14 months wasn’t easy, but I was successful. If you’re thinking about doing a long term transition, here are some tips to help you have a successful long term transition to natural hair.

Do Your Research

One of the reasons I ended up relaxing my hair again was due to little or no research. I had 3-5 inches of new growth and didn’t know how to take care of transitioning hair or that there were different types of relaxer alternatives. It wasn’t until my friend sent me a link to YouTube showing natural hair tutorials, product reviews, and hair stories. I watched videos showing how to transition to natural hair from some of my favorite vloggers with similar hair textures. I also did research on hair products that work well for transitioning hair and created a wash day routine.

Keep Your Hair Moisturized

Moisture is a natural’s best friend. I remember messaging the few naturals I knew on Facebook and asking what staple hair products they used on their hair. Growing up with natural hair, I never used any special product, but I wanted to make sure I was on the right track. The majority of them told me the same thing: “I can give you a list of products, but if your hair isn’t moisturized, you may get frustrated and just go back to a relaxer.” That essentially became the ‘bird in my ear’. It began to make more sense especially after learning the line of demarcation (the area where the relaxed and natural textures meet), which is the weakest part of our hair.

tips for transitioning to natural hair keep your hair moisturized
Tips for transitioning to natural hair: Keep it moisturized

Minimize Heat Usage

Minimizing heat was the hardest thing during my long term transition to natural. I was one of those women who NEVER styled their hair. After learning about the benefits of minimizing heat, I went from going to the salon every 2-3 weeks to once a month. Eventually, I stopped going to a hairstylist unless it was a blowout, color, or trim.

Trim Regularly

Transitioning from relaxed to natural without the big chop means getting rid of relaxed hair little by little. Part of my reason for transitioning from relaxed to natural hair without the big chop was being afraid of having short hair. That went out the window when I cut my hair into a bob after transitioning for seven months. Regular trims and an eventual haircut helped me learn how to deal with transitioning hair, made wash day shorter, and allowed me to embrace my curls more.

Do Transitioning Hairstyles

When I decided to minimize heat usage, I opted for easy transitioning hairstyles. Transitioning hairstyles helps with blending both relaxed and natural hair textures. Easy transitioning hairstyles include buns, twist-outs, Bantu knots, and even Curlformers.

tips for transitioning to natural hair - wear transitioning hairstyles
Tips for transitioning to natural hair: wear transitioning hairstyles

Find Encouragement

Not everyone will agree with your decision to be natural. It can range from your co-workers, church members, or even your own family. More than anything, you need to be your own encouragement. Loving and appreciating yourself is a must whether it comes to your hair, body type, skin tone, or intellect. After this is accomplished, it is possible to get support through Facebook, Meetup groups, blogs, and natural hair forums online. You can use these resources for tips, finding events in your area, product swapping, and gaining a new “transition buddy” or “curlfriend”. Online support is good, but always remember to use caution when providing personal information via social networks.

Have Patience

Doing a long term transition to natural hair requires lots of patience. Unless you’re an expert at doing hair or a quick learner, you will not get every style you watched on YouTube correctly. It takes time to learn about your hair and figure out what it likes. Many people worry about hair type or how long it will grow when they should pay attention to their hair’s needs. Not every product or technique will work, but the learning portion is important in the transitioning phase.

Read More Natural Hair Tips and Reviews

4 Easy Natural Hairstyles for Working Out

Wearing Crochet Braids as a Protective Style

Benefits of Hair Steaming for Natural Hair

Did you do a long term transition to natural hair without the big chop?

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