Transitioning from relaxed to natural hair is a transformative journey that allows you to embrace and celebrate your unique beauty.
Making the decision to transition from using a chemical relaxer to natural includes patience, hard work, proper care, and finding out what techniques work for you.
When I made the decision to return to 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 the correct way to do it. Transitioning from relaxed to natural hair for 14 months wasn’t easy, but I was successful.
If you’re thinking about going natural, here are 20 essential tips on how to transition from relaxed hair to natural.
Set Realistic Expectations
Embracing your hair in its natural state takes time and a lot of patience. Understand that your kinky or curly hair will go through various stages and different hair textures, and it’s important to embrace each one.
Determine your Transitioning Method
Decide whether you’ll do a big chop or gradually trim off the relaxed or chemically treated ends. Choose the method that suits your comfort level and desired hair length.
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 hair 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 Youtube vloggers with a similar hair texture as mine. I also did research on hair products that work well for transitioning hair and created a wash day routine.
Invest in a wide-tooth Comb
Detangling your hair is crucial during the transitioning process. A wide-tooth comb will help prevent unnecessary breakage and reduce the risk of damage.
Be gentle when Detangling
Transitioning hair tends to be more fragile, so be patient and gentle when detangling. Start from the ends of your hair and work your way up to the root to minimize breakage.
Keep Your Hair Moisturized
Keeping your hair moisturized is the best thing Black women with natural hair can do. 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 particular product, but I wanted to make sure I was on the right track.
The majority of them told me the single most important thing is to keep my hair moisturized. Their advice made sense after learning that the line of demarcation (the area where the relaxed and natural textures meet), is the weakest part of our hair and causes hair breakage. Deep condition regularly and using a water-based leave-in conditioner helped keep my hair hydrated.
Use Natural Oils
Incorporate natural oils like coconut oil, jojoba oil, and castor oil into your hair care routine. These oils help seal in moisture and nourish your hair and scalp. They are also good for hot oil treatments.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
The point of transitioning from relaxed hair to natural is to have healthy natural hair. Stay away from texturizers, and other chemical treatments during your transition.
Opt for natural hair care products that nourish and enhance your hair’s natural texture.
Minimize Direct Heat Usage
Minimize the use of heat tools like flat irons and curling wands, as they can cause heat damage. Embrace protective hairstyles that don’t require excessive heat or stretch your hair using Curlformers to get that straight look.
Minimizing heat was the hardest thing during my long-term transition to natural. I was one of those women who NEVER styled their hair.
Having straight hair was easy, but 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.
When you transition from relaxed hair to natural, you essentially cutting off your relaxed hair little by little. Schedule trims on a regular basis to gradually remove damaged or relaxed ends. This will promote healthier hair growth and reduce the risk of split ends.
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.
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.
Wear Protective Styles
Protective styles such as box braids, twists, buns, and updos help protect your hair from manipulation and reduce breakage.
Protective styles not only safeguard your hair but also offer versatility. Try out different styles to keep your hair protected Just be sure not to make them too tight.
Consider the Big Chop
If you don’t have the patience for a long-term transition, consider doing the big chop. The “Big Chop” involves cutting off all your relaxed hair and embracing your hair’s natural texture at its short or medium stage.
Learn about your Hair’s Porosity
Understanding your hair’s porosity will help you choose the right products. Low-porosity hair benefits from lightweight products, while high-porosity hair needs heavier moisturizers.
Be mindful of Your Diet
A healthy diet contributes to healthy hair growth. Ensure you’re getting enough vitamins, minerals, and protein by incorporating nutrient-rich foods into your meals.
Protect your Hair at Night
Invest in a satin or silk pillowcase or use a satin or silk bonnet or scarf to protect your hair while you sleep. This helps prevent breakage and maintains moisture.
Stay Consistent with your Routine
Consistency is key when transitioning to natural hair. Establish a regular routine that includes cleansing, moisturizing, and protective styling to see optimal results.
Going natural is a personal choice and not everyone will agree with your decision. 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.
Connect with other naturals through online communities, social media, or local hair meet-ups. Share experiences, seek advice, and find inspiration to keep you motivated on your natural hair journey.
Online support is good, but always remember to use caution when providing personal information via social networks.
The hair growth process takes time. Don’t obsess over length; focus on the health of your hair. The more you care for it, the stronger and longer it will grow.
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 their natural 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 transition phase.
Don’t Compare Your Journey
Every natural hair journey is unique. Avoid comparing your progress or hair texture to others. Embrace your own path and celebrate your individuality.
Transitioning from relaxed to natural hair is a personal journey, and everyone has a different experience. By following these 20 tips for transitioning from relaxed to natural hair, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the transition with confidence and care. Embrace the transition process, be kind to your hair, and enjoy the beauty of your natural tresses as you embark on this exciting new chapter.