Transitioning from Relaxed to Natural Hair Tips and Advice Site

Updated September 15, 2013
If you feel like you have damaged hair due to chemical relaxing and you want to get information about long term transitioning from relaxed to natural hair without doing the big chop, please take some time to explore the site. We have all of the transitioning hair care tips you could want including the best information on long term transitioning. We have special tips for deep conditioning, how to grow long hair, the best transitioning products and tons of ideas for natural hair styles and transitioning natural hair.

Transitioning from relaxed to natural hair can be very easy and also fun if you have the right hair styles and the correct knowledge about black hair care. Once your new growth begins to take over you can still go for a long time before you cut off relaxer ends. Our guidelines are appropriate for all hair types 4a, 4b, 4c, 3a, 3b and 3c. No big chop required!

Natural hair styles are important when you want to transition from relaxer on 4a or 3c hair. After you have allowed your hair to grow out some and you have plenty of new growth, you can cut off relaxer hair, deep condition with coconut oil or henna, and grow long hair naturally. No big chop is required for beautiful results with long term transitioning or on damaged hair. Black hair care and going natural do not have to be challenging or mysterious as long as you know what to do. Visit black hair forums, other hair care forums and read as many natural hair care tips and transitioning hair care tips as you can find. There are tons of transitioning products for hair just like yours. Just do your research on how to do a successful black hair transition. Search for terms such as transitioning from relaxed to natural hair, black hair styles, hair transition, or transition relaxed to natural to find the best tips and advice.

Hair Care Tip of the Week

How do I do a successful braid out?
Some of the best transitioning advice you can get is on how to maintain your hair with the least amount of breakage and without manipulating the hair too much. Twist out and braid out styles are the best styles to use during a long transition and if you can master these styles, you’ll continue to look great while growing out your here.

The one thing you need to remember when doing a twist or braid-out style is that your hair has to be COMPLETELY wet when you put the braids or twists in, and COMPLETELY dry before you remove the twists or braids. The products you use and the size of the braids or twists is also important, but the most frustration usually comes from not letting the hair get completely dry and not starting with it wet enough. To achieve this you either need a lot of time to allow it to air dry or you need a good bonnet hair dryer.

Once you have tried the style a few times you can determine the right size of braid or twist to use and the best products that work for your hair. Take notes in your hair journal so that you can remember what you did! In general, if the braids or twists are too small you will get a crimpy looking style, if they are too big, you might not get the amount of waves or curls that you were hoping for. A general good size for longer hair is to have a twist or braid that is about 3/4 inch thick. Make sure that you also twist or braid the sections tightly enough.

Another tip, use a perm rod or roller on the ends to give the final look a good polish.

Check out “Stretch it Out” under “Topics” for more information.

General Hair Care Regimen for Transitioning from Relaxed to Natural

General Regimen

When you are transitioning, there is definitely a learning curve on how to care for your “new growth” texture as well as how to manage two textures combined together.

The process I’m describing here is a general wash and care regimen helping you to figure out the best way to wash, detangle, condition, and style. As 4c hair gets longer, the tangles become incredible and the sheer volume of hair can get overwhelming. When ever I wash my hair I just think “Whew!” Its a lot of hair.

You can do this in the shower or you can do it over the sink. Having a spray nozzle or removable shower head really helps.

  1. Thoroughly wash/rinse hair in sections. It makes it easy to part your hair off into about 6-10 sections and keep them separated with butterfly clamps.
  2. Apply the deep conditioner to thoroughly rinsed sections.
  3. Afer all sections are conditioned, comb through each section with the wide tooth comb to detangle.
  4. Put on a plastic cap and allow hair to deep condition for 15 – 30 minutes. The longer the better.
  5. Rinse hair thoroughly again removing the sections as you go.

Now it is cleaned and conditioned. The next steps depend on what you want to do:
High Pouf
Stretch it Out! – Twist Out
Maintenance Moisture


Do’s and Don’ts of Transitioning

Embrace What God Gave You – Going natural is more than just growing out your natural hair. Its about bringing about a shift in your way of thinking about your hair and yourself. If you have been chemically straightening your hair for a very long time, your natural texture might be a shock and a surprise. Remember that your hair is yours and yours alone. You’ll never be able to grow out hair that is like anyone elses’ so there is no point in getting caught up in what anyone else can do with their hair or wishing that you had a certain texture that you don’t have. Learn to love what is yours and how to work with it, and the transitioning process will go so much more smoothly for you. Take a look at this post about embracing your natural hair.

Moisturize and Deep Condition Regularly – Keeping your hair moisturized and deep conditioned is essential to the health of your hair. When your new growth is soft and your relaxed hair is nourished, it won’t break off. Many people going through a hair transition say that their new growth is unmanageable and coarse. If you are really having trouble with the competing textures, the best way to handle it is through conditioning and moisturizing. You will probably notice that your hair is more manageable and just feels better after adopting a consistent conditioning schedule.

Leave it Alone – Try to manipulate your hair as little as possible. Combing and brushing aren’t great for kinky/curly hair.. you want to style it with your fingers most of the time. When you do comb your hair to detangle it, use a very wide toothed comb. Don’t pull it back into tight pony tails or braids.

Wear Protective Styles – Wear protective styles such as braid outs, rod sets, twist outs, flat twists, braids, extensions, or buns. Make sure that you don’t pull your hair back too tightly or else you can end up pulling out all of your precious new growth.

Colloidal Silver and Dandruff/Dry Scalp

colloidal silver
I have been natural since February 2008. One of the reasons why I decided to stop chemically relaxing my hair was because of the damage I saw on my scalp. It was very dry and flaky. After going natural I have still struggled with dry flaky scalp, and I felt it was even worse with natural hair because the flakes get caught in the kinks and it looks terrible. Well, I came across information about colloidal silver when I was reading about natural remedies for bacteria. This stuff is a miracle. I washed my hair and applied to my scalp a mixture of a few drops of the silver and some olive oil. Believe it or not, it knocked out the dandruff in one application! Since then I’ve followed up by spraying on a light water/silver mixture just to make sure that the dryness doesn’t return. However, it has been a few weeks now and I haven’t seen any flakes. None! Its amazing. This is one of those things that I say you should run out and get right now if you are struggling with dry scalp.

Summer Hair

Most of us have realized by now that the summer months are the best time to grow out hair. This is especially true in tropical or humid environments. Cold weather has a bad affect on our hair sometimes, so when the warm weather comes, you might notice a difference with your hair.
In the warmer months we get a sort of “heater” environment in your body which improves your circulation. This allows more nutrients to get to your scalp which provide fortification for your hair. You can achieve this effect any time of year with a hair steamer. 

Also, remember it is a good idea to cut back on or cut out entirely heavy grease, wax or pomades that we sometimes want to use to tame our hair. You want to let your hair breathe and allow your follicles and scalp open up.

Natural Hair Inspiration

I decided to look around my city and nearby area to see what other women are doing with their natural hair. These ladies graciously agreed to allow me to feature their hair styles or looks to share with everyone. I had intended to do a short interview with them to find out their favorite products and hair care regiments, but I didn’t get the chance, so hopefully they will comment when they see their pictures! Thanks ladies!!

Twist out Style

Kioni transitioned when she was 19 and never looked back! Her well defined curls looked soft and moisturized. Very cute!
 Twist Out Style

Stylish Wrap

Afra's sophisticated black and gray wrap caught my attention right away. This is a great option for those days when you don't have time to style or just want to do something different.
 Wrapped Style

Short Afro

This is me when I first cut off all the straight ends of my hair.
 Short Fro

Sequita adorns her short fro with a cute scarf.
 Afro Inspiration

And when I asked her our top three natural hair care beauty questions:
What are your favorite products?
Currently I am in love with Kinky Curly Custard. I also love bentonite clay and the
Organix line of sulfate free shampoos and conditioners.

What is your general hair care regimen?
I’m a wash and go type of girl right now due to the length of my hair. That’s what I
love about my TWA right now because it’s easy to maintain. I usually co-wash every
other day with my Organix conditioner or Pantene Curly Series deep conditioner.
Once a week I will mix bentonite clay with coconut milk and let that sit in then
wash then deep condition then steam with my huetiful steamer. I will then rinse and
seal with my oil mixture of jojoba, jbco, sweet almond, vitamin E, and avocado. Let
it go or style with my Kcc.

When did you decide to go natural and why?
My best friend big chopped 3months before I decided to transition. I immediately was
fascinated by her hair and proud that she was embracing the hair she was born with.
So July 2011 I received my last perm and I big chopped December 28th of the same
year. It’s been almost a year since I made my decision and 5 months fully natural. I
love my curls and can’t keep my hands out my hair.

Alison likes to play with color on her short curly afro. Her red is fantastic!
Transitioning Hair - Alison

What are your favorite products?
Pantene for brown people (Relaxed & Natural, Pro-V) shampoo & conditioner / Aveda Cammomille shampoo & Madder Root conditioner / Mixed Chicks Conditioners

What is your general hair care regimen?
Wash every other day or so; leave-in conditioner every morning. Deep condition when I remember to. Comb only once a month, until it gets long, then every other week.

When did you decide to go natural and why?
I was tired of getting my hair straightened for a number of reasons: time commitment, price, chemicals burning my scalp every other month, burns on my forehead when curling or ironing too fast, maintenance, wanted to reclaim the hair i was born with.

Send email to if you would like to be featured.

If you are visiting this site, it is likely that you fall into one of 5 categories:

Click here to see our natural hair inspirations

These names also reflect the metaphor that I use throughout that your hair is like a beautiful flower and it simply needs to be watered and nourished to grow strong and healthy.

Regardless of which category you fall into, you have come to the right place because we have something for everyone. Make sure you sign up for our email list, take the poll, and also leave a comment so we know who you are and why you came by!

Download our E-Book for more detailed tips and advice.

Learn specific tips for how to:
~Avoid breakage and hair loss.
~Protect and strengthen your ends
~and much more!

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Copyright ©2013 All Rights Reserved. Updated 09/15/2013.

Top Benefits of a Transition to Natural Hair

Updated September 15, 2013
If you’ve come this far, you probably know that you want to transition to natural hair and experience the hair that you were born with, but there might be some benefits to transitioning instead of doing the big chop that you may not have considered. When it comes to natural hairstyles, black hair or managing kinky hair care methods, there is a lot of advice, a ton of information, and a lot of emotion which sometimes turns political. Its only hair. Lets have some fun with it! But first, we can think critically about how we can benefit spiritually and emotionally from transitioning to natural hair.

Here, we will go over the top benefits of a transition to natural hair.

You get to keep doing what you are used to. If you decide to transition from relaxed to natural via the gradual process, you can basically keep styling your hair in the same way that you always have for several months while you get used to your natural hair texture growing in. This can be helpful, because the abrupt change of having to deal with a completely new head of hair (as you would in doing the big chop) can be very disruptive, frustrating and challenging.

You avoid the shock of losing all of your hair. By the time I cut off all of my relaxed ends, my natural hair had grown in about 6-8 inches. Yet, when I cut it off, it was still shocking! I always experienced this when I had straightened hair too and I would get a short hair cut. It is just shocking to see yourself looking completely and totally different less than 5 minutes after you sit down in the chair or pick up the scissors. Transitioning is good for helping you to build up your confidence and grow in your beauty with having natural hair. When you do the big chop, you don’t really get the opportunity to grow into the decision emotionally even if intellectually you know you are ready.

You get to keep your length. Transitioning from relaxed to natural hair when your hair is longer can be extremely easy. If your hair is long enough, you can simply wear it up in a bun all the time once your new growth starts to take over. You also get to leverage the lengthy of your relaxed hair to create textured or curly styles that look like natural hair styles but also incorporate your natural hair into your relaxed hair. This can be super cute, and fun. Just make sure that you keep your hair trimmed and that you are taking proper care of your relaxed hair, and especially at “the line of demarcation” (where relaxed hair and natural hair meet), so that you don’t experience breakage. Deep condition, and don’t use heat very often, if at all. If you know that your relaxed hair is mostly just damaged hair, you can hang on to those ends and still do long term transitioning, but it is probably better to get a good haircut to at least take care of splits and damage.

You get a chance to gradually learn about your natural hair. As opposed to doing the big chop, as you transition you get to see what your hair texture is really like, and you get to ease into learning about what works and what doesn’t. Doing the big chop, is like jumping right in to the deep end of the pool, so to speak, even if you don’t know how to swim. Its possible that you’ve never worn your hair natural, or you may have learned a lot of bad hair care habits when you were younger such as glopping on the petroleum based grease or that water is bad for your hair. As you transition, you get to take the time to learn to understand the basics of natural hair care and what your hair really needs. Building this solid foundation of knowledge will help you greatly when you do actually wear your natural hair.
Transitioning from relaxed to natural hair is a gradual process where you experience your new hair texture at a slow pace. Our hair grows about a half an inch a month, so you can see how truly gradual this is. You can use this time to become familiar with all of the different techniques and natural hair care products that will be essential to maintaining your natural hair when the time comes.

You get to transition the people around you. This is a big one especially if you work in a conservative work environment. As you begin showing up with increasingly more “ethnic” or natural looking hair, people may notice, but it will be a progression rather than a shock. We aren’t so much worried about what others think here, this gradual integration into the world can really do wonders for your confidence as you begin to emerge with your natural hair. Read my article on what its like to do the big chop ( and another on how it takes courage to wear your natural hair( Its unfortunate, but true. And doing a slow transition helps tremendously. Aside from the outside world, giving friends and family the opportunity to get used to your new look is also helpful in just avoiding shocked faces or overt and unwelcome opinions. I actually went so far as to notify my friends and boyfriend that I’d be going natural and that things were going to change. Most of them, not having anything close to my kind of hair, had no idea what I was talking about until I got about 9 months or more into it, but I think they appreciated the head’s up. I talked to them about the confidence I’d need to have and that it might be a challenging and emotional journey for me. I let him know that I expected support and no jokes would be tolerated! lol. On the flip side, I also told my already natural friends about my exciting decision. From that faction in life I got nothing but woo hoos and support. Once again, its not about what others think, but just creating a situation and environment for yourself which will foster success with this sometimes challenging process.

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Download our free hair care guide for more detailed tips and advice.

Learn specific tips for how to:
~Avoid breakage and hair loss.
~Protect and strengthen your ends
~and much more!

Copyright ©2013 All Rights Reserved. Updated 09/15/2013.

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