Can You Change The Texture of Your Natural Hair Permanently?

natural hair Do you ever find yourself having texture envy?

Maybe you saw someone on YouTube and you admired their texture and wondered if there was any product out there that will loosen up your curls or make your hair more curly.

Unless your body has gone through some kind of hormonal change (puberty, aging, pregnancy, cancer treatments, etc.), it’s unlikely that your hair texture will change much.

Yes, puberty can change the texture of your hair. That’s why many of you have commented that your hair seems different since you were natural as a child.

NOTE: Transitioners may experience scab hair, which is an example of when you’re not seeing your true texture.  You may indeed notice that your hair becomes curlier as you transition and your hair gets healthier.

Moisture Levels Matter!

You will be surprised at how you can bring out your hair’s natural curl pattern more when you keep your hair PROPERLY moisturized.

Many of us coat our hair with bad ingredients that suffocate and strip our hair of moisture over time, making it even more difficult to manage.

Then we complain that our hair is too nappy to be natural, or we start secretly wishing we had someone else’s texture.

However, when your hair is properly moisturized, your hair will surprise you.  Check out the max hydration method and learn how to get your hair to reach its optimal moisture level.

Stretching is Possible

You can do some things that may slightly stretch your pattern. For example, I wear my hair in small, two strand twists a lot, and I’ve noticed that when I wash my hair, my curl pattern seems a lot looser.

That’s because our hair does have some memory. If you wear your hair in a certain way all the time, natural hair will hold that pattern to an extent. Also, as your hair gets longer, it weighs more so your pattern will loosen up a bit from the weight that length brings.

Using heat on your hair often may also loosen your natural hair pattern (often called heat training).  Just be careful, too much heat can permanently straighten your hair.  Learn how to use heat properly.

However, don’t expect any drastic or permanent changes in your hair’s texture unless you chemically alter it.  You may experience subtle changes, but expecting to go from course, wiry hair to curly/shiny hair is unrealistic.

Acceptance is Key my real texture

I hate to get all Oprah-esque on you, but being natural is really all about self acceptance. And if you don’t ever get to a point where you accept what your hair will or won’t do, then this journey will be tough.

Trust me, I can relate. When I first started transitioning, I was obsessed with watching certain people on YouTube who had looser curl patterns.

I used to think that if I just used the same products, I would achieve the same results.

But about four months into my transition, it was becoming clear to me what my hair was like and I knew I wasn’t going to have those springy, shiny curls like the people I had been admiring.

Sure, I can get really defined curls with gel, certain products or while my hair was wet, but as soon as it dries, it goes back to its cottony state. Yes, that’s my true hair texture in the picture above with no product.

The “No Product” Test

The thing to remember is whatever your hair looks like dry with no product is your true texture and how your hair wants to behave.

If you have curl/coil definition with no product then you have a hair pattern that naturally wants to curl or coil, and you will probably be able to wear curlier styles for longer periods with the right products.

But if your hair draws up and/or gets frizzy with no pattern, that’s what your hair wants to do naturally.

Yes, you can add gels and conditioner to bring the curls out temporarily or define your natural pattern, but at the end of the day, your hair is going to revert and do what it does naturally — and for many of us that means no/minimal definition with more of an afro look.

I knew the quicker I accepted my own texture, the easier this journey would be.  Over time, I’ve learned to enjoy both the defined (see this twist out) and less defined looks (see my wash and go natural hairstyle) and you can too.

Let’s embrace the diversity of our beautiful hair, ladies!

If you haven’t discovered this yet, you will find that being natural is about much more than changing your hairstyle. It’s about accepting your own hair pattern and not trying to achieve someone else’s.

Just keep your hair moisturized, try the maximum hydration method and learn to embrace what God gave you.

Comments

  1. shawanda davis says

    Hi I cut all the perm out of my hair and went natural it has now been three months and I love that I don’t use chemicals anymore I’m just wondering what can I as far as styles cuz its real short. Also my daughter has permed hair and I want her to b natural she has not had a relaxer in three months her hair is really course and thick what can I use to make it softer so I wont have to chop off all of her hair she is eight. Thanks a bunch

    • lisa says

      Hi Shawanda,

      Have you tried doing coils? You buy some non-flaking gel like Eco Styler and while your hair is wet and conditioned, you grab a small section of hair with the gel on your finger. Wrap your two fingers around the strands starting at the root and down to the ends. It will give you really defined, coily hair and lasts forever.

      As far as your daughter I would start deep conditioning her hair weekly if you haven’t. Over time this will make a big difference in her hair.

      • shawanda says

        Hey Lisa. I wanted to know about texturizers. If I put one in will my tight coarse hair be more loose. I really wanted to stay natural with no chemicals but I cant do anything with my hair so short. Plz help

  2. says

    i havent had a perm since May and Im going to go naturally but Im having a hard time doing something to my hair so it would last long.can u help

  3. Jelisa Hunte says

    Hey, i been transitioning for 7 months and my hair is taking a long time. part of it is new growth natural but parts n ends is straight. i dont know what styles to put it in and its really frustrating.. Can you help me please ?

    • lisa says

      Hi Jelisa

      Have you tried any of the styles listed under Hairstyles up at the top (under the Transitioning section?)

  4. Erica says

    Hi Lisa,

    I love your website..Thank you so much for this. I have been transitioning since Jan 2012. I am going natural for my hair’s sake. I have had a bald spot at the top of my head for the last few years about the size of a mini donut(sorry I couldn’t think of anything else), due to stress and multiple surgeries with anesthesia. Have you heard of anyone else who has experienced this? If so, what did they do, and are there any suggestions for hairstyles that can cover a balding crown? My hair is very coarse all around the sides, but I just can’t find any styles that will work other than a ponytail.

    • lisa says

      Hi Erica

      I would honestly seek help from a professional. Sounds like you have some follicle damage or it could be from something else. Always best to ask a doc.

    • toni says

      My daughter had a bald spot from me braiding her hair too tight in one spot. I have using Rosemary oil and really massaging that area and her hair is growing back. Her spot was slick as ice before, but the hair is really filling in to my amazement. So try that!

  5. Jontera Adams says

    I love what you are doing!! Everytime i feel like quiting I look at some good videos and comments for inspiration. My question is… I like to alternate hair dos from a flat iron to doing some twist outs. I need to know if flat ironing the hair messes up my curl pattern down the line?? btw ive been transitioning for 8 mths…
    signed miss discouraged

    • lisa says

      Hi Jontera

      It can if you do it often. I wouldn’t do it more than a couple of times per month and make sure you are using a good heat protectant and don’t put the flat iron on a high setting. My best friend has been transitioning for almost 2 years and it looks as if she only has 5 inches of natural hair. She has way more than that, but the flat iron ruined her curl pattern so it looks like she only has a few inches of natural hair when she washes it.

      • Jontera Adams says

        Thanks Lisa!! I did however have another question… I do my twist outs and bantu knots usually twice a week. Im finding that my ends are getting strangy and unhealthy looking by doing the curls so much. Since then i have trimmed my ends, but what would you recommend for styles as far as the curls go without making my ends horrible. Are there any products to limit the damage?

        • lisa says

          Hi Jontera

          Have you tried an Aphogee protein treatment? You can do these every 6-8 weeks to help strengthen your hair. Also when you do twist outs or rod sets, add small rods to the ends of your hair to help curl the remaining ends. The smaller the better.

  6. says

    I’m thinking of transitioning to going natural,but not sure where to begin. I have thick and coarse hair and i’m not sure if i should cut it or not. My mom says that i should braid it to thin it out. is that a good idea?

    • lisa says

      Braids are fine as long as you give your hair a break in between new installations. Also make sure they are not too tight.

      • vka says

        Hi, I started my transition in early 2012, so it’s been about 8-9 months now with no relaxer. It’s been harder than I thought because no one really told me it would be more work and more money going from relaxer to natural. It’s hard too because I used a relaxer for 35+ years and I tend to be lazy about my hair, meaning I enjoyed the low-maintenance aspect of the relaxer. However, all those years of relaxers took a beating on my hair and it started to shed real bad late last year. What advice do you have for me as someone who wants as much low maintenance as possible but still wants to be able to go from straight to curly with natural hair? Is that even possible?

        • lisa says

          Hi vka

          It depends on how you want to wear your hair. If you’re fine with an afro and wash and go styles then natural hair doesn’t have to take a lot of time. But if you want more defined looks and your hair is more kinky then you will have to work harder and spend more time on your hair.

          For example, my hair is kinky and more of an afro texture if I just wash and let it go. If I’m wearing my hair in a puff like I am here that takes 15 minutes tops out of the shower. http://napturallycurly.com/2012/08/wash-and-go-natural-hair/

          However if I want a more defined style, then that takes longer because I have to prep my hair with twists or product. See this page http://napturallycurly.com/2012/01/wet-vs-dry-twists-length-comparison-pics/

          Also, make sure you confirm your hair is actually shedding because shedding and breakage are two different things. My hair was shedding from the root and I found out it was a thyroid problem, not a relaxer issue. While relaxing can thin your hair over time, it’s not always the culprit (especially if it’s excessive shedding) so make sure you verify the cause.

  7. NeNe says

    I’m thinking of transitioning to going natural,but not sure where to begin. I have thick and coarse hair. Trying to see if its best to do the job or let the relaxer grow out and go from there? Decisions!!!!

  8. May says

    i am transitioning nd my new growth is tight curls i used beautiful textures tangle taming moisturising shampoo only once and noticed it loosened my curls will my curl pattern go back to being tight or has this shampoo permanetly loosened the curls.i will not be using this shampoo again because i noticed it contains sulfate and has this also ruined my natural hair.my last relaxer was in july.

  9. Naturally straight? says

    Hey I noticed alot of people talking about their curl pattern I been natural for two years and I don’t know what to do…if I wash and go my hair will be thick and nappy like if I do a style then my hair becomes straight and frizzy and dry I tried alot but it seems nothing is working I would love curl and shiny hair I am just asconfused about my hair since ive done the big chop.

    • lisa says

      Hi

      Not everyone has a curl pattern or shine, so it depends on the person. My hair is very shiny the day after I style but it bushes/frizzes out too. It really depends on your texture. However, there are things you can do to promote sheen such as rinsing your hair in cold water or mixing water with apple cider vinegar and using this as a final rinse. Set your hair when it’s wet and add aloe vera gel to your styling routine. Sometimes adding a bit of gel to your twists/set will help bring curls out if you have them.

  10. DIA says

    Hi Lise Irby
    My mother has said to me that when i was a baby, i had curly hair. However, since i was little, i have been getting perums, wavys, and kinky twists . Because of all this, it has damaged my hair to the point of braking off. So i have never once seen my hair curly when dry . I just went to the hair dresser two weeks ago and she tells me that i have good textured hair but she can’t tell if it is curly or not..So how do i know if i realy do have curly hair, how do i get it back to the textur it was and how do i keep it up?
    -Thank You

    • lisa says

      Hi Dia

      The only thing you can do at this point is begin your transition and stop getting relaxers. After about 3-4 months you will start to see your texture. It’s hard to know this early. In fact, it may take a full year to actually see what your true texture will be like because perms can alter your follicles and cause your hair to grow out dryer for a bit. Patience, patience. :)

  11. vanessa says

    Hi!
    So glad I found this piece!
    I’ve decided to go natural… again. I’m determined this time but I’m pretty sure some parts of my hair are still affected by heat damage (mainly the front). I use eco styler in my hair for work (as opposed to rocking a mini fro) and tend to slick the front right down and leave the back to form defined curls. It looks great but the front of my hair has taken to being slicked down so much that compared to the rest of the hair, it’s loose curls/ straight. I guess I’ll have to find an alternative style but I’m wondering if my hair at the front will stay like this until new growth or revert in the mean time?
    Thank you!

    • lisa says

      Hi Vanessa

      It may get more curly as your follicles get healthier so only time will tell. My front/edges were that way too because I had the most damage there.

  12. Shanice says

    The back of my head is very curly but a little patch in the front is very loosely curled. How do I know if it’s damaged or just a different texture than the rest?

    • lisa says

      HI Shanice

      Do you use a lot of heat on your hair? The only way to know is to stop using heat for a few months and see how the patch in the front grows out.

  13. Shanice says

    Come to think about it that I always used to test that part out before i Straightened my hair. Is the only solution cutting it?

  14. Gilisa says

    I think i have made a huge mistake. im a little upset because i think i changed my natural hair texture straight. i flat ironed my hair fo two weeks and i have been natural for one year. I washed my hair today and my hair hardly curled like it usually does. if i keep the heat off my hair will my texture come back or will i have to start all over?

    • lisa says

      Try deep conditioning it a couple of times. If it doesn’t come back then it is probably permanent damage. I’m sorry. :( The good news is, it will grow back.

  15. Alicia says

    Hello Mrs. Lisa
    I just wanted to know if I needed to do a big chop to curly hair. I have not had any heat to my hair in 4 months. But I have a straight pattern now. My hair has grown out and that’s the only curly part. What are some options. Thanks.

  16. Melissa says

    Hi Lisa,
    I have been straightening my hair since i can remember. I only do it now once a month. When i do a twist out my ends are straight and it frustrates me. Is there anything that I can use to get rid of this straight hair?

  17. Tanzania says

    Hey everyone ok I’m natural been perm less for three years maybe more. I recently started letting my hair breath from weaves and it been growing healthier faster. I want to maintain the health but I don’t want to wear the natural curl hair Afro because my hair only neck length and I want it long to I start going that. What should I do if I apply heat. I started only applying heat twice a week that it. I want to be natural with straight hair is that possible and still have great growth result I also take biotin to help if the heat damages it.

    • lisa says

      You can but you need to find a stylist that is good with maintaining natural hair with heat. I have a friend who is natural and wears her hair straight and her hair is past her shoulders. I have no experience with straightening natural hair though.

  18. Darnesha says

    Hi I am a Black African American young woman,I have thick hair but it’s straight and doesnt hold braids or twist they always unravell …what can I do to achieve a more natural look?… I know you’ve implied stick to your natural hair is what’s best ,but honestly growing up I’ve had thick coarse hair it seems that when I got older now being 27 my hair is so straight it looks like I’ve went to the shop and got a perm or somethin everytime I wrap my hair…I don’t use perms I don’t even put heat on my hair….

  19. naturalme says

    Hi I have been natural for about 4 years and I love it however my hair does not hold moisture very well. What can I do to better moisturize my hair?

  20. says

    Hii
    Ive been natural for a year now and I just can’t deal with it anymore,
    My hair is sooo painful to comb, every time i have to get it braided i just want to cry. It is so painful for me. I believe i have type 4c. I really dont want to relax it but i just can not continue going through with it. Any advice please! Thanks

  21. Shakita says

    I’m a little over a six months in. Kind of cut my hair just because but I’ve fallen in love with it. When it behaves. My natural hair without chemicals is…the top is tightly curled, the back loosely curled, the middle a mix of tight and loose with straight ends and the left side of my head is bushy. I keep trimming it, keeping the close cropped natural which I like but now I want to grow it out. Is there anything at all I can do about the left side or is the solution as simple as letting let my hair do what it knows?

  22. Aqeela says

    BIG PROBLEM!! Okay I’m a young adult, as long as I can remember everyone kept straighten my hair , recently I went to the beauty parlor to get a wash and set and the lady broke my hair off with the flat iron . It seems that I’m suffering from heat damage how can I get that hair to grow back …? Also when I wash my hair i expect it to go back curly it does for a second than when it drys it just becomes straight but its thick but completely stright I want my natural curl back and I’m not sure how to do that .. If I cut my hair off will it start to grow out curly ?

  23. Aqeela says

    Is there any products to help me achieve or enhance my curly hair . My hair suffers from heat damage . It will not return back to its natural curly state after being wash it falls out when I wash it .i want to know before I cut it is there a product to help save it. Also can I cut a little at a time as it grows instead of doing a big chop?

  24. says

    Dear (Ms.) Lisa,

    A couple of months ago, while doing an online search, I found your website by accident. I was so glad I did. The tips and advice you give are great and have helped me transition to my natural curly state. I am now in my 8th month as a natural and my hair is doing quite well.

    On July 30, however, while doing my Tae Bo workout I didn’t feel well. My husband had just come home from work and I asked him to get me to the bathroom. I felt very hot, ripped my tank top over my head–thinking I twisted my neck. I had a massive headache along with vomiting. He rushed me to our local hospital ER where a CT scan was done. It showed an aneurysm had burst and bled out and I almost died. Doctors sedated me and I was airlifted by helicopter to a larger facility in Virginia. The next morning, doctors did surgery but through the night they did not believe I would survive. They even asked my husband for his permission for them to pull the plug in case I died.

    When my husband got home, he too, thought I was going to die–thank God I didn’t. There’s a work here He wants me to finish; I won’t quit till it’s done. The surgery involved making an incision on the left side of my skull; which of course, meant shaving that part of my head. Being at 2 hospitals (the last one with a rehab center) lasted 3 weeks; needless to say I’m glad to be home with my husband, sleeping in my own bed!

    I found out after surgery, doctors cut my length in the back which was totally unnecessary. I had to start all over again. I and my curly hair are on the mend. I will be completely natural and my hair chemical-free by March, 2014. Many thanks for photos/videos of your twist outs which have helped me as well. My hair has a mixed texture…I am Jewish mixed with Cherokee and Choctaw (Native American). My hair is thick like my dad’s hair was; my mom’s is curly/wavy and long.

    I shampoo once a week; pre-poo twice a week with a deep conditioner rinsed out. A good, slippery conditioner I tried recently is Aussie Moist. It is awesome and the best conditioner/detangler I’ve ever tried. My hair drinks it up and it really defines my curls. After sectioning with conditioner, I detangle with a Denman brush, scrunch it somewhat, run my fingers through the ends, then let it air dry. Thanks so much in advance for all your help. Continued success on your website.

    Shalom,
    A.J.

    • lisa says

      I am sooooooooooo happy you are on the mend and doing better. Your story is so inspiring. I absolutely love Aussie Moist and even did a video about it. That stuff makes my hair sooooo soft. Thank you for sharing that with me and visiting my site.

  25. Crazycurlykinkyhair says

    Hi, I’ve been wanting to make the complete transition to natural, but honestly I’m terrified because I have a big head and my hair does what it wants to literally…. it drys wavy, curly, kinky, and stays straight all at the same time… So I wear long weave all the time which makes it worse cause now thats the only thing I know to style now.. My hair is healthy I just don’t know how to overcome my fear of short hair, my hair coming out, and it looking a mess… Any advice?

    • lisa says

      Going natural is 90% mental and 10% physical, and it’s about you getting used to your new look. I was the same way. I just had to start rocking my short curly do until I got used to it. You will never learn until you try right? Check youtube for inspiration and try a rod set or flexi rod set. We can be our worst critics and I bet you will look fine rockin’ your own hair! Come to the forums http://napturallycurly.com/forums for more support and suggestions. Hope to see ya there!

  26. maha says

    hi,,,i use dto straighten my hair on week basis,,,,they got damaged consequently,,,,,i had naturally curled hair,,,,,,,,but i used to hate them the most as they made frustrated,,complexed and with zero confidence,,,,,is there any remedy so that i can have loose curls look for my hair,,,,,,they are tooooooooo much frizzzy,,,,i love curls but not frizzziness and mine are extremely frizzy and like broom,,,,,,,,,,help me out with good suggestions

  27. olivia says

    hello I have been fully natural for 8 months now I transitioned for 9 months so far so good, still takes some getting use to and I have my days where I love my hair and some days when I hate my hair, however I would like some advice on what to do with my hair at night when I go to bed, should I tie it down, twist or what should I do?

  28. kiara says

    Hi ,I’m 15 yrs old and I have always wanted curly hair. When I wash and condition my hair automatically waves or some curls so two doff things but im relaxed so I honestly am trying to transition. My mother is against it but my dad and grandmother are so up for it and one thing about me I love my hair because I can wear it all poofy combing out my waves or just how ever my hair wants to do and I like feeling free. I would really love advice on how to take care of it like for a week and get my routine. Im not a big fan of blow driers or flat irons but my mom is and shes all about the perms but I hate it so very much. I wish I could show u guys how it looks curled with just washed and conditioned to see if my hair is good to transition ,because my mom is kinda making me falter back.

  29. Sophie Smith says

    Hello! I have a question. In 2010 I straightened my hair with a straightener what got too hot and burned my hair. Throughout 2011-2012 I was cutting out the burned bits and letting the natural hair grow in. Now it’s nearly two years later and my hair texture is completely different. I went from being a curly-coily 3c to a 3b…and the hair dressers say there are parts that are curlier (the front) and parts that are wavier (back). How is this possible? They’ve all said there’s no way hair texture should have changed and the new hair should have re grown like my original, 3c hair I had all my life. I’m 29 now, so it shouldn’t have been a hormonal change. Any advice on how I could get back to my 3c hair? Thanks!

NEED HELP? It's getting very difficult to answer all comments individually, so please consider joining the Napturally Curly forum to get faster help and answers to your questions about your hair.


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