Do’s and Don’ts of Transitioning to Natural Hair


The Do's and Don'ts of Transitioning to Natural Hair

DO…

Eliminate direct heat like flat irons, blow dryers, etc. as much as possible.  Use hooded dryers on a medium setting (or lower) for as little time possible.  (Read my guide on straightening transitioning hair).

I stopped using direct heat 2 months into my transition.

DO…

natural-girl Learn to embrace your texture.  It’s easy to get caught up in someone else’s head, but chances are your hair isn’t like theirs.  So don’t waste your time wishing you had someone else’s crown. It will leave you disappointed and exhausted. Love what God gave you.  Read my post about changing your hair texture here.

DO…

Deep condition weekly with moisturizing conditioners. This will help strengthen and soften your new growth, relaxed hair and prevent breakage.

A lot of new transitioners complain about coarse and unmanageable new growth. Let me tell you that deep conditioning is key to dealing with this. After doing this consistently for 6-8 weeks (I use Organics Olive Oil Replenisher), I noticed a changed in my hair’s manageability and texture.

This is especially important if you’ve used a lot of direct heat (flat irons, blow dryers) on your hair. Even a minimal amount of heat damage can make your hair texture feel worse than it truly is.

And unless you carefully moisturize your new growth before flat ironing (and most people don’t) you probably have some heat damage. This can be misleading and it makes you think your hair is more coarse than it is. Your hair is probably just fried and starving for moisture.

DO…

Wear a lot of protective styles.  Rod sets, twist outs, braid outs, flat twists, buns, braids/extensions (not too tight), straw sets, etc. should become your go-to styles.  See my posts on styling transitioning hair.

DO…

Find out if you have high or low porosity hair.  If your hair is damaged and prone to frizzing (high porosity), you need to nurture your hair because it’s probably very delicate, dry and prone to breakage.

Plus, it will help explain why your hair reacts in such a way (or doesn’t respond) to moisturizing products.

DO…

Limit combing, pulling (tight ponytails) and manipulation.  The above hairstyles do not require combing.  The only time you should comb your hair is when you detangle on wash day.

Use sulfate-free shampoos.  Sulfates strip your hair of its natural oils.  Natural hair can be dry enough, you don’t need help from sulfates.  The Giovanni line is my fave.

DO…

Trim your ends every 4-6 weeks.  If you have split ends, they will travel up to your natural hair and cause breakage.

DO…

Give yourself a hot oil treatment at least once a month.  You will be amazed at how this will strengthen your hair!

DO…

Try a transitioning kit. Man, I wish these had been around in my early days of transitioning when my hair was dry, brittle and I didn’t know what products to try.

I spent a bunch of money testing different products until I found a collection that worked for me.

Since so many people are going natural now, you can bet more and more companies will start creating products targeted toward transitioning to natural hair.  It’s about time!

DO…

Thank God I'm Natural Read Thank God I’m Natural.

I bought this book right after I began transitioning. It was such a good read, I almost finished the entire book in one sitting.

The author squashes a lot of myths about going natural and I especially enjoyed the part where she discusses natural hair in the workplace.

A lot of women worry that going natural will prevent them from getting a job or cause discrimination in the workplace.

Chris-Tia used her own experiences to illustrate how having natural hair had no negative impact on her job.  She continued to excel and even got promoted.

This is a good book if you struggle with the confidence to go natural and need inspiration.

DO…

Visit and join the Napturally Curly Transitioning and Natural Hair Forums and get support and questions answered from other transitioners and naturals.

It’s a growing, friendly community where you can come share your joys and woes about your natural hair journey.

If you don’t have the support of friends and family, this is a great place to commune with like-minded people who can relate to what you’re going through.

You must register here first.

DO

Read my FAQ’s on transitioning.  People often ask me the same questions about transitioning — from products, dryness, to hairstyling, breakage and more.  So I’ve compiled all my answers on one page.

Twist Out Puff

Twist Out Puff – 13 Months

DON’T…

Make assumptions about your hair texture too early.  It will likely change as you continue to transition.  In my 2nd month of transitioning, my new growth felt dry, coarse and brittle.

My hair follicles were extremely damaged, so even after I stopped relaxing I was still growing scab hair.  At first, I thought this was my hair’s texture, but it wasn’t.  This is the very reason many people stop transitioning.

But as I continued to deep condition weekly and lay off the direct heat, my hair softened up.  I started seeing curl definition and my hair began retaining moisture better.

So don’t be fooled by your new growth’s texture while you are relaxing and when you start transitioning.  You may be going through the scab hair period.

The good news is, most people stop growing scab hair 3-6 months after starting their transition.

DON’T…

Listen to ignorant peers, friends and family.  Why should there be anything wrong with wanting to wear your hair the way you came into this world?

Unfortunately kinky hair is often seen as the ugliest/worst kind of hair to have, but that’s only because we are comparing it to the majority, which is straight, Euro-centric hair.

If everyone had kinky hair there would be no class system of hair and comparisons.  We have been brainwashed to believe straighter hair is more beautiful because that’s what society feeds us (through magazines, TV, etc.)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.   As long as you feel your hair is beautiful, why should anyone else’s opinion matter?  Trust me, it may take some time to get to this level, but it will happen eventually.

Worried that men won’t find you as attractive, read this article on men and natural hair.

Also check out this article on how to handle naysayers of natural hair.

Are you a teen transitioning or considering it? Check out this motivational article I wrote in case you are struggling with your decision to go natural or worried about not fitting in.

DON’T…

Coat your hair with too many products. As your hair grows out, you may feel the need to “fix it” by using multiple products. Product overload can suffocate your strands, cause breakage and make your hair appear dull.

Your hair does not need to be “fixed.” Learn to embrace whatever grows out of your head.

My Hair Doesn't Need to Be Fixed. Society's View of Beauty is Broken

Click here to get the above picture on a T-shirt and wear it with pride!

A light moisturizer 3-5 times a week should be enough for most people. You can seal in the moisture with a natural oil like olive, castor, coconut, jojoba, sweet almond, etc.

How often you need to moisturize will depend on your hair.  Go by how it feels. When your hair is moisturized it feels soft and may even have a dull sheen/shine.  If your hair starts feeling dry/rough, it’s time to re-apply.

DON’T…

Become a product junkie.  This is sort of like the pot calling the kettle here.  I’m a self-proclaimed product junkie.  I have been for many years, even when I was relaxing.

It got worse when I started transitioning because I was obsessed with trying to achieve someone else’s hair by using the products they use.  I talk about this very issue in this video.

The only products you need are a good shampoo, conditioner (leave-in and rinse out) and a few daily moisturizers (preferably natural oils.)  See my favorite transitioning product page.

DON’T…

Get caught up in rules and judgments.  There are a lot of naturals who have definitions of what wearing natural hair means.  Some become anti weave, anti colored contacts, anti straight hair, and anything that is not “natural.”

Remember, this is your journey.  Find out what being natural means to you.  Don’t let other’s opinions shape your actions and beliefs about what you have to do and cannot do because you wear natural hair.  Also be careful of criticizing others just because they don’t share your journey or opinions.

I think it’s great when going natural inspires people to live healthier lives.  But it’s not cool when that turns into judging others for their choices and opinions.

DON’T…

Expect acceptance from everyone.  Let’s just keep it real for a minute.  A lot of people don’t like and will never like natural hair.  Period.  End of story.  There’s nothing you can do to make everyone approve of your choice.

But your real friends and people who genuinely love and support you will respect your decision, even if they don’t embrace your choice of hairstyle.

Naysayers of natural hair are everywhere, but at some point you have to live life for yourself and not for other people’s acceptance.

I can tell you now.  Going natural is not for people who are too concerned with other people’s opinions.  You will quickly discover how confident you have to be to take this journey.

PLEASE READ: I am often asked for product recommendations. I can only tell you what worked for me. You have to experiment to figure out the best regimen/products for your hair. So please use my information as a guide and understand everyone’s hair responds to products differently.

View my transitioning hairstyles.

Comments

  1. Rahasamo says

    Great tips!! What’s helps me as well has been Hair Journal App. Helps with scheduling of me hair routine and hair progress.
    Thanks again for the tips.

    • Ullonda says

      This article helped me realize it’s time for a change. I had locs for 6 years which I loved… I’ve never had issues with perms..but..I’ve come to realize that it’s my hair needs a break from all chemicals. I’m going to try the natural for 1 year and see how it goes. Thanks for the great info.

  2. says

    Thank you so much. Your information is very helpful I am transitioning and I’m just having trouble. My youngest went natural she dis good but was a product junkie. I like Pantene so far for shampoo and conditioner haven’t found a moisturizer yet. I decided to go natural to see if it would help with my dandruff it’s is so bad. The last perm I had was November 2014 and not having those toddlers in my had makes a difference. I don’t know if I was getting too many or what but there is an improvement in my scalp less itching and flaking.

  3. Lynne says

    helpful tips.. my last relax was October 25 2014 and after isaw my hair texture I decided enough is enough I want my natural hair back..so these tips will surely help:-)

  4. Karla says

    Wonderful, helpful information! Thank you for taking the time to share-found your site when I needed it most!!!

  5. Liddie Evans says

    I am transitioning & i would like to know what shampoos & conditioners sould i use on my hair my hair stay dry befor i started transitioning i would love to know what sould i get i live in louisville i am on a budget is there some out there that i can get thank you

  6. Shannon says

    I wanted to thank you for the advice,
    I was one who permed my daughters hair young, now she doesn’t want the perm any more.
    She has not had a perm since last year in Oct.
    She has had a lot of breakage sine then I’m trying to get her hair in a more healthy place.
    she now gets her hair braided once a month what else can you advise me to do.
    I’m not good at braiding hair and I’m on a strict budget so paying someone is not an option.
    I feel stuck. what kind of styles could I do for an 11 year old?
    I don’t want her to look grown but something cute and I don’t have to braid.

  7. robin says

    Its been almost six months since i last permed my hair. I’ve beev trying the braid out. It’s been a challenge trying to find the right products. My hair is very soft and fine. My hair looks very dry. To the touch, u feel the oil in it, but i want a shine. Any suggestions?

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