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

Yes and NoDO…

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…

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…

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 Carol’s Daughter’s transitioning kit.  Man, I wish this 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 NaturalRead 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!

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. Ashley says

    Thank You sooo much for putting this up, my last texturiser was 7-Sep-11 and im not sure when my last relaxer was. Right now i have about 1 inch of new growth and lucky for me its not hard to manage between the 2 different textures. Ever since October 2010 I have been combing my hair into styles every single day and im kinda starting to realise that its hurting my hair even worse than before when I kept on using heat on it. So ive decided to get a full sew in (while im 2 months into transitioning) , is that a good move ? And if so what tips would be useful for maintaining my hair and the weave.

    • lisa says

      Hi Ashley

      I don’t have much experience with weaves, especially while transitioning. My guess would be that it’s OK as long as it’s not sewn in too tight and you give your hair a break when it’s time to take it out. In other words, wear your own hair for awhile instead of getting another one right away… especially if your hair is going to be braided very tight underneath the weave.

      • shamekia says

        i love you hair how did you get your hair like that ? b4 i had good curly hair but i end up getting a perm and it messed the texture of my hair up so what do you do to your hair?

  2. Cierra says

    Hi I haven’t had a relaxer since August! It is now pretty much December 2011 and dealing with the two different textures is kind of frustrating! Well at first it was! I didn’t know about the sulfate free shampoo! I use vo5 shampoo and conditioner and oilve oil deep condtioning and moisturizer! I wear a lot of up dos with a clip or bobby pin and a head because my roots are getting puffy and wavy! I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not! I completely eliminated heat! I want to do the transition the right way! Ur sight is very helpful and I’m going try some of the transitioning hairstyles they all looks fabulous on u! But I’m sure practice makes perfect! Love this sight!!

  3. Lecretia says

    Your website is “ON-POINT”. I had so many questions about my hair and you have summed it up. I have read information for hours on Thirsty Roots, Curly Nikki, Nappturality.com and your information is the best so far. Thanks for the information!

    Also, I do have 2 questions. I have been transitioning for 3 months. And, I know you said not to use heat. But, is it still bad to use the blow dryer or flat iron, even if you use it bi-weekly & on Med-Heat? I wash my hair bi-weekly and have been for years. And even when my hair was permed, I only pulled the blow dryer with the attached comb and the flat irons out, once every 2 weeks. So is that still considered bad?

    I asked because I find it depressing not being able to comb through my roots after I washed and styled it (rollers). I read how heat isn’t good. So I went 2 weeks without any heat at all. My hair was so thick, that I couldn’t even comb it. So, I use used hair rollers the whole 2 weeks. This week, I didn’t wanna go through that again, so I pulled the hair dryer w/ comb, and the flat irons out. I still can see my curl pattern in my roots, but I can comb through my hair, which is a plus for me. If I eliminate all heat, what’s another/ safer way to treat it so I can comb through my roots.

    • lisa says

      Hi Lecretia

      Thank you so much! I didn’t use any heat at all so it’s hard for me to say. If you do use it please just make sure you some kind of heat protectant like grapeseed oil or a product labeled “heat protectant.” Although I cannot guarantee that is going to keep from damaging your hair. But once every two weeks shouldn’t be too bad… especially if you use a protectant.

      Dividing your hair up in sections and using a LOT of a good detangling conditioner is the key to managing the tangles. In my opinion it’s impossible to wash and treat your hair the same way you did when it was relaxed. I keep my hair in sections the entire time I wash….detangling too.

  4. Kim says

    love the specific attention to “transitioning phase”…glad to see it’s not just me @_@;;;

    I can’t wait to cut this relaxed stuff offfffff!!!!1!! Almost there…

  5. Crystal says

    I would like to start off saying that I love your styles and you look good in them! :) So, I was wondering do you keep the twist in when you wash your hair or do you take them out eveytime? Sorry, if this may seem like a silly question. My last relaxer was in the middle of Oct and I’m just looking for something simple while I’m in school.
    Thanks for sharing and I hope my hair comes out as good as yours.

  6. saidah says

    I’ve been natural since august 31 2011 (my birthday). I wanted to start my adult life of new. I’ve noticed my hair started to break off on one side of my hair. I rarely put heat on my hair. So what can i do to prevent breakage?

    • lisa says

      Do you cover your hair at night with a satin scarf or bonnet? Or maybe sleep on a satin pillow case? Breakage on one side makes me wonder if it’s something like that.

      • saidah says

        I just started wearing them religiously for the last past month. i haven’t noticed anymore breakage but i haven’t noticed any more growth either.

        • Kim says

          I like to be sure I moisturize before wrapping my hair at night too, my hair feels awesome in the morning when I do that and wrap. Also, I use a stretchy (not tight) scarf so my hair is not “free” inside to rub against itself and tangle/break.

  7. Aelicia says

    Thank you so much for the encouraging words. I was doing great all summer then went back to the creamy crack because of what others were saying to me. People kept saying, “your hair is too thick and nappy to do that transition.” But like you said, “its my hair.” Im going to give the transition another try and hopefully by the summer I will have some progress.

    • saidah says

      A lot of people told me the same thing the first time i went natural. i started to get my hair relaxed again after a year then regretted my choice. I rather my hair look a hot mess on its own because God intended on it to look that way.

    • lisa says

      It really is sad that there is a “standard” that has been set for natural hair. For example, if you don’t have wavy, defined curls then your hair is “too nappy” to go natural. How sad is it that if you think about it. We are taught that something is fundamental wrong with our hair.

      Stay strong, sis. The naysayers can really get to you, I know. The next time someone says that, tell them you didn’t know there was a prerequisite to wear your own hair. We have got to stop putting classifications on our hair.

  8. Mylatesha says

    Hi Ms Lisa I was telling you a few months ago that I transition I done a big chop June 3, 2011 and I have notice that my hair haven’t really gotten longer its a big difference in length from when I was relaxed but you was telling me about Nu-Gro moisture spray I bought that a few months ago and its not working for me at all im only using it on my edges 2 times a day and I notice that its making my edges dry feeling hard and crunchy and they breaking off woser than what they was I call the company they not helping me at all my edges look bad so is there another product I can use to regrow my edges everybody on these hair care forms keep telling me I have aloepecia but I dont think so I read up on that and the only thing it say that I have experience is hormonal changes can you please help me

  9. Charmiegurl says

    Love, love, love your site! I am in my 5th month of transitioning and have been wearing wigs and half-wigs. I do occasionally wear and twist-out and everyone seems to like them better than the wigs :)…I shall be trying a few of the styles that you rocked throughout your transition as I think I will be transition for a very loooooooooooong time because my hair has a “nice” length to it. We shall see. Can’t wait for it to all grow out so I can rock some really big puffs and fros and give these people in my office something to talk about, lol.

  10. crazy72cool says

    I am thinking about Big Chopping after transitioning for about 11 1/2 months. My new stylist says that I have about 4 inches of new growth! I thought it would be more after all this time, I have not been using heat, it has been in protective styles. It looks like more than that, but I have three textures….1) straight on the ends (she’s cut some), 2) wavy with a brownish tint (normally my natural color) and 3) wavy with a dark tint. She says the brownish tint is still relaxed hair. I am not sure I agree, but she’s the professional. Do you have any insight?? I want to go “Natural” but don’t want to cut off more than necessary. I’m kind of scared! LOL

    • lisa says

      I will say that your hair will probably be shorter than you expected just because it draws up more after those relaxed ends are cut off. So make sure you are ready if you feel that you’ll be uncomfortable with the length. You can always get extensions (as long as they aren’t too tight) to gain some more length. Four inches of new growth is really only 2 inches (or maybe even less) after the hair shrinks. Hang in there!

  11. Jasmine says

    Hello everyone!
    I just recently decided to go natural after taking my weave down yesterday. (I’ve had it in since Oct. 14, 2011) I’ve been all around the internet trying to see how to go about the transitioning process. I’ve seen so much that I think I’ve confused myself. Haha I was wondering if you had any tips for someone that is JUST starting out and what products I need in order to start my regimen. I would really appreciate the help. Thanks in advance. :)

  12. Felicia says

    Hi. I am transitioning right now and have been since August but its just not for me so I’ve decided to big chop and get kinky or two strand twist done on my TWA. I’m not comfortable with wearing my short TWA out cause I don’t like having my hair too short LOL(I’ve BC before so I know what I’m comfortable with) I was just wondering if it’s okay to use kinky or two strand twists extensions while I wait for my natural hair to grow to my comfortable length?

    • lisa says

      Hi Felicia,

      Yes it is. I had them for 6 weeks or so during mine. Just try not to get them done too tight and always take a break between. So if you have them in for 6 weeks, take them down for a few weeks to give your hair some rest and then have them redone if you want.

  13. Venice says

    This was very interesting to me!!! I originally never planned to go natural, it just kinda happened. My last relaxer was a year ago (January 2011) and I knew my relaxed hair didn’t look good at ALL, so I had my hair braided from March until December (different braids, of course!). It wasn’t until I took my braids out a few weeks ago that I noticed what I have been missing with a relaxer. Almost ALL of the relaxer is grown out, in some places completely, and in others, I have 2-3 inches to go. I looked back on my pictures from this time last year and I was embarrassed and amazed as to how damaging and unsuccessful relaxers were for me. When I first took out my braids, washed, conditioned and styled my hair, it was soft, long (for me) and gorgeous. The second wash, not so successful. My hair is hard to comb through, and I am a little panicky. Everyone in my life thinks that I will go back to a relaxer because the natural life is TOUGH but now that I see how far along my hair has come, I don’t think I’ll ever go back :D

  14. Denise says

    Congratulations to all the ladies on their decision to go natural and to learn from Miss Lisa! I noticed that someone else said the same thing I did: there are many sites out there but there’s something about this one that I like the best! Lisa, I love what you said about being careful about falling into dividing ourselves and making judgments about natural hair. It is OUR HAIR! WE have the choice to do with it, whatever we decide to do.

  15. elaina says

    Hello, I went natural the summer before my senior year of high school. I never cut my hair because I hadn’t used a flat iron or had my hair permed my hair 5 years before that. I loved my hair more then I ever hshave and was looking forward to see how it would look towards the future. Anyway during that winter of my senior year, I noticed my hair feeling coarser (I’ve never had coarse hair, just saying) so it was weird to me, also my hair looked extremely shorter. My mom just bought whatever she thought was good for it at the hair store. This was all back in 2010. After that trama, I didn’t know what to do so I just went back to wearing braid in extensions, which were always tight, from there I went to flat ironing it constantly. By 2011 I was dedicated to the flat iron when it wasn’t flat ironed it was put up into a sock bun or a pony tail that I tucked under to make into a bun. Currently since it’s winter I just wear my hair straight or in a bun sometimes I play with it and use to much heat. I know my hair is damaged and breaking off and I can’t afford to get it done (like seriously I don’t even have a dollar). I’m at lost of what to do with it, I like having different styles and the middle of my head is too short so it doesn’t even look cute in a braid out anymore. This is the first time in a while that I actually feel disgusted with my hair and really wish it was just long and flowy. I feel pathetic saying that but it’s true. I’m 19 and I hate my hair, and being a black woman. I’m starting to see now, what other young black women go through with hair, and wanting to just be something else because of it. It’s hard and depressing. But I really liked what you said even though I think it would take a lot for me to get to that point and maybe I’m not cut out for it.

    • lisa says

      Hi Elaina

      Hang in there. I can relate. The summer before I went natural I was at my wits end with my hair. It was thinning so much I couldn’t even wear my half wigs anymore because the sides wouldn’t cover the edges of the wig. And going natural was not an option. No way. I didn’t think I had the “right kind of hair” for that.

      So I kept texturizing my hair and watched it thin even more. I had it. I was going to have to go natural or else I would be bald. So I started the transition. The first 3 months I was like “What the heck am I going to do once this grows out?” My hair was very course and wouldn’t hold a drop of moisture. But I kept deep conditioning every week and set my hair on very tiny rods. I laid off the heat for good and after about 4-5 months things started to change. My hair became more manageable, less breakage, etc.

      I really think heat is our worse enemy. Especially if you use it a lot. Once in a while is fine but when I stopped using heat and started deep conditioning everything changed. Hang in there!

  16. Nikki says

    Hey Lisa,

    The last time I posted, I was wearing extensions after going natural. Its been 2 weeks and I’m completely natural. No extensions or relaxer left. My last relaxer was in May or June of 2011. I’m still trying to figure it all out. I really appreciate your site and its suggestions and everyone’s posts. Its made this process much easier even though its still been stressful. I have a question. The reason why I am going natural is that I may be moving to China for atleast a year next year. The products I have been playing with I know I can’t get over there, most don’t ship their products there, and they are very expensive here to try to stock up on before I go. Are there any suggestions on shampoos and conditioners I can create with my own 2 hands?

    • lisa says

      Hi Nikki

      Check YouTube. A lot of naturals have homemade concoctions that they use on their hair. I don’t typically make my products (except my shea butter caster oil mix). Speaking of shea butter, definitely stock up on that because you can mix that with any natural oil and make it a nice butter if you use a mixer.

      As far as shampoos, I guess it depends on what your hair likes. I like Giovanni’s products and Kinky Curly’s Come Clean. I don’t really use a lot of different products anymore. I just stick with what works. Good luck!

  17. Anne says

    Thanks for the website. I just decided to let my relaxer grow out. It’s been 5 weeks, so I’m trying to find ways to style my hair without using my flat iron… lol

    • Denise says

      Anne, say noooo to the flat iron! LOL! I’m also a new transitioner and I’m doing twists and rolling them with with rods (if the twist is long enough), and if its a short twist I’m bobby-pinning them down. I’m just at the point where I would need a touch-up so I don’t have that much new growth to speak of. I just thought I should start using products and techniques I’ll be using later on down the road. Have you been browsing YouTube? Great ideas there! Best of luck to you!

      • Anne says

        Denise, this is the time that I normally get a touch up too. :-) My short bob hair style has grown out, so I think I’m gonna try the flat twist. I did buy As I Am Naturally shampoo and conditioner… and it was nice to feel the natural oils in my hair. I used to use Pantee Natural and Relaxed, but It made my hair feel dry.

        • Denise says

          Anne, we have alot in common! My hair is short too on the sides and back, longer up top (ala Halle Berry). Twists are a challenge because the ends are so short and “even” so I’m rocking a curly fro! I bought one of the Shea Moisture kits, made of all natural ingredients, and I’m liking it so far. They’re sold at Walgreens and Target (I didn’t see any in my local Walmart). I’m going to make my own whipped butter too. We can do this!

          • Anne says

            Denise, we do have a lot in common. I had my hair cut in that style in May, but it has grown out since then. The sides come down to my ears. The front is even longer; my issue is the back. The front and sides of my hair grow very fast, but not my back; so I keep it low. But the back of hair is already getting curly…lol.

        • lisa says

          Some of those Pantene Products are jokes. They slap that “Natural” label on there and don’t know the next thing about natural. Sometimes I hate marketing. LOL The reason why your hair felt hard is because it was probably loaded with mineral oil or parabens. Who knows what they put in there. Buy some raw shea butter and add some natural oils. Mix it up into a buttery texture and use that for moisture.

          Buy some cute headbands for when your edges get “unruly” and rock a cute, spirly rod set. Buy the really small ones for shorter hair. My friend is transitioning and she and she has very short hair (tapered) in the back and her rod set looks good.

      • Cheryl says

        I too am about due for my regular touch up but have decided to go natural. I’m kinda paranoid (strong word I know) about how my hair is going to transition with this short cut. It’s long at the top, about four inches, and short on the sides and the back. I haven’t had a full relaxer since 9/22/11 but my edges and back were relaxer right before Christmas. I usually wash every 2 weeks and flat iron.

        I buy the Shea Moisture Shea Butter and I have a hair appointment coming up and I’m a little know what to ask for. Maybe I’ll go for twists.

        • Necey says

          Wow Cheryl, my hair is cut that way too! I went to my hairdresser yesterday and had her even it up along the sides and in the back, and it looks alot better! Now it looks more like a fro whereas before it looked kinda crazy because I’ve started doing twist-outs. I know how you feel about being nervous, but I’ve gotten so much inspiration and strength from Lisa and all the others on YouTube who have done this already, and their hair looks GREAT! It’s gonna be awkward for a minute, but we just gotta stand strong in our decision.

  18. Bre says

    I have a question: My last relaxer was December 2011 and my hair is breaking off so bad. My hair is shedding every time I comb.I want to know what you think might help me? I was thinking about getting a deep conditioning and my hair cut and then some kinky twist.

    • Denise says

      Hi Bre! Are you moisturizing your hair every day with natural oils, shea butter moisturizers, etc? Combing from the ends and not the roots? Tying it up at night with a silk scarf? Lisa can probably answer this better but from what I’ve read, some shedding is expected. They also say the hair is very VERY delicate at this stage and we have to take extra extra care of it. I’m thinking if its breaking off, getting the ends trimmed regularly might be helpful too. Hang in there, don’t give up and keep us posted! You’re not alone!

      • Bre says

        Thanks for the reply Denise. I have not been doing any of things listed on a regular basic. I will try that and see if it stops some the breakage and abnormal shedding. I know shedding is normal but mines is do bad. Every time I comb my hair or regular day to day movements I have hair all over my shirt, sink, just everywhere basically. I thank God I have thick hair because I probably be bald by now LOL.

    • lisa says

      Deep conditioning will be your friend!! Try it once a week for a month and see if that helps. Also get a good trim if you need one. Are you still using heat? If so try to do rod sets or some kind of style that doesn’t require it.

  19. Keyshia says

    Hi , im transitioning from being relaxed to natural with an asymmetrical cut .. but im worried about how the back (shaved down) will look once it begin growing out ! im not ready for the big chop but i usually get the back of my head shaved down every 2-3 weeks because it starts to look funny! what can i do ? should i get sew-ins to cover it while my hair grows ?

    another question is ; as my hair grows im noticing that my curl pattern is very loose ( the hair feel thin and fuzzy like , instead of kinky ) on the right backside of my head where i actually have hair. the rest of my hair grow out in TIGHT KINKS ! what can i do to transform my curl pattern ?

    PLEASE HELP !! im so lost in this natural stuff .

  20. Cheryl says

    Im in the same position. I cut my back cut about once a month. Im thinking of getting micros to transition during the winter. I have enough haie back there for those. Im not 100% in that yet. If I dont do micros I may begin to wear my hair curly and get head bands until the back starts to go out more.

  21. keyshia says

    thanks! i dont even have enough hair back there for micros yet . its shaved down like a boy haircut! but im tired of cutting it i want it to catch up with the rest of my hair… i may just do the BIG CHOP and wear wigs for awhile , until it growns an inch for micros all over … btw im 16 , so this big chop thing is scary!

  22. Ashlei Williams says

    Ok so hi :) Im just now figuring out that i WANT TO GO NATURAL! I tried it once but my mother was like ” Your hair is too thick to go natural, and its gonna look a mess BLAH BLAH BLAH” ….. Im 17 btw.! But my mom has a lot of animosity with me going natural and Im really not sure why…. I tried once, but she just kept nagging me about it so i went and got myself a relaxer :(…. So this is my second go round and im COMMITTED and im not caring about the negative comments!… Ive been getting my hair relaxed since I was 7 or 8… So ive never even seen my natural hair AT ALL! Its been about a month since I got my last relaxer which was around Dec 5th… My natural hair has already grown out to a inch or 2.. My hair is REALLY thick and my natural hair dries out a lot! Im curious on what products I should turn to! I also wear clip ins…idk y because my hair is a little past my shoulders… I just also wanna know what styles I should use…Ive tried braid outs and twist outs but it too poofy and my relaxed hair doesnt cope well with it.. PLEASE HELP! oh and ihavent stopped using heat, but i do use a very low setting when flat ironing..is that ok? But i i have COMPLETELY stopped blow drying! Thanks PLEASE ANSWER BACK :)

    • lisa says

      The drying may be temporary due to the relaxers but heat is not really helping. Are you deep conditioning your hair every week? Have you tried rod sets with perm rods and spiral them so you don’t look like an old lady. LOL Rod sets were my go-to style because I could flat twist the sides and jazz them up with a big head band.

  23. Ashley Lee says

    Hi my name is Ashley, I want to go natural and i was wondering if i HAD to cut my hair. Or can i just not get any more relaxers. I don’t know if not cutting my hair will look good or bad. I wasn’t planning on cutting it but i just don’t want it to look bad.

    • lisa says

      Hi Ashley

      I transitioned by only doing small trims. I never had to cut my hair shorter than bob length. But as you continue to transition your hair will break. It’s a natural so I would recommend doing small trims monthly as you grow it out. But to answer your question, you don’t have to cut it.

      • Ashley Lee says

        Thank you, and another question….my hair isn’t short..its a little past shoulder length and its straight from the relaxers. i was wondering if I should get plats or twist with weave and when I take it out just wash and leave it to start going natural. Mainly because my hair is very straight and when I took out my last twists, washed and blow dried, my hair didn’t even look like it had a relaxer. So I’m hoping that will help ?

  24. Anne says

    I tried to do the transition thing, but I just did “BIG CHOP” and I LOVE IT…. Why didn’t do this sooner….

  25. Shan says

    Hi, My last relaxer was December 21, 2011 so today makes 5 weeks since then & I am really excited about going natural i plan on getting braids (with extensions) this weekend and keeping it in for about 2months. What are the best ways i can keep my hair mousterized while they are in braids. I recently bought a giovanni leavein conditioner and i have EVOO and tee tree castor oil i’m not sure if i should mix those too or just use one or the other. Please help i want my hair to feel soft and be moist when i take my braids out & not rough like it usually does

  26. Mylatesha says

    Hi Ms Lisa I was telling you a few months ago that I transition I done a big chop June 3, 2011 and I have notice that my hair haven’t really gotten longer its a big difference in length from when I was relaxed but you was telling me about Nu-Gro moisture spray I bought that a few months ago and its not working for me at all im only using it on my edges 2 times a day and I notice that its making my edges dry feeling hard and crunchy and they breaking off worser than what they was I call the company they not helping me at all my edges look bad so is there another product I can use to regrow my edges everybody on these hair care forms keep telling me I have alopecia but I dont think so I read up on that and the only thing it say that I have experience is hormonal changes can you please help me

  27. Caryl says

    So i stuck between the decision of going natural and keeping the relaxer. I have very thick hair. Even my relaxed hair is thick. My hair tho is shedding, splitting and breaking a whole lot. I don’t use heat in my hair unless I was getting the relaxer in my hair. Is there anything I can use?

  28. Cami says

    I have been relaxer free since Aug 2011. I have very thick very corse hair. It takes three hours to press my hair and flat iron to at least look presentable. I have cried because of how dry and unmanageable it seems. All of your advice says to stay away from heat. lIf my hair air dries without heat it becomes one big lock in one day. I need a detangling conditoner. I wash my hair twice a week because I am a jogger and I sweat alot which makes the hair smell so I have to wash it. I use “protectant” and my hair has it’s good times and bad times. Please give me some advice on how continue to stay natural. I have 4c hair. I also have a lot of anger because I know I never really have liked the nappy look. Please help

    • lisa says

      Hi Cami,

      I understand. Have you ever tried twisting your hair up while wet or doing flat twists in the front and a rod set in the back? You can make them small so they’ll last and they’ll be easier to style.

      One reason your hair is dry is because of the heat. I bet if you grew your hair out without using direct heat you would see a major difference. I understand you work out so that presents a bit of a challenge.

  29. Jasmine Boyd says

    Hi Lisa!! I just started my transition 3 months ago and had no idea what I was doing. It is a good thing I read your post, because I thought texturizers would help me on the transition to becoming a natural.

    I just have some simple questions….
    What are rod curlers?
    Should I make the big chop if my hair is short and thin in the middle?

    • lisa says

      Hi Jasmine,

      I’m assuming you mean the plastic rods you can buy in the beauty supply stores? That’s what I use. They come in different sizes/colors. It’s really up to you on the big chop. If you are no longer able to achieve the style and maintain the health of your hair then a big chop may be for you. I would never just tell you yes or no without really knowing the state of your hair. I think it comes down to what you’re comfortable with.

      If you feel your hair is too short right now you can always get extensions (loosely done) if you want more length.

  30. Killian Wolhuter says

    Hi all!

    Lisa, thanks so much for your insight, it has really helped me a lot! I am only in the transitioning phase for a short while, if i can remember correctly, my last relaxer was in September last year. I have been wearing braid extensions as a protective style and when i took them out i saw a lot of fresh puffy regrowth and it made me excited! I feel like its difficult to find the right natural products in South Africa and when i do , its quite pricey. I have found the amazing Organic Olive Oil product and have been having good sessions with the deep conditioning. Wish me luck and good luck to all you other beauties!

  31. Crystal S says

    I have a twa and I was wondering how often should you trim your twa? I just had the tips of my hair colored the 3rd week of December along with a trim.

  32. Briana says

    Hello Lisa,

    I’ve recently within the last year decided that I’ve had it with relaxers and all that stuff!..I love my hair straight and I want to continue wearing it that way..but I want to do it with my own god given hair. I want it to grow, and be healthy the way it was before I started this mess..called a perm!..My mom and grandmother started me early on the chemical process and hot comb and if I could have gone back in time..i would have stopped it. I’m mixed and when I was young you could see what my hair looked like..long fluffy indian ponytails!..that’s gone…because of the chemical process. I want it back and I’m willing to do the hard work..because my hair is very important to me!.People always say how great my hair is and thick and all that…but lately more and more since I’ve had relaxers as I’ve grown up…I’ve felt less and less of that feeling. I’m ready to join the ranks of women who have made the positive steps and journey into better, healthier, longer, stronger hair! I want to feel secure in my skin..and I don’t with the way my hair is now. Because I’m mixed…I’ have textures from both sides that make my hair complicated to manage..and I’ve had it. Please, help me start my journey and guide me into the first steps. I’ve never done this before and I want to do it right from the start. Any support from the sisterhood is always a plus! I don’t know if its better to transition with good products and all the stuff you and the ladies mentioned, or to do a big chop and take it from there. Please could you clarify for me what the benefits are of each type and which is the better success rate….so that I can make a good decision and the right one..before I start this journey. In the meantime, what can I do with my hair to prepare for this journey?….I haven’t had a relaxer since sometime last year..prob back towards september or august. Its at least 4-5months. I haven’t had a trim in a looooooooooong time and I just stopped getting perms. I know I’m not taking care of it the way I need to..so please tell me what I need to do or suggestions. Should I make an appointment with my hair stylist to prep for my transition and tell her what I’m planning to do?..any help is appreciated. When should you start?….or is it right away?…I have so many questions and I just want to get the right answers before proceeding. I also need to break the news to my mom and boyfriend that I’m planning on doing this for myself..because I want to start over and rejuvenate and revive my life and hair. What better way to start then with hair! Please email me at my email with any helpful knowledge and your wisdom. Thank you to all who help out…and ladies..much bravery for doing this…I am truly honored to officially join the ranks as soon as I can. Good luck to all and don’t let anyone tell you its not worth it or you don’t look good etc..because you have to do it for you! You make your happiness not anyone else.

    Sincerely, Much Love,
    Briana

    • lisa says

      Hi Briana,
      I agree with Denise. A big chop is a personal decision and one you’ll have to decide if you’re comfortable with or not. There is no one way to go about this so I would never say “You SHOULD chop” or “You SHOULD grow it out. You might want to meet with a professional stylist who is experienced with natural/biracial hair and have them give you advice after assessing your hair. Don’t just go to any stylist. Get a referral from a friend because not all stylists are prepared to handle all types of hair. It’s hard for us to give you specific advice without seeing/knowing the exact state of your hair. And I’m certainly no professional so I think you should start there.

      Hang in there and good luck! I’m sure it will all work out. Keep us posted. It’s going to be a journey no matter what, but it’s sooooooooooooooooooo worth it in the end.

      • Briana y. says

        Hello Denise! Thank you so much for your advice…I will look into some products and review some magazines and more YouTube vids. Lol I truly think my hair will be healthier and be the way I want itit to be again b4the perms. Please keep in touch with me on your tranzition as I would like to see how well you are doing as well..im not sure when I will do the decision..or start the process.but at least ill be prepared with information nd suppprt from women like you. Good luck and look for me on YouTube soon..not now..i gotta set it up..ill be doing my transition on YouTube for fun..and for other beginners to natural. Last question b4 I go..can I still do my hair straight?..im still wanna do that but i’m afraid if I go natural I wont be able to do that. Please help. Thanks

  33. Jackie says

    I decided today to go natural. I’m sixty years old and my hair is about shoulder length. I haven;t had a lot of heat on it because I’ve worn a wig and I’m done with that. I need help!! I’m going to wash and condition my hair today. Do I need rods today or do I need to go at it another way? I am so serious about this. I love myself and don’t care what society or anyone else has to say about my hair. Please start me on the straight and narrow of this journey. I just found your website today so, I have a lot of reading to do. By the way, I love your site. I feel a sisterhood here. So please, help a sister out!

  34. katelynn says

    I Over bleached my hair this summer. When its wet I’ve tried to brush but It falls out. Is no longer soft or shiny is there anything I can do to fix this I have white people hair so oil doesnt wash out well. Any suggestions. ?

  35. Stiletto says

    I hope someone can help me… I have been natural for 3 years and have shoulder length hair now. I recently got a blow out and the crown of my head is now strait :(. After going to a natural hair consultant, she told me I will have to cut all of my hair off. I just can’t do that. I’m way too stubborn. I am tired of wigs and weaves… and I don’t want a style that I “take off” at the end of the night. I am so embarrassed that I look my worst when I am with my fiance. Okay… so I think I decided to get a relaxer on all of my hair. There is one problem. I’m afraid that the heat damaged portions of my hair will fall out when I get the relaxer put in tomorrow.

    Have you heard anything like this before? I can always go natural again after enjoying strait hair for a year… but I can’t go natural from scratch… I just don’t like the way I look and my demeanor is affected. HELP!!!!

    • lisa says

      Hi lady, I don’t have any experience with heat damage and haven’t straightened my natural hair yet, but I doubt the relaxer will ruin the hair that is already straight unless it’s completely fried. If the hair is not brittle, it’s probably fine. I don’t think that’s the same as putting a relaxer on hair that was straightened with chemicals. I’m no expert though. Just my two cents.

  36. Briana says

    Hello Again,
    I posted a comment on Feb 9th. I didn’t see any responses yet. If anyone could be of any assistance to any of things I posted..I would appreciate it. Lisa please, give me your feedback..I’m deciding on when I should do this.

    • Denise says

      Hi Briana! Before I decided to go natural in December 2012, I viewed all of the natural black hair care blogs, websites and YouTube videos I could (to the point where I was almost overwhelmed with information LOL!). I decided what I was going to do, went out and bought a few products (I started with the Shea Naturals kit from Walgreens for about 20 bucks, some bobby pins, clips, a couple of oils) and just went for it! I tried the flat twists but settled on two-stranded twist outs. Now, my hair was really short and styled aka “Halle Berry”, and its growing really well now! I don’t use any kind of heat in my hair, moisturize daily and shampoo on the weekends. Just do your research, decide on a transitional/protective style, and DO it! It seems to me that its a personal decision as far as doing the BC. Some women with really damaged hair have done it and did great, others with the same hair type did NOT do a BC and their hair turned out fine too! My ends are still relaxed and my hair is already short but not very damaged, so I opted to do a somewhat long transition before I cut my ends. You can do it…..I’m only two months out and feeling very confident about my decision AND my hair! Best of luck, hope this helps, and please keep in touch!

  37. MsNaye says

    I decided to go natural in January, 2012 and haven’t had a perm since the beginning of November, 2011. I made this decision because my hair was shedding sooooo bad, I felt the relaxers was causing my hair to thin out. However since I stopped relaxing my hair, (which was shoulder length) my hair has broken off in the back. I haven’t used any heat in my hair since December, 2011, I started curling my hair with the flex rollers and washing my hair every two weeks. Since reading different blogs, I started 3 weeks ago, washing my hair every other week with shampoo and in between co-washing. I am hoping this will stop the shedding and breakage. Does anyone else has any suggestions on what else I should try? I do wrap my hair after I wash it with a silk scarf and also stop wearing my hair out (I am wearing a wig now). I am getting so frustrated, because I didn’t want to do the big chop, however if my hair continues to shed like its doing I will not have to do the big chop, because I will not have any hair left to chop off. I NEED HELP! :(

    • lisa says

      Have you ever given your hair a deep conditioning and left it on for at least an hour while sitting under the dryer with a plastic cap?

  38. Briana says

    Hi Lisa,
    So I have been transitioning for about 6 months now and I’ve been noticing my scalp has been very dry. I scratch it a lot and I’m noticing more dandruff. Is there anything I can do to fix this problem? I oil my hair after I wash it and my hair just sucks it up so fast that not even a few hours later it feels really dry and itchy. If there is anything i can do to fix it please let me know.
    Thanks!

    • lisa says

      I have dry scalp too. What I do is mix apple cider and vinegar with water (50/50) and massage it into my scalp before I shampoo and then I rinse it out. Sometimes I even leave it on after I condition my hair. Always test it first on a small portion of your scalp to make sure your hair/scalp can handle it. But vinegar kills fungus/bacteria and is good for controlling dandruff.

  39. lauren says

    I really needed to read this. I have decided to stop perming and coloring my hair.As of now im only wearing kinky twist. its hard to just wear my hair after i cut it all off.BUt i excited and im ready to do this all the way.havent had a perm in only 4 months so i have more to go.

  40. Briana y. says

    Thank you Lisa for your advice as well. I wanted to tell you congrats on your hair it looks great. I wish you all the best. I love your site its a great startingpoint for information. I wish I could have done something like this..when I needed it..lol. I will continue to check in on everybody and write back when I can. Thanks again for everything..I have a good start. Talk soon.

  41. Robin D. says

    I would like to transition but I’ve found that 4-5 weeks after I relax, my scalp is very itchy. My new growth is thick and I have to wash my hair every other day to soothe the itch. It makes it impossible to stretch out my relaxers or to wear protective styles for longer than a month. I want to transition out of the perm but my itchy scalp is a road block. I deep condition, oil my scalp, and use medicated shampoos but it does no good. Any advice to get to my second month would be very helpful.

  42. Ericka says

    Hello,

    Your hair styles look very nice and fresh. I am 29 and got my first perm at 16. Even when I got a relaxer every 3 months my hair was still wavy/curly but the perm definetly allowed me the flexibility to wear my hair down straight and get hairstyles with gel/spritz without my hair frizzing up in it’s natural state. I have not had a perm now in 11 months. My issue is I have always had long hair and even was we speak it’s just right on top of my bra strap. This is my 3rd time trying to grow my perm out and this is the longest I have gone. I don’t want to cut off the portion still permed (about 65% all over-more or less in different sections of my head). Is there anyway I can speed this process up? Also my hair (even with a perm) is thick so as the natural hair is growing the option to not comb my hair everyday is hard because it already locks up after a shampoo and attempts to form dreads. Really my questions are what is the best way to style my long hair while transitioning since I think I may have another 2 years to go, and is there anyway to speed up the process. Thanks!

    • lisa says

      Hi Ericka

      There is no way to speed up the transition process really. Now you can do things to have optimal hair growth like vitamins, eating healthy and exercise but as far as speeding up the process, do you mean in terms of hair growth? Or are you asking about something else?

  43. Melissa says

    Hi Lisa,
    YOur webite is trully a blessing. I have not had a perm since December 2010. I have been wearing wigs with my hair braided and I have not had any experience with my natural hair yet. To be honest, I am a little scared to deal with it. I wanted to make sure that ALL of the perm is out and now I have been search the web for some help and I ran across your website ( which I bookmarked). I was thinking about getting one more wig but this time I want a natural wig to see how I would look. I am also doing my homework on getting the right shampoo and conditioner. Eventually, I will stop the wigs and just be me but I am a liitle nervous. But I am glad to hear that I am not alone. Do you have any comments or suggesting?

    • lisa says

      Hi Melissa,

      It’s a transition both mentally and physically. Trust me, I’ve been there. One thing that sorted of eased me into the “natural look” was I slowly began trimming my hair so I wouldn’t have such a drastic look when all my relaxer was gone. Rod sets helped ease me into “the look” of being natural.

  44. Sharon says

    Hello, I really love your web page! I have been trying to go natural off and on for the past ten years or more and I have learned from your Do’s and Dont’s why I have given up numerous times, so here I am again trying to go natural and learn natural styles for my six year old daughter. I have not had a relaxer in about five months. I plan to stick with it this time. I have been looking for a good salon or just someone that knows what they are talking about when it comes to my hair. If you have any advice, please let me know and thanks for everything and keep up the good work!!!!!

      • lisa says

        I’m a do-it-yourselfer so I always try it myself first. Go on YouTube and see if you can find some video tutorials on straw sets.

    • lisa says

      Hi Sharon,

      One of my friends found a natural salon in her neighborhood and it was a tremendous help because they were able to give her SPECIFIC advice for HER hair. I’m more of a trial and error girl and prefer to just try things on my own. But I would highly recommend a professional if you want to get an overall assessment of your hair.

  45. Denise says

    Hey Lisa! Hope you are doing well! Quick question for you: since going natural in January of this year, my hair is coming along quite nicely! The only thing that (somewhat) concerns me is that I have to twist my hair every night, so for me, there is no “no-manipulation style”. The twist out simply will not hold for a day, let alone 2 or 3 (trust me – I tried lol). Do you think this is due to the relaxed ends or the product I’m using? I don’t use any gels, just shea moisture deep treatment mask or the curl enhancing smoothie to twist. Thanks much!

    • lisa says

      Hey Denise,

      It’s the products you’re using. For longer-lasting twist outs, you need a gel-based twisting product like Taliah Waajid or Organics Lock and Twist Gel. Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding will work too. Shea moisture is very moisturizing but not for holding styles. Try one of the products I mentioned. They don’t leave a lot of residue and will give you the hold… especially if you leave the twists in for at least 3 days or more.

  46. Ashley says

    Soo after six months of transitioning I went back to the creamy crack :-( my hair was so thick I couldn’t do anything to it other than put it in a bun. The set angling process was horrible I always ended up with a bug ball of hair I’m just really discouraged right now.Although I went back to the relaxer I’ve still been using all natural products. Where do I go from here?Its still breaking and shedding and a tangled mess.

  47. Killian Wolhuter says

    Hi Ladies :)

    I think i have a problem, I took my braids out yesterday after about 4 weeks. I was deep conditioning regularly and took very good care of them and my hair seems to be in a good condition. except for the bits in front at my hairline, it is so damaged I don’t even know if it is still like this because its part of my previously fried hair or if the braids made it worse. It is very dry compared to the rest of my regrowth which is about 4cm. It has discouraged me so much even though the rest of my hair is growing and transitioning healthily, I’ve even considered shaving the front bits off so that i can physically watch it grow out properly. Are there any other suggestions? It would be greatly appreciated!

    • lisa says

      Hi Killian

      Don’t let that get you down. In the 2nd month of my transition, I got some kinky twists that were put in too tight. My edges came out and they were already thin from relaxers. But I just kept deep conditioning and wearing lose hairstyles until they began to grow in again. Get some castor oil and rub it into your thinned areas every night before bed. Hang in there. Hopefully it’s just temporary and will come back soon. Only time will tell. Don’t be discouraged though.

  48. Felicia Janae' says

    Thank you so much for all this info! I am going to site your website in my blog if you don’t mind so that people will be able to see this. I know alot of people who want to go natural and don’t have any knowledge about it or are doing it because of someone else! ON POINT! GREAT READ! Keep it coming!

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