If you are anything like I was when I began my transition in March 2010, you may not know what to expect with your natural hair transition.
It’s definitely a journey — both mentally and physically (see these myths), so you need to prepare yourself for the following…
1) You are dealing with two different textures, and if you want your hair to look its best, you may be limited to styles that blend your two textures effectively — especially as your transition progresses (rod sets, twists, etc.)
2) If you are eliminating direct heat (recommended) and your hair is short (no ponytails), then your styling options are limited even further
3) If you’ve never managed your natural hair before, it takes some time to find out what it likes and needs. It’s tempting to copy someone else’s routine, but I quickly learned I had to discover what my hair likes.
4) Be prepared to deal with naysayers who may not like natural hair and attempt to discourage you from this journey. Your confidence WILL be tested, for sure.
Having said all that, it’s absolutely the most rewarding experience in the world once your transition is over and you are fully natural.
Below I will tell you what you can expect during your natural hair transition by the month. Keep in mind, a lot of this information has been influenced by MY journey and the health of my hair at the start of my transition (which was not very good.)
Also, I was texturizing prior to my transition so my hair was not completely straight, and I had some natural hair in the back because the texturizer didn’t take at all.
Just as a reminder, my last relaxer was June 2009 and my last texturizer was March 2010. My hair was bob length when I began my transition.
So more than likely your hair is in a different condition, length, etc. than mine, so your results may be different. This is just a general guide.
These are obviously the easiest months of your transition because it’s not much different than when you were relaxing. Most people wait at least 6-8 weeks between relaxers so the first two months won’t require much change to your routine.
However, I would highly recommend you start to wean yourself off direct heat — i.e. blow dryers, curling irons and flat irons. You want your natural hair to grow out healthy and retain moisture. Direct heat is not its friend.
If you are going to use heat, at least limit it to the ends of your hair (bumping/curling ends etc.) Remember those ends will eventually be chopped off anyway.
However, if you’re going for a long-term transition, you’ll want your entire strands to remain healthy. Eliminating heat altogether is the best option for long-term transitioners. However, if you must use it, read my guide here.
I didn’t do much different during these months in terms of styling. I did use the flat iron to curl my bangs once, but that was the last time I ever used direct heat on my hair.
This is where it started getting challenging for me. This was the longest time I had ever gone without relaxing my hair and new growth seemed to be coming out dry and brittle.
I had too much new growth to successfully wrap my hair, but not enough natural hair to wear natural styles. My hair was too short for a decent-looking ponytail, so I was at a loss for styling.
If your ends are still healthy and not too thin (like mine were in this video) you can try to do two strand twists or two strand twist outs, but you should put a rod on the end to help your ends look finished.
This is when I started experimenting with rod sets. My first one didn’t come out too well, but I got better with practice.
Rod sets eventually became my go-to style for months 3-8. This style blends your hair textures so well, and if you use small rods they can last a long time.
In month 4, I started deep conditioning my hair every week with Organics Olive Oil Replenisher. This was the best thing I could have ever done. My natural hair began to soften up and my hair seemed to be retaining moisture better.
You MUST deep condition your hair regularly!
Some believe that if your hair follicles become damaged during relaxing, your follicles produce “scab hair.”
This is hair that grows out with a protective coating. The coating can make your hair more brittle and dry to the touch.
Basically your hair is trying to protect itself from the chemicals. Even when you stop relaxing, your follicles may still produce scab hair for awhile.
It can take several months for your hair to grow out healthy again.
So if you notice that your new growth is hard/dry and you are not using any direct heat, it could be a result of scab hair. This may not be your true hair texture you’re seeing. I DEFINITELY noticed a huge difference in my texture as my transition progressed.
Many women stop transitioning because they assume the scab hair is their natural texture. In some cases it may be scab hair. There’s really no way to know unless you keep transitioning.
Some people don’t believe in scab hair, but I can tell you that the texture of my new growth is drastically different than when I first started transitioning. I honestly believe I had scab hair. Deep conditioning and patience is how to get through this period.
Things started getting a bit easier for me during this phase. I should also add that I trimmed my hair every single month during my transition… even if it was only an 1/8th of an inch. Sometimes I trimmed twice.
I’m not saying you have to do this, but remember my hair was very damaged when I began, and since I was doing a long-term transition, I knew I had to trim to keep my ends as healthy as possible and maintain some length.
By this time you will probably have anywhere between 2 1/2 to 3 inches of natural hair and you can REALLY start to see your texture. I also noticed the positive impact of deep conditioning and using no sulfate shampoos.
When I finished shampooing, my hair seemed to almost glisten and I could tell it was retaining moisture better. That dry, brittle feeling was now a distant memory. 🙂
Also, by the time I got to this point in my transition, I began to notice the multiple textures of hair on my head. Most people do not have just one curl pattern.
For me, the top and front/sides of my hair had almost no definite pattern at all. Some parts were wavy, others were zig zag. And the back of my hair had a more distinct, loose S-shape pattern.
So don’t be surprised if you notice parts of your hair behaving differently. It’s likely due to the different textures.
By now, your texture should be really evident. I’ve noticed on YouTube that a lot of women “big chop” between the 7th and 9th month.
For many women, they feel they have enough natural hair at this point to rock their fros or wear two strand twists. For others, they just get tired of dealing with the two textures.
For me, the transition got easier as I went along — maybe because I trimmed my ends a LOT. Also, because my hair was not completely straight when I started transitioning, I didn’t have to deal with those straight ends hanging down.
By this time all my relaxer was gone and I was only dealing with texturized/wavy hair.
Even though texturizing my hair turned out to be a nightmare, in a way, it made my transition a bit more gradual because I went from straight to semi-straight to natural hair. That also helped blend my textures better.
Having said that, I would NOT recommend texturizing to ease yourself into the transition unless you know what you’re doing or you have a professional who can help.
During this period, I finally began to get better at flat twisting. My edges were very thin and weak from relaxing so the flat twists really helped protect them while they grew back out. So I started wearing a lot of different flat twist styles.
By this time, you’ll have about 4 1/2 to 5 inches of natural hair. That may sound like a lot if you’re just starting out, but remember natural hair shrinks. So 5 inches of natural hair may only be a 2 inch afro if you were to big chop at this point.
When you’re transitioning, your new growth may seem as if it’s taking over your head, but you’ll be surprised how much natural hair can shrink up — especially after you trim off the relaxed ends. Some people experience up to 80% shrinkage (especially people with more coiled hair.)
I’m not trying to discourage you from big chopping at any point. By all means, do it if you’re ready. Just don’t be surprised if your hair is shorter than you expected. A lot of women are unpleasantly surprised when they big chop because they didn’t realize how much shrinkage they would have.
So if you’re tied to your length, be mindful of this when transitioning. Relaxed ends can weigh your hair down, giving you the illusion of more length. But when those ends are cut off, your hair may curl up and be shorter than you think.
At this stage, I was mostly natural, with maybe 2-3 inches left of texturized hair on the ends. I started wearing two strand twists and I would put rods at the end so the remaining relaxed ends would curl (see pic on the right). It was winter time so this was a great protective style with help from my beanie.
Congrats! You have transitioned for a full year. Most people have between 5 1/2 and 6 inches of new growth at this stage. If you big chop at this point, you’ll probably have a good-size afro and most likely be beyond the TWA (teeny weany afro) stage. Of course, everyone’s curl pattern and hair growth is different so results may vary.
One Year and Beyond
If you can make it past a year, you are officially a long-term transitioner (in my book anyway)! By this time, you probably know exactly what your hair likes and you’ve gotten better at managing the two textures.
By the time I hit my one year anniversary, I was mostly natural so it didn’t really feel like I was transitioning anymore. I continued to wear a lot of flat twist styles (to protect/nurture my edges) and I wore quite a few twists and twist outs. Here are a few pics of some styles I’ve worn 12 months and beyond…
Click here to view more of my hair styles during my natural hair transition.
Final Note About Hair Growth
One thing that surprised me while transitioning was how my hair grows at different rates. For example, the back of my hair grew out really fast, while the front and crown of my hair grew the slowest.
That is why my hair is layered. When I ended my transition, my back was much longer than the front.
So that’s just something to keep in mind. It’s totally normal to have different growth rates so don’t be alarmed.
Meet Fellow Transitioner, Aisha
This video will inspire you, and perhaps you’ll even see some of yourself in it. It’s by Make Me a Naturalista on YouTube (definitely make sure you subscribe).
In the first series they introduce you to Aisha, a self-proclaimed salon junkie who gets her hair done twice a week.
Yardley and Natasha have a sit-down with Aisha and discuss her challenges with finding appropriate transitioning styles for work. Enjoy!
Don’t forget to read my long-term transitioning guide.
Join the NapturallyCurly.com Transitioning and Natural Hair Forums to chat with other transitioners and get the much-needed answers to your burning questions about your hair!
I’m thinking of transitioning. I recently started to texture my hair to make it more manageable for when I left home about 3 or 4 years ago.I put in the texturiser every 3 months give or take. I am due a texturise this month but want to transition. What advise should u give? I have a fair amount of regrowth already, which is quite spongey and quite thick but a bit dry.I’m starting with organic olive oil hair products;shampoo and hair mayonnaise for my next wash.Is there anything else that u would advise??
Really value your opinion.
Hey Ms. Lisa!! I have been natural for almost 9 months now and I’m still having trouble moisturizing my hair. My hair is 4c in the back and probably 4b on the top because it is softer up there. The top seems to be growing faster and holds moisture more than it does in the back. The back tangles bad and eels rougher than the rest of my hair. I don’t understand it, I deep condition, I do oil treatments, and I have even trimmed my ends and it still tangles, feels dry as straw and it gets single strand knots BAD. and I have even noticed some splits in the back from the shed hair or maybe it’s breaking, idk but I need help because I don’t ant to cut it and start over because my hair grows kind of slow. Any suggestions would be so helpful. Thanks in advance!
Thanks again for your support with giving each of us information about transistioning. Well I am in my 7th month on no relaxer. I’m doing a long transistion with no BC. I still deep condition and wash my hair every other week and I only go to the salon for a good trim and flat iron once a month. I want to learn how to flat twist. Do you know of a great video on youtube that will teach me how to flat twist? Thank you
I am at my 10 month mark in my transition and tried to b/c but my top and crown still has alot of straight there but the back has none, I would have gotten the top cut more but don’t really want a shag…LOL
I was wondering if I could henna now?
my hair is fairly healthy. sometimes it shads alot but only if i go too long without deep conditioning. i have no problems with is growing and i rarely put heat in it
i jusat decided to transition to natural hair. my last relaxer was in the end december 2012. if my hair is around shoulder length will cutting it ear lenght be enough? if i condition it right and take care of it will i still have to cut it often?
Hi Angel, that’s one of those things you won’t know until you try. If your hair is fairly healthy you may not need to cut it that short. As you go along you’ll know when it’s time for a trim. But I can’t tell you what is enough without physically seeing and knowing your hair’s condition.
Your website is probably one of the most helpful I’ve seen! I’ve been transitioning for 6 months now, and I’ve been trying to grow my natural hair out while maintaining my processed hair, but the processed hair has been falling out at a pretty alarming rate. I’m not losing hair at the root, just at the demarcation point, but In just the past couple of months I’ve lost 2 inches of processed hair, and what processed hair I do have left only barely touches my shoulders! (My permed hair used to fall down to the middle of my back, so you can imagine how traumatizing this is!) Half of my head is a short afro, while the other half is the new growth + the processed hair. I’ve been wearing my hair in a bun everyday, but is that style too manipulative for my hair? Should I bite the bullet and get the big chop, or is there a way I can maintain the two textures without so much breakage? Please help!!
At this point I would consider big chopping only because with such drastic lengths, it’s going to be hard to create a uniformed style. If you are too concerned about it being too short you can always get extensions until it grows out some more. The buns should be fine as long as you aren’t pulling your hair. Are you moisturizing your hair regularly? Maybe your ends are very dry.
My name is Sheena and i have been transitioning for 10 months now and i am so happy that i found a place to ask all NATURAL questions. my natural hair that is close to my scalp is nice and curly then their is a small piece that goes straight than a small patch that is curly like my natural hair, than comes my permed hair. I am so confused my strands are curly -straight-then curly. I DON’T use heat in my hair and i have kept them braided through my transition process. I am starting to cut my perm out but confused on where to cut at, what happened to my mane???? HELP
This is so normal. Everyone has different textures on different parts of their hair and it wasn’t until I cut off the relaxer until I could really see a more uniformed texture. Sure I still have different parts but when you get rid of the relaxer, it’s hard to know how your hair will behave. You also may have scab hair which can alter your texture and is temporary.
Hi, I have been natural for a year and a half now. At the 10 month mark I cut the rest of my relaxed ends off. Now my hair if I pull it straight is about 3 inches short from my collar bone. My hair appears to be a 4C but it is EXTREMELY dry I have tried deep conditioning, hot oil treatments, co washing, you name it Ive done it! As a result of my hair being so dry I always wear sew ins because I cant manage my hair. Please help Im at the point of considering getting a perm or a texturizer. Its so thick and I don’t know what to do with it.
At this point I would consider going to a natural hair stylist in your area to help consult and figure out the best routine for your hair. Also, what moisturizing products are you using? You mentioned deep conditioning and hot oil treatments but what about daily/leave ins?
Hi, Lisa!! I love your website, it’s been very encouraging and filled with so much information!!! It’s wonderful that you share all this information with your fellow sistas
First let me start by saying thank you! Your website is so helpful and encouraging! I have just begun the journey of transitioning for the second time in my life, the first time I did it; I did the “big chop” because there wasn’t as much info or a website like yours around giving us the helpful advice we need. I decided to do it again, because my hair is in a repetitive pattern/cycle, where it grows a while and then it breaks, over and over! Of course this is from all the perming and heat that I have been using for YEARS!!! Now that I am embracing this journey again, I want to do it right or let’s say better than the first time around. So my question is, what is the best approach for permed hair that was already breaking or weak? I am only weeks into the transitioning process and my only regime right now is washing, deep conditioning weekly and roller setting nightly? Is the nightly roller setting putting pressure on my frail hair as well, and the reason I ask is because my hair is still breaking at the ends although I am only roller setting? Also, I do have an office job where I am expected to dress professionally daily; hence the reason for roller setting nightly. Thank you in advance for whatever advice you can offer!!!
Diamond Wilson says
Hello Ms. Lisa!!! I have not relaxed my hair since May of 2012! Trying to go back Natural of course. But I’m lost don’t know what to do.Thank God I found you on here and I really think you could help me. Is there a way maybe I can send you pictures or something and you can help me through this!!!
I have a forum here https://napturallycurly.com/forums and you can join and post pictures of your hair. There are a lot of women who post there ready and willing to give you advice and I’m there too of course. 🙂
Hi Lisa! My name is Risa and i transition for about 4 1/2 month before I did my BC on 01/03/2013 just because I didnt wanted to get it over and done with and so it wouldnt seem as long as 8 month or a year. When I did my BC I thought I wasn’t going to be so bad I was wrong I hated my hair in the afro form so I put an scurl texturizer in to give it that curl look I was looking for and that didnt work as I expected.
So my question to you Lisa is will I have to cut my hair to start over again or can I keep growing it out to become natural????
I’m so sorry. Yes, unfortunately to get your texture back you will have to grow out the texturizer out or cut it off. I had a texturizer when I started my transition and it was not what I expected either so I had to grow it out.
I meant short.
I stopped re;axing in Sept. 2012 and just a few weeks ago half of the back of my hair came out and in a half inch short. What can I do?
Hi MM. Are you using heat? I wonder if the heat is breaking your hair off prematurely. How are you wearing your hair? Try to wear styles that don’t require heat and use little manipulation.
i was using heat, but stopped. I am now using a comb to make bun with what i have left on the other side of my hair (comb over).
Ooommmmgg Lisa!!! Managing the two textures is a mess! I am a year natural and keep my hair in protective styling via braids. I got so tired of the two texures that I cut off all of my permed hair which WAS bra strap length because the permed hair tangles sooo bad. I cut it off and instantly FREEDOM rang!! I love my natural hair. Not sure about my textures yet because I keep my hair braided and it grows very well at 1/2 inch per month. Keeping my hair in braids helps me to manage my hair while im in nursing school since my time is really stretched. I appy leave in conditioner, wet my hair and seal it with oils and it grows great! I will be done with nursing school this summer and hope to rock my own hair.
Awesome, Royalty! Keep up the great work.
Hi, I haven’t had a perm in about 7/8 months…I wanted to go perm-free for a year. So, I guess my hair is basically in transition. I’m still not sure what I want to really do with it, but as I play sports throughout the year, the only thing I have been comfortable with are ponytails and an occasional French braid. The only time I really use heat, is when I blow dry my hair after a weekly wash (I was it with wen and a head and shoulders damaged repair shampoo) . Almost daily I put palmers olive oil formula gro therapy in my hair. My hair is very coily and in some places rough near the roots. My hair has shrunken considerably in its dry state. I think my hair may be scab hair, I’m not sure. But what should I do besides deep conditioning? And what styles other than rod sets? What exactly do you mean by a puff and scarf? I’m in highschool and I’m also trying to find a job, and it’s embarrassing walking around with my hair the way it is right now. Also, how do I know it my hair is breaking off? My mom thinks it is, but I thought it was just shrinking. Any answers to these questions? Or suggestions? Thanks.
Erica Cecil says
I’m not expert but I’ve been transitioning for 8 months and I would suggest that you dump the shampoo completely for a couple of months and only co-wash (which is washing your hair with conditioner). I think when you’re transitioning you should keep your products very simple and find stuff that work for you. The 4 must have products that you need for a successful transition are a good conditioner, a sulfate free shampoo, a leave-in conditioner (use this to moisturize your hair), and a natural oil (i.e. coconut, olive oil, Jamaican castor oil, and many others) use this to seal in the moisture. I think the products you’re using both the head and shoulders and the palmer’s formula are drying your hair out and causing it to break which makes you think its scab hair. Look for a leave-in conditioner that the first ingredient is water and is known for moisturizing hair. I use cantu’s leave in conditioner it works wonders on my hair, but I’ve read comments where Lisa says it didn’t work for her hair so you just got to try some until you find the leave-in conditioner that works best for you. Hope this helps with making your hair more manageable.
Hello I will first like to say your website it great and is giving my mother and I useful information about what to do with me and my sister hair. We are both going natural, I do not know when was the last time my little sister had her last perm, but I haven’t had a perm for six months and we both just recently taken out our twistes with extensions. I wanted to know is it too late for us to do some of the transitioning hair styles you have posted up?
Hey, I’ve only been natural for a lil while but was when i was younger for seven years.I only had a hard time detangling, my hair is 4b or 4c any tips? THANKS!!!
I try detangling with a good amount of conditioner in my hair, it helps because you aren’t just breaking through your hair dry!
Detangle your hair when it’s wet and buy a detangling conditioner. Also section off your hair into 4’s or 6’s when you shampoo to cut down on tangles.
Hi, I have a short haircut that is permed and I want to go natural. I havent started transitioning yet but I was wondering what I should do as far as growing my hair out or cutting it all off again and using no heat or chemicals. Im kind of nervous about cutting it off but I know my edges does horrible with out a perm so im not too sure any hairstyles would look good.
Have you tried a straw set?
First I want to say thank you for all your help, you have helped me A LOT with this process!
I have been transitioning for about 4 months now but I havent had a relaxer or heat on it since January 2012 (my hair was up in crochett braids) When I wash my hair and let it air dry it takes most of the day to dry and once it dries it dries out and is very brittle. I deep condition about once a week and only co-wash and I have tried different conditioners but it still happens (I have tried Tresemme Naturals and Aussie Moist) so should I change my conditioner again or should I be putting a moisterizer or something on my hair during the day?
Thank you again!
Hi, I’m 14 turning 15 on Sunday and I have been transitioning for about 3/4 months. I’m a freshman at my high school and it is majority caucasian. Anyways, I have shown my friends pictures of what my hair looked like when I was a toddler and it was really thick and wavy/curly and shiny. I have relaxed it for about 7 years and decided to stop because many of the women in my family are natural. Right now, my relaxed hair is about bra-strap length (It was at that before I got a trim 2 weeks ago), healthy for the most part, thick and shiny. I am afraid to keep flat-ironing it because it is extremely thick and I feel like I am combing a lot my relaxed parts off. The front part of my hair is completely straight and I had a habit of pulling hairs with split ends out of my scalp. I am aware that that habit is extremely hazardous and I have been controlling my neurotic habit. I go to a professional hair care specialist every other week and she said that it wouldn’t be best to wash my hair in between visits so I can’t do the twist outs as often as I’d like. I generally cover my head with argan, olive, and coconut oil but I’m not sure that I should use the BB Castor oil product because it has mineral oil in it. Also, is mineral oil bad for the hair? What about Organic Olive Oil Root Stimulator “Edge control”?
My hair does not respond negatively to mineral oil but I use it sparingly. I don’t always use products that contain it, but when I do, it doesn’t seem to dry it out so it depends on your hair. I love the Olive Oil Root Stimulator products. I use their Olive Oil Replenisher.
Hello Ladies, I have been transitioning for 5 months now. At first I really hated the transition but now I am starting to enjoying the thought of knowing my own texture of hair. I get my hair washed and deep conditioned every other week and get it pressed out. My own hair that is growing out is soft and curly which excites me even more. During the first 2 months i wore a sew-in but now I just want to give my hair a break and try different style. After working out, of course my pressed hair is now curly. So in between time I cornroll my hair at night, and take the cornrolls out with my fingers and wear it crinkly. LOL. It has been working for me. My goal is not to do the BC but long transition due to the length of my hair. I will say going through this tranistion is good to have a support system someone to encourage you.
Good for you, Paris!
Hello, I must say reading this helped me continued on with my transition. But I kind of need your help. I’m 17 and I been currently transitioning for 7 months and I plan on doing the BC before I go away to college. I’m at a loss as for what products to use as in shampoo and conditioner. I currently use the motion shampoo and conditioner, but I feel like that doesn’t help. I have very thick and coarse, and at times I have a hard time just to comb it out. What kind of hair products can I use to soften it? I’m tired of flat ironing my hair when my hair gets too coarse.
Well first of all at 7 months I would never comb my hair unless it was wet with lots of conditioner. So I would suggest wearing straw sets, rod sets, bantu knots or any styles that don’t require manipulation. Flat ironing is only going to make you lose your curl pattern over time (if you do it too often) and it will dry your hair out. Flat irons are not a transitioner’s friend.
As far as shampoo, I love Giovanni and Kinky Curly. Giovanni softens my hair and there conditioners are good too. Get them at Target, Walmart or Amazon. Also buy a cheap conditioner and put it on your hair in the shower to help work through those tangles.
I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends. My last relaxer was November 1st, 2012. I decided to go natural after seeing all these beautiful women of color with their natural kinky hair and I loved it. I go to the hair salon every two wees to get a wash and treatment and my hairdresser told me that all I will be getting is rod hairstyles during my transition. She takes care of my hair, but what can i do at home in between salon visits? I mix these products together: Jojoba Oil, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Organic Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Raw Shea Butter and then rub them on my scalp n my hair. I usually use the JBCO and Jojoba Oil every night.. Is that ok?
I don’t oil my scalp much but if you are going to use it then those oils are good. Just also remember to actually add moisture. Oil is not moisture. So if you don’t have a moisturizer it will just sit on your hair. Consider also using Shea Moisture, Oyin Handmade Hair Dew (online) and other products that have water as one of the first ingredients. Your hair also needs moisture. Then you add the oil on top to seal it in.
Najha Smith says
i am 16 years old and have been getting perms all my life. i have stopped doing perms for over about 6 months. my hair is dry, and long enough to touch my sholders (when permed). i have been wanting a natural hair for so long but i was just scared how my hair was gonna look short. but i have the confedence now. but, anyway, i have done lots of reasearch but not website has helped me. i just wanted to know that when starting to transition what is the very first step i should do. im not doing the big chop though. should i go to a salon and get trimed, go to the store and get supplies (if so what kind), how should i do my hair now before i start the transition… i really need your hel. PLEASE help me…im desperate for some kind of information that can make my natral hair transition better. also, people say that the natural look does not look good on big girls? is that true? im a thick girl (losing weight) and my head is a nice size a little big and a tade bit chuncky, but pretty.
Dominika S says
Najha Smith, I applaud you for making the decision to go natural, It is better for your health and better for you spirit, I feel. What people say about the natural look not being appealing for bigger girls is completeley and totally FALSE!!!!!! Im a bigger girl and i have been natural a year and a half. I even did the big chop. If anything I am more attractive than I was when i was perming my hair. Anyway, when i decided to go natural, i was afraid too. I was afraid that i was going to be ugly, that people would stare and laugh and that people would not understand why i was doing it. But the truth of the matter is , I did not go natural for people, I went natural for ME! for the way i feel about MYSELF, for MY HEALTH, no one elses. Sure i get looks, maybe looks of curiousity, or envy but im in my own zone and when i look in the mirror i see beauty, thats all that matters. When people see that you are happy about YOU, they will get happy too. Anywho, as far as advice, for the healthiest results for your natural hair transition, I would say, Moisturize like your life depends on it because this process is going to make your hair look and feel dry. as your new growth starts to come in trim about a half an inch every four to six weeks. Deep condition with either olive, almond, or aloe vera oils. Eucalyptus and rosemary oil helped my hair gain length. DRINK LOTS of WATER!!!!!! PLS!!! it does wonders. Eat lots of fruits and veggies and try and walk 2000 steps a day. Girl dont worry about anybody else, as long as ya happy and healthy, girl you got the world. I have pictures of my natural hair journey if you want to see them for inspiration email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and i can foward them to you. In the mean time, take care and GOD bless!!
Najha Smith says
thank you soo much….just by your words has influenced me to go deeper into my natural hair process….thank you
Tytiana James says
Hi Lisa! I’m 15 and I’m currently in month 7 and I was on the Internet searching for different styles to do my hair other than blow and flat iron. I don’t flat everyday I flat iron once a week and then I just use rollers until its time to re-wash (it doesn’t seem to damage my hair the method that I’ve been using) but it gets very annoying rolling my hair every night. Tips? Also during the summer when I was first going natural I used rods and other non heat ideas. But it’s winter time and wanna do something new other then what I’ve mentioned before.
P.s my moms a hair stylist so any of the tips you give me will be helpful and I can tell her and she’ll be able to do them for me. Thanks 🙂
There are some styles under my “Hairstyles” tab up top, but when I was transitioning, my rod sets would last a full week. Have you tried those? Since you’re young, you can add flat twists to make it look more youthful and appropriate for your age. Check out my Hairstyles page.
Hey! My hair is now 6 months old from a boy fade that I had cut over the summer so my hair is growing but it seems sooooooo dry!! I have never had my hair feel like this ever. It feels dry and spongy but when you look at your hand after you touch it, all you see is oil and shine. My hair has such low porosity I don’t know if it does me any good to deep condition. Should I be clipping my ends because I haven’t done that since I have been natural at all. Maybe it will help because I think I may have scab hair but I’m not sure. Just looking at my hair makes me want to go back to the creamy crack but i’m trying so hard to be patient. My hair is super thick type 4b-4c and too long for the quick coils with a brush and still too short in the back for two strand twists. I really need advice because I feel so unattractive right now so if you have any style tips please share with me. I want to feel beautiful again
Hi Jessica, how are you moisturizing your hair? Do you apply any water-based moisturizer product before adding your oil? Oil without moisture will just sit on top and do absolutely nothing. Also, add moisture to your hair while it’s very wet.
Cye B. says
Let me firsta say, I admire any woman who has courage enough to wear their stoppedown hair.
I am two months in transition and my hair is breaking like crazy. I did a protein Aphogee treatment and breakage stopped for a week I also deep condition and use jojoba oil. Years of perms and sew ins have created this mess. Should I just chop it off?
Have you thought about seeing a professional first? Maybe they can give you some advice. What about deep conditioning? Do you do that regularly? Also, you may need a trim. Sometimes that makes a big difference.
I have been transitioning for 8 months, recently my husband turned to me and said I don’t like what your doing with your hair. He is the type of man that loves straight long hair, so you can see this saddened me. So I made an appointment to get a sew in to help him out. My appointment was for 4 pm so I arrived at 3:30, when i walked in no one in the shop said hello, have a seat and she didn’t come to meet her first time customer. I then took it upon myself to have a seat. I sat and watched everyone in the shop converse with one another as they all new each other and feeling excluded. Then she finally took me to the shampoo bowl and stuck me under the dryer and left the shop with her friends, the time was 4:45. As I sat under the dryer time passed and when I looked down it was 6 pm and she still had not returned. I got up and left the shop, into the cold night air I went. I wrote this to encourage my fellow transitioners to keep plowing ahead no matter what anyone says about how they think you look. As for my husband, yes his comment hurt my feeling but this situation gave me strenght.
Wow! Let me say I don’t miss those days when the stylist would leave you sitting ’cause she overbooked herself. Ugh! If that’s not motivation to keep going I don’t know what is! Sorry that happened to you. And I bet your hubby will come around. I’ve heard a lot of married women say their husbands weren’t fond of it but once they understand WHY and got used to the look, it grew on them. Stay strong!
Hi I am transitioning myself…haven’t had a relaxer in almost 4 months. been wearing alot of sew in and other hairstyles or pulling in a ponytail…recently cut my ends and gonna rod set with twists…did the transition a while back for almost 9 months and gave up but now I am definitely ready to be natural…just need the encouragement from time to time cause I do get frustrated with not knowing what to do or how to properly care for my hair while doing this…my hair is thick and gets dry and don’t know how to maintain moisture to it please help
First off, give your hair a deep condition and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. That will help your hair feel more moisturized. Style your hair when it’s wet and apply a good moisturizer like Shea Moisture. You can do twists, bantu knot outs, rod sets, etc. Just make sure to add perm rods to the end of the twists ’cause your ends will be straight. When your hair is dry, seal in that moisture by applying a natural oil like castor or jojoba oil.
so im in the process of getting my hair back to the lovely curly afro that it use to be im in the transtion phase maybe 3 months now but now its in the not so great looking stage curly at the roots straight at the ends really curly in the back looks craaazzzy like i just came out the crazy home and i feal like my hair growth is slowing but it could just be shrinkage and im no where ready or thinking abot the big chop because b4 i wanted 2 go natural i got a hair cut and my hair was butcherd idk im almost ready to give up and go back to my old besties aka the flat iron and relaxers how do you fight the temptation of going natural and staying that way
I think YouTube kept me motivated AND the fact my hair was soooooo damaged with relaxers I was not going to go back to those days. I understand what you’re going thru. I wore a lot of rod sets for that very reason — to blend the many textures. I had 3 of them – relaxed, texturized and natural. If it weren’t for rod sets, beanie caps and wigs, I would have given into the creamy crack temptation. 🙂
should i texturize i have not had a perm since may and have scab hair
Texturizing was the worst thing I did. And if you already have scab hair, no point in adding another chemical that can create more. Any reason you don’t want to just try to transition with some of the Hairstyles I mentioned in the Hairstyles tab under “Transitioning?” Or are you not trying to transition?
I really appreciate all of the information on this site. My last relaxer was in June 2012. Since then, I used keratin treatments to maintain the two textures. Just recently, I’ve noticed that my hair is breaking. I’ve used minimal heat but I did style my hair for the holiday. I am using coconut, olive, grapeseed, avocado, castor oils (not all at once) and using a sulfate free gentle shampoo and conditioner. My hair is still really short so ponytails are no good (what ponytail??) I have about 2 1/2 inches of new growth. I deep condition weekly and wash my hair weekly. I’ve done rod sets a couple of times but they are time consuming and hurt when I sleep. I’ve resorted to twisting what I have into a bobby pin and going! I still have to style my hair for Christmas and I don’t do braids or cornrows of any sort (or weaves). I keep my hair mositurized daily. I love Shea moistures Curl Enhancing Smoothie. What can I do to limit the thinning/breakage?Will I have to chop before I’m ready? Thanks for any help you can provide.
Have you tried the Aphogee protein treatment? It may help, although be careful because some people have sensitivities to protein and it should definitely be used no more than once every 6-8 weeks. You can get it from Sallys. That really helped strengthen my hair up when transitioning.
I tried the Aphogee treatment about two weeks ago. My hair began breaking afterwards- not necessarily as a direct cause. I’ll wait and try it again in a month. Thanks.
Hi, Lisa (and fellow transitioners)! I am in the 5th month of transitioning (last relaxer was June 21, 2012), and right now I’m feeling a bit challenged. I wash and roller set my hair on the weekends and by Tuesday or Wednesday the curls are gone and the “poofiness” is back (I admit I don’t roll my hair up every night before going to bed). I’m discouraged. What can I do? Being a middle school teacher, I want to be presentable every day in the classroom. I am watching various YouTube videos about how to do flat twists, but I haven’t fully caught on to it yet. Is there an easy-to-understand video with commentary I can reference to learn some protective styles to get myself through this awkward period?
Is your hair long enough to put it up into a puff with a nice headband? That’s what I did when my rod set got old.
Carletta Blackmon says
I have been going through the transition for about two months now and my hair is in a short curly fro, I notice that my hair is not growing as fast as it did when I was wearing a relaxer is this normal for your growth process to slow up during your transition? Also I wanted to know if you can recommend a product for moisture my hair is really dry when it is wet it is soft and curly once dry it gets really dry and frizzy.
I am trying to deal with wearing my hair in this curly fro only that I am tired of wearing but don’t have much of a choice …..Please help
Are you sure it’s not growing? With natural hair, it often grows out instead of down and if you are seeing your hair everyday you may think it’s not growing. But unless it’s breaking off, it’s probably growing as it should be.
Try applying a good moisturizer (Shea Moisture) while you hair is wet and then seal it in with a natural oil. Water is moisture as well so I find that my hair stays moisturized better when I apply the product right after I shampoo.
Also I wanted to know, are braids and cornrows good protective and low manipulation styles to wear while transitioning, and if so, how long should I leave them in?
As long as they are not done too tight and you give your hair a break in between re-do’s they are fine. You can leave them in for weeks. Just condition your hair and keep your scalp clean and you will be fine.
I decided to go all natural in August 2011 after a relaxer broke my hair off really bad. It is now November 2012 and I am just now starting to actually get into natural hair care and natural styles whe transitioning. I was wondering if you know of any products that could help with thickening my hair?
There is nothing that will thicken your hair beyond what your hair does naturally but if your hair has thinned from relaxers and you’ve lost your original thickness, it will come back just because you have stopped relaxing. That’s what happened to me. My hair had thinned out but when I stopped relaxing I got the thickness back.
I’ve been transitioning for 6 months now. And did the big chop 2 months ago. While I know my texture will change in the coming months….. my texture is all over the place now. Its straight in the front and back. And coily in the middle. This makes it hard to style my hair. What can I do? Or what product can you recommend that I can use to help with styling my hair?
Rod sets or twist outs (with rodded ends) can help mask the multiple textures. I don’t know what I would have done without the rod set.
Shedding is very natural the average person sheds 50-100 strands of hair daily depending on there hair texture length and genes. So I wouldn’t worry about it. When you run your fingers through your hair you probably should get about 5-10 strands of hair that come out which is 10% of your daily shedding. If you’re not manipulating your hair until wash day bcuz you wear a wig then when you wash your hair your hair will release all those strands during that process which makes it look like you’re losing more hair than you truly are. I would only be concerned if you notice thining in your scalp or if large clumps of hair come out when you put your fingers in your hair. Hopes this helps 🙂
Last Perm: January 2012
Big Chop: June 2012
Wore a Wig: June-October 28th 2012
When I wash my hair It comes out. I can run my fingers through my hair and of course some strands of hair come out as well. Is this normal? I’m not sure if its still permed or my natural hair.
Hi Tanisha, well it definitely matters what is shedding. If it’s coming from the root then that’s one issue, but if it’s breaking at the line where your natural and relaxed hair meet that’s normal. Try deep conditioning your hair weekly to see if you can keep so much of it from breaking. But if your hair is coming out from the root that may not be related to the transition.
What do I do about one side of my head breaking off faster than the other? The right side is just completely Afro (and very tiny and nappy and sometimes gets matted) and like very few breaking pieces of hair. I try to use as a comb-over but it fails and I have to use big bows to cover it up. 🙁
Try buying castor oil and massaging it into the thinning area at night. A lot of people love the Jamaican Black Castor Oil.
Hi , I’ve been natural for about 3 months & I haven’t cut off my permed hair yet .. & I haven’t had that trimmed in forever .. So if I don’t get them cut will it mess up my new growth that’s developing ?
Some say if your ends are split they can travel up to the natural hair. But from experience, you want to keep your ends trimmed so your styles will look neat. I let my ends go when transitioning and my twist outs looked bad on the ends because my hair needed a trim.
hello i was natural for 6 months and then permed it again for my friends wedding, now i been natural for 4 months.. been keeping it in braids and oiling it every other day. i also had it rinsed when i permed it the last time, so i see the new growth. now, when washing my hair i notice it is easy to comb through it when wet, but once i let it air dry its so thick i can hardly come through it..what should i do do you think doing the big chop will help, and what do you recommend to maintain my hair like oils shampoos etc. and also by going natural will that make my hair become curly?
The problem is you shouldn’t be doing styles that require combing. You need to style your hair while wet and then you don’t comb again until wash day. There is no way I could comb my hair after I hit the 3 month post relaxer mark. So for example when you do a rod set, rod the hair while wet and then you shouldn’t have to comb your hair until you are ready to shampoo. You sleep in a bonnet and finger comb your curls out in the morning.
But combing 6 month post relaxed hair is a recipe for breakage. Put the comb down (LOL!) and wear styles that don’t require it (rod sets, pin ups, buns, etc.) Always comb your hair while wet and make sure you use lots of conditioner.
Hey. I’m in the process of transitioning . So far it’s only been 4 months. I’ve been wearing mostly braids and sew ins. How can I condition my hair with braids? So far I’ve been using tea tree oil spray for braids and weaves. It’s suppose to be good for reducing build up in between washings.
I think you should condition it like you normally would only it would be easier with the braids because there are already parts made. What you’re using sounds good, but just use some natural oil and not a hair product. I go right in my kitchen and use olive oil, and if there’s none, canola oil even. Oil is oil and its better being unprocessed.
I have been transitioning since March 2012 and I think I am now seeing my natural hair coming out more and more but certain parts of my hair like around my ears or the center can be hard and dry and I hate it. Also, other parts the roots feel so soft and nice. How can I tell if it’s scab hair. I have a feeling that I wont know the real texture of my natural hair after a year. I am getting discouraged…I am not good in styling my hair and I have no clue what i got myself into. Sometimes i have regrets but I am stubborn and still want to continue the journey hoping it gets better. Your website have helped me a lot to keep going. Thanks again and if you have any advice please feel free to respond.
The only wait to know is wait. I can tell you that your hair texture will likely change. My hair was very wiry at the crown but now after being natural for a year it curls much like the rest. So it takes time and how much varies. Have you not tried any of my styles listed here https://napturallycurly.com/category/hair-styles/styling/ Rod sets were my go-to style. They’re pretty easy to do and they last. You can also put your hair up into a puff with a scarf and slick down your edges when it gets old.
Do a search for rod sets and I have a couple of posts and videos on how I did mine.
Thank you Lisa, I will check out the link. I am sorry for not responding earlier.
Have a great day!
Dee Fulton says
I am going natural. my daughter went natural 2 years ago and now her hair is beautiful (kinky curly or flat-ironed). I am trying to go on this journey. just tell me what products I should use and how ofetn and I will do it.
P.S. My daughter goes to a salon, I am not so fortunate, lol
As I stated, I cannot tell you what products to buy because everyone’s hair responds differently but I can give you guidance and show you what I used here. https://napturallycurly.com/2010/07/my-favorite-transitioning-products/ Good luck!
Hi Lisa!!! I am just starting to transition and I’m trying to do as much research as I can. I am 3 months in with more new growth then I have dealt with in years! I was wondering how often should I cowash a week and how can I determine what grade of hair I have. Thanks!!
You won’t really know about your texture until you have at least 3 inches of hair (6 months) so be patient as it will take time to know. I never co-washed when transitioning. I just washed weekly and deep conditioned. You definitely have to discover what routine is best for your hair and that just comes with experimenting. Good luck!
i am wanting to transition and i have shoulder length healthy relaxed hair now. i want to have natural hair but i want to wear it straight. as long as i deep condition it and put heat protective products in my hair before i blow and flat iron once a week, will my hair be healthy? alot of my friends have natural hair but they wear it straight so i was wondering if i can do that too?
Everyone’s hair responds to heat differently and how “natural” your hair remains is hard to know. I know people who straighten their natural hair weekly but they can’t wear their hair in its natural state because the heat has altered their curl pattern. So it’s hard to know. I personally don’t recommend using heat that often if you really want to wear your hair in a natural style. Now if you plan to just keep straightening it then I wouldn’t worry about it but you may not be able to wear it curly/kinky. It depends.
Chelsea C. says
I have been natural for 3 years now and I tranisitioned by pressing my hair. I have also experimented with sewins, but now that I am wanting to wear my natural curl pattern, my ends are shot. The hair closest to my scalp is soft and healthy (except for my edges). Can I just cut off the dead ends, or should I consider a big chop?
Hi Chelsea, probably best to just chop. If you pressed your hair regularly then the hair probably has too much heat damage to curl back. Some people are able to nurse the curl back with deep conditioning but that’s usually after one heat application. If your hair was heated over and over again, it may be difficult to get that pattern back. I’m no expert, but just saying based on what I’ve seen.