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My Top Tips For Transitioning From Relaxed to Natural Hair

Toni of My Natural Sistas’ with relaxed hair back in 2009 and now with natural hair.

Welcome to the natural hair movement! It’s about time! It took you a little while but you finally made that commitment to embrace your fully natural head. Now there’s only two ways to go natural: The big chop or transition gradually. Whichever you pick is your preference and there’s no right or wrong way to do it, but for those who want to take the transitioning route, you should be mindful of the products that you choose. Your hair will be in a very fragile state for a while until all of your relaxed ends are out, so it’s important to make sure your new growth stays healthy and flourishes.

You’re probably pondering whether you should go with products that are targeted towards natural hair or stick with what you’ve been using while your hair was relaxed. And the truth is, it really doesn’t matter. You just have to know the right way to take care of your hair. And I wish I could help you there, but nobody knows your hair like you do. Hair products are simply an add-on to make the process smoother.

So here are some ways to make sure you are on the right track to nurturing your new natural hair with the right products of your choosing.

1. Find out as much as you can about your new “new growth”

The beginning stages of a transitioning natural can be a bit tricky. Heard of scab hair? Since you’ve been using relaxers for so long, it can affect your new growth even though you’ve stopped using those chemicals. That’s how strong they were. Wow.

Depending on your hair, it can even take a few months before you truly start to see your natural hair. So keep that in mind because many naturals will quit when they start to see that their hair is growing in dry and wiry and looking worse than the relaxed hair. You just gotta give it some time. Anything worth investing in takes time. And once you’re out of that stage (if you even experience scab hair because you may not) it’s time to really pay attention to what this “new” hair is all about.

Go ahead and begin looking at articles about hair types, textures and porosity levels and see if you can determine yours while transitioning. There’s no need to wait until you’re fully natural to begin. The more you know in the beginning, the less likely you are to make dangerous mistakes that could affect your hair journey.

2. Moisturize like nobody’s business

The MOST important thing to you and your hair right now should be moisture. She’s in a fragile state, especially at the part where the relaxed and natural hair meets. There’s two different textures you’re working with so you should be aware that your hair can experience much breakage throughout this transition. And that’s not necessarily a horrible thing. If you’re moisturizing regularly, what will happen is your natural hair will hold on as your relaxed ends break off. You may not even need to trim your ends!

Deep conditioning regularly is a must. Regular hot oil treatments are a plus. And co-washing, moisturizing, and sealing your hair is something you should add to your daily routine. At this point in the transitioning phase, don’t be overwhelmed by the various brands of hair products. Your hair is just happy that it’s no longer getting beat down by those chemicals, so she will embrace any moisture that comes her way. She just needs to have it! So say it with me, “I will moisturize my hair like nobody’s business!”

3. Give hair products a chance

Every natural is different, and with all the products that are targeted towards “us”, there’s just no way to pinpoint the exact product that will work for you unless you test it. But again, the key to an accurate test is time. Give products about a month or two to see if your hair is reacting positively to the change. And knowing more about your hair (as explained in the first point) will inevitably sway you toward certain hair products over others.

4. Just put your hair away

Sometimes the best product for our hair is just plain water. And sometimes as a newbie natural, we may take a wrong turn that we can’t reverse out of in our hair journey. Unless you love cutting your hair often, don’t be one of those naturals who has to consistently started fresh again because you tried something that altered your hair to the point of no return. This should be a great time to educate yourself! So put your hair in your favorite protective style and relax.

Fun fact: I put my hair in yarn braids for about three months while I was transitioning. My hair grew about 3 inches in those three months! No lie!

When your hair is put away, she will soak up the water the way she needs to and at her pace. You should wash and condition your protective style just like you would your own hair and your hair will also absorb those hair products at her own pace. It’s really a beautiful thing. She gets to finally do things the way she wants to. And trust me, she knows how to take care of herself.

So if you’ve been worrying about the best way to go natural, rest assured that you now have the knowledge you need to make your transition a pleasant experience. It doesn’t matter if you embody the Amber Rose look or decide to keep your length while your relaxed hair grows out.

When you begin getting to know your hair, you’ll smile more and more every month when you see your new growth gaining some serious length and your relaxed ends dwindling away. And when that last inch of relaxed hair is gone, you’ve fully crossed the threshold into the natural world! Congratulations! Can’t wait to see you then. It’ll come sooner than you think.


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Written by Sheridan C. Watkins

Sheridan C. Watkins is a vivacious naturalista that knows every woman is capable of achieving healthy, ankle-length hair! Her blog is all about cultivating hair to its full potential. As hair craves patience and commitment, Sheridan asks you to actually take a second and debate if you’ve made the right decision for your hair’s happiness and success.

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  1. i am motivated, though my hair has started breaking off the relaxed hair,Still worried on how i can recover my hairline.Please help!

  2. Thanks for this! I didn’t know I should still moisturize my hair even while it’s in a protective style. Gonna get my spray bottle and get to watering!

  3. So glad you posted this I really needed to hear it. I moisturize and seal my hair every day because it is always dry. I think I’m ready for the big chop!

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