how to transition to natural hair

How to Transition to Natural Hair

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If you want to wear your hair in its natural state without a relaxer but don’t want to cut your hair short, transitioning to natural hair without a big chop may be the right choice for you.

What is transitioning?

Transitioning to natural hair involves cutting off your relaxed ends little by little and allowing your natural roots to grow out. Eventually, only natural hair will remain.

How do I transition to natural hair?

The first step in transitioning is to stop getting your new growth relaxed. Allow your natural roots to grow unprocessed. At the same time, periodically trim your permed ends.

Transitioning stages

When transitioning, your hair will go through a few stages:

  1. At first, most of your hair will be straight, with a small amount of natural hair at the roots
  2. Over time, your natural hair will grow and you will trim your permed hair until they are about even
  3. You will eventually have more natural hair than permed hair
  4. Finally, you will trim away the last of your permed ends.

How long does it take to transition to natural hair?

Transitioning is usually a journey of several months to a year or more. It really depends on how long you want your hair to be when you cut off the last of the perm (and how long you can put up with managing two different textures).

If your hair grows about 1/4″-1/2″ per month, that is three to six inches per year. Use this as a gauge for how long you will want to transition.

Pros of transitioning

The main benefit of transitioning is that you don’t have to cut all of your permed hair off at once, which means you can maintain some length as your natural hair grows out.

Short hair definitely isn’t a bad thing, but if you’re not comfortable with it, transitioning is a great option that will still get you to your destination.

Cons of transitioning

Styling transitioning hair can be a challenge considering that your strands are made up of two completely different textures of hair. Generally, you will need to add texture to your straight hair or stretch your natural hair in order to blend the two textures.

Transitioning hair is also prone to breakage. The point where the two different textures meet is very fragile and must be handled with extreme care.

Transitioning hairstyles

As mentioned above, transitioning hair is very prone to breakage. Low manipulation and protective styles are a must in order to prevent the permed hair from breaking off.

Wet sets are a great option. They add texture to the straight hair, which helps the two textures to match more closely. Wet sets can also be worn for a few days with minimal manipulation.

Buns are an easy option that can be left in for several days; the same goes for braids and cornrows. Twists can be prone to unraveling when you have straight ends. Setting them on rollers or pinning into an updo can offer more styling options.

Headwraps and turbans are a great way to give your hair a break while looking stylish with ease.

Transitioning hair products

Finding the best products for transitioning hair can be tricky as different products may be suited to each texture. Prioritize the health of your natural hair as healthy natural hair is your ultimate goal. Look for moisturizing shampoos, conditioners and stylers. Periodic hot oil and protein treatments can strengthen the hair and help reduce breakage.


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