Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Tips for Transitioning to Natural Hair

Hi :)

I had relaxed hair for years and I shared some tips for maintaining healthy relaxed hair HERE.

I've been asked about haircare for natural hair and also for the transition to natural hair.

I wasn't brave enough to do a big chop because, wait for it.... I HAVE A BIG HEAD (seriously, my Mummy mentioned it to me once and it's stuck with me since then), haha!
Other reasons were:
  • I was already used to waiting up to 6 months between relaxers so I didn't think it would be that much of a challenge 
  • I wanted to have a lot of style options - I didn't want to do a big chop, see my massive head in the mirror and hide my hair under extensions. 
I haven't done extensions in over 5 years (I'll be honest - the main reason for this is my hairline has never been full so any rough handling results in me looking bald! There was a time my Aunt (in 1999!) relaxed my hair for me and my hair fell out along my hairline and in the middle, I'll never forget that experience.. EVER. O_O

If you're interested in transitioning, here are a few tips which helped me through my 18 month transition:
  1. Understand Your Hair
    Transitioning was easy enough for me because I was used to taking care of my hair myself. I knew what my hair liked and what it didn't. I also knew how to deal with my natural new growth because I used to stretch the time between my relaxers. If you're used to relaxing your hair every 6-8 weeks, your 1st time should maybe stretch the time till your next relaxer to 4 months and slowly work from that. Find out what products work for your hair and those that don't.

  2. Always Remind Yourself Why You Are Transitioning
    I don't have a dramatic story, my hair was in a very healthy state and wasn't falling out, I decided to stop relaxing my hair mainly for health reasons. It was one of the steps I took towards using less chemicals in/on my body.

  3. Set Yourself A Goal And Work Towards It
    Avoid saying, "I'll try to transition", you will most likely cave in and relax.
    Neither should you say, "I'll see how it goes"
    Try -
    "I will transition for at least 1 year!
    "I will transition until my natural hair is shoulder length"
    Short term goals also work - My goal was to transition for 1 year, I got to one year and realised I could go longer so my next goal was 18 months (in time for my 29th birthday)

  4. Find Hairstyles That Work For You
    You don't want your transition to natural hair to mean you'll have more 'ugly days' than normal. What hairstyles will be easy for you to manage? Are you one of those lucky people with full hairlines unlike mine on my big head? Then extensions might be the answer. Do you enjoy styling your hair yourself? Stick to your trusted styles and try to be adventurous, loads of ladies have instructional hair styling videos on youtube.
    Some of the styles that worked for me include those that helped me blend my two textures (straight & relaxed and coily & natural):

    This was almost a year into my transition


    French Braid

    Braids (no extensions)

  5. Deep Condition
    This is very important. If your hair is dry, unhealthy and brittle, you will experience breakage. Even if you're not transitioning ie you're relaxed or natural, you need to deep condition. But as a transitioner, you need to get the right protein and moisture balance. Protein strengthens your hair which means you'll experience less breakage at the point where your relaxed hair meets your natural hair. And of course, you need moisture for your hair to keep it hydrated and soft.
    What worked for me, which might not necessarily work for you was Organic Roots Salon Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner - it was both a moisturising and protein deep conditioner.
  6. Limit ManipulationBecause you're dealing with 2 textures, you can't be combing your hair casually like you would relaxed hair. You will find that the amount of pressure you use to detangle your natural new growth is more than twice that of your relaxed ends. What worked for me was to detangle my hair when it was damp after applying my leave in conditioner. a year into my transition, I had to start washing and detangling my hair in sections because my natural hair seemed to be overpowering my relaxed hair.

  7. Moisturise
    Find a moisturiser that works for you and use it at least once a day. I used, and still use, shea butter mixed with coconut oil, castor oil and aloe vera gel.

  8. Or Else...
    If all of the above are too stressful for you, just hide your hair in braids/twists/extensions. But make sure you still wash (diluted shampoo), deep condition and moisturise your hair (with a liquid, spray moisturiser).
If you have any questions, please ask :)


Natural Nigerian said...

Lovely! Your hair looks so beautiful. Do you use heat on it at all? I am loving those twist and braid outs. I am going to have to get styling classes from you.

Great tips.

aloted said...


my front hair line has not recovered from perming days(wailing) but i still braid.. but i don't pick the front sha...
story of my life oops hair..

do u have any spray moisturizer mix (or whatever it is called)that you use daily. pls share! tnx

Adura said...

@naturalnigerian Thank you :) Last time I used heat was in December when I straightened... hmmm, I think I might have used a blow dryer once this year.

@aloted Yes I have a mix, I'll take pictures when making the next batch.
Oh no! As long as you've reduced the tension on your hairline, you're taking the right steps :)