How to transition from relaxed to natural hair without cutting your hair off
Updated: Aug 11, 2019
So you want to go natural but don’t want to “Big Chop”. That is understandable because some of us just don’t look good with tiny weeny afro (TWA). The time to go from relaxed to natural hair is NOW! The chemical you are putting on your hair and scalp is very caustic. It destroys the hair causing brittle and extreme dryness which makes hair break. Not only does it destroy/disintegrate the hair, it can burn your scalp beyond hair growing ever again.
I transitioned in 2004 when there was essentially nothing, meaningful about transitioning on the internet. Everything recommended “Big Chop” was the way to go. That has changed now and there’s lots of information about how to transition without cutting your relaxer off.
Some of the information I read online suggested: wearing “protective styles”, gradually trimming the hair ends, twistouts, and weaves, use good products, wearing wigs and extensions etc. I even saw instructions from a Caucasian hair stylist offering advice on transitioning (nice try WikiHow) but you get no stars for that one. You must “experience” having afro hair before you can offer realistic guidance on dealing with it.
5 Best Products For Transitioning
Good shampoo that will not dry the hair out, do 1 shampoo weekly, not 2 or 3. Too much shampoo strips the oils from the hair keeping the hair lubricated helps avoid breaking.
Protein treatment – Hair is over 90% protein and nothing will become part of your hair except another protein. Do this step to avoid excessive breaking. Protein builds on the hair increasing hair strength. Aphogee Treatment for Damaged hair hands down is the best I have ever used and believe I would not have made it without Aphogee. To soften your hair after a protein treatment or deep conditioner I recommend and use Aussie Smooth conditioner. After your treatment, liberally apply Aussie to wet hair. (Note: Protein overload is another myth concocted by hairdressers)
Good deep conditioner – Required weekly to improve the hairs strength and elasticity.
Good detangler - allows easy comb out with less breaking.
Good daily moisturizer – Daily moisturize helps soften the hair to prevent brittle and breakage and to make it easier to manage
What styles should you wear when transitioning?
Styles are personal so choose what works best for you avoiding hair styles that put too much stress on the hair during your transition. My preferred style was just a ponytail or high bun.
Steps for Handling New Growth during transition to natural hair
To my knowledge, there is absolutely nothing online that directly addressed how to care for the hair close to the scalp. In my experience, the new growth for a sister with a 4C hair type was my biggest challenge to prevent losing the chemically processed hair to breakage.
You are dealing with 2 different hair textures and the weakest point in the hair is where the 2 textures meet.
--The processed hair still attached to the new growth
2 Important Things to Remember About Transitioning
Handling the processed hair until it grows out will be a challenge. Keep it strong. Strong hair will be critical while growing out a chemical. If it becomes too raggedy and broken, you may just opt to cut it down to the new growth.
DO NOT PRESS THE NEW GROWTH - While the chemical is growing out you have an afro at the roots and straight hair on the ends. For appearance purposes you want the 2 textures to match. However heat from a pressing comb will destroy the chemically processed hair. Instead of pressing the new growth, I found stretching the new growth out while it is wet, and applying my moisturizer, then braid or twist the hair until it dries helped prevent matting. After the hair dries, then you can straighten the new growth with a Plug - In flat iron. Blowdrying the hair is also helpful.