Thinking of transitioning to natural hair? Here are the best 19 tips to help you make the process easier and preserve both textures until you’re ready to trim off the relaxed hair.
In the previous article, I covered How Long Does it Take to Transition to Natural Hair?
This is the continuation of the relaxed to natural series which will cover everything you need to know about transitioning to natural hair successfully.
Transitioning to Natural Hair
Having to deal with two different textures while transitioning to natural hair can be quite frustrating and there have been instances where people have given up and gone back to relaxing.
Healthy Natural Hair Products is here to help you through this transitioning process with the best tips, products, and much more.
I transitioned from relaxed to natural myself over 15 months so what I will be sharing is drawn from my experience and a bit of research.
Do These 19 Things for Best Results When Transitioning to Natural Hair
1. Preserve the Line of Demarcation
The line of demarcation is the point where your new growth meets your relaxed ends. You need to maintain this line of demarcation to prevent breakage.
Even though you’re transitioning to natural hair, you can still cause some damage by not preserving that delicate line properly.
2. Patience is Key When Transitioning to Natural Hair
Dealing with the line of demarcation can get frustrating which might make you start yanking at your hair. Do. Not. Do. This.
It’s imperative that you maintain patience on wash days and set aside the time required to get through the process without rushing.
Transitioning is a marathon that can take anything from 6 – 18 months if you decide you don’t want to big chop from the onset.
3. You Still Need to Trim Every Few Months
Even though you’ve opted out of a big chop, you still need to trim the relaxed ends every few months.
Nothing too much – a half inch every 3 months should do the trick. This will also help get you used to trimming your hair for when you become fully natural.
4. Deep Conditioning is Your Best Friend
When you’re transitioning to natural hair, your hair is fragile and needs a lot of TLC in the form of deep conditioning.
It’s imperative to keep your hair moisturized at all times during the process.
You must deep condition weekly. Read this article for 22 Best Deep Conditioners for Natural Hair.
5. Strengthen the Line of Demarcation
The line of demarcation needs to be kept strong with protein treatments. You could alternate regular deep conditioners with protein deep conditioners from week to week.
This doesn’t need to be hardcore protein like Aphogee. You can opt for gentle protein treatments.
Read When To Use Protein Deep Conditioners & 17 Best Protein Deep Conditioners for Natural Hair for more on protein deep conditioners.
6. Let Go of Heat Appliances When Transitioning to Natural Hair
Stay away from heat-styling appliances while transitioning to natural hair.
Blow dryers and flat irons will cause a lot of breakage and damage to transitioning hair.
For the entire time I was transitioning, I stayed far away from heat except for my hair steamer.
7. Ease Up on Detangling When Transitioning to Natural Hair
This might sound crazy but I avoided combs and brushes the entire time I was transitioning. I only finger-detangled.
If you want additional options then a giant bone comb is the way to go.
Whatever you do, do not use a fine tooth comb especially when your hair is wet.
8. Detangle When Hair is Wet
Only detangle your hair when wet and slippery with a conditioner. Work through any tangles at the end first then work your way down to the roots.
This requires patience so only fully detangle when you have time to dedicate to the process.
9. Use Gentle Shampoos When Transitioning to Natural Hair
Use the gentlest of shampoos when transitioning to natural hair. No sulfates or harsh surfactants at all.
Think hair cleansers like Alaffia African Black Soap, Giovanni Smooth As Silk Deeper Moisture Shampoo, and Castile Soap.
You might even opt for a cleansing conditioner instead such as As I Am Coconut Cowash.
Related Content: 20 Plus Best Co-washing Conditioners for Natural Hair.
10. Reduce Handling Your Hair
The way to handle your hair less when transitioning to natural hair is by protective styling.
When you’re in a protective style, you don’t need to deep condition or shampoo as often and it won’t affect your hair.
The next article will cover the best protective styles for transitioning hair and how to cleanse and condition your hair in each style.
11. Less Product is More When Transitioning to Natural Hair
One of the fun things about going natural is the wealth of natural hair care products available which can be fun to discover and try out.
However, when you’re transitioning to natural hair, you shouldn’t overdo it on products.
Your regimen should be KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. Basic products that don’t weigh down hair are all you need.
The best products for transitioning hair will be covered in a later article.
12. Maintain a Hair Journal When Transitioning to Natural Hair
I thoroughly enjoyed doing this when I was transitioning to natural hair. I kept track of every product, hairstyle, and every little change going on with my hair.
Maintaining this hair journal also helped me to create the best regimen for my hair when I finally cut off the rest of the relaxed ends.
I highly recommend keeping a hair journal when transitioning. You can download Healthy Natural Hair Products free hair journal here.
13. Don’t Ignore Your Scalp
While focusing on maintaining moisture and preserving the line of demarcation, do not ignore your scalp.
Your scalp health is paramount too. Massage your scalp regularly, don’t wear tight hairstyles, and don’t apply overly heavy products to your scalp.
14. Do Not Color Your Hair
Do not color, bleach, or carry out any other chemical treatments while you are transitioning to natural hair.
The intense treatments will damage your new growth, weaken the relaxed ends and break them off.
Put off all color treatments until you are completely natural and even then, maybe opt for henna and indigo instead.
15. Pay Attention to Ingredients
When I was transitioning to natural hair, I was a bit obsessed with the ingredients in my hair products and went through every product label with a fine tooth comb.
What was I looking for? Drying agents that would compromise my line of demarcation.
In particular, I avoided sulfates, parabens, silicone, petrolatum, and liquid paraffin.
16. Switch to a Microfiber Towel
Traditional cotton towels cause tangles, frizz and can snag on hair but a microfiber towel soaks in all the excess water and prevents frizz.
And you don’t have to break the bank to afford a great microfiber towel.
For best recommendations, check out 7 Best Microfiber Towels for Curly Hair.
17. Protect Your Edges and Nape
The hair around your edges and nape area is even more fragile and delicate than the rest of your transitioning hair.
You must protect it properly by placing as little tension as possible on these areas. Detangle gently and don’t wear tight hairstyles.
18. Avoid Hot Water
Do not wash or rinse your hair with hot water. Only use lukewarm water for your regimen from start to finish.
You can finish off with a blast of cold water to close your cuticles at the end.
19. Don’t Backslide. Stay The Course.
This bears repeating. Transitioning to natural hair is a long process that requires a lot of patience.
Take the time to get to know your hair, your hair type, and curl pattern and adjust to the change.
You will no longer be able to just run a fine tooth comb through your hair or yank your fingers through it without friction.
It’s a massive change and a lot of people backslide into relaxing because they view it as too much work.
You won’t fall into this mindset if you know what you’re up against before you start the journey and you’re ready to meet your natural hair in whatever form it takes.
If you feel like sharing why you decided to go natural, share at Top 15 Reasons To Transition to Natural Hair.
Next up in the relaxed to natural series – best protective styles for transitioning hair and the best products to use for transitioning hair.
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Abi is a curly hair expert, researcher, product tester, and author of the highly-rated Healthy Hair Care Series. She is also the founder of Ade Ori Hair Care, Healthy Natural Hair Products, and Natural Oils for Hair & Beauty. HNHP has strict editorial standards and ensures all the information on Healthy Natural Hair Products is the best for natural hair care. Learn more about our Editorial Policies
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