How Long Does it Take to Transition to Natural Hair?

Thinking about going natural and wondering how long it will take to transition to natural hair from relaxed hair?

You’ve come to the right place to get this question and more answered in the relaxed to natural hair series


Why Did I Transition to Natural Hair?

I went to an experienced stylist for a re-touch and she nearly snatched me bald.

My hair shed for weeks after this horrid experience. By the time I stopped the shedding, I was done with relaxers.

I was done with setting fire to my scalp every 8 – 10 weeks, I was tired of thin hair and I was tired of my head and hair being mishandled by “experienced stylists.”

It was an easy decision for me. I did some research and a week later, I began transitioning to natural hair. 

You can learn more about my transitioning story on my profile page here.

Why Transition to Natural Hair?

Natural hair is better for scalp health and it’s healthier not to apply chemicals to your hair and scalp. 

Natural hair also has more body and bounce and is pretty unique plus you look younger with natural hair! There are no downsides to transitioning to natural hair.

For more on why transition to natural hair, head over to Top 15 Reasons to Transition to Natural Hair.

Transition to Natural Hair Timeline

How long it takes to transition to natural hair from relaxed hair depends on how you go about it. 

Do you want to take it slow and steady or do you want to be done with it ASAP?

Option 1 – Slow and Steady Transition to Natural Hair

If you’re going slow and steady, you would need to grow out your hair once you stop relaxing. 

3 Months Transitioning to Natural Hair

Human hair grows an average of 0.5 inches a month. 

If you take care of your hair properly as it grows out, you can expect to have a nice teeny weeny afro (TWA) within 3 months. 

It’ll probably feel like a renewal, rebirth, and lots of fun at this stage. 


6 Months Transitioning to Natural Hair

By 6 months, your teeny weeny afro will be gone but your new growth will still be short and at an in-between stage.

This in-between stage might start frustrating you because you have two very different textures on your head. 

Do not get let the frustration get to you and push you back into relaxing your hair. Stay the course!

12 months Transitioning to Natural Hair

By 12 months, you should have a good head of hair and will likely be at ear length (EL) or longer.

This is a good length and you would have settled into a hair care routine that works for you and help you maintain the two textures. 

You can also use the different hair growth phases to understand this process. For more on this, head over to Understanding Hair Growth Cycle.


When is the Best Time to Big Chop?

At the 6 – 12 month mark, you can decide to big chop if you’re okay with your natural hair growth rate.

By this point anyway, there will be only straggly wisps of relaxed hair on the ends of your fabulous new mass of natural hair so just let it go.

You can either go to a stylist to trim off the relaxed hair or you can DIY it with an excellent pair of trimming scissors such as Equinox Professional Razor Edge Hair Shears

I trimmed off my relaxed ends myself and it was easy since the thin relaxed hair was very different from my natural hair. 

Option 2 – ASAP Transition to Natural Hair

ASAP transition to natural hair from relaxed hair is basically cut off all the relaxed hair as soon as you make the decision you’re going natural.

That’s a brave step to take but before you do that, picture yourself nearly bald.

Are you OK with that look? It will take about 8 – 12 weeks to grow back a bit of hair. 

If you still want to big chop immediately but don’t think you will look good bald, you can always wear a wig while you grow out some hair.

Do not glue the wig to your head should you choose this method to transition to natural hair. Instead, use a wig headband to keep the wig in place. 

If you opt for the slow and steady transitioning method, it comes with its own set of challenges for natural hair care. 

The next article will cover the best tips to help you transition successfully to natural hair from relaxed hair.

I used these tips myself for my 15-month transition and was at shoulder length (SL) when I finally cut off the relaxed ends.

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Abi's big chop

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