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8 Tips For A Smooth Transition From Relaxed to Natural Hair

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01 . 12 . 19
Kadia Blagrove

Kadia Blagrove

I’m a writer for all things lifestyle and culture. My stories are dedicated to women, laced with diversity, and are chock full of self-love. You can spot some of my work on The Huffington Post, Complex.com, xoJane, and others. I like good wine, good food, and Beyonce. Check out my hair stories for all your natural hair tips, tricks, and needs!
Kadia Blagrove

So you’ve decided to go natural, but you don’t know where to start. No worries—we’ve been there, done that, and have the deets on how to deal. The natural hair world seems confusing at first, as ironic as that sounds—I mean, we started off natural. But years of chemically-treated hair make returning to our mane in its natural state seem like foreign territory. You can take a shortcut when you make the transition via a drastic chop (aka cutting every last but of your relaxed hair off)—it’s a gutsy move, no doubt, but if you’re not ready for super short hair, then you’ll feel a sense of relief when we tell you there are alternatives. Here, eight tips for a smooth transition from relaxed to natural, sans scissors.

1. TRIM

As your mane transitions into its natural curls, you’ll have to trim the dead, relaxed ends–otherwise they’ll become weak and brittle from quitting chemical treatments cold turkey. Instead of going for an extreme haircut, gradually remove your relaxed hair by frequently getting trims.

2. SKIP HEAT

This may be a heartbreaker (I know!), but if you want to maintain healthy, hydrated strands, you have to minimize your direct heat use. Your transitioning hair is very fragile and needs time to strengthen and renew. So, say hello to air dry.

3. KNOW YOUR “WASH DAYS”

Relaxed hair’s number one enemy is water. Natural hair and water, on the other hand, are BFFs! In fact, natural locks thrive on water. Relaxed hair requires salon appointments, but natural hair is all about the DIY. Get to know your hair by creating your own routine, one that includes a “wash day.” Naturals typically wash their hair twice a week, sometimes with a few co-washes in between regular washes.

Washing natural hair is totally different from washing relaxed hair—it’s way more thorough. Section your hair into four and cleanse and detangle one by one.

4. DITCH SHAMPOO (OR AT LEAST PRE-POO) 

Shampoo sucks the moisture out of your strands, so opt for sulfate-free shampoos. Or, ditch detergent altogether. Cleanse your scalp with diluted apple cider vinegar and wash your hair with conditioner. If you can’t bear to go without shampoo, try pre-pooing to protect your hair from dryness.

5. CONDITION DAILY

Conditioner is your new best friend. Like I said, it’s the best non-drying hair cleanser and doubles as a detangler. Deep conditioner is crucial for healthy transitioning hair, so don’t skip it. As you continue your natural journey, you’ll find that conditioner is not just limited to post-shampoo use. Leave-in conditioner is essential for everyday use.

6. NEW TOOLS, NEW RULES

Say bye bye to fine tooth combs and paddle brushes. Your new tools should include a wide tooth comb for detangling, a rat tail comb for styling, and a Denman brush for everything.

7. START TWISTING

Eventually, you’ll start rocking two textures, both which might look awkward without the proper styling. Make the most out of your dual texture hair by wearing twist-outs, bantu knots, or flat-twists

8. STICK WITH THE BASICS

Ask any new natural and they’ll tell you they’ve spent a fortune buying every and any product for natural hair. The challenge is finding what works for your natural curls. But since you’re transitioning, you won’t really know which products are winners until you’re fully natural. Avoid becoming a product junkie (not yet, anyway) during this stage. Stick to the basics—right now, simply learn how to hydrate your strands and maintain a healthy hair regimen. All you need is a spray bottle for DIY hair mists, carrier and sealant oils, and one good cream. And FYI, the L.O.C. method will be your hair savior every time!


Put down the iron and try these 5 Fast Curly Girl Hairstyles.

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  1. […] Which of these badass natural hairstyles is your fave? HERE is how to make the switch from relaxed to natural hair! […]

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