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BN Beauty: 7 Things you Should Know about Transitioning from Relaxed to Natural Hair

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Natural Hair Transitioning - Bellanaija - December 2013The natural hair movement is really gaining speed and we can decide on one of three things; Join in the movement, keep relaxing your hair and decide natural hair isn’t for you or do both (yes that is possible).

For those of you that have decided to join in the natural hair movement, the process can be scary, especially when you’re thinking of doing the Big Chop (BC). Most have described the BC as the easier way to go but for some it’s like cutting off an arm. So instead of having the BC, they transition.

Now this is where this post starts to make sense. When transitioning, it can be a whole world of discomfort you have never experienced. You no longer head to the salon at the first sight of a new growth, your hair may start to act stubborn and become hard and styling can be a task. So, what are the things that could help your transition to natural hair easier? We are here to help out.

Check out the 10 things you should know about transitioning.

1. You must be mentally prepared
Going natural can give your mind a hard time. As the new growth starts to emerge, your hair begins to get stubborn and more difficult to handle. You need to be mentally prepared to handle all that extra work. Remember that changing your mind back towards relaxed hair is as easy as heading to the salon which you are all to familiar with. So be sure this is what you want to do then go for it.

2. Reduce the heat used on your hair
When you transition, the move from relaxed to natural hair takes a while to get used to. This is usually when a lot of people decide to flat iron their hair. This is not good.

Applying heat damages hair and this makes your new growth, even at this early stage, damaged. And so when you do eventually cut off your relaxed ends, you still end up with some parts straight and some parts natural because of the flat ironing.

Instead of this, use flat twists or flexi rods to style your hair. It is limiting, but this way youy dont ruin what you have been working so hard to achieve.

3. Watch the line of demarcation
The line of demarcation is where your relaxed and natural hair meet. This part of the hair is the weakest because it is the transition point. So, to keep this part healthy enough till you cut it, it is important to moisturize, moisturize and moisturize. Moisture is your hair’s best friend and this would help strengthen your hair and keep it firm and also prevent breakage.

Be sure not to pull your hair too tight or brush too harshly. Instead you can use a wide-toothed comb to keep your hair from breaking.

4. Always protect your hair
The fact that you are transitioning doesn’t mean you don’t have to take care of your hair. Every part of your hair needs love and attention so as not to get damaged. Sleep on a silk pillowcase at night or tie your hair in a silk scarf so you don’t strip your hair even as you are transitioning.

5. Pay Attention to your Natural hair
Once you have started growing out at least 2 inches of hair, it is time to start thinking like a natural.. The products you use in styling and protecting your relaxed hair is very different from what you will use for your natural. Products & treatments like shea butter, hot oil treatments, deep conditioning, pre-conditioning, protein treatments, protective styling etc should all be on your to do list for handling your hair.

6. Drink lots of water and eat protein
You can positively impact your hair growth by eating a good and balanced diet. Drinking lots of water and eating and applying a lot of protein to your hair can boost hair growth making your transition time shorter.

7. Explore products
With every new naturalista, there are a bevy or products you would like to try. Hold on and take a breather. Every curl has its own requirements so it would be best that you discover what your hair needs and go with it while you transition. This way as your hair grows out you can figure out what you need to get your hair fabulous.

We have only scratched the surface with this list but I know we have some beautiful BN Beauty naturalista’s out there. So if you transitioned, don’t forget to share some tips with us and if you had the big chop, tell us about your experience. Stay Beautiful.

Photo Credit: Blacknaps.org

Jennifer is the Beauty Editor & Style Representative of BellaNaija.com. Get in touch - Send an email to: beauty(at)bellanaija.com or style(at)bellanaija.com | Follow us on Instagram: @bellanaijabeauty OR @bellanaijastyle | Follow us on Twitter: @bellanaijastyle

32 Comments

  1. zizi

    December 11, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Wow love this……I’m in the transition process now…though not easy but I use shea butter & olive oil cos they keep ma hair soft & easier to comb

  2. Hurperyeahmie

    December 11, 2013 at 11:48 am

    what about tips on relaxed hair

    • The new natural

      December 11, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      Looooooool. You are looking for trouble. My relaxer and I are very best buddies and I have roughly 14 inches of jet black hair. I don’t use any processed products. My current routine is shea butter, coconut oil, argan oil, egg yolks, homemade mayonnaise, fresh avocado, honey and believe it or not, a dash of Whiskey. I mix and match depending on what I have at home. My skin regimen is a mixture of coconut oil and argan oil. I haven’t bought body cream in almost a year now and I can see the difference. Natural or relaxed, as long as you treat your hair right, it will be healthy

    • TA

      December 11, 2013 at 12:56 pm

      @ The new natural thanks for your comment now I know some more natural stuff I can add while conditioning but pls what does whiskey do? Lol”

    • The new natural

      December 11, 2013 at 1:29 pm

      A friend told me about a concotion her mum and grandma used to make at home with a dash of whiskey. I swear that thing must be making my hair grow like weeds. I mix it in with egg yolks, avocado and coconut oil. Leave it in the hair for 1 hour and then rinse. Maybe it is the barley or malt in it, i don’t know but it is growing my hair out. Other options are rum and brandy too. Rinse out, and apply aloe vera and argan oil and voila, you are good to go.

    • The new natural

      December 11, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      One more thing. I used to have terrible itchy and flaky scalp problem. When i started adding a dash of those strong spirits to my routine, all gone. Even if i don’t wash my hair for two weeks, not a single flake in sight. Way more effective than all those anti dandruff, anti itching shampoos i used for years

    • AA

      December 11, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      Ok, you have just given me new information. Thanks a million. I must definitely try the strong spirits although my hubby will kill me for wasting good liquor

    • TA

      December 12, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      @ The new natural,thanks so very much for all the wonderful tips, I have itchy scalp and dandruff (mine is hereditary actually,Lol!) I am def trying all the stuff you mentioned. Thank you

    • SOLO ACT

      December 17, 2013 at 7:20 am

      GOD BLESS u @the new natural. like i am dont with seeing these ladies with short hair like they are babies! relaxed her grows u just have to wash and moisturize it.

    • Iris

      December 11, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      I was just going to say the same thing applies to us marginalized relaxed hair owners too except nos 1 and 3, but thank you The New Natural. I use shea butter and oils on my hair and skin too but sometimes I get overwhelmed especially in this useless winter. I’m currently juggling coconut oil, grapeseed oil, castor, argan, shea butter, jojoba, lavender and tea tree and I get confused about what to use LOL. I’m going to try your whiskey combo for dry scalp and hair growth. I’m tired of hearing about moisturizing and sealing and protecting. I want to see GROWTH.

    • The new natural

      December 11, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      I feel you. I only know about 2 on the list you wrote. I also know that coconut oil is the only oil that penetrates your hair, the rest just lie on the surface. Read about it. Argan oil is also good for strength. The strong spirits do for your scalp the same thing they do when you drink. They dilate blood vessels which bring in nutrients that help your hair grow. Alcohol is used for sterilisation too which means it cleans your scalp well. Remember cleaning your scalp with methylated spirit when you have braids in? It must be the reason why mine doesn’t itch and flake anymore. Like you I tried the moisture, seal and protect for a while too. When I started the strong alcohol with protein conditioning and rinse, I started seeing growth and no more dry scalp. Just bear the smelling like a drunk person for 1 hour or 2. The results are worth it.

  3. Rise

    December 11, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    You must be really patient. We all have such different textures so don’t compare and beat yourself up. My hair will grow really long and shrink to 3inch every day like it couldn’t be bothered and she [I call it a she] would get very upset when I tried to comb through her. Just understand yours and take care of it like you would your skin. Eat healthy and pray [LOL, jk]. Keep products to a minimum. Some things I find that work for me: water, coconut oil, leaving it alone, condition like your life depended on it and all the other hair products that you try depending on the season. Good luck. If you get tired and irritable, put it away for a little while [braids]. x

    • tish

      December 11, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      You meant put *her* away? LOLLL

  4. TA

    December 11, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Dear Jennifer,thanks for this! I plan on doing both (relax once or worse case scenario twice a year)am transitioning to a healthier place for my hair,lol! Am surprised there was no mention of texturising,Please can someone explain how that works? Thanks

    • HRH

      December 12, 2013 at 9:49 am

      Texturising, is designed to loosen the kinks in afro hair to curls ie slightly stretch your hair… unlike relaxers that are supposed to take you from kinky to straight, texturisers are supposed to take you from kinky to curly or curly to wavy (see pics on texturising kits)… the problem occurs when you don’t use it correctly, processing time shouldn’t exceed 7 mins for really coarse hair (type 4c) and about 4 mins for softer hair… never comb through like you would a relaxer… its same as a relaxer in the respect that it permanently alters your hair structure…been texturising my 4c hair (just for me children’s texturising kit) for years and people just assume i’m mixed race cos i’m light skinned and I’ve got curly hair 🙂 ….

    • HRH

      December 12, 2013 at 10:20 am

      if processing time exceeds the time recommended by the kit brand or you comb through your hair during processing… your hair will stretch till it is straight…

    • TA

      December 12, 2013 at 12:39 pm

      Thanks so much HRH,this was very very helpful. Too much conflicting info on the web,I shall bookmark this article. Loving this post,:-)

  5. YellowSisi

    December 11, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    hmmmm wonderful post, what is not written in here is how to comb through 100% natural hair, mine is all natural, i started my transition over a year now, the good luck is i have soft curly hair, which if not properly primped and combed would scatter in all directions, when dry, it gets so hard, so i usually sprinkle in a bit of water to aid combing it out. i believe that going natural is not for everyone, you could relax, perm or texturize, whichever works for you, bottom line keep it healthy to avoid alopecia.
    ciao

    • Atoke

      Atoke

      December 11, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      I stopped combing my hair in September. I was losing so much hair. I used wide toothed comb but it wasn’t helping. I watched a video on UToob lol and the girl said combs were breaking her hair… I tried it and I have better hair retention. My hair is always in twists and I take it out every three days and go about with the half-formed curls from the twists for the next four days.

      You have to play around with bobby pins, hair clips and fancy combs for the styling of uncombed hair. It works. {For me}

    • TA

      December 12, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks Atoke, much learned because I have this really tough hair which is why I have not thrown out my relaxers yet.

  6. hanabananaanabana

    December 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Use a denman brush or any other wide brush. My naija sisters use logic na, you see afro hair you wan use small/thin comb.

    Get yourself a 6-9 tooth brush. Now make sure you comb in sections. ahh my naija sisters and attacking their hair.

    Calm down, do like 6-8 sections depending on your hair volume. Now start from the bottom or your hair before moving to the top(scalp).

    This is the mistake people make. Its very logical if you follow a bottom to top approach with type 3 to 15(lol) hair. Before you know it you have detangled your whole hair. Also it is not always adisable to comb your hair everyday regardless of your hair texture. twists or braid outs are best to reduce constant combing. However don’t fail to detangle your hair oo before you have knots of life. Now if you want it soft use glycerine or have a shea butter mix. To combat shrinkage always put your hair in twists after washing it. Don’t ever try brushing or combing your hair when it is soaking wet. That would rip your hair out straight away!. let your hair be atleast 80per dry before combing/brushing (IN SECTIONS lol) also my naija sisters always eat protein oo I know that big meat is protein lol yes yes however try and make your protein the same size as your carbs or reduce carbs.

    This is not just for hair length but for healthy hair too. if you wan chop huge rice chop huge egg, meat, fish join am oo. the same size too lol.

    whether relaxed or natural lets treat the hair well.

  7. hanabananaanabana

    December 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    no time to edit sorry

  8. Warri Babe

    December 11, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    It was the money for hairdressers in the UK that turned me to team natural and its been kk, just that the wahala dey too much at times. Thanks for the info, learnt something new today.

    • Sunshine

      December 12, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      I feel you babe. Even after paying an arm and both feet, if you are lucky not be disappointed by the “hair dresser”, your hair will probably not come out as dreamed. Honestly I wish I have the guts to go natural. Please email me some pictures.

  9. Sunshine

    December 12, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    I feel you babe. Even after paying an arm and both feet, if you are lucky not be disappointed by the “hair dresser”, your hair will probably not come out as dreamed. Honestly I wish I have the guts to go natural. Please email me some pictures.

  10. NUR

    December 12, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks for the info. I attempted going natural last year even cut half my hair but after a few months i ended up with a perm. I’m going for it again this year but now decided to transition as opposed to BC this time round (it’s too cold not to have hair). I am nearly 2 months post relaxer and praying I don’t end up in the hairdresser’s chair. My hair is quite coarse so I’m quite worried about the potential texture of my natural hair. So far I’ve been practising on my niece’s hair, her hair texture is i think 4b/c and her mum has no idea what to do with it.
    So transitioners, please keep the comments on useful tips coming and products used. I need all the help possible.

  11. alyce

    December 12, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    tinking of going all natural and dis tips helps a lot

  12. CYD

    December 12, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    I saw this post and got excited! I will have been transitioning (4c) for exactly 1 year come next friday. My premier goal was healthy hair, then I got it, then to grow long relaxed hair, which I reached around 16 inches, then I had a really bad relaxer job, hence my reason to go natural. My routine is simple, mostly protective styles, but I shampoo my hair one a week… I know some people will be really against this but for me I workout and can’t stand the sweat on my scalp…yuk! I also deep condition with morrocan oil resorative treatment, and vo5 moisture milk conditioner. It is important to alternate between protein and moisture so you don’t overload your hair with one of them other wise it will break…..this is really important. When my hair is left out, I try steaming once every 2 weeks with one of those cholesterol things….and I moisturize my hair with a mix of glycerin, water, lavender essential oil and extra virgin olive oil. Or I use qhemet biologics. and AMAZING product! I always sleep with a silk cap, and mositurize my hair in the night, or after I’ve shampooed/conditioned, but not really during the day. For moisturizing natural hair use the L.O.C method….google it, it reaally helps. Fyi 90 percent of products I use are sulfate and paraben free.. it just works for me. Sorry for rambling on but transitioners rarely get some love so I got a bit carried away I know… and bt, just did a bentonite clay mask instead of shampooing, and that stuff is amazing!

  13. Meg

    December 19, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    okay, I am in hair heaven here. This is my favourite post of the week!

  14. Sade 'Lua

    December 30, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Thanks for the write-up, it’s a great help.

    I have a question.

    I’m currently going by the transition mode. And the only thing I have been doing is washing, setting and steaming every weekend. Is this okay to continue. Considering the fact I’m suppose to reduce the heat on my hair.

    Thank you.

  15. cody r

    June 4, 2014 at 5:33 am

    I have relaxed hair and I only use Shielo products – especially the Shielo Restoration Oil. No other product have been able to detangle and give my hair so much slip. Whether it has something to do with micro-oils – I wouldn’t substitute a deep conditioner with this product but I would definitely co-wash or add it to my regular regimen.

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