Friday, August 2, 2013

Transitioning from relaxed to natural hair

"A tale of two textures"

The natural hair movement is steadily going strong and shows no signs of declining in the near future. People are committed to eating healthier and using healthy products on their body. Because of this desire to be more health conscious, thousands of black women on a daily basis make the decision to go natural. No longer will they continue to destroy their beautiful curly hair with relaxer chemicals, they have made a conscious choice to embrace their God given natural hair. 

If you didn't know, let me inform you that the only way to get rid of a relaxer is to cut it off. Despite the many myths out their, there is nothing you can wash your hair with that will remove relaxer chemicals. Relaxers and perms are permanent, until you cut off the chemically treated strands. Afro hair has more protein layers than any other hair, when you put a relaxer in Afro hair, the relaxer destroys many of its protein bonds by breaking the hair down so it can become smooth and flat. What you think is beautiful to the eye is actually destroyed hair fibers. This process cannot be reversed once the protein bonds have been destroyed. So when you decide to go back to your natural hair texture you must cut off all of the relaxer, in order to get rid of the straight ends.

Different paths from relaxed to natural hair.

Path one:  Stop getting relaxer touch ups and allow your natural hair to grow out 1, 2, or 3 inches, then cut off the relaxed hair. Then start your healthy hair journey!
        This is called the BC aka Big Chop.
        This is the best and easiest way to transition to natural.
        Most ladies shun this route because they are afraid of having short hair.
        Truth be told the hair was probably already short and not very healthy
        Go ahead and do the BC because the relaxer will break eventually anyway.
        Believe me when I tell you that your hair will grow back really fast.
        Yes hair growth comes from the hair root, but their is something about cutting
        the hair which makes it grow faster, in my experience. So do not be afraid.

Path two: Stop relaxing your hair and take care of and style your hair with the two textures, slowly cut off your relaxed ends. Trim one inch every 3 months until all relaxer is gone. This is considered slow transitioning and it can last from 3 to 24 months depending on your personal preference.

Cutting tips:  

If your relaxed hair is less than 6 inches long you should only transition for one year.

If your relaxed hair is 12 inches long you should only transition for 2 years.

Notice the puffy roots.
No breakage on bang area. Hair strengthened by Aphogee.

With slow transitioning you will get some breakage, because you are dealing with two different textures. You hair will be extremely tangled and you will be bothered by single strand knots. Tangles, knots and dry hair are usually what lead to breakage. 

Notice the hair in the picture to the left, 
you see it is denser at the base and thinner towards the middle and end. The thicker hair is the natural curl pattern and the thinner hair is the relaxed hair. The point in which the natural hair transforms into the relaxed hair is called the line of demarcation. This line is weak and breakage soon occurs. This is the reason you should cut the ends off every few months.

Hair care tips to minimize breakage while transitioning 
1. Get a hard protein treatment to provide extra strength to your fragile transitioning hair. The protein adheres to the hair strands and provides extra strength to weak relaxed hair strands. This is good to also add strength to the line of demarcation. By doing a hard protein treatment your hair will not shed nor break as much. I recommend the Aphogee 2 step protein treatment. (Follow manufacturers instructions on bottle). Notice the picture above and see that there is no breakage, although you can clearly see a lot of new growth and relaxer on the hair. This is do in part to the Aphogee 2 step treatment.

2. Shampoo hair with a conditioning cleanser once per week. 

3. Do not use sulfate shampoos, because they will dry the hair out.

4. Deep condition with a moisturizing deep conditioner once per week using heat for 20 minutes.

5. Apply a really good leave in conditioner.

6. Stay away from style products which contain harsh alcohols.

7. Keep your new growth well moisturized on a daily basis.

8. Wear low manipulation styles which last 3 days before requiring restyling.

9. Purchase a  seamless comb to comb your hair with.

10. Never brush your hair if you can help it.

Transition to natural the easy way by wearing hair extensions for a whole year while you grow your hair out.

The challenges of styling hair with two textures:

The more your natural hair grows in, the puffier your hair will look. Some people find it difficult trying to work with the puff. It is healthier to work with your texture than to try and blend your natural hair with the relaxed hair. Apply hair cremes which contain natural softeners such as shea butter. I recommend shea moisture curl enhancing smoothie or cantu shea butter leave in conditioner. Apply thick creamy products to your new growth and ends to keep your hair soft and manageable.

At all times keep your hair free of tangles. Always cover your hair at bed time or whenever you lay down for a rest.

Roller sets are perfect for transitioning. For the best results go to a professional. If you cannot afford to go to a stylist then practice makes better. Purchase you plenty of rollers and setting lotion and practice, practice, practice. Once you become better at roller sets, you can wear them for 5 days before washing your hair. 

Flat twist outs are easy and healthy for your hair, along with twist outs. For better hold use a little bit of gel with your leave in conditioner.

Hair roots lightly flat ironed

Some people opt to use a flat iron to smooth out their roots, although this is a quick fix this is not one that I recommend. But if you must use a flat iron or press your roots, be sure to protect your hair with a good protein treatment and heat protectant. Silicones are recommended if you decide to use heat to transition.

                                                        Transitioning hair is prone to tangles and single strand knots. Oiling your hair and scalp daily with avocado oil, coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil, will greatly eliminate your tangles and single strand knots. You will see the difference in 3 days of oiling.

This is a great leave in conditioner and styling pomade for transitioning from relaxed to natural.

Remember your natural hair is a gift from God, do not get discouraged with dealing with your natural hair. The more your work with your hair the better it will respond to you. Embrace and celebrate your curls and coils, shrinkage and all. Do not call your hair rough, brillo pad, nappy or kinky. Speak good things towards your hair and it will be good to you. Welcome to the journey, you are an amazing design from God I hope you know this.


  1. I did my big chop about a month ago and couldn't be happier! First I planned on transitioning for at least one year. But I could not stand looking at my (in my eyes) thin relaxed hair. So I chopped it off after 3 months :)

  2. I'M 10 WEEKS INTO TRANSITIONING FROM A RELAXER and have opted for flat ironing on wash day only, which is usually once every 2 weeks when i wash or co-wash. temp is 370. I see a lot about excessive heat and temp on transition hair but no specifics. any thoughts on my flat iron regimen. and its consequences?

  3. I'M 10 WEEKS INTO TRANSITIONING FROM A RELAXER and have opted for flat ironing on wash day only, which is usually once every 2 weeks when i wash or co-wash. temp is 370 and i use a leave in followed by a 7-day keratin treament. I see a lot about excessive heat and temp on transition hair but no specifics. any thoughts on my flat iron regimen and its consequences? also what would you recommend on days between washes to maintain moisture but keep the straight look? I usu rock the straight look for a 7-10 days with no product then on to a pony tail which is when i start with the leave ins and oils.