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5 Tips For Transitioners

Avatar • Nov 21, 2011

3. Watch That Demarcation Line

This tip is crucial if you are planning a long transition. The region where natural hair meets relaxed hair should be your top priority. Ensure that it is well conditioned and be careful when detangling or combing this particular section.

Breakage will normally start at this point which is something you need to avoid until you are ready to do the big chop. If your natural hair has a lot of shrinkage, try to minimise this as much as possible by gently stretching out the hair for styling (any of the styles discussed in tip 1). This will help reduce the force required for the comb to pass through the demarcation line.

4. Accessorise

It is time to start accumulating your styling arsenal. Simple things like scarves, headbands, pins and flowers will help you during your transition and the early years of your natural hair. If you are planning a long transition, headbands and scarves can be used to cover natural hair instead of using heat styling. Later they can be used to accentuate your new shorter hair. Hair pins and flowers are useful tools for both helping to control hair as well as helping to save you from a bad hair day.

Many naturals will attest to the fact that when you are a new natural and struggling to style your hair, sometimes refocusing your energy to another part of your beauty routine such as your outfit and make up or even earrings and shoes can help give you a lift when you are unsure about how your hair looks.

5. Prepare Yourself and Others

We often talk about the practical aspects of managing natural hair but in truth one of the most difficult parts is the mental transition. The take home message is that there will come a day when you will be fully comfortable with all aspects of your hair but how long this takes is variable.….instantly, days, weeks, months or years.

You can prepare yourself by immersing yourself in the natural world. Look at all textures, not just the one you think might look like your future natural hair (or would prefer your hair to be). Watch videos, read blogs and visit forums to see how different naturals manage their hair and take note of any key similarities regardless of hair texture.

For the people around you, talk and tell them that you plan to go natural. Some will support and some will criticise. You do not need to defend your corner, all you need is to assess how ready you are to hear these opinions and either absorb or ignore them depending on how much they help you. Keep working and building your confidence to be able to not let negative comments dictate how you feel about your hair or what you do with it.

Ladies, share your transitioning tips!

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Cassandra M
Cassandra M
8 years ago

In section 1, you said go easy on the heat. I sit under the hair dryer once a week. I give myself a deep conditioner with hair mayo. I then put flex rods or hard rollers in my hair and sit under the hard dryer again. Is this process to much for my hair as I transition?

BrooklynCoily
BrooklynCoily
8 years ago
Reply to  Cassandra M

@ Cassandra — No, I think direct heat or an overuse of direct heat should be avoided — and that goes for transitioners, naturals, relaxed heads alike. So flat irons, curling irons, blow dryers on high heat — those things.

Cassandra M
Cassandra M
8 years ago
Reply to  BrooklynCoily

Thanks BrooklynCoily. So would a dryer setting on low be better. I think I might try more sew ins.

NancyM
NancyM
8 years ago
Reply to  Cassandra M

I sit under a hooded hair dryer as well. I’m going into my 10th month of transitioning, and I mainly style my hair with roller sets, then buns. I think the hooded dryer is ok, but the blow dryer and flat iron should be avoided.

Ella
Ella
8 years ago

I started the transition two days ago. I haven’t relaxed for a long time now, but still like half the length of my hair is still relaxed. Is it necessary to do the big chop? (I really don’t want to do it.) I deep conditioned, used leave-in conditioner, some oils, and blow-dried it, but my roots are very tough to comb through except I apply leave-in conditioner. I’m thinking of going to the salon today to have them straightening it out and do some trimming. What do you suggest I do? Because I want to be able to manage it… Read more »

Alexia
8 years ago
Reply to  Ella

Like one of the tips said, instead of making your new natural hair conform to the straightness that’s going to eventually be cut off, make the chemically altered hair match what’s growing out of your scalp.

I’ve heard great things about Curlformers, which can be found at Sally’s. Cornrows, flat twists, bantu knot-outs and twist-outs can also help as well.

LBell
LBell
8 years ago
Reply to  Alexia

Co-signing…meaning you need to start combing from the ends up (instead of from the roots down) and with the proper amount of conditioner and oil in it (instead of dry without product). If your current leave-in conditioner isn’t letting you comb through your roots, add some oil to it or try a different conditioner. No hair is too tough to comb through if you’re using the comb PROPERLY.

LBell
LBell
8 years ago
Reply to  LBell

I forgot to add: Make sure you’re using the right KIND of comb. Your fine-toothed comb works for the relaxed part, but when it comes to the roots, you have to put that comb away and get one with wider teeth. Most naturals I’ve known have a variety of different wide-toothed combs. As time goes on you’ll find yourself using that fine-toothed comb less and less.

LBell
LBell
8 years ago

BGLH and Jc kill it with yet another great post! 🙂 The only thing I’d (slightly) disagree with is the last part of tip 5. Be very careful who you tell, especially if you’re in any doubt about doing this. Don’t assume that your natural friends and family will support you or that your non-natural friends and family won’t. Ultimately it has to be YOUR decision and yours alone…try not to let others influence you too much. When I decided to go natural I told maybe 3 people, one of whom had just gone natural herself. Everybody else, including my… Read more »

Ella
Ella
8 years ago

Ooh, thanks a lot ladies!

Oniea Ivanov
8 years ago

The less heat the better! I ruined my last transition with heat. To protect the line of demaraction, I’ve been wearing braids and twists. I haven’t started wearing accessories yet.

Jaeda Barbie
8 years ago

I think heat damage is big issue with many ladies transitioning, I have people who I know who are natural, but flat iron daily, IT is their hair and but I worry they will get heat damage.

Ameerah Pearman
8 years ago

I need someone to please tell me what type of set was used in the photo…

Tahitian Young
Tahitian Young
8 years ago

I have been natural off and on for 7 years and the heat does play a bigger factor in going natural. I have found out in the hair i do and my own hair that it can dry it out regardless of how much oil u put in it. You hair becomes dependent on it whether its once a week or everyday and it begins to break. You can do a deep condition by putting a plastic bag over your head and then wrapping it in a towel. You can even stay your hair once you wash it and comb… Read more »

JJ
JJ
8 years ago

These are great tips, but I am concerned about styling my hair thru a transition. I work in a dental office. My hair must be neat, and somewhat professional for the environment. I can’t have my hair flying around while working in other peoples mouths. But I hate always putting it in a ponytail or bun/protective style. Also, no one at my job is African-American, and I’m concerned as to what they consider to be “too ethnic” vs “neat/profeesional”. (I don’t mean like business office professional, more like ‑keep it out of patients mouth, and don’t look wild-professional.) ANY SUGGESTIONS????

SK
SK
8 years ago
Reply to  JJ

I know this is late, but I thought I should still give my suggestion. I think that the best thing to do if you’re worried about your hairstyles is to discuss with a supervisor to determine what’s acceptable. Tell them what styles you’re thinking of wearing and ask if that’s okay.

lilysiobhan
lilysiobhan
8 years ago
Reply to  SK

For my transition, i had used braids for 2years, and still going! It is protective styling for your hair.. it looks neat and can definitely be used for a professional look. I never did the big chop, as I was always concerned that I wouldnt pull it off.. Within the 2 years transition, my hair has actually grown longer than the length that i had it when relaxed.Braids do work, just make sure to stick to the rules, like not keeping it in for longer than 2mths max; and when you do take it out, its best to give your… Read more »

Cece Danielle
Cece Danielle
7 years ago
Reply to  lilysiobhan

That sounds great to me! I’m on my way to med school and I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to do my hair because I’m not going to have time.

Myrtice Wheless
8 years ago

HEY!Whats wrong with a little coo talk,you think its not going through the minds of people in the military after watching the rape of their country coupled with the lack of respect they get from Washington for all their hard work? pandora bracelet

Hansy
Hansy
7 years ago

“It is very easy to comb hair that is relaxed or where the curls have been loosened.” Strangely I find the opposite with my hair. My natural hair feels softer and it’s easier to comb than my relaxed hair when I am washing my hair. My ends give me the worst time and this happened even when my whole hair was relaxed. I think this is due to my hair being very thin. I’ve been without relaxer for 5 months and the only thing I do differently from many people is that I wash weekly. I just can’t go two… Read more »

kween
kween
5 years ago

i just start my natural hair journey on November.when transitioning hair is it okay to take hair vitamins supplement like hairfitinty, mane or not to take it??

Jessica
Jessica
4 years ago

These are great tips! Another thing I would suggest is to get the
Nutress Transitioning kit! This kit is really the best thing that works
for my transitioning hair. One thing that I love about this brand is
that they don’t make exaggerated claims and their products speak for
themselves. Their formulas are effective but very gentle, which is
perfect for Natural hair. You should definitely try it!

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