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5 Ways to Enjoy Your Hair While Transitioning!

• Jan 25, 2013


By Christina of  The Mane Objective

When I first decided to transition my heat damaged hair, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Sure, two or three months in wasn’t that big of a deal. Most of my hair was still heat damaged, and I could fake a wash n’ go if I needed to. But as the months progressed, and the new hair got bigger, I began running into a wall. Banana clips had become a joke. Scrunchies made my ponytails have alien head syndrome. I was beginning to resent my decision to forgo the heat. I mean, I loved my new thick natural hair (and the length I was getting), but managing those three months in-between flat ironing sessions proved to be a pain.…until I learned how to enjoy my transitioner hair.

We transitioners are in a unique position, where half of our hair will cooperate with common natural styles (like twist and braid-outs), and the damaged half will look stringy, janky, and fall flat. We also have a hesitant-at-best relationship with heat tools (blow dryers, flat irons), because the evidence of their damage is still very much present. Although we covet huge curly-kinky fros and thick tresses of our wholly natural counterparts, there is still much we transitioners can do to enjoy the natural hair journey. We can:

1. Re-Vamp the Twist-Out

Traditional twist-outs just don’t work for me and my transitioning tresses. They also don’t work well for some naturals with looser curl patterns. Instead of having supple, rounded twists, we end up with these flat-looking things that consistently unravel. Fix that problem with a flat-twist bantu hybrid that looks something like this:


Set your hair with your favorite leave-in and holding products. Flat twist each section until you reach the “hanging” part of your hair, then twist normally. Place your index finger at the middle of your twist, and loop the hanging hair around itself until you get a bantu-knot esque shape. Secure with a bobby pin. Make sure your hair is completely dry before taking the style down. Fluff, shake it out (or not), and end up with something like this:


2. Take Braid-Outs to Another Level

One of the challenges for transitioners when attempting braid-outs is the inevitable tapering of the braid. Tapering causes your braid outs to look great on the un-damaged natural hair — leaving a nice wavy, uniform pattern, until you reach the heat or relaxer damage. Because the hair is irreversibly straight and thinner, waves transform down the shaft into these crispy crunchy zig-zag things that throw off the whole style. Alleviate that with a Satin Strip Braid-out! Cut an old satin scarf into strips (or buy a new one just to cut up…it doesn’t matter), set your hair with your favorite leave-in and holding products, and get to work!


As with all styles that involve manipulating or stretching your hair’s texture, make sure it is completely dry before removing the strips. Once dry, you will have a wavy, uniform pattern that will last for up to a week! For more information on Satin Strip Braid-outs, read here or watch my video tutorial.

3. Get Curls to the MAXXXX

If you walk around with big curly hair envy, and can’t wait to see what you’ll look like with a head full of voluminous curls, try a straw set! Straw sets are popular curl-creating options, common with sistas rocking shorter tresses. But even if you have longer hair (and about 3–4 hours), you can achieve amazing curls with a straw set. Even better, it’s a recession-proof alternative to purchasing a boatload of Flexi-Rods or super expensive Curlformers. All you need is drinking straws (I used 90) and bobby pins! For a breakdown on achieving an awesome straw set, click here.




4. Get Creative with Blow-Outs

Blow-outs are a funny sort on transitioner hair. One part of the hair is thick and lion-esque, and the rest looks almost like you flat-ironed it. Remedy that by creating some texture-blending definition within your blow-outs. I recommend creating big bantu-knots with a light styling serum, letting them set for a while, and then releasing them for super cute waves. Just remember to always use a heat protectant, and products that will allow you to retain some moisture within your hair. I recommend Tresemme Heat Tamer Spray ($3.99, Target), Beautiful Textures Curly to Straight Flat Iron Silkener ($5.89, Sally Beauty), and 100% Pure Jojoba Oil ($7.99, Trader Joe’s) to help protect your hair in its blow-dried state.



5. Still Have a Healthy Relationship with Heat

Just because you are transitioning, that doesn’t mean your flat iron is off-limits. I know, this seems counter-intuitive to those like me, with heat damage. Chances are, your hair is heat damaged not because of the flat iron itself, but because of how you used it. Maybe you made too many passes over the same sections of hair. Perhaps you had the temperature up too high. Maybe your heat protectant wasn’t effective enough. Or even, your flat iron is outdated or made of the wrong material. Quite possibly, it was a combination of all of the above.

My flat ironing arsenal

Before safely re-engaging with heat, check all the parameters above. Make sure your flat iron has an unworn ceramic or tourmaline coating, or is made of either material. These materials conduct heat better, are more effective at straightening at lower temperatures, and decrease the amount of damage done to the hair. Next, check the age of your flat iron. If you have had it for more than 5 years, you may want to look at getting a new one. Using an old flat iron increases the probability of faulty temperature gauges or shortages — meaning that your iron could actually be hotter than what it says, or cooler — causing you to make extra passses.

Next, check your heat protectant. I advise using at least 2 or 3 products that mesh well, don’t cause massive buildup, and can protect your hair along each state of the straightening journey. My picks in this area are Tresemme Heat Tamer Spray (Target, $3.99), ApHogee Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer spray; which activates best with heat (Sally Beauty, $6.99), and Garnier Sleek & Shine Anti-Frizz Serum (Target, $4.79). Lastly in the product department, I am going to make an unpopular recommendation — Ion Straightening Shampoo (Sally Beauty, $6.49). It works by depositing silicones (oh, the humanity!) and polymers onto the hair that weigh it down (although you can’t feel them), making it smoother and working against the hair’s natural tendancy to curl back up. Now, your hair won’t look magically straight, but you will notice significantly shorter blow drying and flat ironing time.

Two more things on this subject matter and I’m out — check your temperature and your method. If you’re a fan of The Natural Haven Bloom like me, then you’ve seen Jc’s article on what happens to hair at each temperature range. Now, each head of hair is different. But as a general rule of thumb, aim to keep your irons in the 300–350F range. I personally straighten at 350 (360 in my crown) — but again, do what works best for your hair without causing damage. Checking your method involves evaluating how you go about straightening your hair. Do you do a series of mini-passes along each section, or 3–4 full passes on each section? To reduce damge, you may fare better if you part your hair in smaller sections, and do 1–2 passes. Now, you’re ready to safely engage in heat styling and not lose all your transitioner progress! For more tips, click here.




What are some other ways transitioners can enjoy their hair?

About Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

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40 Comments on "5 Ways to Enjoy Your Hair While Transitioning!"

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This is really helpful, but I’m a shrt haired transitioner, so I’m going to try these little styles. My hair sems to kink up after washing so I normally dry it half the way with a blow dryer and then let it air dry the rest of the way, so I hope that I can still do one of these techniques and it come out right.


Yay! More transitioning posts!! I’m gonna have to try some of these soon.


Love, love, love this article. Wish I had this a year ago when I first started going natural. I’m going to try the bantu blowout this weekend.


17 months post relaxer and over a year since i have used ANY heat, my go to hair style is braid n curl using satin sponge rollers.…


I have tried most of these recently and agree that my hair looks sooo much better. I will be trying the satin cloth thing next cause i did get away from braid outs for the very reason you said. Thanks




Seriously, someone should ban you from using caps lock.

Hair Studio

I enjoy you because of all of your labor on this site. My daughter take interest in going through research and it’s simple to grasp why. Many of us hear all regarding the lively means you render great strategies on the web site and as well as boost contribution from other ones on this topic while our child has always been studying a great deal. Take advantage of the remaining portion of the year. You have been doing a first class job.

Michelle Spice

What are you transitioning from? Your hear is your hair! Weather you wear it short, braided, twisted, curly, updos, locks, afro, there is no transition to transition from.

Stop being afraid of yourself and try not to be what you’re not! Afrikan is beautiful and all that comes with it…

I don’t look like the others and I don’t want to look like them either so this is who I am afrikan and that includes my hair.…

A lot of people prefer transitioning to keep length. Some are not ready for a short hairdo. I don’t think its necessarily about not loving who you are, otherwise we’d still be getting touchup’s for our new growth. Although many do struggle with learning to love how they look without a straightened do, it’s a process that some maybe even most must go through. But to reiterate my point,doing a big chop means having short hair and if that’s something you like then more power to do you. Those who aren’t into that choose to let it grow out gradually… Read more »

I have gray hair and I’m still in the grow out stage. My hair is stright in the front and curly in the back. Should I cut it all off or let it be. I’m about 42 weeks sence I had a perm. The ends might need cut a little. Looks nice in a bun but not out. Hate to cut it all off but might have to so I get my natural curl. You never have older gray hair ladies on this page. What’s up with that.


Very good article. I too am transitioning from heat damage due to misuse of the flat iron. I chose to forgo all heat but the ideas for the braid outs and twist outs would probably be great for my hair. I’m definitely going to try the straw set, as soon as I find some straws (and time).


Love this article! This is so helpful because I’d love to do what full headed naturals do with their styles but its not achievable with stringy ends. Thanks for the tips!


I use perm rods to prevent stringy ends.


Very thorough and informative! I like!!!!

fb/instagram: Torrid Tresses by Ms.Amena


Oh boy, i wish i had seen something like this before i cut my hair!! I have been transitioning for a year now. After the 1 year mark, i did the big chop! Not i have this short hair (about 5inches) that i have trouble styling. And all my hair is the same length throughout, so i can hardly get my hair in a ponytail :(. But, these are great tips.


Thank you so much for providing styles for transitioners. I am about 14 weeks post relaxer so I have several types of hair right now. At least two types of natural hair and my relaxed hair. My sister and I were just talking about twist outs not staying on the relaxed ends. Thanks for providing several options. I can’t wait to try!



I like the idea of the bantu knots, can you give me exact instructions I would like to try it. Do you blow out your hair first or do the knots when your hair is wet. I just started transitioning, I have about 2 inches of natural hair and it’s breaking A LOT!


Thank you for this very informative article with excellent photos!


Referring to the first hairstyle, should my hair be damp while I’m doing the flat twist and bantu knots?


6 Months into my natural hair and I frequently find myself doing most of these styles. I have to admit though I did pickup a few more tips 🙂



Your post is the TRUTH! I really didn’t want to transition because I like to style my hair but now I found better alternatives to avoid heating tools and grow healthy longer hair (which due to abuse should have been down to my waste). Thank you!


Pls I want some direction on the blow out. Do I have to do the bantu knot before or after blow drying?


if you would like to know more I made this blog:


It has been exactly 7 months since my last relaxer and I have an arsenal of tools to maintain my length as I transition. Despite all of this, I am at my wits end and was ready to do the big chop (reluctantly). I searched Google for transitioning to natural haircuts and happily found this page. Instead of the BC, I will trim my hair and use your flat twist/bantu knot technique. My bantu knots never look right so I’m very excited at the possibility of having my curl look something close to yours!! Thank you!!!


[…] EcoStyler Gel for Slicking and Defining Natural Hair. 8. How to Use Olive Oil on Natural Hair. 9. 5 Ways to Enjoy Your Hair While Transitioning! 10. 5 Medical Reasons For Slow/No Hair […]


Omg! I am going to try the blowout bantu knots. I stopped doing bantuknots because they take forever to dry.


Wow!! This information was so helpful to me! Just what I was looking for.… and more! Thanks Beautiful for sharing. 🙂

Angel Christian

Very nice ways you give that how to enjoying your hair while transitioning.thanks for this post.


Thank you! Since transitioning I’ve had a few hairstyle setbacks. And i was really confused with how to wear my hair effectively. After trying braid outs & ..failing, i had no clue what to try next. Protective styling transitioning hair, for me. Has been a headache. But this. This was a revelation. Now i feel like i can actually work with my hair.

Eva Santiagaa

OMG love! Ahhh so beautiful! Does anyone know how to tighten natural curls? Mine are a mix of waves and 3bs and I hate the loose curls I want them tight, I am sooo close to start straightening and permanent straightening! :(((


hair transitioning is boring for me as i love the heat product which makes mwe more attractive.


Yeah all the five you shared over here are the best way for hair transitioning. though its not a preferable way.

Think Like Linda

I love all these styles, just recently I did bantu knots and they came out great 🙂

Keep up the good work ladies 😉

I am a 16 year old girl and I’m seriously struggling with my transitioning hair. I’m constantly buying new products to try to moisturize my hair. Sulfate free shampoos, countless protein treatments, creams, leave ins—you get it. My hair is SO dry. And to make it worse, my family (the women of course) tell me how “bushy” and “nappy” and “raggedy” my hair looks. And that I “NEED a perm”. I find myself stressed out and even crying sometimes because I just want beautiful natural hair. I want to wear the hair god gave me and feel beautiful. 🙁 could… Read more »
Awwh I feel your pain BeautifulBrownSkin. My family keeps discouraging me too. But with time, they’ll come to accept your decision (My mum got me some hairbands this week!). I also have very dry hair, and itchy scalp too because of dandruff, and what to do about that is what I’m out on the internet looking for. So at the moment, the only advice I can give you is what to do about your family. Hang on. Whenever you feel discouraged, go to step 1 of this article; remind yourself why you chose to do this. There are many articles… Read more »

My last relaxer was only 4 months ago when I graduated from high school and I moved up north with my aunt and everyone around me up here is natural and I want to try it but I can’t decide


[…] Les outils de coiffure Curlformers, flexirods, rouleaux à permanente (permrods), bigoudis, pailles (straw set), cure-pipes, fers à friser… La liste des outils de coiffure qui vous […]

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