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Curly Nikki

Transitioning With Braids- Natural Hair

By January 27th, 202119 Comments

Transitioning With Braids- Natural Hair
Komirra writes:

Dear Curl Community,

I have been transitioning for 8 months, and let me tell you, it hasn’t been easy! Dealing with two fighting textures is no joke. Since I’m on summer break, I’ve decided that my hair could use a little break too- – I’m thinking about getting braids or twists. I’ve never had them before so I’m wondering:

  • What are the best braids/twists for transitioners?
  • Which would cause the least damage?
  • What do you do in preparation for braids (i.e. shampoo, deep condition)?
  • How do you maintain the look (favorite spritzes, oils)?
  • Did you see length retention when you wore them?

Thanks Curls!


  • Amber says:

    I find that I maintain the most length wearing braids – usually wear kinky twists, nubian twists and now spring twist. I now prefer the spring twist because the synthetic hair is lighter and more natural looking. Like the other posters I agree that finding the right person to braid your hair is the most important piece. I suggest finding a person who specializes in natural hair not just any type of braider. As far as maintenance, because my hair can tend to be very dry, I moisturize daily sometimes twice a day with a oil combination and water spray. I wash my hair as normal usually every 3-4 weeks and use the kimmaytube leavein mix which I love. I use Shea Moisture products to wash and condition. I usually leave twists in for about 2-3 months. Just like any hair style my routine has taken time to get right. Take your time and figure out what works. And when taking the braids down moisturize, moisturize, moisturize especially during the detangling process.

  • leslie says:

    I'm keeping my hair in crochet braids until i get the length i want.I WANT BIG HAIR!! I do the straightback cornrows and use a quick beader and some synthetic hair called deep poney and crochet it in.I usually keep it for 2 1/2 to 3 months. I spray my scalp with Miss Jessies leave in condish. I put some in a water bottle and mix it with some water and spray my scalp.I get soo many complements on this style.To learn how to do this, check out youtube.

  • Anonymous says:

    i'd love to see pics of your spring twists. I think that is what I want . Where did you get them done?

  • Anonymous says:

    I have spring twists. I got them professionally done at an African Braiding Salon with the one African American who understood my transitioning process. I have been transitioning for 8 months now.

    Spring twists are created with a special synthetic hair that is already coiled. It is braided into your hair like Senegalese twists and the remainder of the hair is left to hang loosely. It gives the hair the look of a twist out and lasts at least 3 months. Its a relatively new style and I have received TONS of compliments on my hair. Drive by any braiding salon and the new pictures in the window show spring twists. Its usually a head shot of a woman with light brown and a lighter brown set of twists. I wanted my hair to look as natural as possible so I got the dark brown to match my hair and if you didn't know me, you'd think it was my hair!

    For maintenance, I clean my scalp with witch hazel and go! The older they get, the better they look as the coils loose their tight spring. It gives you the Jill Scott big hair look:)

  • Anonymous says:

    I love Senegalese twists. I found a you-tube video by a young lady named Jacenta (not sure about spelling) that did a great job of explainning the process. It seems to me, Senegalese twists last longer and look nicer in my hair. In regards to hair care after removing the braids is up to you. Some people detangler while they unbraid and others pour conditioner on their hair then detangle. Personally, I cut the ends of one section of extensions, comb the ends out with a rat tail comb, then use olive oil to detangle my natural hair and braid the section. I complete the process with my normal routine, pre-shampoo treatment, shampoo, protein treatment, deep condition, hot oil treatment, and prepare my hair for a braid-out style for the next day. That's how I do it & I hope that helps. Live, Love, Peace ~ Sweetsop

  • komirra says:

    ok so last night i did a henna gloss, using nikki's recipe, but i did it fir a shorter time than I did a full henna. i left it in for 3 hours then used heat for 1 hour, then rinsed out. i shampooed and left a deep conditioner in over night.

    I found that my transitioning hair feels alot stronger and needed the protein boost to be able to with stand the twist im getting tomorrow. also my hair feels very moisturized. so i feel it is probably safe to henna before getting a weave as long as you deep condition over night.

    has anyone heard or had Senegalese twist? i researched them and they seemed quite popular.

  • Naturallycurlydee says:

    •What are the best braids/twists for transitioners? I think bantu knots and two strand twists are the best for transitioning!! I'm a huge fan of curlformers(great for buns and big hair…the flexirods don't always stay tight on my hair, but a lot of naturals have had great success with them.

    •Which would cause the least damage? Curlformers for me

    •What do you do in preparation for braids (i.e. shampoo, deep condition)?

    I shampoo with Creme of Nature(green label) or Aussie Moisture Shampoo i love moisturizing shampoos. I do feel like shampoos are necessary for me because of the products I use on my hair daily. For my deep conditioning treatment I use Jessicurl Weekly Deep Treatment or Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle
    •How do you maintain the look (favorite spritzes, oils)?

    I maintain the look by doing pineapple buns at night and spraying my hair with Jessicurl Oil Blend …my hair loves oils, and I just don't want to try adn blend a bunch of oils myself so this works for me :)

    •Did you see length retention when you wore them? My length is making great progress…I'm hoping to do a video soon once i reach my 6 month mark in December

  • Unknown says:

    Like Komirra, I'm thinking about henna-ing before I put my hair in weave…Does someone know why this may or may not be good thing?

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey Komirra! Welcome to the natural world (even though you're no totally natural yet)!

    Transitioning can be hard, frustrating, and almost seem endless. If you take care of your hair, however, you will reap wonderful results. I suggest Kinky twists. They are really cute and light on your head. That way your hair will get a chance to grow as well as breathe!

    I will say the Kinky Twist are very full though and you may not like that so go on Google and find pictures of every braid style just to be sure.

  • Ms. Harmony says:

    Transitioning with braids is a good idea and doable. I'm currently tranisitioning and right now are sporting crochet braids. In another month I plan to get cornrolls and yes I do retain length. Just a couple of key points:
    1. find a braider that will listen to you. If the braids are too tight do not be afraid to voice it. Your braider should not have a problem with redoing the braid.
    2. make sure to moisturize your braids and clense your scalp. Just because your hair is not expose does not mean you can waiver on maintenance.
    3. tie your hair up at night or wear a bonnet to control frizz
    4. before getting your braids make sure to wash, deep condition, and moisturize your hair. Basically just do your normal wash routine
    5. do not wear one set of braids for long periods of time: for example I will never wear the same set of braids for six months.
    As long as you take care of your hair while in braids and find a braider who listens breakage should be minimum. Hopefully these tips help!
    Ms. Harmony –

  • Anonymous says:

    Good question. Personally, I prefer to braid my own head or I encourage you to find an awesome braider that can grow your hair (Please note that they are a diamond in the rough). You can also find you-tube videos or go to to learn how to braid. I bought the Braids by Breslin video years before I knew about the websites and combining all three techniques helped me learn to braid. I always wash, deep condition, and do a hot oil treatment before I braid my hair (Several friends advised me not to do a protein treatment before braiding, but I've also heard it is okay if you deep condition after it). Some people like to blow dry their hair first, and I haven't tried it (Please note that I would probably blow dry my hair first if I wasn't using extensions). My favorite braider always encouraged me to buy RastAfri hair, because it doesn't cut into your hair or fingers while braiding – I love it. I plan to start braiding or twisting my hair as a long term (3 to 4 wks) protective style after I run out of synthetic hair, because it is more cost effective (I have the hair shipped to me or I get gifts from the hair fairy – I love you Mom), I can use the products from my current routine, and I spotted a beautiful head of chunky twists at a World Music Festival this weekend; I want her hair! When I have extensions in my hair, I use a clear moisturizing shampoo and a clear moisturizing conditioner to ensure their isn't a significant amount of build up in my hair. I also use EVOO or Jojoba Oil to keep my head (scalp & hair) happy and unbraid after 7 weeks. I am hoping that I will be able to braid my hair in bigger plaits the next time around, so it doesn't take me 3 days to braid my hair and it is better for my hair. I also rinse my hair in the shower more often after the 3rd or 4th week. I've heard that using witch hazel is good, but I've never tried it. I hope this helps u. Live, Love, & Peace ~ Sweetsop

  • Anonymous says:

    Make sure you go to a good braider who speaks English well so you can communicate with them and ask them questions about how to take care of your braided or twisted hair. I got Senegalese twists at an African braiding shop where the stylists spoke little English and they ended up cutting my hair with kindergarten scissors to "clean" the twists. They didn't understand me when I told them not to cut my hair so I got up out of the chair, which offended them. Communication with your stylist is key, so go to someone you absolutely trust. Also, I find that mixing 1 part shampoo with two parts water and adding it to a color applicator bottle works best to make sure you apply shampoo completely when you wash and always follow it up with a deep conditioner. A hot oil treatment every few weeks with a light oil wouldn't hurt either.

  • Stacy says:

    in my experience I wouldn't suggest you do a henna anything b4 braids but a DC would help a great deal.

  • komirra says:

    is it ok to do a henna gloss or full henna treatment before getting the braids?

  • Stacy says:

    I transitioned Nov 08-Feb 10 w/ 9 of those months being in braids. As someone has already said the key is finding a good braider. I used EVOO for my scalp and hair and deep condish in between set w/ aphogee. I didn't experience any breakage and it allowed me to transition much longer than I probably would've if it was down.

    Good luck on your journey :)

  • beautywithcurls says:

    Any Braids Or Twist That You Like Are The Best For You As Long They Braid It Loose Enough For You To Breath..

    Deep Condition Before, Deep Condition After.
    Moisturize As Often As You Need.

    Just Because You Hair Is Braided Or Twisted Doesn't Mean You Can't Run Shampoo And/Or Conditioner Through The Roots. I Really Think This Helps :~D

    When My Hair Was Longer And I Needed A Break From My Hair I'd Braid It Myself. Every 2-3Weeks I Take Non Sulfate Shampoo Or Witch Hazel And Put It On A Wash Cloth If I Wanted The Braids To Last Longer.

    Since I Braided My Hair Myself, I Re-braid Anything That Doesn't Look Very Fresh Which Is Usually My Front. This Also Works With Extensions. Then I Just Spritz With My Own Concoction (Conditioner,Water,Oil & Glycerin) Or Carol Daughters Leave In Conditioners Daily.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello Komirra! I transitioned from Oct 09 – May 10. Part of my transition consisted of me wearing kinky twists. I did them myself, so it made it easier for me to manage them. They weren't unbearably tight, so they didn't pull out any hair.

    I was able to moisturize and clean my scalp with them. I've had micro braids before I started transitioning. I think that the kinky twists were easy to manage altogether. Before I put them in, I deep conditioned my hair. While they were in. I rubbed witch hazel on my scalp as a cleanser. I moistured with cream based moisturizers – it saturated into my scalp and hair. My hair was really soft when I took out my twists. I had left them in for only 1.5 months though. I can't leave my hair up any longer than that.

    When I took out the braids – I has about 1 inch of growth. I think that is pretty normal for the amount of time they were in my hair. It made it really easy for me to excercise. It also kept my hands out of my hair.

    Hopefully this helps!

  • Kingsmomma says:

    finding a good braider is the key. You want someone who will take care of your hair during the process. This means avoiding sensitive areas and tension. You shouldn't have slanted eyes at the end of the process. They are too tight and will pop your edges. IF you're going to go with cornrows, try add-ins. It's a bit more in terms of pricing but worth your edges. The big bulb of hair at the start can be a bit damaging over time.

    I find that human hair works better for my hair than synthetic hair. Also the ratio of added hair to your real hair needs to be balanced or else the braid/twist will put too much stress on your own hair and it will break off.

    Maintain your hair as normal, braiding up doesn't mean slacking off.
    try for leave in conditioners, and oil bottles with nozzles (for ease of access)
    I agree with the witchhazel treatment. (i also did this with EVOO)

    Prior to getting your hair braided you should do a deep conditoner or a hot oil treatment. After taking your braids out you should detangle with conditioner prior to washing. NEVER wash your freshly unbraided hair before detangling. It's a good way to see half your hair in the drain/comb.

    I've done all the extension type of braids and weaves and they seem to work well but can be damaging due to the process and materials used.

  • s.perry722 says:

    1. I'm not sure if it's the best but when transitioning I had kinky twists. I've had cornrows with extensions, microbraids (which both caused too much tension at my edges), tree braids (didn't use the yaki, I used wet wavy human hair and I loved it) and kinky twists.
    2. Kinky twists did the least damage to my hair.
    3. I thoroughly cleansed my hair with shampoo, concentrating on my scalp, deep conditioned w/a protein conditioner (Aubrey Organics GPB), used a leave in and heat protectant to blow dry it so that my hair resembled one texture.
    4. I maintained my style by using a Q-tip and carefully cleaned my scalp with witch hazel and I moisturized daily with Oyin Handmade's Greg Juice up and down the length of the twists so that I wouldn't miss where the new growth and relaxed ends meet. Jumped in the shower after spraying to make the glycerin in the spray work and I had NO problems with moisture.
    5. I gained 1 1/2 inch of growth and I wore them 2 months. That is over average because it's 1/2 inch per month! Overall I was pleased with the kinky twists.

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