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Curly Nikki

Transition to Natural Hair-Basics Revisited

By January 27th, 202113 Comments

Transition to Natural Hair-Basics Revisited

by Candace Kelley of The Follicle Chronicles

You’ve thought about it and you are either about to do it or you are right in the middle of it. You are going natural!

You’ve wondered if you have the right hair, face and forehead to do it, but we are sure you have what it takes because it’s your natural hair so it belongs with that face of yours! This is an exciting time where you will discover a new you and more than likely a lot of new products, but don’t become a product junkie! Continue to learn about your hair as you are doing now.

You know you’ll look fantastic, but like those who came before you, introducing others to your new look may take a little work. First things first: Why must you answer everyone’s questions about your hair? It is, after all, your hair. Take the time to educate your family members and those at your workplace who may have a few questions and be grateful that natural hairstyles are all over the place and they are hot!

As you read on, we will give you some tips on what to expect and how to make your transition to natural hair a simple one.

The Big Chop or Relaxer Grow Out?

If you are dramatic, daring and ready for an immediate change, go for the The Big Chop (TBC) and chop off the relaxer. But if you are married to the length of your relaxed hair, then you will need to try hairstyles that suit your relaxed hair and your natural hair. But be forewarned. In all of its kinky curliness, as strong as our hair appears to be, it’s very fragile. More than likely your hair will break at the point where the permed hair joins the natural hair.

You can minimize the breakage by being kind and gentle to your hair. Get rid of those harsh tools in your cabinet! Combs, brushes, ponytail holders. Yikes! Curl Prep is an excellent product that can be used to minimize breakage during this phase. By moisturizing and softening the hair, Curl Prep makes the transition from permed hair to natural much simpler.

Styling Options

Many we have spoken to and interviewed have found that your fingers can be the best “combs” during these stages. And remember, with proper car you hair, will grow ¼ to a ½ an inch a month, so your styling options will increase over time. Just be patient!

And always keep your hair moist with a moisturizer and water. Contrary to popular belief, our hair loves to be fed water.

Here are some styling options. Make sure to moisturize your hair sleep in sink scarf or on a silk pillowcase to avoid breakage.

The Big Chop- It’s sharp, it’s sassy, it’s you. Show the world your face with grace and chop it all off. Everyone including you will be over the shock after a few minutes.

Flat Twists– Hair is twisted in flat pattern. From far away, these twists look like braids but unlike braids they do no hold up well in water. Make sure to wrap your hair at night with this style.

Comb Coils /Twists– Great for short hair. With patience, you can part your hair into small sections and use gentle styling gel to twist hair on a comb or use your finger to twist hair in coils. Take it out after a few days out or it could lock!

Braids – Braid your hair and it will be left alone to grow. Do keep your hair moisturized and your scalp clean or you will damage your hair. Ouch! If it’s too tight, it’s not right. Tell your beautician to go easy. You’re paying for it.

Weave/Natural Look Weave– If properly taken care of, a weave will allow your hair to grow! If you want to get into the groove of a natural look, try natural hair weave. From twists to twist out looking hair, there are many kinky styling options.

Sisterlocks– Sisterlocks can be started with permed or unpermed hair and are permanent. The strands of locked hair look like dread locks but are the size of micro braids. While a lot of scalp can be seen upon first loc, over time it will gradually be covered. Visit for more information.

Wash and Go– That’s right. This will only work on natural hair. No permed ends please. After you wash and properly condition your hair DO NOT TOWEL DRY. This will disturb your natural curl pattern. While the hair is drenched add a humectant like vegetable glycerin. Just use a small amount as too much glycerin can be heavy and will appear greasy. Let your hair air dry and work with fingers. Re-moisten the hair in the morning to play with and form the curl you want.


Use a conditioner

Use a moisturizer everyday (this moisturizer can be water)

Use a ‘No Poo’ Shampoo

Sleep with out a satin cap or pillowcase

Part your hair into sections to comb through after washing

Use a detangler


Use a fine-toothed comb

Press your hair during your transition, it will break off

Use a texturizer, this is a relaxer don’t be fooled

Wear tightly styled braids or weaves

Be afraid of putting water in your hair


  • Anonymous says:

    Hello, I am almost 5 months natural. I would say that my hair is about 3-4 inches (still in the twa phase). I recently had my hair braided with weave into box braids. The lady who braided my hair ran a hot comb through the front half of my hair because she said it would be bulky/thick because of it's natural state. Will this damage my hair since I am fairly new to being natural.

    Also could you give me some tips on moisturizing my hair while in braids? Your input is greatly appreciated!

  • Anonymous says:

    Philadelphia started the trend over 5 years ago to grow out relaxers and straighten hair with flat iron or those Marcel curlers…that was the reason why I went natural…previously I was told that hair will break off if I stopped relaxing and that is not true. Heat is an individual thing and I have no problems with heat.

    Also, a perk that comes with transitioning is that you can preserve your natural ends while trying to figure out what works. If a style, product or technique breaks my hair off, I don't care and I learn what works. I can also track my growth better because I know I don't have breakage. (I hope that makes sense)

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi lehcareaj, this article has a typo
    it says DO "Sleep with out a satin cap or pillowcase"

    She meant to say DO Sleep with a satin cap or on a satin pillowcase.

  • honeybrown1976 says:

    I'm almost 8 months into my transition (2 years+) and I love it. However, I read that, for the first 8 months of your transition, you shouldn't flat iron your hair. I am planning to flat iron my hair next month for a length check and self-trim. So, I'll have to ignore that tip (sorry!). After that, I don't plan on straightening my hair for a while.

  • Raytosha says:

    Flat ironing is a great way to transition for many naturals. I did it for a year and a half ( back in 2006) and I have absolutely healthy hair- no breakage and a great curl pattern.

    Every transitioner has to find her own way of making it work 🙂

  • Bitty Boss says:

    @Miss Medi DiJah – Wow! 5 years you go girl! I'm going to transition for 3 years or so. Good to see other people doing long transitions. The info in this article was very helpful…reminded me of a few things i've been slackin' on.

  • DiJah says:

    I've been transitioning for 5 yrs. I didnt do the big chop, instead i clip my ends from time to time. My routine is, wash, deep condition, and flat iron my way. I found this site a month ago and i've been visiting ever since. I've jotted down a list of products im going to try that Curly Nikki listed, and I see that this young lady mentioned 'Curl Prep', I checked out the site, and now i'm wondering, is their moisturizing conditioner suppose to be something similar to Miss Jessies & KCCC??
    I hav tried miss jessies curly pudding and will not try it again, I am willing to try a product at least once, next on my list is a few of the shampoos, deep conditioners and kinky curly, so i'm just wondering…

  • Anonymous says:

    @Curlynikki: You make a good point and one that I would like to see additional discussion – to use heat or not. Like your Mother, I transitioned for two years with heat (flat iron) and my hair is healthy and long as well. I do not believe that heat is bad so long as you condition, condition, condition and dont overdo it with the heat appliances. Yet, I constantly read on blogs that one must avoid heat at all costs.

    Just wondering if there are two schools of thought on this one. Please consider this topic in future posts.

    Thanks for all you do for the natural hair community. Keep it going!

  • Unknown says:

    I am transitioning and let me tell you I am on this website about 3 times a day!!! Everytime I decide a new style I'm on here looking for a new style. I've been clean of the creamy crack since July and its truly a process!!! I thank you for this website bc my ex-hair salon is fed up that I'm going natural and complain everytime I'm there (reason why its my ex) I'm considering the flat twist style. I have done the braid out and I currently have a rod set. I do sleep with a satin cap at nite and trying to consider sexy ways to go to sleep since I'm newly engaged (giggles) I can't wait to document my hair journey so I can be featured on your website. I have no plans for the bc but I think about it everytime I comb my hair when wet. good luck ladies, and be strong no matter the comments.

  • lehcareaj says:

    sleep without a satin pillowcase?

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    Star, my mother transitioned for 2 years getting her hair flat ironed twice monthly. Her hair is long, healthy, and now 100% natural. She still opts for straight styles, but I'm trying to persuade her to try a twist-out. She's afraid she'll look 'crazy' with all of her gray hair, lol.

  • star02171976 says:

    meant in 7 months of transitioning.

  • star02171976 says:

    Thanks for a wonderful article! However the press you hair during the transition actually works opposite for me! When doing braid or twistouts, I experience more breakage than when I flatiron my hair because then my hair is truly the same texture. When it is not straightened my new growth spirals and is not the same curl/wave pattern as the twist or braidouts. I do however do protein as needed, and the night before I DC overnight with a super moisturizing conditioner before I blow dry and flatiron. I do not use heat often, only 3 times in & months of transitioning, but I plan on using it more in the cold months as it doesn't revert as much.

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