Skip to main content
Curly Nikki

Transitioning Hair, Natural Hair, Potato, Potata…

By January 27th, 202146 Comments

Transitioning Hair, Natural Hair, Potato, Potata...
Eli of Love of my Life writes;

So, my last relaxer was in early July 2010, I transitioned for 6 months, and big chopped December 31st, 2010. And when people ask me, I tell them that I’ve been natural for 9 months strong. Because in my eyes, while I was transitioning, I was natural, my mentality was natural, I dealt with, and styled my hair like it was natural. Yes, it was harder to maintain, because of my relaxed ends, but because of my natural roots, I went through the same thing all naturals go through. Detangling, growth, moisturizing, deep conditioning, using sulfate-free shampoo, trial and error, products/styles, etc.

But over these last nine months I’ve noticed that most natural women and transitioning women see a difference in “Natural Hair” and “Transitioning Hair,” that I just don’t see.

So, my question to you is, is there a difference between “natural” and “trasitioning” hair to you? And if so, what is the difference?

46 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    I always laugh when I read stuff like this! I love t his concept of people chiming in and sharing there ideas of things. Who was the person that decided that if you decided to be natural you can't have relaxed ends, who was the person who made all these natural hair rules? Where is she, because for real enough is enough. Listen, the day you decided that you were no longer going to use chemicals in your hair- just water… then you were natural. Non of us are truly natural because we use products that configure our hair. Now what? There it is. unless your regi, if finger manipulation and water…then enough with all theses hair rules. PLEASE!

  • Anonymous says:

    If you have 14 inches of natural hair and one inch of relaxed hair left, are you still considered transitioning?

    Is the Big Chop when you cut your hair down to an inch or less?

    If you grow 14 inches of hair and then "Big Chop" the 1 inch of relaxed ends, is that really a "Big Chop"?

  • LaTonya G says:

    Transitioning hair is different to me than natural hair. I have been transitioing for 11 months now and will actually gets the last 2 inches chopped off next week! Woo Hoo anyway, when people ask me if I'm natural I always say that I am transititong to become 100% natural. I treat my hair as if it is natural though with the products I use.
    I don't think that people should say they are natural if they still have relaxed ends. But that's just how I feel!

  • Anonymous says:

    Transitioning hair is different from natural hair. Even if you treat the relaxed part of your hair as if it is natural, it still is not natural and is chemically treated hair that has to be cut off in order for you to be natural. With part of your hair being natural and part of it being chemically altered you are part natural and part relaxed/texlaxed or whatever. Its just a technicality and I don't think it really matters.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anon 12:18; its not about segregating ourselve so please get off your soapbox. I'm tired of folks feeling like each discussion is an attack and it's geared toward segregating and discriminating. Relax. Like some ladies said its for folks to understand where you are in your journey; how long it took to achieve your length, what styles can you achieve; what products work best for two textures, etc.

  • Anonymous says:

    Obviously the 'transitioning' vs. 'natural' thing is a big deal to some folks…but really, who cares? Natural is natural. Anybody who is nitpicking about it clearly has some underlying issues. We always find ways to segregate and subdivide ourselves. Free your mind and the rest will follow!

  • Anonymous says:

    @ asyahkinks, there is a difference b/t real hair and natural texture. Real hair is grown from one's scalp-it can be natural or chemically altered. Chemically altered hair is a permanent change in texture. I can wear braid outs to change my texture, but with water it reverts back to it's original texture. I can't do that with a relaxer. Being natural is referring to texture. Some naturals color their hair, but it doesn't change the texture.

  • Anonymous says:

    One can not be "natural" with chemically relaxed strands. During the transition, your hair is still relaxed, but you are no longer getting "touch ups." I have been "growing" my hair for three years. I have been 100% natural for one year. The permed ends are "no more," but my "then" new growth is three years old.

  • AsyahKinks says:

    Honestly, I feel lie hair wether relaxed or not is natural because it is our own hair… I feel like when one puts in weaves that they aren't natural lol…

  • Editor says:

    It's whatever the heck you beleive it is.
    In MY opinion… natural hair is hair that is naturally FREE from altering chemicals.

    Transitioning hair is hair that is not free from altering chemicals and is preparing to enter into the natural state. Thus, the term, "transitioning."

  • Anonymous says:

    there is a difference but I get what you're saying. you're technically right because that is 9 months of hair growth you have

  • AKD says:

    i guess its a personal preference but when i was transitioning i didn't consider my hair natural because it still had chemically treated relaxed ends. So i say i've been natural for 5 months b/c i start from when i did my BC. If someone asks me how long i've been natural, i say i transitioned 5 months & i've been natural 5 months. Maybe it's just me personally but i didn't consider myself "natural" when i was transitioning

  • Unknown says:

    I think it is a question we all get and it's relative to how the person answers. For me personally, when I am asked how long I have been natural, which i get on a regular basis, I give them the date of my last relaxer because it makes sense to me to give them that date if they are trying to guage length. If we talk further then I tell them that I've had 2 BC's since that time and state the whole story 🙂

  • LuvingLibra says:

    I have always wondered what to tell people when they ask how long I have been natural. My last relaxer was in Nov. 2008, so I have considered it to be 2 1/2 yrs. I have learned a lot from the previous comments & I guess I will just tell people my last relaxer date from now on.
    8-/

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm shaking my head at some of these comments. Since when is anyone entitled to interrogate another person about how long their hair has been natural?!?

  • Tahj says:

    When I transitioned I told people that I was transitioning, I did not refer to my hair as natural because I had relaxed ends.

    NOW that I've bc'd and people ask how long I've been natural I don't give them my bc date I tell them that my last relaxer was in July 2010.

    I personally find it odd that some people start "counting" from their bc date. I know when I was looking at profiles and videos of ladies who did this I would think "Wow they've only been natural from 2 months and have BIG hair!" When in reality they have many months of hair growth from transitioning…it's just that they only count back to their bc date.

  • Anonymous says:

    Look it's your hair and your journey, no one elses so if you want to call your hair natural from the day you started transitioning so be it. Whatever makes you happy about telling your natural hair story. Tell it!!! I sure will be telling my story the way I want and not the way everyone expect it to be told.

  • Pamela says:

    Yes I think there is a difference,
    the difference is natural absolutely no chemically relaxed hair while transitioning still has some relaxed hair left.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think that natural is when the ends are gone, transitioning is while the relaxed ends are still there BUT once those ends are gone you can count your period of "being natural" from the last relaxer.

    I was a long term transitioner – haven't had a relaxer since Oct 2008. I think, but am not quite certain that the remnants of my relaxed ends were all finally cut around Nov 2010. Now, with BSL hair would it make sense for me to tell someone I've been natural for five months? I think I'd have a lot of 'splaining to do!

  • Gia says:

    There is a difference because when you are transitioning you wouldn't say you are natural.
    That's like being one-month post relaxer and telling people that you are natural…
    You are not natural until the hair on your head is chemically texture-altered free.
    But I do understand where you are coming from

  • Anonymous says:

    I think the difference can come for some, but not all in, how you have to care for it. Now if your hair is pretty wavy, growing out a relaxer doesn't change much. If your new hair and relaxed hair are very different textures, then you'll have a different bunch of things to deal with. I mean, I didn't start out meaning to grow out my relaxer, and honestly, for many months, since I'd always only lightly relaxed, there wasn't much difference at all. it was like, oh, this is easy. Then suddenly, I hit this point where the difference was obvious and the hair was tangly and hard to deal with. And then of course, cutting off the relaxed ends, my natural hair sprang back into its natural pattern b/c nothing was weighing it down. So then it was like, oh crap, how do I style it, it's so short now and all of my rollers and tools are for much longer hair.
    So while doing the partially relaxed hair was easy for a while, but then combing and styling the natural hair was really easy compared to the last few months before I got that much needed haircut.
    I don't care about the terminology, but if you can't bear to part with your length, at least be aware that your hair is going to behave differently and look differently if you have half and half hair, for example, then it does when it's 100% one thing or the other.
    I didn't take the post as trying to judge anyone.

  • Ishea says:

    I agree with most of the posters… I think when people ask the question they're typically trying to understand how much time has passed for whatever growth they're seeing. I usually always respond by saying when I had my last relaxer (May '09) and when I did my big chop (Feb '10).

    But I must say that I noticed a huge difference once those relaxed ends were gone!! Shrinkage is a huge monster. lol

  • Anonymous says:

    For me the problem comes when when the person who 'transitioned' for 1 year and then big chopped 6 months ago misleads people to believe that they have gotten all that growth in just 6 months. Semantics is important in this case. When people ask 'how long have you been natural' they are not asking for the big chop date only, they want to know how long have you been growing your hair out.

  • onceuponagoldmine says:

    I only truly saw a difference between naturals and transitioners when I went natural.
    For me personally, I noticed that products that worked for me when I was transitioning didn't necessarily work for me when I was completely natural regardless of the new growth coming in mixed with my relaxed hair.
    I find that, that is the biggest difference between naturals and transitioners.

  • Anonymous says:

    UMmmm…..like really, who cares? And i agree with the poster; natural is natural, tomato tomato. As long as ur not chemically treating your hair, your kooler than beanz!
    …..uh wait, what about gettin it colored? lol Because you can still have your natural curls, but not…color? lol

  • Anonymous says:

    This topic is really splitting hairs. I hope you don't feel excluded by other naturals because you are still transitioning. I really don't think that is anyone's intention.

  • sarah says:

    i agree that you consider yourself natural after your BC. but, when people ask me "how long have you been natural?" i ask with "i've been natural for 2 years after transitioning for 10 months." but it's no big deal… say whatever you want; it's your hair.

  • IvyLeagueFro says:

    Thanks for all the responses. I'm loving the feedback lol :).

    @Tiffany- you brought up a reall good point. thank you :D.

    by the way, this is eli of l.m.l. <3!

  • Anonymous says:

    To me claiming the difference between natural and and transitioning is like claiming which hair type is better. Its a journey for everybody, some take longer than others. There are multiples paths to get to the same point. Its another way to categorize and separate. If Its MY HAIR and I want to call it natural I will and I do, I struggle just as much as you,I do everything to my hair that a person can associate with being natural. I just do not understand why it matters so much to people what the heck is going on with MY HEAD. Its like people also got something to prove, "I was natural longer, I BCd before you" There's no award and I am not gonna bake you a cookie sooo whats your point…. THIS IS JUST MY OPINION, just like this is my hair, like it or leave it 😉

  • Regina says:

    I can see where some people may feel like you're not truly natural until you BC the relaxed ends. But for me, I count both the time I transitioned and the time after my BC as being natural. I had to go through the same struggles as "full" naturals to find products and routines that worked with my natural hair texture. I had to explain to my family over and over why I was not getting perms (and they still don't understand, unfortunately). And I did the same curly styles as naturals (my flat twist-outs and bantu knot-outs were fire!) except for a wash and go. People on the street would lump naturals and transitioners together by looking at our hairstyles, so I think we should embrace each other as the same.

  • DrChuck24 says:

    lol idk..I think this is a good question only because it makes me wonder if people start treating the transitioning hair with the new healthy regime or the 'after I BC'd' hair. I know for me while transitioning I didn't give a flying hoot and just used the same products from before and maybe that's why I was so frustrated with me hair lol…..which then led to my quick BC.

  • Anonymous says:

    Technically I belive that natural is literally no remnants of perm/relaxed hair on your hair. Otherwise everyone without a weave would be considered natural.

  • Naturally Nita says:

    I have a totally different perspective. I feel like you can define your date of naturality whenever you want to, however for those who are watching your natural journey, consider differenciating btw transitioning and bc date for this reason. It can be confusing when comparing growth (though, I know we shouldn't a lot of us do)when a person indicates a time period for being "natural" and don't specify whether that is post relaxer or post big chop. It can lead to disappointment that the other person's hair isn't growing as fast, etc. Just something to consider….

    www.naturallynita.blogspot.com

  • Tiffany says:

    To me, there seem to be many shades of gray. On the one hand, someone may only have one day's worth of natural hair growth and the rest is chemically relaxed. Is she natural? Many would say not yet. She's transitioning. On the other hand, another woman rocks a TWA that clearly has no relaxed ends. Is she natural? Many would say absolutely. But what about the natural woman with a looser curl that has straight ends (that won't curl), not from relaxer, but from heat straightening. Is she natural? She has trouble achieving some of the styles that other natural women create easily. This last case is how my hair is. I absolutely consider myself natural, and as I was transitioning, I considered myself natural when half of my length was 'new growth'. I think it's a personal distinction when you consider your hair, and yourself, natural.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think natural hair is hair that's not relaxed at all. I am currently transitioning and don't consider myself natural yet. However, once I bc I will consider myself as being natural from the date of my last relaxer, not the date of my bc.

  • Krystality says:

    For me its more about the timeline. I think that some people may ask " How long have you been natural" really wanna know " how long did it take to grow your hair to that length"

    I transitioned for 1 year and 1 year from my BC. So I am now 2 years since my last relaxer but if I just said Ive been natural for a year someone may get the impression that all this growth was within that 1 year period.

  • Krystality says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Anonymous says:

    In my opinion if you choose to say that you are natural because you are caring for your hair in that manner thenn so it be it. And the last time I checked a debate meant there was a real argument going on this is a simple question. When people feel act as though a title has to be thrown into everything, that is when people start to get a negative view of women that choose to go natural. The main and most important thing is that you have made a decision to what you consider to be best for you, your hair, and your lifestyle.

  • Chimmy says:

    Kitka82 I transitioned for a year and gave up going any further because my relaxer ends were horrendous and the fight between the two textures was terribly fought. There are many sites on the subject and youtube channels. Have you ever heard of Hairlista.com? There are many tips and tricks to transitioning on there. Although I knew everything about the websites and read and watched many youtube videos and did braid outs, bantu knot outs and so forth, my two textures just hated each other.

    When I went to get the relaxer ends big chopped the lady took a photo for me and I looked at how awful my relaxer ends really looked. Mind you I did not periodically trim my ends while I was transitioning, so yeah it was bad. For me I because natural the day I big chopped because from then on I could completely focus on one thing. I did not have to worry about my spider looking scraggly relaxed ends. My hair was finally free to reach the sky without anything weighing it down.

    To Lamaravilla: I think it's just a personal thing. While I was transitioning, though I tried to treat my hair like it was natural, it was pretty hard for me, but once I let go of the ends life became a little easier. I could focus on what my hair liked, or did not like and that's why I believe I was natural when my relaxed ends were cut.

  • Anonymous says:

    As others have said, there's a difference. What others have not said is that the reason people like to distinguish is that there are some things you can't do if you're dealing with relaxed ends, or that may look different if you're completely natural (no relaxed ends) and try to emulate a style only to find out the person only has natural roots.

  • beautifulmia says:

    Natural hair= Hair that has no chemicals in it.
    Transitioning= Hair that still has relaxed ends.

  • Anonymous says:

    Physically and semantically, yes. There is a difference. If you have natural roots and still have relaxed hair then that is not considered natural. It doesn't have to be complex; it's simple. Having natural hair means your hair is in a non-textural altering, chemical-free state in its entirety. But you can call it what you want; it’s your hair 🙂

  • KC says:

    I also start my "Timeline of Naturality" at the point of my last relaxer (1 year this month WOOHOO). I "transitioned" for five months before cutting all of my hair off, before I knew about Curlynikki.com or a natural hair community.

    If I knew then what I know now, I think I would have extended my transition. But I quickly grew frustrated with the different textures. I think there needs to be some differentiation between transitioning and fully-natural, or a place where frustrated transitioners can get tips on caring for the two textures, because they are different. Other than that, I don't see too much of a difference.

  • Anonymous says:

    I see where you're coming from. I am transitioning and treat my hair as it is completely natural. I'm sure its just as if not more time consuming. When I do my styles, most can't even tell I am transitioning. I consider my hair mixed for that purpose…

  • LaMaraVilla says:

    Uh, yeah there's a difference. One has been chemically altered the other is working towards being not chemically altered, but in the interim is still considered chemically altered.

    Is there nothing else left to talk about? We have to debate what is truly natural now? *waits for people to start saying that people with 3type hair aren't really "natural"*.

  • Anonymous says:

    To me, natural is where the hair is completely grown out with the chemicals and transitioning hair is when there is still relaxed hair to be grown out. Im not for sure, but this is how I understand the difference to be.

Leave a Reply