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Transitioning to Natural Hair While Going Gray

By January 27th, 20218 Comments

Transitioning to Natural Hair While Going Gray
Karen Mcintosh via NaturallyCurly;

Going gray at the same time you’re transitioning to natural hair from chemical straighteners seems like a no-brainer. Both require a long grow out period, with multiple trims along the way to the final reveal. So what’s the catch?

Going Gray and Natural Can Be Stressful

A dual detox from relaxers and color to gray hair and natural texture is one of the most challenging transition journeys you can take. This is especially true for ultra-curly 3c, 4a and 4b textures. It is an adventure that will change the way you see yourself and the way you think others see you. Obstacles like dry hair, breakage, hair loss and more cause many women who start the journey to become discouraged and want to relax again. But chemical straighteners won’t help and can cause even more thinning, dryness and breakage.

Take heart, double transitioners! If your hair has had it with the double chemical whammy of color and relaxing, you can bring it to optimum health with these tips and make your double down transition a win-win.

Why Does Gray Hair Feel and Act Differently?

Hair texture changes when it loses color. You may find your grays are more wiry or coarse. Gray hair is more susceptible to dryness and breakage, which can be caused by decreased moisture levels in the hair, tension between the new and old growth, or both. And if you are going gray during perimenopause and experiencing thinning or breaking hair, hormone loss or change in thyroid levels can be the culprits.

Rules for a Healthy Double Transition

The first rule of going gray? Your hair needs a lot more moisture than any other color. Eliminating harsh cleansers and products with stripping power is the first major step to healthier looking, moisturized, more supple gray hair.

1. Give your hair moisture, moisture, moisture.

If you have been bumping along using the same products you did on your relaxed hair, change your hair routine to one that nurtures gray hair. Do it now. Do not wait. Do not sleep on it. Take these protective steps:

2. Take strain off your strands — big chop now, not later.

Want to minimizing breakage? Cut off those relaxed ends now! What are they, keepsakes? No matter how careful you are, the point at which relaxed hair turns natural is where much breakage occurs. Letting the natural growth run free without fighting for dominance with relaxed ends will help stop breakage in its tracks.

If you decide not to chop and wear a bun, consider braiding, twisting or bantu knotting instead. Pulling the hair back stresses the hairline and can cause breakage at the binding point. Protect the hair when sleeping with a silk or satin pillowcase.


  • Elaine Sims says:

    I am gray and natural people often ask me what hair dye do I use my reply is you gotta ask GOD because it is his doing and my eyebrows are same color but I use light brown eye pencil which to me is often frustrating but it is what it is also I keep it short and shaped in a V in back which is black and gray but the rest of my hair is white

  • Anonymous says:


  • Anonymous says:

    I have went natural but find that there is little information out there for those of us that are gray and natural. I would like to see more information regarding maintaining gray natural hair since there are so many products that can turn your gray yellow/brown. Also, I am having difficulty because my gray is wirey and I don't have a curl pattern and so I look like Don King unless I braid it. It would be nice to find information about how to keep your hair gray and shiny and how to get a curl definition. Help!!

  • Anonymous says:

    A couple of days before I turned 52 years old in May of this year. I looked in the mirror one morning and the front on my hair was so white. I did not like it.I can handle the salt and pepper throughout the rest of my hair but my hair line was white. So what did I do? I colored my hair. (Mind you i hadn't put any chemicals in my hair for over a year) Well now I miss my gray hair.(isn't that crazy) I'll be glad when this grows out.To make it so bad I used perminent color. So It will take a while for it to grow out. UGH

  • Anonymous says:

    I began my natural journey three years ago at age 60 when I stopped relaxing and added the going gray journey a year ago when I stopped coloring. I really appreciate the information in this article because very little is written in support of senior and/or gray-haired naturals. It totally mirrors my experience.

  • Anonymous says:

    I went natural almost two years ago and I am letting my gray show. It is what it is.

    I wish we had more articles and pictures on this subject. Thanks for this one.

  • Versatility Beauty&Fashion says:

    Please visit our magazineonline:
    a Swedish magazineonline that wants to connect with the world. We just recently decided to write in English so please read entries starting from Feburary. For exemple here:
    Dont hesitate to comment and share your thoughts about our magazineonline.

  • socialitedreams says:

    my mom went natural about 10 months ago and also is going grey…she loves it and is letting her salt n pepper show. she thinks that she's super fly no matter what, lol. i'll send this to her!


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