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Curly Nikki

How Should I ‘Go Natural’? What are the Rules?

By January 27th, 202118 Comments
by Kurlybella of Kisforkinky

Kashmir asks:

I just found this site and I absolutely LOVE it. All of the sisters on here are beautiful and all of the cute natural hair style’s I’ve been seeing are making me want to switch up my hair even more! I currently have a perm, and I’ve been contemplating going natural for a long time now. I crave a beautiful full natural head of kinks but I don’t want to have to cut off all of my hair to get it. Do you guys have any transition advice you can give me, or any ideas about how I can go from perm to natural without that dramatic change? Any help or advice you guys could give me would be great!

Thanks Kashmir, I’m glad you like the site! My goal is always to inspire and provoke women to achieve their best and to believe that their hair is just as fly as the next chic’s so welcome to the family!
Not everyone who goes natural big chops. I didn’t. The way I got around the big chop was by wearing a sew-in weave. I washed my hair every week and added oils and butters to my roots to seal in moisture. I let my hair dry overnight and repeated this process for about a year and a few months before I big chopped. My hair was healthy, vibrant and collar bone length when I finally cut the relaxed hair off.

Big chopping isn’t for everyone and it was not for me at that time in my life. I will say this though, if I could go back and do it again, I WOULD HAVE BIG CHOPPED and wore my twa with pride. The reason I did not was because there were not as many naturals at that time nor was I as confident about my kinky hair as I am now. There was no CurlyNikki, Afrobella when I went natural, and Kisforkinky was not even a blip on my radar yet, so I was trying to figure things out on my own and getting past the hurdle of “not having the right kind of hair to big chop” was my major one. But you live and you learn.
My suggestion for you if you don’t want to big chop is to wear healthy, no too tight, sew-ins and or wigs and wash your hair every week. The key here or at least for me was to have my cornrows AS SMALL AS I COULD GET THEM within reason because they washed easily, rinsed clean and dried fast. The key is drying because you don’t want your hair to start to hold on to smell and dirt which can turn into mildew. I also redid my cornrows once a month religiously, no fail. I deep conditioned, re-braided and re-weaved. The reason I was able to do this so much was also because I wore a curly weave so I didn’t have to have a “perfect” install of my weave since I basically wore an afro that covered my scalp. I also did everything myself. And that’s what worked for me.

Before you start wearing sew-ins or wigs you can also do twist out hair styles like flat twists, do braid outs, straw and rod sets and pin up styles. With less than 6 inches of new growth, these styles are easy to do and will also help you blend your two textures of hair. your hair will get to a point though that you will need to either chop or weave it up because if you don’t, the point where the new growth and the relaxed hair meet are going to drive you nuts!

What say you guys?
For those of you who DIDN’T big chop, if you had to do it all over again, would your decision still be the same?
How did you take care of your natural hair as you were growing it out?
Do you have any suggestions and tips for Kashmir that you can share?


  • NyuNyu says:

    I transitioned. My last perm was back in 2008. Since then I've either flat ironed or just wore a hair wrap. My main reason for going natural had to do with the fact my last perm had severely damaged my hair. I also got tired of trying to maintain the perm.

    It's been the best decision I've made, if I had to do it over I would transition but I would take better care of my during the transitioning period.

  • Natasha says:

    I transitioned for about 14 months, and I would still transition long-term. I did a lot of research about products and styling while I transitioned, and by the time I cut off all my relaxed ends I felt that I had enough information to remedy any emergency/freak out situation. I would two-strand twist my hair and put it in a bun to protect the ends, moisturize with water daily, wash/deep condition/style once a week, and finger detangle. Since my transition chop, I've tried tweaking my tools and products to find what works best for me (finger detangle vs. tangle teezer vs. wide tooth comb, water vs. water/aloe vera juice mixture, jojoba oil vs. olive oil vs. coconut oil vs. shea butter mix for sealing) and have tweaked my methods according to the results I saw.

    Bottom line though? It's your journey so do you. 🙂

  • MsJboogie007 says:

    I transitioned for about 16 months. If I had to do it again I would still transition. Transitioning to me wasn't that difficult. I had done braidouts in the past when I was not thinking of going natural. I also wore roller sets when I was relaxed, so I just continued with that. I was with a stylist that wanted to flat iron my hair all the time, so I finally stopped going to her and just did my hair myself and was trimming my hair ALL the time until I cut the last bit of relaxer off in December 2009. When I cut it, I had enough hair to make the puff I wanted and I was surprised at how big it was, and happy with the result.

  • Anonymous says:

    I transitioned and I would do it again. So, I echo some of the sentiments expressed by my fellow transitionistas. I went natural because I wanted the length that I saw my natural hair peers in grad school getting with natural hair (little did I know that the real culprit was my chop happy stylist). However, I have remained natural for the past 8 years because I grew to love the health, the length, the flexibility, and the versatility of my hair.

    I think that the beauty about going natural today, as opposed to 5 or to 10 years ago, is that you have more support. Now, your family and friends might still have issues but there are people you can turn to. So, whatever you decide–BC, Transition, Braid-In, etc.–use that support system for emotional support when some crazy-A person tries to get you down, for product recommendations, and for new ways to style your hair. Eight years on, I continue to use that support system. Although I might not use that system for info on making sure that my hair is healthy (it is and the new stylist who trims my ends agrees) I do use it for tips on styling. This summer I rocked a lot new styles that were bold for me but still within my comfort zone, that protected my hair from the sun and my occasional flat-ironing, and that elicited a LOT of compliments from brothas and sistas. My new regal styles have even inspired a few women I know to consider going natural and for the already natural, to up the ante re: styling.

    I think that the main thing that you have to do is to figure out what works for you re: going natural and even staying natural (not everyone does). The BC wasn't for me but that didn't stop me from going natural and from being natural in a way that works for me.

    There are no hard and fast rules re: natural hair beyond taking care of your hair, taking care of you (mind, body, and soul), and supporting sistas in their journey. How you do that is your business.

    Hugs and support for whatever path you choose.

  • Anonymous says:

    Please don't take this the wrong way, but I see myself in a lot of relaxed women walking around here.

    No, not the silky shiny haired "girl on the perm box" looking sisters, no girl, I'm talking about the perm victim; the damaged, nipped off, dusty brown looking, see through ends matted in place with heat protectant hair spray.

    Yes Lawd, that was me.

    You probably saw me a couple of years ago on that highly humid day, with the remnants of a tortuous night spent in rollers slowly frizzing undone.

    Would I ever big chop again? In a New York minute!

  • Anonymous says:

    I love this video of different women and shows their natural hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    I neither bced nor transitioned. I only relaxed two or three times a year and only left it in long enough to make ironing easier and sometimes left it curly when I washed it. One day I decided to cut my hair to chin length and it was almost all curl so I cut the rest of the straight ends off and decided to wear it curly for a few weeks then I wad gonna straighten it again, but I didn't.

  • Maya Ange'le says:

    I kind of accidentally went natural as a child; I learned about sodium hydroxide in my 7th grade science class and came home to inform my mother that I would never have another relaxer (I'd been getting them since the age of 6). She said, "Fine, but then you're on your own taking care of your hair, and you're not going anywhere with me looking busted." To my 13 year old mind, that meant straightening my hair with my trusty old hot comb and flat iron, and so for the next 7 years (minus a few periods of wearing it in a kinky-curly ponytail in the summers), that's what I (and eventually my stylist) did. After breakage, regular trims, and even once getting layers, over the course of all that time, by the time I wanted to start wearing my hair in its natural texture, all of the relaxed hair was gone and all I had left to deal with was heat damage (not that that's not serious).
    Anyway, the point I was trying to get to was, every time I see a woman who has big-chopped, I'm really envious and wish I'd been that brave as a teenager. If I could do it all again, I would totally BC.

  • Ms. Harmony says:

    I transitioned for 16 months. I didn't give myself regualar trims per se. However I did a "mini" chop after watching a fellow you tuber that gave me inspiration. About 4 months after that I said "what the hell" and chopped the rest of my relaxed ends off. I was collar bone length after my second "mini" chop.

  • Carr says:

    I transitioned for about a year and a half and would do it again. It had been about 4 mos. since my last relaxer so I told my stylist to just let it go and cut my armpit length hair to jawline and layer it. I went even shorter a few months later and ended up trimming every few months until I was relaxer free. My last hair cut in May 2010 is what set me FREE! lol Now my hair is almost bra strap length and I still get it trimmed every couple months to keep it healthy.

    September 6, 2011 2:48 PM

  • Ms. J says:

    I did not big chop and if I could do it all over again, I STILL would not big chop.I didn't want to go back to short hair since my hair was almost shoulder length. I washed and conditioned my hair every 2 weeks and wore my own hair in braids or twists or wore a wig. After about a year (maybe a little more),I wore a fro, or braids, twists, pulled it back etc. Basically I wore it however I wanted to. It was finally healthy! Keep your hair clean, keep your hair and scalp moisturized and let it rest for at least a year. The less you do to it the healthier it will get. Enjoy this time of getting your hair healthy and having low-maintenance hair. You will love your hair even more when it is healthy!

  • Pecancurls says:

    I transitioned for 12 months and just recently had the last bit of permed ends cut off last week. I primarily did straw sets, flat twist outs, flat twists with a puff throughout my transition. I washed and conditioned weekly. I had mini-chops all throughout. For me, it was better to do this gradually so I could get used to my natural hair and to get used to shorter hair and how to manage it. Managing the two textures was a beast, but so worth it in the end. Be patient with your hair and yourself.

  • Anonymous says:

    I wasn't the best transitioner at all. When I decided to stop getting relaxers in 2008 I just wanted fuller hair. So I straightened my hair during my entire transitioning period. I did two semi big chops, one in May 09 the other in June 2010. I got away with only minimum heat damage. But if I could do it over again, I would DEFINETLY not use so much heat and transition with set styles like twist outs. I do believe my hair would be much longer than it is now if I had.

  • Chaffron says:

    After 2 unsuccessful attempts to transition, I finally went throught with going natural. I initially planned to transition for 18 months. I wore tight rod sets, and twisted styles a lot. I also wore hats when I could :). After just 8 months, I could feel more new growth than I ever had before, and I loved what I felt so much, I went ahead and chopped 10 months early. AND I'D DO IT AGAIN! It was scary, as I had never seen MY hair before (permed at age 5, big chopped at age 23). I'm so glad I 1) transitioned cold turkey, without weaves, braids, wigs, etc. and 2)big chopped to a TWA, but growing through the TWA helped me to learn and understand this hair that was so foreign to me. May not be best for you, but I highly recommend it.

  • Anonymous says:

    I personally think it depends on why you want to go natural. My main concern was I wanted healthy hair and I was convinced that what came out of my head had to be better than what was going on up there. I was relaxed and flat ironed it every week. In the end I learned that the flat iron is worse than the relaxer. Armed with that knowledge I wasn't going to waste anymore time ruining my hair. I tried roller sets and rod sets but I didn't like the way it looked on me so I just chopped it off. It was the best thing I could do because I got to really know my hair. It's been 20 months since my last relaxer and my hair is very close to bra strap length. It's taken me at least till this time (about 1 1/2 yrs) of experimenting to say that I truly know my hair now. If I hadn't done the BC I think I would've had to wait till I finally had all my head natural in order to start the process of getting to know my hair which would take an additional year and a half. Each person has to do what they feel comfortable with but I feel that many of the transitioning styles would've set me back some and I just want GAIN, GAIN, GAIN. I'm over 40 yrs old and I just don't have time to waste 🙂 Besides I can truly say that I know my hair because it changes at every stage and I got to know them all.

  • MsDiva1658 says:

    I transitioned for about 20 months as well. For the first 8 – 10 months I was getting my roots pressed out. That got old real fast. I then wore my hair in twists, cutting the ends every month as I would wash and condition and retwist. I went to the salon and had my hair blown out and was amazed at how long it had grown. I had about an inch cut off (to make sure all the perm was gone). I have been following various sites and youtubers for inspirational hairstyles and loving my natural curls. Good luck on your journey.

  • Young Educator says:

    I transitioned for about 20.5 months, my saving grace was braid outs, done nightly. I also deep conditioned weekly, and only combed my hair when it was wet with a wide tooth comb. Also, whenever I grew impatient or just plain sick or my hair, i would wear a bun until that feeling went away. GOod luck! It's all worth it in the end.

  • Sham says:

    It took me about 18 months to grow out my relaxer. I did a series of trims every 2-3 months along the way. My staple hairstyle was a roller set. Long term transitioning is definitley hard, but do-able. It requires a ridiculous amount of pateince to deal with all your different textures @ the same time. PRAY WITHOUT CEASING, LOL! Don't forget to do Deep Conditioning & Protein treatments!

    to see pics of my journey to natural, visit:

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