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Curly Nikki

4 Reasons to Not Give Up While Transitioning

By January 27th, 202141 Comments
by Tammy Goodson of CurlyChics

How many times have you heard “I want my hair to look like yours” only to get the side eye when you explain to them that you are relaxer free? Their face completely deflates and they are immediately defeated. As if it’s the world’s best kept secret. So many women think they simply can’t do it or they think the only way to go natural is to do the big chop. “I don’t want to cut all my hair off”. You don’t have to cut it all off, you tell them. You can transition. Easier said than done, I know. I was a two time transitioner and the first time after 8 months I was done. It was too much for me and I simply wasn’t ready. Round two was equally as rough, however, I stuck it out that time. So it got me to thinking, what kept me in the game? What was different this time? Why didn’t I give up? Once the process has begun, these are the things I kept in mind.

Read On!>>>
1. Positive results are ahead.
When you can envision a positive outcome, it’s much easier to withstand tough times. Think about it. If you KNOW 100% that something awesome is in your future, doesn’t that motivate you?

2. Starting over.
You’ll have to start all over again, thus negating all the progress you’ve made thus far. Remember that everything is temporary and the struggles of transitioning will be a thing of the past. You won’t know that until you go through it though.

3. You’ll never get to see what all the hype is about.
It may sound silly but sometimes you just want to be “in on it”. You hear all of these proclamations about how it’s such a great thing to be natural, why not see for yourself?

4. It’s an obtainable goal.
Many have done it in the past and many more will do it in the future, so there’s no reason why you can’t be one of those people who accomplish it as well.

If you transitioned, how did you maintain your sanity?

Sharing hairstories and life experiences from a curl’s perspective. Find Tammy at her blog, Curlychics, on Twitter, and Facebook.


  • hunnybun says:

    the best way to maintain my sanity was to take a step back and just chill. I stopped thinking so much about natural hair and obsessing over every blog and youtube vid and before I knew it my hair had grown.

  • Anonymous says:

    I transitioned for a year before I cut off my relaxed hair which was shoulder length. I wore my hair in flat twists with straw rolled ends for the duration. months 3-6 were the worst because I felt like I pulled a small animal's worth of hair off my head every wash as a result of shedding/ breaking. I started deep conditioning all day sundays with honey/ coconut milk mixture and fixed that. Months 9-12 were also tough because that was when my relaxed hair to natural hair ratio started to really be out of balance and it was difficult to keep any style that looked good for either hair type for more than a day or so. Then when the summer humidity really kicked in, I realized I was more fascinated with the way my natural hair reacted to weather than trying to hold on to the relaxed hair so I cut it off. I am happy I transitioned, but also very happy when I gave it up 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    I transitioned for just three months and I couldn't take it, so I opted for the "big chop". It was the best thing I ever did for my hair. I AM LOVING IT!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    After 13 months of transitioning I ended up relaxing my hair and regretted it right after. I'm ready to start all over again! I refuse to give up….

  • Kim Boyd says:

    Transitioning for me was the best option because my hair is thinning from relaxers and shampooing with the recommended brands was totally drying it out. I refused to BC because of the thinning hair, it's texture and my unique hairline. Also, my hair is shoulder length which is pleasing to me and my lifestyle. It's been 9 mos and I'm still going strong with my decision to not relax anymore, however it's challenging at the same time because I don't wear weaves or wig styles. Additionally, my hair is extremely dry so for the cold season, my goal is to find what works best to provide enough moisture. Since my hair was cut in a bob before I started this process, half my hair is natural (the back, 4b) and the the other half looks mostly relaxed (the front, 3c). Most importantly, taking care of your body will yield great results for your hair is what I've learned. In addition to natural products, I take vitamins, eat more fruits and veggies as oppose to a lot of meat plus drink lots of water. My growth is looking very positive! Now I'm waiting patiently on the thickening process. Thanks All for sharing your experiences and techniques. Good luck on your journeys!

  • RetroFlirt says:

    I guess I've been transitioning for almost a year now. I just knew I didn't want the damaging effects of relaxers anymore and noticed in my family women hair thin out from using it over time. So I've stopped using it. I still have two boxes of UNUSED home relaxer kits!

  • Lea says:

    I've been transitioning for nine months. The first half was frustrating and difficult because I had to learn how to take care of a differnt texture. I knew how to get my desired results with relaxed hair, now it was like starting all over again. Plus I was anxious to see my curl pattern. After the hot, humid summer reverted my progress, the search for rights products and techniques and breakage at the demarcation line, I finally found a complete natural curl. Now it's easier, except detangling the two textures. I plan on cutting my MBL into a long bob at the one year mark, being completely curly. Hopefully my second summer won't be as frizzy.

  • Anonymous says:

    Meant to add that I rebraid after adding conditioner.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm almost 11 months into my transition and learning alot. I now detangle my hair while dry (hardly any breakage at all for me this way), put my hair in about 10 loose braids then wash. I get out the shower, take each braid out add ORS deep conditioner, sit under the dryer for about 15 mins, then rinse with braids still intact. When I take out the braids, my hair is super soft and still nice detangled. This has made things soooo much easier. At first I was washing my hair while it was out, it was horrible and the tangles were crazy. This method has been my saving grace. I just started doing flat twist outs using Shea Moisture's Deep Treatment Masque as my styler, beautiful!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Bobby… stylist is not misinformed…..she specializes in natural hair….shed breaks…..same thing in my head….she said it feel off….. because when I went to get it done professionally I had no relaxer on my hair…..It was a good thing that it broke of….it was badly damaged anyway…..The relaxer was terrible for my hair….I have coily 4b hair……glad I made the transition.

  • M says:

    Such a good article! I had a rough time once my " Real hair" starting coming in. I thought it was my real texture not reSkizung I still had vestiges of Oren on there. You really do just hsvr to dig in n be resolute. I just had to realize there was going to be an ugly stage until I figured out what I was doing and trust me I looked crazy! It gets better until it doesnt bc u reach a new hair challenge. What can I say it truly is a journey but when my hair is fly u can't tell me nuffin ! Lol.

  • Anonymous says:

    I did an "undercover transition". My stylist continued to flat iron my hair every 2 weeks for 1 1/2 years while I transitioned. No one knew I stopped getting relaxers! I kept my BSL hair and just recently cut off the last 3 inches of relaxer while keeping most of my length. The most difficult part was getting past the edges not being smooth. It was tough adjusting to sweat, rain, humidity, etc. but it was totally worth it!

  • Anonymous says:

    I did an "undercover transition". My stylist continued to flat iron my hair every 2 weeks for 1 1/2 years while I transitioned. No one knew I stopped getting relaxers! I kept my BSL hair and just recently cut off the last 3 inches of relaxer while keeping most of my length. The most difficult part was getting past the edges not being smooth. It was tough adjusting to sweat, rain, humidity, etc. but it was totally worth it!

  • Anonymous says:

    Transitioning was indeed a challenge…talk about the intensity of having to deal with not two, but maybe THREE textures!?!?!? But I digress. What kept me motivated is the same thing that pushed me to do it in the first place, and that was not wanting to relax my hair anymore…I would get frustrated but I kept saying to myself, no matter what I do, I'm NOT going back to a relaxer. When you actually take the time to do the research on the best products to use and how to find out what works for you hair might now work for someone else hair…in the mist of finding that out I ran a cross an article that explained just what a relaxer was and what it does…so going back was a wrap. And there you have it! 🙂 Transitioning to natural has wonderful rewards in the end…it almost always has you saying…"wow, why didn't I do this sooner"?lol

  • Anonymous says:

    Checking out blogs that feature present and past transitors have been a huge motivator for me.

    I also subscribed to some youtube vids of some transitioners who are currently going through it…or have finished transitioning.

    Seeing Alodia80's big chop at (close to) 19 months was really inspiring.
    Makes you see its worth the wait:

    I wanna have that moment too!

  • JustMe says:

    I guess I'm transitioning.. Having natural hair has never been important to me. Every time I would go to get a relaxer, my beautician would talk me out of it, or I would get a weave, which didn't require relaxed hair. A few weeks ago my friend mentioned needing a 'perm' and I realized I hadn't had one since July '11. So here I am completely natural by accident. Yay!! but now I'm finding it hard not to run to the shop to get a relaxer.

  • Anonymous says:

    I honestly think people make a much bigger deal out of transitioning than they need to, lol. When I first started my transition, I only did braid-outs. When it got to the point where my two textures were each too prominent for the braidouts to work, I was tempted to cut my hair, but then I got kinky twists (which I LOVED). Every time I put them in, I would trim a little more off of the relaxed ends, so eventually, my natural roots were much longer than my relaxed ends. After a year and a half, I chopped off the last of the relaxed ends and began to style my hair without the extensions.

    One warning for transitioners, though…while you may be hesitant to do a big chop, starting over from scratch will give you a much better knowledge of your own hair than dealing with two textures or braiding/weaving it up will. When I took down my last set of kinky twists and cut off my relaxed ends, I was kind of like, "Well, now what?" I had about 10 inches of really thick, really kinky hair, and I had no idea how to style it. Lol, I made a lot of mistakes in those first few months. You may think that you know how to work with your hair because you've been styling throughout your transition, but those relaxed ends make your hair hang differently. I'm a pro at styling my hair now, but if I had to do it all over again, I think I would have big chopped.

  • Bobby says:

    @Anonymours @4:43pm….Your stylist is telling you false information. If you are transitioning your new growth grows in and your relax hair remains on your ends, just like hair dye, until its cut off or grows completely out, or breaks off. To say it "shed off" is ignorant and very misinformed by the stylist and you for repeating it…

  • Can Dee Chay says:

    I actually didn't even notice my transition. I had short permed hair, and then I put dreds in my hair. I had dreadlocks for a year, and I feel the misconception is that you have to cut your hair to get rid of the dreadiness. NOT TRUE. You can actually comb dreadlocks out. You will lose hair, but it's mostly hair that would have shed anyway. I had a pretty decent amount of hair (more than I had when I was permed). I think some naturals get too obsessed about length, but everyone goes natural for their own reason. Some women go natural as a way to get long hair. To each her own. I don't think transitioning should be that traumatic.

  • Anonymous says:

    @4:00 My hair did not break off from the sew-in a very trusted hair stylist told me the relaxed hair shed off……your hair sheds everyday so when its up braided for up to 2 months that hair still sheds… hair grew out about 10-12" during that period…..the sew-in was great for hair growth.
    That is what happens….you may think the hair is there but often times it is not…..

  • launie says:

    When I was transitioning I kept my hair in kinky twists, sew ins and braids. Once I got it to my desired route I cut off my relaxed ends. I guess I went the easier route…

  • Anonymous says:

    I lost all patience and chopped after 2 months. I would do it all over again the exact same way.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm in my 11th month of transition. Things are going well so far; I mostly do roller sets/buns or braid outs. I cut 6-7 inches of hair last year when I decided to stop relaxing my hair. At that time, I had mid-back length (MBL) hair. I don't have a set date for my big chop; I've been doing trims every few months or so. I figure that I'll chop whenever the mood strikes me.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous 2:17 PM- It is very much possible for someone to retain their relaxed ends while transitioning. That just means she didn't suffer from much breakage and was able to keep both the natural and relaxed hair strong. Your hair most likely broke off in sew-ins. Same thing happened to me when I transitioned with braids without proper knowledge.

  • Anonymous says:

    i love this. im on my third transition n reading thngs like this keep me moving forward…10months strong n still going =)

  • CharmaineH. says:

    Well even thought I have never had problems with relaxers, I was always told that I didn't need one when i would go to the salon. So I decided to see how long I can go without a relaxer and so far so good. I have been transitioning for 6 months and I just keep positive on the results that's ahead. Thanks to CN and other websites all the ladies on the site have been such great inspiration.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Jada07 I have a hard time believing that the relaxed ends stayed on your ends for 2 years. That hair usually sheds off after awhile….the body will get rid of it…..I was told this by a stylist….It happened to me I wore a sew-in for a year and 1/2 and I kept wondering what happened to the relaxed hair….It shed off. Antoinette

  • monniej says:

    i actually transitioned from a texturizer so it wasn't hard at all. i just used the same regimen all the way through. it took about 3.5yrs to get to completely natural. the crazy thing is that i had more problems once all the texlaxed ends were gone. i had to re-evaluate my products because the same things didn't work when i was completely natural that worked just fine when i was transitioning. i ended up making my own dry hair moisturizer and i haven't had any problems since. the only thing i wish is that i didn't have so much shrinkage. i've tried twist outs, braid outs and other stretching techniques and my hair just wants to be super springy. i guess the best way to think about it is that at least my ends are protected.

  • Mamalisa says:

    This post couldn't have come up at a better time. I'm 17-weeks post, and the shed I had this wash really scared me. From the pre-poo to post two-strand twist, my floors are LITTERED with hair. And most of it looks like breakage. 🙁

    My main problem is maintenance. Sure, I can do a two-strand twist, but getting it to last the week is another story. So when I suddenly have to go to an interview, my hair looks crazy. Any advice?

  • Corinne says:

    I cut off my bsl relaxed hair to shoulder-length when I was 16 to aid the transition (it was falling out in a big way) and was fully natural by 18. Then I relapsed at 20 and transitioned again at 21. It was mainly because of a complete lack of knowledge and support that made it so hard. Now 6 years on, my natural hair is waist-length and the way I keep it growing is mainly through techniques I wish I had known when I transitioned – I wash my hair in braids which makes detangling non-existent, wear my hair in braids and twists. Low maintenance all the way makes hair grow fast and thick and supplements like vitamin tablets and collagen powder, water in and out, massages and good products are all part of the regimen.

  • Anonymous says:

    I transitioned up until all my relaxed hair was gone. I did alot of roller sets, braids, twist outs, Straight (flat iron), braid outs, and bun styles. I really wasnt too stressed about it I enjoyed playing with new styles on my hair.

  • Lauren says:

    BRAIDS. It's the best thing I've decided to do while transitioning. You can provide proper care to your new growing God-given roots while your hair grows out.

    You don't have to deal with two different hair types along the way.

    Every three months (probably less, cause I have issues with NOT touching my hair) I take out the braids and I could see the change.

    My last relaxer was probably September 2010 and my hair is so short it didn't take long for it all to grow naturally. It's longer than it was last May.

    So keep at it. You want to have to start over and the results are worth it!

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been transitioning for a year and 10 months! I plan to get the relaxed ends cut off when I reach the 2-year mark. I usually do a flat twist and curl. I notice that finger detangling (with Kinky Curly Knot Today and a spray bottle of water) before I wash it really helps.

  • DiJah says:

    I never did a big chop. So i've been transitioning for yrsssssss. How I maintained my sanity was by reminding myself that if I was to ever throw the towel in, I would have to start over, and I didn't want that at all hunni!

    And I also tried styles and products that I saw my naturalistas trying. Persistence is key.

  • Jada07 says:

    I tranistioned for 2 YEARS before cutting off my relaxed ends. All I can say is, it can be done. I was uneducated about natural hair in the beginning so I flat ironed for the first year but then I decided I was ready to try it without heat and I did braid outs, bantu knot outs, roller sets, and flat twist wet sets with perm rods on the ends. I had some hits and some misses but it was definitely worth it!

  • Berthia D. says:

    I've been transitioning for 7 months and I'm losing my sanity LOL. Some days I wish I could just cut all my relaxed ends off but then I think about how short my hair is going to be so I get scared and put off the big chop. I look at other curlies for motivation so thats what keeps me sane – knowing that one day I too will have natural healthy hair that people will envy !! lol

  • Naturally Blessed says:

    I transitioned for a solid year. I did it without putting my hair away in braids, weaves, or wigs. I started with a chin length bob so my hair was not long enough to bun.

    The key for me was to find a wet set that worked for me that had a lot of styling versatility. For me that was the Bantu Knot Out. YouTube is full of tutorials on how to do the Bantu Knot if you're not familiar.

    I started trimming my hair around month 6/7. I found that helped when detangling became intense. I cut the last of my relaxed ends of days before my official year anniversary.

    The key for me was #1 and #4 above. I was done with relaxers. Period. I was not interested in a TWA. Therefor my only other option was to keep pushing forward with my transition.

    If you find yourself in that same scenario where you refuse the relaxer and refuse to have very short hair, you will have no other choice but to continue to transition. You have to do the soul searching and determine what it is you really want.

    Good luck!

  • Anonymous says:

    Its been 5 months since my last relaxer and things are going pretty darn good. Its not as difficult as I thought it would be, I have a go to styles bantu knot outs and roller sets. I love the curly pattern coming thru and I plan to transition until my hair is just about completely natural. My relax ends has made it possible for me to transition and be able to style my hair and for nobody to notice I haven't relaxed in months. I will never big chop, transitioning gives you more flexibility then a TWA & cant imagine chopping off my shoulder length hair!

  • PhenomenallyMe says:

    My friends were extremely supportive and encouraging. Although I never considered getting a relaxer after I started my transition, it was a bit worrisome for the first 6 months because the anticipation was killing me!

  • Anonymous says:

    The link to is broken

  • purplgirl48 says:

    My transition wasn't that bad. I transitioned for 14 months. I did ALOT of braid outs. My only issue is/was that I'm not patient and I want my hair to hurry up and GROW!!!

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