Transitioning Hairstyles For Black Women
originally posted on Treasured Locks

Transitioning from permed or relaxed hair to natural hair should be an exciting time for you. It should not be a time of intimidation or of a feeling of loss. Many women face objections from boyfriends, husbands, family and even in the workplace. While we can’t help you with those social and political pressures, we can give you some tips on what to expect and how to make the transition as easy as possible.

How Not to Make the Transition to Natural Hair

Transitioning to natural hair in other ways, like pressing the natural hair as it grows in underneath the relaxed hair, are going to make your hair prone to breakage and can damage the natural hair you’re trying to grow in. Products that claim to revert permed hair might make it frizzy, but are not going to really make it natural. You do not want to put chemicals on top of chemicals in your hair. You will only end up damaging the hair and get even more breakage than you would experience otherwise. While transitioning, try to find a style that will accommodate the new growth coming in like twists or braids.

Finding a Natural Hair Transition Style

This may be the biggest challenge of all about going natural (besides the comments from your friend and co-workers). How do you style your hair when it’s very short or when some of it is nappy and the rest is straight. There are several options. Here are a few:

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  • TWA– do the Big Chop and just wear a Tweeny Weeny Afro
  • Braids or SisterLocks– SisterLocks can be started with as little as 1-1/2″ of new growth at the scalp.
  • Two Strand or Comb Twists– simple yet effective. If you decide to cut your hair, you can just use some styling gel (like Black Earth’s Lock It Up Gel) and part your hair into sections. Either twist on a comb or take two strands and twist them around each other. Your hair can be worn like this for several days before having to re-style. CAUTION: Hair that is left twisted for too long can begin to lock. So, unless you want locks, take it down every once in a while.
  • Straw Set– this is a great style if you want to keep your permed hair. The tight curls make the different textures (your roots and ends) less noticeable.
  • Crinkle Set or Twist Out– by braiding or twisting your hair using a setting gel, you can create a wavy/crinkly look that minimizes the different textures of your hair. This is a very simple and very cute style. You can wear your hair in twists or braids for a while, then remove them and wear the “twist out” look.
  • Flat Twists– basically the same as cornrows. The difference is you use two strands of hair instead of three.

How To Do a Straw Set

As your new growth gets to about an inch or so, you’ll really begin to notice the transition between the natural hair and the permed hair. This hair style protects the hair by minimizing strain on the place where the hair is most vulnerable because you can just “finger comb” your hair. It might take a little while when you first try this. But, as you get practice, this style doesn’t take that long to do.

You will need:
* A pack of plastic drinking straws (For slightly larger and looser curls, use small perm rods- available at many beauty supply stores)
* End papers
* Bobby pins
* Black Earth Crinkles & Curls or other setting lotion (make sure it’s alcohol free)
* Light hair oil

Step 1: Shampoo and condition your hair and blot dry with a towel.
Step 2: Part you hair into 1/4 to 1/2 inch sections
Step 3: Place end papers on to ends of your hair.
Step 4: Roll your hair onto the straws or perm rods and secure it with a hair pin.
Step 5: Repeat steps 2-4 until you have finished your entire head.
Step 6: Dry your hair under a hooded dryer.
Step 7: Gently remove the straws and separate the curls.
Step 8: Spray with a light oil and continue to spray with oil on a daily basis.

How To Do Flat Twists

You will need:

* Comb
* Black Earth Crinkles & Curls or other setting lotion (alcohol free please)
* Bobby pins

1. Shampoo and condition your hair and blot dry with a towel.
2. Part your hair using a rat tail comb to make the parts clean and straight.
3. Put styling gel onto hair for greater hold.
4. Separate the section into 2 strands at the hairline.
5. Wind one strand over the other, picking up hair as you move down the section.
6. Secure the twist with a bobby pin placed parallel and underneath the twist.
7. You can either twist right to the back of your head or leave hair out at the ends and roller set or straw set.

How To Do the Twist Out Look

You will need:

* Setting lotion (Black Earth Crinkles & Curls or Treasured Locks Locks of Curls Pomade & Gel are perfect for this)
* Hair Oil (any good hair oil will do- Treasured Locks H2G Hair Growth Serum, Hair & Scalp Elixir are great)

1. Wet hair
2. Add oil
3. Braid hair or twist it using the setting lotion
4. You can wear the braids or twists for a day (or two or three)
5. Remove the braids and leave the hair crinkly for a few days
6. Wear a cap at night or rebraid to maintain the style

Transitioning ladies – do you have a favorite style??

This post was originally published in 2011 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.