Going from Relaxed to Natural? 5 Transitioning Tips

Transitioning from relaxed hair to your natural texture is one of the most challenging hair styling tasks you will ever undertake. Here’s how to make it easier.
If you relax your hair, transitioning might seem like the easiest strategy for ultimately growing out your natural texture. It offers several benefits over simply cutting off your locks and starting afresh, including:

  • Learning about your new texture before you’ve committed to losing your length
  • Discovering new and effective styling and maintenance routines
  • Having time to emotionally adjust to a new look
However, while you don’t have to cope with the shock and drama of a big chop, you still have to modify your hair care practices significantly for however long you choose to transition, whether it’s for a few months or for a year (or more). Here are a few tips for transitioning successfully.

The longer your natural hair grows, the more delicate your relaxed ends will become. This is because the line of demarcation between your relaxed and natural hair is like a serration on a pad of paper – it is an extremely weak point that is very easy to tear away.

You will probably notice that your detangling sessions will start getting longer and more difficult as your natural hair grows. This is entirely normal. The best way to detangle during this time is to saturate your hair with conditioner and water in the shower, divide it into sections, and carefully work a wide-tooth comb from your ends to your roots, being mindful of pulling and tearing. If you encounter a tough snag, use your fingers and more conditioner to loosen it – don’t jerk at it with your comb.

If you want to preserve your relaxed ends as long as possible, start embracing twists and other set styles. This allows your hair to clump together so that your detangling sessions are easier, making your hair less prone to breakage. This also helps disguise the obvious textural mismatch as your natural hair gets longer.

You’ll probably be tempted to flat iron your roots to match your ends, but do your best to resist. This will only further weaken your relaxed ends and make the transition period more awkward.

Your edges are very fragile. Although you’ll probably want to keep them as smooth as possible to mask the appearance of your new growth, you’ll break them if you style your hair with too much tension. Avoid tight styles.

Trim your relaxed hair a bit more aggressively than you otherwise would. It seems counterintuitive – after all, you’re transitioning so that you don’t have to cut your hair! But ironically, this can help make your transition seamless, because it gives your hair the appearance of thickness and health. Most importantly, this keeps your ends less prone to snagging and damage, which will actually help to preserve your relaxed ends longer. Trimming about ½ inch every six weeks is optimal at this time.

AK Hair and Healing offers comprehensive hair care and styling services for clients of all hair types, relaxed and natural. For more information about our philosophy, please visit our information page.
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