Skip to Content

Going Natural From Relaxed Hair: Transitioning Guide (2024)

This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.

going natural from relaxed hairTransitioning from relaxed to natural hair is a journey of rediscovering the beauty and strength of your curls. It’s about embracing your unique texture and learning to care for it in a way that promotes health and vitality.

Whether you’re considering the big chop or opting for a gradual transition, understanding your hair’s porosity and texture is crucial. This guide will walk you through developing a healthy hair routine, the importance of trimming, and the benefits of deep conditioning and protective styling.

You’ll learn how to manage two textures and minimize heat damage, all while finding community support and celebrating your natural beauty. Let’s embark on this liberating journey together, embracing every curl and coil along the way.

Key Takeaways

  • Embracing natural hair texture can lead to improved hair health and self-confidence, as well as a journey of self-discovery.
  • Transitioning from relaxed to natural hair can be done either through the Big Chop for instant results or gradually to retain length and adjust to the new texture over time.
  • Deep conditioning is crucial during the transition to keep both natural and relaxed hair manageable and to prevent breakage, especially at the line of demarcation.
  • Protective styling, such as braids, weaves, or wigs, can aid in the transition process by minimizing manipulation and damage to the hair.

Understanding Your Hair

Understanding Your Hair
Understanding your hair, especially when transitioning from relaxed to natural hair, involves getting to know its porosity, texture, and type.

Hair porosity is crucial because it determines how well your hair absorbs and retains moisture, which is essential for maintaining healthy hair during the transition.

By identifying whether you have low, medium, or high porosity hair, you can tailor your hair care routine to better suit your hair’s specific needs, ensuring it remains strong, elastic, and hydrated throughout your natural hair journey.

Hair Porosity

Understanding your hair’s porosity is like unlocking the secret to a treasure chest filled with the best hair care practices tailored just for you. Imagine your hair as a sponge. Some sponges soak up water instantly (high porosity), while others take their sweet time (low porosity).

And then there are those that are just right, absorbing and retaining moisture perfectly (medium porosity).

Testing your hair’s porosity can be as simple as observing how it interacts with water. Does it repel water like a duck’s back, or does it soak it up eagerly? This isn’t just a party trick; it’s crucial for choosing the right hair care arsenal.

For those with low porosity hair, lightweight oils and hydration heroes like glycerin are your best friends, helping moisture sneak past those tight cuticles. On the flip side, high porosity hair craves heavier, protein-rich products to fill in the gaps and keep moisture from escaping.

So, before you dive into the world of DIY masks and fancy hair products, take a moment to get to know your hair a little better. It’s not just about treating your hair; it’s about understanding it, embracing its unique needs, and giving it the love it deserves.

Whether you’re transitioning from relaxed to natural hair or simply looking to optimize your hair care routine, knowing your hair’s porosity is your first step towards hair that’s not just healthy, but happy too.

Texture and Type

Understanding your hair’s texture and type is like unlocking the secrets to a treasure chest—except the treasure is your crowning glory! Hair porosity plays a big role in this quest. It’s the gatekeeper that determines how much moisture can enter and exit your strands.

Think of it as the bouncer at the club of hydration. If you’ve got low porosity hair, your cuticles are like a tight security team—nothing gets in or out without a struggle. High porosity? Your cuticles are the laid-back type, letting moisture slip in and out like it’s an open-door policy.

Now, let’s talk curl pattern. From the loose waves that dance in the breeze to the tight coils that spring back with a vengeance, every curl has its own personality. Coarse textures are the heavyweights, with each strand packing a punch in thickness, while fine textures are the featherweights, light and airy but just as fierce in their own way.

And hair density? It’s the crowd inside the club—the more, the merrier, or in this case, the thicker your hair looks.

Whether you’re transitioning from relaxed to natural hair or have been rocking your natural texture for years, remember: your hair’s unique characteristics are a roadmap to its care.

The Big Chop Vs. Gradual Transition

The Big Chop Vs. Gradual Transition
When considering the shift from relaxed to natural hair, you’re faced with two distinct paths: the Big Chop or a gradual transition.

Each approach has its own set of advantages and challenges, and your emotional readiness plays a crucial role in your choice.

It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully to decide which method aligns best with your comfort level and hair care goals.

Pros and Cons

When weighing the pros and cons of the Big Chop versus a gradual transition from relaxed to natural hair, it’s essential to consider your personal comfort and the health of your hair. The Big Chop offers instant gratification and a fresh start, but it can be a bold move that leaves you with a completely new look to get accustomed to.

On the flip side, transitioning gradually allows you to maintain your length and slowly adapt to your natural texture, but it requires managing two different textures, which can be challenging.

The risks of continuing with relaxers include potential damage and breakage, while the benefits of going natural include embracing your hair’s true texture and potentially healthier strands. However, transitioning can be time-consuming and may involve a period of dealing with scab hair, which is new growth that can be dry and rough due to previous chemical treatments.

Ultimately, the choice between the Big Chop and transitioning is a personal one. It’s about finding the right balance between the challenges of managing two textures and the desire for a new, natural beginning.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to embark on this journey—it’s all about what makes you feel free and comfortable in your own skin (and hair!).

Emotional Readiness

The journey from relaxed to natural hair isn’t just about changing your hair care routine; it’s a profound emotional journey that touches on self-esteem, identity, and self-acceptance. Whether you choose the Big Chop or a gradual transition, it’s essential to prepare yourself emotionally for the changes ahead.

  • Self-Esteem Boost: Embracing your natural texture can significantly boost your confidence. It’s a journey of self-discovery, learning to love your hair in its most natural state.
  • Identity and Self-Acceptance: This journey can also be a path to deeper self-acceptance, recognizing and valuing your unique beauty, curl definition, and hair texture.
  • Emotional Journey: Be prepared for an emotional journey. Detangling not just your hair but also your feelings about beauty standards and self-worth can be challenging but ultimately rewarding.
  • Confidence Building: As you learn more about moisture retention, heat damage, and how to care for your natural hair, you’ll build confidence in your ability to manage and style your hair in ways that celebrate its natural beauty.

Developing a Healthy Hair Routine

Developing a Healthy Hair Routine
When transitioning from relaxed to natural hair, developing a healthy hair routine is crucial for maintaining the integrity of your hair.

It’s important to wash and condition your hair properly, focusing on techniques that minimize damage and breakage.

Moisturizing your hair regularly is also key, as it helps to keep both your new growth and relaxed ends manageable throughout the transitioning process.

Washing and Conditioning

When it comes to washing and conditioning your transitioning tresses, think of it as a tender art form. You’re not just cleaning your hair; you’re setting the stage for a masterpiece of curls and health.

Start by sectioning your mane into manageable parts—this isn’t just about making the task easier, it’s about ensuring every strand gets the love it deserves.

Do’s Don’ts
Use moisturizing techniques to keep hair supple Avoid harsh heat styling that can spell disaster for your strands
Embrace detangling techniques that are as gentle as a summer breeze Shun heat protectants at your peril—they’re the guardians of your hair health
Seek out product recommendations like a treasure hunter Don’t let protective styles become an afterthought—they’re your hair’s best friends

Moisturizing Techniques

Keeping your transitioning tresses happy is a bit like being a hydration hero. Here’s how to quench your hair’s thirst:

  1. Lock in the Love: After washing, apply leave-in conditioners to damp hair. Think of them as your hair’s best friend, keeping it company and keeping it hydrated all day long.

  2. Oil Up: Once a week, treat your scalp and hair to a hot oil treatment or massage in some hair oils. It’s like a spa day for your strands, and who doesn’t love a bit of pampering?.

  3. Mask It: Whip up a DIY hair mask with ingredients like avocado, coconut oil, or honey. It’s like a gourmet meal for your hair—nutritious and satisfying.

  4. Spritz and Seal: Between washes, spritz your hair with a water-based spray and seal with oils. It’s the hair equivalent of a quick power nap—refreshing and rejuvenating.

Importance of Trimming

Importance of Trimming
Trimming your ends regularly is a crucial step in the journey from relaxed to natural hair. It helps eliminate split ends and damaged hair, ensuring healthier growth and easier management of two different textures.

Regular trims, about every 6-8 weeks, pave the way for your natural texture to thrive, making the transition smoother and more rewarding.


When embarking on the journey from relaxed to natural hair, understanding the importance of trimming is crucial.

It’s not just about cutting hair; it’s about nurturing your transitioning timeline, making informed product selections based on your hair porosity, and ensuring your emotional readiness for each stage of growth.

Trimming is akin to pruning a garden; it’s essential for health and vitality. Regular trims, ideally every 4-6 weeks, prevent the dreaded split ends from traveling up the hair shaft, which can compromise both the natural and relaxed portions of your hair, especially at the fragile line of demarcation.

This practice not only helps in maintaining the health and appearance of your hair but also in managing the two textures during the transitioning phase. So, while it might seem counterintuitive to cut your hair when you’re aiming for growth, think of trimming as an investment in your hair’s future strength and beauty.

Identifying Split Ends

Identifying split ends is a telltale sign that it’s time for a trim, a crucial step in maintaining the health of your transitioning tresses.

As you navigate the choppy waters of transitioning, you’ll notice changes in your hair texture, and split ends can become the unwanted stowaways on your journey to natural hair. Think of split end identification as a treasure map; it guides you to the spots where a little snipping can prevent further damage.

Whether you’re taking the gradual route or diving in with a big chop, keeping an eye out for those pesky split ends is key. And remember, while product recommendations abound, the best ones are those that hydrate and strengthen without weighing down your newfound curls.

So, arm yourself with a good pair of scissors and a keen eye—your hair’s health is worth its weight in gold!

Deep Conditioning and Treatments

Deep Conditioning and Treatments
When transitioning from relaxed to natural hair, deep conditioning becomes a crucial step in your hair care routine. It’s essential to regularly infuse your hair with moisture and nutrients to manage the new growth and prevent breakage.

By incorporating deep conditioning treatments into your weekly regimen, you can significantly improve the texture and manageability of your transitioning hair. Whether you opt for store-bought products or homemade recipes, the key is to maintain consistent hydration and strength in both your natural and relaxed hair.

DIY Options

Craving a little hair liberation without breaking the bank? Roll up your sleeves and raid your kitchen because it’s time to whip up some homemade hair magic. With DIY product swaps, you can concoct budget-friendly options that are kind to your locks and your wallet.

Imagine transforming that plain Greek yogurt into a protein-packed hair feast. Just mix it with a dollop of honey and a splash of apple cider vinegar, and you’ve got yourself a homemade mask that’ll make your hair sing.

Or, if your tresses are thirsting for moisture, mash up an avocado, blend it with a bit of mayonnaise, and let your hair soak up all that creamy goodness.

And let’s not forget about the humble banana. Who knew this snack could double as a hair-strengthening hero? Mash it up, slather it on, and watch your hair come to life with a natural sheen. These kitchen ingredients aren’t just for a tasty treat; they’re your secret weapon for time-saving techniques that’ll have your hair looking top-notch in no time.

So, next time your hair feels like it’s in a bit of a pickle, remember that the best remedies might just be hiding in your pantry. It’s all about getting creative and giving your hair the TLC it deserves with some good ol’ homemade care.

Protective Styling

Protective Styling
When transitioning from relaxed to natural hair, protective styling is a key strategy to manage your hair’s health. These styles not only help in retaining length by preventing breakage but also maintain moisture, which is crucial for your hair’s vitality.

By choosing low manipulation styles, you’re giving your hair a break from daily styling routines, which can be beneficial during the transitioning phase.

Low Manipulation Styles

Embrace the freedom of low manipulation styles, where less is definitely more. These easy-breezy ‘dos let your hair kick back and relax, reducing breakage and keeping moisture on lockdown.

  • Defining Low Manipulation: Think of styles that don’t demand constant primping or pulling. Your hair’s chill time equals less damage.
  • Benefits for Transitioning Hair: These styles are a transitioning gal’s BFF, helping to manage two textures without the tangle tango.
  • Moisture Retention: Keeping your hair’s thirst quenched is a cinch with styles that lock in hydration.
  • Styling Challenges: Wave goodbye to daily hair hassles. Low manipulation means you’re not wrestling with your locks every morning.
  • Embracing Natural Beauty: Let your hair’s true self shine. These styles are all about celebrating your natural vibe without the fuss.

Benefits for Transitioning Hair

As you transition from relaxed to natural hair, protective styling becomes your secret weapon. It’s like a cozy blanket for your strands, shielding them from the harsh elements and reducing the tug-of-war between textures.

Think of it as giving your hair a well-deserved vacation, allowing it to rejuvenate and grow without the constant stress of styling.

Here’s a quick table to keep you on track with the benefits of protective styling:

Benefit Description
Moisture Retention Keeps your hair hydrated, reducing breakage and promoting hair health.
Length Retention By minimizing damage, you’re more likely to see your hair grow longer.
Low Maintenance Simplifies your routine, giving you more time to focus on you.
Style Versatility Lets you experiment with looks without compromising your hair’s integrity.
Community Support Connect with others on the same journey for tips and encouragement.

Embrace the freedom that comes with protective styles. Whether you’re rocking box braids or a chic twist-out, it’s all about self-acceptance and finding joy in your natural beauty. And remember, in the grand tapestry of natural hair, each curl is a unique thread woven together by community support and a shared journey towards hair health.

Managing Two Textures

Managing Two Textures
Managing two textures during the transition from relaxed to natural hair can be a complex journey, but it’s entirely achievable with the right approach.

Detangling techniques and styling challenges are common hurdles, but with patience and the correct methods, you can maintain healthy hair throughout the process.

It’s crucial to handle your hair gently, use appropriate products, and adopt styles that accommodate both textures without causing damage or stress to your strands.

Detangling Techniques

As you continue your journey from protective styling to managing two textures, detangling becomes a pivotal step.

And don’t overdo it—detangling frequency should be just enough to keep knots at bay without causing wear and tear. Choose detangling tools that are gentle on your strands, like wide-tooth combs or your trusty fingers.

Embrace these detangling tips, and you’ll find your hair’s rhythm, keeping it healthy and happy on its natural journey.

Styling Challenges

Managing two textures during your transition from relaxed to natural hair can be like juggling while riding a unicycle—tricky, but not impossible. As you’ve already tackled detangling, let’s dive into the styling challenges you’ll face.

  1. Line of demarcation: This is the battleground between your natural roots and relaxed ends. Handle with care to prevent breakage.
  2. Product recommendations: Moisturizing products are your best friends. Look for leave-in conditioners and oils that cater to both textures.
  3. Wash day techniques: Simplify your routine. Focus on gentle cleansing and deep conditioning to keep both textures happy.
  4. Detangling tools: Wide-tooth combs and your trusty fingers are the MVPs. They minimize stress on your tresses during this delicate time.

Heat Usage and Hair Health

Heat Usage and Hair Health
When transitioning from relaxed to natural hair, it’s crucial to rethink your approach to heat styling. You should minimize the use of direct heat tools like flat irons and blow dryers to protect your new growth and prevent damage.

If you must use heat, always apply a heat protectant and choose lower temperature settings to maintain hair health.

Alternatives to Direct Heat

Alternatives to direct heat like blow drying and hot tools are a must when you’re transitioning from relaxed to natural hair. Instead, why not let your locks air dry? It’s like giving your hair a mini-vacation from all the stress.

If you’re in a pinch and need to dry your hair quickly, roller sets are your new best friend. They’re like a spa day for your strands, setting your style without the harsh heat damage.

Heat Protectants

When you’re reaching for that flat iron or curling wand, remember you’re playing with fire—well, almost. Heat styling can be a gamble with your hair’s health, so don’t roll the dice without slathering on some armor.

That’s where heat protectants come in, your hair’s personal bodyguards against the scorching heat. These thermal protectants are like a security blanket for your strands, keeping them safe and sound while you turn up the temperature.

  • Heat Damage: It’s the villain in this story, turning your hair’s strength and shine into a frizzy, brittle mess.
  • Heat Styling: The necessary evil for sleek looks, but with great power comes great responsibility—use it wisely.
  • Temperature Control: Your styling tool’s best feature, helping you avoid a meltdown—literally.

Community and Support

Community and Support
When embarking on the journey from relaxed to natural hair, community and support play a crucial role.

You’re not alone; joining online forums and groups can provide a wealth of shared experiences and tips that can guide and inspire you.

It’s important to surround yourself with people who understand and encourage your transition, as this support network can be a source of strength and knowledge throughout your natural hair journey.

Joining Forums and Groups

After steering clear of direct heat and embracing the wonders of deep conditioning, it’s time to dive into the world of community support. You’re not alone on this journey! Joining forums and groups can be a game-changer.

Imagine a place where everyone gets your struggles, celebrates your wins, and has a treasure trove of advice on managing those two textures.

Think of it as your hair care think tank. Whether you’re wrestling with a stubborn knot or hunting for the perfect protective style, there’s someone in these groups who’s been there, done that, and is more than happy to share their wisdom.

It’s like having a hair care fairy godmother, but instead, you get a whole squad of them.

And let’s not forget the group motivation aspect. Seeing others’ progress and shared experiences can light a fire under your own journey, pushing you to stick with it even when the going gets tough. Plus, the collective knowledge you’ll gain is priceless. From product recommendations to styling tips, these forums and groups are gold mines of information.

So, don’t just lurk in the shadows. Dive in, ask questions, share your own tips, and maybe even make a few friends along the way. Remember, in the world of natural hair, community support is your secret weapon.

Sharing Experiences and Tips

Sharing your journey and picking up tips from others can be a lifeline when you’re transitioning from relaxed to natural hair. It’s like navigating a maze; you might hit a few dead ends with product reviews that don’t quite match your hair’s vibe or influencer recommendations that lead you astray.

But when you find that golden nugget of advice, it’s like striking oil in your backyard.

The emotional challenges are real—like riding a rollercoaster without a seatbelt. One minute you’re on top of the world with a new style that’s popping, the next you’re staring at your strands wondering if hair growth concerns are just part of the package.

Embracing Natural Beauty

Embracing Natural Beauty
As you transition from relaxed to natural hair, you’re not just changing your hairstyle.

Celebrating each milestone in your natural hair journey is crucial. It marks progress and reinforces your commitment to embracing your natural texture.

Overcoming Societal Pressures

Navigating the transition to natural hair can feel like you’re swimming against the current of societal norms. But remember, you’re not just going with the flow; you’re setting your own course. Social conditioning and hair policing have long dictated what’s considered acceptable beauty, often pushing conformity over individuality.

Yet, here you are, daring to break free from these chains, embracing your unique texture and declaring self-love in its purest form.

It’s like stepping into a world where your hair isn’t just hair; it’s a statement, a rebellion against the cookie-cutter standards of beauty. Acceptance from others? That’s their journey, not yours. Your path is about discovering the beauty that blooms from self-acceptance and nurturing it with every strand of your being.

So, chuckle at the absurdity of hair policing, shake off the dust of conformity, and stride forward with your head held high. Your hair, your rules. After all, the only acceptance you truly need is the one that blooms from within, radiating outwards like the natural crown you wear.

Embrace your texture, your porosity, your curls or coils with all their quirks and twists.

Celebrating Milestones

Overcoming societal pressures is like shedding a heavy coat in spring; it’s liberating.

As you embrace your natural beauty, remember to celebrate each milestone. These aren’t just markers of growth, they’re sparks of motivation, keeping the flame of your journey alight.

Whether it’s noticing your curls’ newfound springiness or the length creeping down your back, each sign of progress is a high-five from nature.

Let these moments be your inspiration, a reminder that every twist and turn in your hair story is uniquely yours.

Laugh, leap, and let your hair down—it’s a celebration!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I handle social pressure and negative comments from peers during my transition from relaxed to natural hair?

Embrace your journey with confidence and a dash of humor.

When faced with negative comments, remember, you’re not just growing your hair, you’re growing your spirit too.

It’s your crown, wear it proudly!

If someone can’t see your beauty, maybe they need a better view.

What are the best strategies for dealing with scalp issues, such as eczema, during the transition phase?

To tackle scalp eczema during your transition, keep it simple: choose gentle, eczema-friendly shampoos. Limit washes to avoid dryness and moisturize without overdoing it. Remember, less is often more when soothing your scalp.

How do I maintain my hair’s moisture balance when I’m experiencing different porosity levels between new growth and relaxed ends?

To tackle different porosity levels, deep condition regularly, focusing on moisture for new growth.

Focus on protein for relaxed ends.

It’s a juggling act, but your hair will thank you!

Can I still color my hair during the transition, and if so, what are the safest practices to minimize damage?

You can color your hair while transitioning. Stick to semi-permanent dyes and avoid bleach to keep your tresses from throwing a fit.

What are the psychological impacts of transitioning from relaxed to natural hair, and how can I manage them effectively?

Embracing your natural tresses can be a rollercoaster of emotions. From the high of newfound freedom to the low of self-doubt, it’s a journey of self-discovery. Patience becomes your best friend, and each curl is a celebration of individuality.

Keep your chin up. You’re not just growing hair; you’re growing into yourself.


Nearly a quarter fewer black women are opting for hair relaxers now compared to 2016, showcasing a significant shift towards natural hair.

As you’ve navigated the complexities of going natural from relaxed hair, remember that this journey is as much about self-discovery as it’s about hair care.

Embrace your unique texture, stay consistent with your healthy hair routine, and lean on the community for support.

Celebrate each milestone and know that with every trim, treatment, and protective style, you’re not just nurturing your curls but also your confidence and individuality.

Keep flourishing in your natural beauty!

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.