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Relaxed to Natural - The Transition

Updated on September 20, 2011
Solange Knowles all natural!
Solange Knowles all natural!

Going Natural Without the Chop

Natural hair offers endless versatility whereas relaxed hair can be expensive and time consuming. However, many black women are afraid of making the transition for various reasons.

The number one reason we are afraid of the transition is because we think in order to go natural, we have to cut all of our hair off at once. There is good news, that could not be the farthest from the truth. There are several ways to go natural without shaving your head bald!

There is absolutely no need to shave yourself bald or to go for the big chop, transitioning to natural hair can be fairly easy if you are patient, patient and patient. Along with the right hair products and tools your transition to natural hair can be easy, fun and fulfilling!

My Personal Journey

I have been perm free for 3 years and I have not looked back even once. It was actually by accident that I began to go natural! I was pregnant and although my doctor said it was perfectly fine to relax my hair towards the end of my pregnancy, I just did not feel comfortable doing so.

So here I was 8 months into my pregnancy with absolutely no perm. My intentions were to get a perm as soon as I delivered my daughter but somewhere between having her and getting my next perm, I looked closely in the mirror one day and saw my natural curl pattern. WOW! I thought to myself! I could not ever remember seeing my hair curly (other than a salon roller set) this was a different curly though, this was a deep, deep wave sort of curl, just at the top of my hair.

I fell in love with those waves and I began to think what my hair would like if my entire head was covered in those waves. Needless to say, I did not get a perm that day but I didn't get my hair cut either. I had absolutely NO idea what I was doing, I just jumped in and hoped I wouldn't drown! Well I didn't drown but I will tell you that it was not easy.

The Transition

I have long hair and I could not imagine having all of my perm "cut out". I opted to let the perm grow out. The top of my hair was extremely wavy and curly and the middle and bottom parts of my hair was straight as bone. Shampooing and conditiong was difficult to say the least. The hardest thing about letting your relaxer grow out is that you now have two different textures of hair.

When you relax your hair, you actually change the properties of your hair. Now the kinkiest of hair is the straightest of straight. There is something called "The Line of Demarcation". This line is where the relaxed hair and the natural hair meet. The two textures basically fight and creates a weak spot which causes the hair to break off.

To battle this line of demarcation, I washed and deep conditioned my hair twice a week and kept it lightly greased. I practiced this routine throughout my entire "transition" and one year later, I was completely natural! It was trial and error with the products I used and what worked for me may not work for you but I will share with you the products that worked and did not work for me.

How to go from relaxed to natural hair

There are two ways you can go from relaxed hair to natural hair. With either of these options, you HAVE to stop relaxing your hair!

1. The Big Chop - The fastest way to go natural is to cut all of the perm out of your hair. Most women feel this is too drastic of a step (especially if they have long hair) so many women opt for the second option - long term transitioning

2. Long Term Transitioning - This method is used if you would like to maintain your length throughout your transitioning period. With this method, you grow your hair out until just the ends are relaxed and then you have that last bit cut off.

That's it! Those are the ONLY two methods in which you can go natural! There are no magic potions that will turn relaxed hair straight and you can't click your heels to make it happen. Patience is key!

Natural Hair Care Products

There are a variety of natural haircare products that can make your transition from relaxed hair to natural hair easier. Avoid shampoos with sulfates!!! They make your hair extremely dry! The rule is, the more suds a shampoo has, the dryer your hair will be.


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    • profile image

      Lerato 5 years ago

      I've decided on the big chop

    • sassyabby1 profile image

      sassyabby1 6 years ago from ATL

      Congrats on your quest to go natural! And not with the Big CHOP! LOL

    • Nesha1891 profile image

      Nesha1891 6 years ago from UK

      I am currently growing out my relaxer too and as you can see from my picture, I have decided to do the long term transitioning method instead of the big chop (this is because I will look like my dad if I did, and no one wants that!) So I am using kinky twists on and off currently to just keep a plain style. I also am starting to use natural products on my hair too to keep away from any chemicals that I used when my hair was relxed! My poor hair, so many chemicals have touched you! I definately can relate to you in the sense that I jumped in at the deep end really, because to be honest I wanted to see how long it would take and how good my hair would look natural and it is going well so far. Oh... take a look at this website it is great for buying natural products on here and there is also a DVD you can watch to show you how to do some hair styles without chemicals too. And also check out and on there I have put on some information and different websites you can take a look at, as well as other blogs too that you might be interested in! Happy transitioning and all the best! God Bless! Tynesha