Change can be intimidating, especially when it comes to transitioning hair which involves reversing the effects of color treatments and chemical processing on your locks. But don’t worry. Transitioning back to your natural hair isn’t as daunting as it sounds—and you don’t have to do the big chop. If you’re a curly, coily, or kinky-haired person ready to embrace your natural hair, keep reading for the full scoop.
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What Is Transitioning Hair?
Transitioning your hair is all about reverting your locks to their natural state. It's a process that can take time, but trust us, transitioning to natural hair is worth the wait. If you're hesitant about making the switch, remember that patience and perseverance prevail. Be kind to yourself, and remember that fully transitioning your hair doesn’t happen overnight.
Transitioning Hair Stages: What You Need to Know
Wondering what a hair transition looks like month by month? We’ve laid out the three essential phases of hair growth. From the anagen growth phase to the telogen-resting phase, here’s what you can expect as you begin your hair transformation journey:
Early Transitioning Stage: 1-3 Months
Also known as the anagen-growth phase, you may experience a mix of textures as your natural hair grows during the first few months. Expect some frustration and styling challenges, but don't give up. Hair typically grows between half an inch to an inch per month.
During this phase, it’s important to keep your scalp moisturized with a leave-in conditioner or oil, avoid heat styling, opt for protective styles like braids or twists, and trim your relaxed ends gradually to minimize breakage.
Mid Transitioning Stage: 3-6 Months
Around this point, you'll start to see about two to three inches of your natural hair. During this catagen-transition phase, your natural texture will become much more noticeable.
Continue with protective styles to minimize damage and deep condition your hair regularly to maintain moisture. You should also start using protein treatments once a month to promote healthy hair growth.
Long-Term Transitioning Stage: 6-12 Months & Beyond
You've come a long way, but there's still work to be done. Once you’ve reached the telogen-resting phase, your natural hair will have grown between two and three inches.
Your natural hair will look much more prominent next to your relaxed hair, so styling may pose a challenge. Trim remaining relaxed ends as you see fit, invest in products specifically designed for natural hair to keep it healthy, and try wearing hairstyles that mask those awkward in-between moments.
The Do’s: Hairstyles for Transitional Hair
Choosing the right hairstyles can make your transitioning journey that much more bearable. Consider easy, low-maintenance, and especially chic protective hairstyles like the options below.
Bantu Knots & Knot-Outs
Bantu knots are ideal for transitioning hair. These small knots act as a way to protect your hair during the day or at night and look great when unraveled. Wherever you are in your hair transformation, you can easily create bantu knots and knot-outs.
Wet sets involve styling your hair while it's damp and allowing it to dry naturally. Whether you opt for twists, braids, or flexi-rods, wet sets can help blend your hair textures seamlessly. Let your wet set dry overnight for perfect curls that hold all day long.
Braid-outs are a go-to for many kinky and coily-haired folks. These types of braids protect your hair and define your wave pattern. There are multiple types of braid-outs you can try, so give it a go and start braiding. This style not only looks great but also helps manage the two different textures on your strands.
Wigs are great for those interested in hiding their natural hair until it’s ready to make its grand entrance. Plus, wigs allow wiggle room for versatile styles during those awkward growth stages. Take caution when putting on a wig, though. Wear a cap between your natural hair and the wig to prevent friction.
The Don’ts: What To Avoid While Transitioning Hair
We get it—transitioning back to natural hair is a hassle. Let’s all collectively sigh. You’re likely going to get frustrated, but whatever you do, don’t grab the hot tools. Below are a few styles that may sound tempting, but will set your hair transition journey back by months.
Don’t Heat Style
The last thing you want is to further damage your hair. Avoid hot tools like straighteners and curling irons during your transition period. High heat can damage your hair and hinder the entire transition process. If you use heat on your hair, you can expect your hair transitioning to take up to several years.
Don’t Brush Knots
Textured hair is prone to tangling, but resist the urge to brush or comb it. In fact, you should never brush curls unless you’re detangling. On wash days, use a wide-toothed comb or your fingers to gently detangle, remembering to use an ample amount of your preferred detangling formula.
Don’t Use Texturizers
The point of transitioning is to refrain from chemical treatments. Texturizers are chemical treatments that alter your natural curl pattern, resulting in damaged hair and a stunted hair transition process. Avoid using any chemical treatments during your transition period, no matter how enticing it may be.
Don’t Use Extensions
While extensions can be a quick fix, relying on them makes it harder to move forward in your hair transition. Embrace your natural hair, and allow it to breathe naturally without the use of extensions.
Don’t Color Your Hair
Your hair may be brittle as you grow it out. Instead of slathering color all over your hard work, give your hair room to breathe and grow. Avoid any dye jobs for as long as possible, preferably after you’ve fully transitioned back to your natural hair.
Still want to experiment with color on your natural hair? As mentioned, wigs are an easy way to switch things up when you’re feeling indecisive. Strut your stuff as a redhead by day or pop on a funky color by night. You can also use temporary colors like hair chalk meant to be washed out at the end of the day.
The Best Products for Transitioning From Relaxed to Natural Hair
When it comes to products for transitioning relaxed hair, avoid anything with harsh chemicals. Instead, look for products that are sulfate-free and formulated with natural ingredients. Choose a curl-safe shampoo to gently cleanse your hair, and follow up with a deep moisture mask.
Keep your hair hydrated throughout the day with nourishing oil like argan or coconut. Consistency is your ticket to healthier hair, so use these products regularly to achieve the best results. Start your transition with our hair care products or skip the headache and grab a transitioning kit for natural hair.
Kickstart Your Hair Transitioning Journey With AFAM
Ready to kickstart your hair transitioning journey? We are, too. Launch your transition with AFAM in your arsenal.
Shop for transition-approved products formulated to meet your texture’s needs. Yes, it's a long process. But trust us, the results are worth it. Don’t be afraid to rock those locks and let your natural beauty loose. Explore our entire collection of curl-safe products to help aid your hair transformation.