Long Term Transitioning is Possible: Tips From Ms. D!

Long Term Transitioning is Possible: Tips From Ms. D!

long term transitioning to natural hair
My Hair After Detangling

long term transitioning to natural hairOne of my fave former relaxed, transitioned to natural hair bloggers is Ms. D of 6 Foot Long Hair.  Partly because she turned me onto my beloved seamless combs from Hercules Sagemen, but also because of the detail in which she documented her journey while long term transitioning from relaxed to natural hair.      Although I don’t judge anyone for what they choose to do with their hair, I realize one of the major reasons so many women continue to relax their hair is because the idea of transitioning to to natural hair scares them!  They believe they will either be forced to cut their hair short to an afro or all of their hair will break off during the process.  While I won’t lie, it is a tedious process  (yes, I have done it too), transitioning to natural hair over a long period of time is absolutely possible.  Check out Ms. D’s hair story and tips below.

On December 31, 2011, I decided that I was going to transition back to natural.  My last relaxer was on November 18, 2011 and that experience was dreadful to say the least.  It made me really think about why I relaxed in the first place and if I wanted to continue doing so. On New Year’s Eve, I had a long talk with myself(not in crazy way lol) and decided it was time for me to get reacquainted with my natural hair.

Let me begin by saying that I had HEALTHY relaxed, below shoulder blade (BSB) length hair. Because my hair was healthy and somewhat long, big chopping to a short afro was not an option.  Before I start rambling, let’s move right into my long term transitioning tips!

Mentally Transition: Think LONG and HARD about why you want natural hair. Those very
reasons will be what keeps you going. For some, this may be the most difficult step and will take
a long time. So to gain inspiration. I suggest watching natural haired YouTubers and looking at
pictures on Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, blogs,forums, etc .

Set a Plan:  How long do you want to transition? 1 Year, 18 months, 2 years? Once you decidethat, you can start to build a regimen and/or styling plan around it. Chances are you won’t stickto that plan, but it’s good to have one in place. 🙂 For instance, I planned to be in protective styles 2 weeks at a time, wear my hair out on weekends I take it out, and get a long term protective style like braids or kinky twists when I was 8 months post. Note: Practicing a low maintenance regimen works best for transitioners. The less you touch your hair, the better.

long term transitioning to natural hair
My Hair After Detangling

Learn how to successfully detangle YOUR hair: Because you are dealing with 2 or more distinct different textures, detangling could become difficult. It is also one of the most detrimental steps in your regimen. Early on in my transition, I learned that detangling on dry hair, before washing worked best for me. For some, detangling on wet hair, soaked with conditioner, worked best for them. Try out different techniques until you figure out what works for YOUR hair then stick to it.

How I Detangled My Transitioning Hair:

  1. Section my hair off
  2. Spray a mix of Water, Glycerin, Aloe Vera Juice and Safflower Oil on each section
  3. Finger detangle to remove any shed hairs or knots
  4. Detangle with my wide tooth seamless comb
  5. Add my deep conditioner
  6. Place that section in a ponytail
  7. Twist the remainder of the hair
  8. Wash after a few hours

Master at least 2 protective styles and 2 “out” styles:  In order to keep yourself from getting
frustrated and bored with your hair, I believe that you should “master” a few hairstyles. This
way, you will always have something to fall back on and lessen the amount of “bad hair days”.

My go-to transitioning styles were:

  • Twists (with my own hair)
  • Buns (mostly high-buns)
  • Twist-n-Curls
  • Braid-n-Curls

Try not to concentrate too much on the fact that you are transitioning. Love the hair you have on your head, both the natural and relaxed!

long term transitioning to natural hair

Additional Tips:

  • Keep Hair Moisturized at ALL times
  • Keep hair strong by doing monthly or bi-weekly mild protein treatments
  • Trim your hair as needed.  I only trimmed every 2-4 months.
  • DON’T jump on any bandwagons- You must stick to what works best for you and trying a bunch of new things may cause a setback.  Save the experimentation for when the straight hair is gone.
  • Wash your hair in sections – I talked about this earlier.
  • Decrease direct heat usage unless you plan on being a straight haired natural..heat damage is a b!#$h!
  • Document your journey. This way you will see your progress and learn what works and doesn’t work for you.

long term transitioning to natural hair

I ended up big chopping earlier than planned at 15.5 months post relaxer.  Not because I had issues transitioning, but because the love for my natural hair grew stronger and stronger by the day.  So, big chop when you are absolutely ready. Trust me; you will know when you’re ready!

I hope my long term transitioning tips help one person out there.  Happy Hair Growing!

Thanks, D for sharing your tips with us!  Don’t forget to check out her blog at 6 Foot Long Hair.

  • Ms. D

    Thanks for the opportunity to guest post on your blog! 🙂

    • You are MORE than welcome, thank you so much for contributing such a great post!

  • Sasha

    Great post!

  • Thanks for posting this. I’m 6 months in (yay!) and this post was right on time.

    • You are more than welcome, I didn’t realize you are transitioning…guess I need to pay more attention to your posts. HHG!

      • Thanks! Though the transition is in danger of ending every weekend lol

  • Julia Rachels

    nice tips here. Are you still accepting for Free guest post?

  • Pingback: Natural Hair Chronicles: The Trouble with Transitioning | SUITE7beautyTALK()

  • Alida Mela

    thanks for your post its very helpful

  • Camille

    Thanks for this post. I have been without a relaxer since late August. Didn’t know where to begin so I have just been keeping my hair in braids and then leave my hair out for a couple of days. Its been hard when I am trying to detangle my hair I get frustrated and want to put a relaxer in it so I don’t have to deal with it, but the whole purpose of me wanting to go natural is I want long healthy hair and the chemicals was damaging my hair more than helping.

  • Lala Dorvilus

    Hi, I’m thinking about transitioning and I’ve done a lot of research but I’m not sure what to do with my hair. I’m looking at the transitioning hair but all of them have already gone natural with just the ends that need to be cut off. My whole hair is relaxed : I don’t know if I should treat it likes it relaxed or should I just wash it and put it in a protective style like braids like my mom said. What do I do?

  • Adeola

    when transitioning hair is it okay to take hair vitamins supplement like hairfitinty, mane or not to take it??

  • Zaria Ritzberg

    Thanks for this! I’m 15, been getting relaxers/texturizers my whole life. Then I started playing with my new growth, fell in love with it, and started seeing all the posts about natural hair, I knew I had to switch. It’s been almost a year; I’ve been ready to chop my hair for awhile, but my parents wont let me (the whole “long damaged hair is better than short hair). So I’m letting it grow until its about the same length as my hair was before anyways sorry for rambling I just wanted to say thank you for this its super helpful especially for someone in my position. <3