When transitioning to natural hair and growing out chemical relaxers, there are many things to consider: what products to use and how to best use them, how to minimize damage to your natural hair, how to maintain edges, and above all, how to make sure your curls still look cute. 

Transitioning your hair is a process that takes time, patience, and care. There will definitely be a few awkward weeks where your hair is finding its natural texture, pattern, and rhythm. Unfortunately, this process means there will be a few not-so-great hair days in your future. Don’t fear! You can always smooth strands into braids or other chic protective styles while your hair is growing out.

 In order to get long-term healthy, soft, and smooth curls when transitioning natural hair, there are a few must-dos to follow. Using nourishing formulas, protecting your hair at night, and avoiding heat styling are just a few of the transitioning rules. We’re digging deeper into our essential tips for transitioning your natural hair plus, what to expect when making the big switch.

Why You Should Go Natural 

Smiling black woman looking back with hand in hair

It’s your hair and you should do whatever makes you feel your best. However we have to admit, we love the au naturale look! It’s healthier for your strands in the long run plus, we think it’s important to embrace the beauty of your unique curls and coils. 

Now is also the perfect time to go natural. Over the summer a lot of things began to change. There was a major push to devote 15% of retail shelves to black-owned businesses and products, to cast more black models in mainstream ads, and to celebrate natural hair in all its glorious forms. There’s also been an increase in textured hair influencers, celebrities, and a larger social media presence of natural haired-beauties. 

With all these improvements it’s no wonder why so many of us with curls and coils are excited to explore new ways to style our hair that go beyond the traditional weaves and chemical relaxers. We love the creativity of protective styling and Instagram-friendly hair trends that are much more inclusive. Now is the perfect time to celebrate your hair and learn new ways to embrace and style it. Need some inspo on how to embrace your natural look? Read all about How To Embrace & Care For Your Natural Hair Like Tracee Ellis Ross.

How Does Transitioning Effect Edges?

If you’ve ever tried to transition your natural hair before you know that maintaining smooth edges is a huge concern. Though it may be tempting, never continue to relax your edges. It’s better to give your entire head a fresh start. 

When you’re transitioning, your hair is finding its natural pattern and texture which can take some time. During this process your edges will likely stick straight up and never lay flat against your head. Similarly, they will likely be extra dry or damaged from months (or years) of relaxing them.  This means not only do you need to help nourish them to regrow, you need to find ways to style them that won’t contribute to any more damage. Read more about this process in The Best Edge Care Tips For Transitioning To Natural Hair.

8 Essential Transitioning Natural Hair Tips

Transitioning your natural hair is a very personal journey. How it impacts your curls and how long it takes for your hair to fully thrive will depend on your unique curl pattern, texture, density, and more. However, there are some universal tips to help your strands look and feel healthy and hydrated while promoting new growth.

When it comes to caring for transitioning hair the best approach is to treat your hair as gently as possible. This means no harsh chemicals, ingredients, or hot tools and lots of nourishing formulas and practices that protect your strands.

Use Moisturizing Formulas

Natural, textured hair is unique. As such, it requires extra specialized formulas. Curly and coily hair is prone to dryness at the best of times, meaning your transitioning strands are even more brittle and delicate. This makes using moisturizing formulas an integral part of your overall hair health. 

A simple way to tell if a product has enough moisture to quench your natural curls is whether it’s water-based. You can spot a water-based product by looking at the label and seeing water as the first ingredient, similarly you want to avoid harsh products with sulfates, alcohol or petrolatum. For example, our Moisture Miracle Collection is formulated with nourishing, natural ingredients to infuse hair with shine and moisture.

Protect Your Hair At Night

The easiest thing you can do to protect your curls is something you should definitely already be doing: covering your hair at night. If you’re using a regular bonnet, it might be making matters worse. Instead, opt for a silk scarf or a bonnet with a headband attached so that it fully covers your edges and top of your forehead. 

No matter what protective cover you use at night, make sure it’s a silk or satin material. This isn’t just to be fancy, silk and satin help your coils and curls remain hydrated and protected whereas cotton absorbs oil and moisture from your hair. For extra protection, double up with a pillowcase of the same material to prevent any breakage from friction as you may toss and turn.

Be Patient

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to cut all your hair off in order to start transitioning to a natural ‘do. Instead you can simply trim dead ends every month or so and follow these tips to encourage healthy hair growth. Whichever method you choose, it’s going to take some time. 

We’re living in an age of instant gratification, and it can be difficult to be patient and wait for your hair to transition. However, it’s important to remember that good things take time. 

In the meantime, you can wear fabulous wigs and experiment with various protective styles like chic braids and edgy twists. 

Give Yourself A Scalp Massage

Anything you can do to help your hair grow healthy is always worth it.  A great way to care for your scalp and stimulate growth is to give it a comforting oil massage every week. We recommend using African Pride 5 Essential Oils blend as it can help reactivate hair follicles to support growth and prevent breakage. It also utilizes Vitamin E, a thickening agent, that repairs hair follicles to help reduce damage. 

Moisture Miracle Essential OIls

Simply applying the oil will protect and strengthen the hair, plus massaging it into your edges will stimulate blood circulation and encourage growth. The increased circulation also helps more nutrients reach the hair follicles on the hairline. 

Gently massage a small amount of the oil blend into the scalp and hairline to moisturize, strengthen, and repair edges. Since stress can also contribute to hair loss, close your eyes and take some deep breaths as you’re massaging.

Condition, Condition, Condition

After shampooing, give your coils some deep lovin’. No matter how gentle you are while washing, the process will strip hair of some moisture. Add nutrients and moisture back to strands through deep conditioning. Massage conditioner to wet hair for 10-15 minutes and gently rinse out. For an extra boost of moisture apply a targeted hair mask like our Moisture Restore Treatment, apply a plastic shower cap and let sit for 30 minutes. Deep conditioning not only ensures your natural hair stays moisturized, it will help repair damage, soften strands, and restore shine.

Always Detangle 

Knots and tangles are quite common, especially for transitioning hair, but the potential damage they can incur is major. Not properly detangling hair can lead to damage, frizziness, and more. Natural hair is most susceptible to damage when wet, so take the extra precautions to gently comb through hair after washing, first with your fingers and then a wide tooth comb. 

Moisture Miracle Pre-Shampoo

To ensure tangle-free tresses on wash day, use a gentle formula like our Moisture Miracle Pre-Shampoo to detangle strands and prep them for washing. Incorporating a pre-shampoo into your wash day regimen also helps to minimize breakage and better define natural curls and coils. 

Put Down The Hot Tools

Seriously. Put them down. High heat will only further any damage and delay the process of getting your best natural hair. We get it can be tempting but instead of using hot tools on natural hair, put your curls in protective styles and air-dry using a cotton t-shirt to soak up the water. 

If you absolutely must use a heat styler, don’t forget to always, always, always use a heat protectant spray when applying any heat to the hair. This puts a protective barrier between the heat from the styling tool and your delicate strands.

Record Your Hair Journey 

Going natural is a process of trial and error. You need to find the right products and formulas for your hair type and learn the best ways to style your unique curl pattern. Yes it takes patience and diligence, but the long term payoff is well worth it. In order to keep track of your hair journey we recommend keeping a record of how various products, formulas, and ingredients impacted your hair. This will help to ensure you don’t repeat mistakes and keep track of positive methods for future use. 

African Pride wants to empower and support all our natural-haired beauties out there and help you love what you were born with. Don’t worry, this is a process and it takes a long time. This special journey can’t be rushed, in fact it can take up to 8 months for your hair to fully transition back to its natural state. It might also take that long for you to build up your confidence in your natural beauty.

Ultimately, the key to going natural is understanding that this isn’t just a trend, it’s a commitment to embracing your natural beauty and ingraining proper natural hair care as a lifestyle change. Armed with the right products, techniques, and our helpful advice, we know you’re gonna succeed!