The Cookbook


Everything You Need to Know about Transitioning to Natural Hair!

We talk a LOT about natural hair at NaturAll Club. We love natural hair in all its diversity of patterns, textures, lengths, colors, and styles. Going natural can be an incredible form of self-love and self-expression for many women who used to perm or relax their hair- and for many women who have always been natural, it’s simply a part of who they are and a lifelong journey of knowing themselves.

transitioning to beautiful natural hair

One of the most common questions we’re asked at NaturAll is how to go natural. We were so glad you all are asking that we decided to dedicate an entire blogpost to it. Our team has compiled all our tips and advice on what to expect, and how to transition in a way that keeps your hair (and you!) healthy and confident. We are a community, so feel free to comment on this post (or in our Facebook group!) with your own advice, tips, questions, or challenges. Let’s learn from each other!

*Note: this post is written specifically for people transitioning from chemically-relaxed hair, but it is still relevant to people transitioning away from heat or color treatments!

How to go natural: Big Chop or Transition

Perhaps the biggest question asked when it comes to going natural is whether to “Big Chop” or transition slowly.

big chop natural hair

The big chop route involves cutting off all or almost all of your permed hair. This is like a “reset” button on your hair. By chopping off the hair that’s been chemically treated, you can start over with new, natural growth. Many women have embraced this choice! It can be incredibly liberating to let your hair go (along with any insecurities or identities you may have tied to it) and start fresh, experiencing all the different stages and lengths of natural hair, and the styles that accompany them.

If you decide to big chop, your main transition will be learning how to care for curly, natural hair again, especially if you've been using a perm or relaxer for a while. Where do you even start?! As you watch your healthy curls come in, we recommend first looking over this guide to curl pattern, and this overview of hair porosity. Your new hair growth is likely to have a totally different curl pattern and porosity from your chemically treated hair, and these guides will get you started in how to care for your curls.

After that, you'll probably want to know how you can style your short natural hair! Head over to this post, which has 10 easy hairstyles you can do on a TWA (teeny weeny afro!)

The Big Chop isn't for everyone.

    That said, the big chop isn’t for everyone. Transitioning is a different route to natural hair that involves cutting chemicals, relaxers, and heat out of your hair regimen. While your permed hair will never return to its natural state, you can retain length while you transition to natural hair, slowly trimming off the damaged ends until it’s fully natural at a length you’re comfortable with.

      We cannot stress enough that this is a personal choice! Whether you decide to big chop or transition, don’t let anyone tell you (least of all yourself) that you made the wrong choice or that your hair isn’t beautiful. Everyone’s hair is different, and everyone has a different relationship with their hair. You might hate the idea of short hair or not want to lose the ability to do longer styles; on the other hand, you might be impatient and ready to get rid of your permed hair NOW! You might not want to deal with two different textures or not like the look of transitioning hair.

      Pursue whichever path feels most comfortable (or exciting!) to you, and remember that neither choice is eternal. If you big chop, your hair WILL grow out again (and you can always wear wigs or clip-ins in the meantime); if you transition, you can decide to chop off your permed hair at any time.

        If you decide to do the Big Chop, you can follow our tips above. But If you decided on the transitioning route, things can be slightly more complicated. Read on...

        Here’s what to expect when you start transitioning your hair!

        natural hair transition what to expect

        1. Expect to make a significant change in your haircare routine. Transitioning means no chemicals, no relaxers, no heat. There is no middle ground here, no “occasional” touch-ups or treatments. If you’re deciding to transition, you need to throw the chemicals away and store your heating tools in the back of a closet or at your friend’s house. We’re just being straight with you!
        2. Expect to be tempted to treat your hair again! Transitioning is a slow process, and it’s frustrating, and it can be discouraging at points. This is why we recommend that you decide now how long you want to transition for. Having a goal can motivate you to keep going when those straighteners or relaxers look really tempting. Note- you can always change your goal! You might get 3 months in and decide to do a big chop after all! That is OKAY.
        3. Expect to see a clearly defined line that divides your damaged ends from new, natural growth. This is known as the line of demarcation. The line of demarcation is the weakest point on each and every hair strand. It is extremely vulnerable to breakage. While it may be a challenge to blend the two textures, make sure above all to be extremely gentle with your hair at that point. Avoid over-manipulation and take care to keep your hair highly moisturized.
        4. No matter how careful you are, you should expect to see some breakage. Your hair has been permanently damaged by chemicals, and you simply can’t expect it to be as strong now as it will be eventually when it is fully natural. You’re not necessarily doing something wrong if you notice some breakage or hair loss- don’t get discouraged, and continue to treat your hair with care.

        transitioning to natural hair tips and advice

        Need more tips on transitioning? We got you.

        1. Trim your hair regularly. This will remove split ends, help your hair grow faster, keep it healthier, and ultimately get you closer to being fully natural. You can trim according to what’s comfortable for you- maybe you chop off an inch every month, or maybe you’re more conservative- but make sure to keep an eye on your ends and trim them regularly. Here's how to trim your own hair if you can't make it to the hair salon.
        2. Avoid products with toxic or drying ingredients, which will increase breakage and frizz. Here are some ingredients to avoid. Your hair needs its natural oils now more than ever, and sulfates will strip those away, leaving your hair dry and brittle.
        3. However, don’t stop washing your hair altogether! If you don’t regularly cleanse and clarify your hair, you’ll end up with a lot of product buildup. You can use a sulfate-free shampoo like NaturAll Club's all natural Hydrating Avocado Kiwi Shampoo, whether it’s once a week or every two weeks- just don’t cut it out completely.
        4. Take the time to learn what your hair needs. Your hair is changing, so your regimen should be too! Don’t go out and spend all your savings on new products, but also don’t hesitate to get rid of a product that isn’t working for you and try a new one.
        5. Keep your hair moisturized- we can’t stress this enough. Dryness will cause breakage along that line of demarcation we mentioned. If you missed them, here are our tips for keeping natural hair moisturized.
        6. Find a go-to style that you can master and feel confident in. We recommend trying twist-outs, braid-outs, or perm rods to help you blend the two textures of your hair until you’re done transitioning.
        7. Don’t shy away from protective styles. You shouldn’t leave them in for months, but a protective style for a couple weeks can give you a needed rest from hair maintenance.
        8. Deep conditioning is important for everyone, no matter the state or texture of their hair- but it is absolutely non-negotiable if you are transitioning. Just like we mentioned earlier, your hair is in a weak, fragile state while you’re transitioning, and it needs all the nutrients and moisture it can get. Make deep conditioning part of your haircare regimen, doing treatments every two weeks or as often as every week. We recommend NaturAll's all-natural Fresh Frozé Treatment Deep Conditioners, which will get the job done better than anything else.
        9. Our final tip is the most important- love your hair and yourself! Enjoy the journey! You get to discover your natural hair slowly, and it’s one of the most exciting things you can do for yourself. Don’t forget to seek tips, advice, and words of encouragement from other naturals or people in your life that you trust.

        gorgeous natural hair friendship self love

        Muhga Eltigani

        Muhga Eltigani

        After years of using products that left her hair dry, damaged, and dull, Muhga Eltigani decided to chop off her hair and start over. For 6 months, she committed to using only natural ingredients on her hair- foods from her fridge and the grocery store with names she recognized, like avocados, olive oil, coconut, baking soda, and even eggs. She found support through an online community of women like her, sharing recipes and ingredients on Youtube.

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