How to go from Relaxed to Natural Hair

In order to go from relaxed to natural hair, you have two options: Transitioning or The Big Chop. Which one you choose is entirely up to you. There is no right way or wrong way to start your journey. It doesn’t matter how you get there, its all about what makes you comfortable.


Let’s take a look at the two methods for going natural:


Transitioning is the process of eliminating chemical treatments and allowing the hair to grow out while gradually trimming the chemically processed ends.

Most people slowly trim their relaxed ends away as they grow out their relaxer; this also helps to keep breakage at bay and it gives your hair a more healthy appearance.

transitioning natural hairPros of Transitioning:

  • You have the time to learn about your particular hair type.
  • If you are not comfortable with short hair, then you can avoid that adjustment period, and avoid the wait of growing your hair back out.
  • During transitioning you have the time to perfect your hair styling skills.

Cons of Transitioning

  • The texture of your hair will not be consistent: which means if you decide to wear your hair in a twist out or braid out style the root of your hair might be curly while your ends will be bone straight (To avoid this simply roll the ends of your hair with rods or rollers).
  • The process of transitioning takes longer than if you just did “the big chop”.

shea moisture transition kit

 Shea Moisture’s Repair & Transition Kit



The Big Chop

The Big Chop is for those who want to be natural now. It entails cutting off all of the relaxed hair and wearing a TWA (teeny weeny afro).

The Big ChopPros of the Big Chop

  • You have a consistent hair texture as opposed to transitioning where you have to deal with two.
  • There are no long waits to go natural; your hair is returned to its natural state as soon as your relaxed hair is chopped off.
  • With a big chop you have a fresh start no chemically processed hair and no split ends.

Cons of the Big Chop

  • Waiting to grow your hair longer
  • Learning to deal with an entirely new texture on the spot
  • Coming up with new short natural hairstyles.


It’s all up to you!

What you decide is entirely up to you. Go with what makes you feel good and what you feel fits your lifestyle. Remember there is no right or wrong way to go natural. As long as you get there it does not matter what route you choose.

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  1. says

    Oh, I had relaxed my hair in 2010 just before entering high school. I was like 12 then and I now regret it and want back my natural hair.
    The only thing I’m afraid of is not transitioning correctly.
    I don’t want to do “The Big Chop”. Too extreme, my hair is at a reasonable length–way past my shoulders and I don’t want to cut it all off.
    So, I’m looking at the “Transitioning” method. Should I braid my hair? Would that help? Also, what kinda products would you guys insist on me using for the best results on this soon to be natural journey? I decided to start when I have everything worked out.
    Can anyone help me out? I’m 16, gotta break the news to my mother even though she really had enough of this “paying for relaxers and hair treatments” thing. Very costly.
    Is the Natural Journey costly?
    Thank you. I look forward to seeing my natural hair again and being proud.

    • says

      Braids are a good way to transition. You can also wear styles that help to blend all of your hair into one consistent texture like roller sets. There is no right or wrong product, it’s all about what works for you. Shea Moisture makes great products so I definitely recommend you try them out. The natural hair journey can be costly in the beginning when you are experimenting and trying out which products work for you. However once you know what works it’s pretty low cost.

  2. says

    I was natural for FIVE years and realexd my hair in January. Regretted it by February, realexd again in March for the LAST time. I’ve been wearing falls and wigs since, cuz I want my BIG fro back before I wear it out. However, this is getting old. March 2011, I’m getting it shaped up, dying it red, and rocking it again!If I ever buy another relaxer, I hope the Lord sends a bold of lightning to knock it out of my hands!

  3. Ange says

    My daughter has been natural for 2 years now, our hairdresser told her she is completely natural; however, the front part of her hair is very,very straight. She has tried the wash and go, but is having a hard time with it and other styles because some parts of her hair will not curl. What should she do? And yes, she has been using different products to curl her hair

    • Karen says

      Hey Ange:

      I’m thinking of braiding my hair as well and going natural.. I’ve been wearing my hair relaxed for a few yrs now, and after a while maintaining relaxed hair grows old .. what type of moisturizer are you using on your path to “Natural”?

      • alabi olaide says

        I use relaxer on my hair and i want to change to natural hair, but my burden is I do not want to braid my hair while i want it long and soft enough to pack up and hold it with band, how possible is that? Thank you.

  4. judith marion says

    I also want to transition to natural hair. I don’t mind the big chop. I am braiding my hair now. Its a month now i hope for the best.

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