How to Transition to Natural Hair Without a Big Chop

Transitioning is the way to go if you don’t want to sacrifice your hair length and go natural all at once. You can pace yourself and go back to natural hair at a rate that you are comfortable with. Here is how the process works:
#1 Stop using chemical relaxers 

To begin the process give up the creamy crack completely.

#2 Give up all forms of chemical hair treatments

color-treated natural hair options

This includes texturizers, keratin treatments, and permanent hair dyes. All of these products alter the structure of your hair and will prolong the transitioning process even further. They can also add extra fragility to your hair which is something you don’t need.

#3 Avoid heat usage  


You want to avoid heat usage (flat irons & hotcombs) because your hair is already in a fragile state and because if you encounter heat damage this could also potentially permanently straighten your hair, which is what you are trying to avoid.

#4 Strengthen your hair with protein treatments and frequent deep conditioning

 protein treatmentsAphogee Protein Treatment

Where your relaxed hair meets your natural roots there is going to be some weakness in this area due to the texture differences. This is pretty much unavoidable, but what you can do is keep your hair in tip top shape by deep conditioning with every wash that you do, and doing protein treatments every 6 to 8 weeks.

#5 Moisturize your hair with water or water based products daily, then seal in with an oil

shea moisture transition kit

Shea Moisture’s Transitioning Kit

You may be uncomfortable with water, as growing up we were taught it’s our enemy but this is so actually far from the truth. Water or a water based moisturizer is the best thing you can use, you can also use an oil to help seal in the moisture you are putting into your hair.


#6 Wear low manipulation or protective styles

wa4A low manipulation style, is simply a style that does not require daily styling and maintenance, hence less strain on you hair. A good example of a low manipulation style would be a roller set, twist out, or braid out. Being that you texture is not going to be consistent while you are transitioning you will probably like the results of roller sets better or combing twists with rollers on the end (this way the ends of your hair will look nice and curly)

charity yarn braids

A protective style, is a style in which the ends of your hair protected by being tucked away and the style doesn’t require daily maintenance other than moisturizing. Good examples of protective styles include buns, box braid extensions, or even wigs!

#7 Trim as little or as much as you want until you are fully natural and your hair has reached a length that you are comfortable with

scissorsHow long the transitioning process will take will depend on the current length of your hair. If your hair is shoulder length or longer and the majority of your hair is relaxed it could take up to a year or more before your natural hair reaches a length that you are okay with. You don’t have to rush into a big chop, that’s the beauty of this method, but you must have patience!


117 thoughts on “How to Transition to Natural Hair Without a Big Chop”

  1. Since I’m quarantined, I haven’t had a touch-up or trim since March. I was going to order some relaxer and do it myself, but I don’t want to risk damaging my hair, so I’m growing it out instead. I don’t know how I’m going to style it because of the length (short bob length if not straightened). Where can I find some styles? I have to do a lot of video meetings for work so I need to make sure it’s neat.

  2. honestly I haven’t tried this yet because I don’t have deep conditioning things but I have moisture and when I use it on my hair it works kind of. But I trim my hair then I put africa’s best moisture which is made with shea butter.

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