Transitioning from Chemically Relaxed Hair to Natural Hair

Show off your natural hair.

Transitioning from chemically relaxed hair to natural hair can be a challenging and time consuming experience if you do not plan to cut the relaxer out of your hair. Most people choose to let their hair grow out of the relaxer because they do not want to have a short, tiny afro. Although cutting the relaxer out is the easiest way to transition, there is another option for gently going from relaxed hair to a natural, chemical-free style.

Why Go From Chemically Relaxed Hair to Natural Hair

Some people feel that going from a relaxer to natural hair style is not worth the effort. They say that it is more difficult to care for natural hair using only natural hair products. The challenge of transitioning, however, is worth it.

Depending on your hair style, natural hair can be almost as easy as relaxed hair to style. It's worth the time to transition because the chemicals in relaxers can burn your scalp and damage your hair. If you scratch your head on the day that a relaxer is applied, you are likely going to feel a stinging, burning sensation. Do you really want to put something on your scalp (or new growth) that is so strong that stylists must wear gloves to apply it?

Relaxers change the structure of your hair, but having a hairstyle that is natural typically means that you do not have a relaxer in your hair. Some women have a natural hairstyle but they continue to color their hair. There are color treatments available that are completely natural, like henna, or there are hair coloring treatments that are more natural and gentle than traditional treatments. With natural hair, you are likely to discover that you are growing longer black hair. So how do you transition?

Transitioning from Chemically Relaxed Hair to Natural Hair

If you do not want to cut your hair in one big chop and sport a teeny weeny afro, you can clip your ends and gradually transition into a natural. Choose a style that will not put stress on your hair. Many women wear their hair in two strand twists while they are going natural. You can also try wearing cornrow braids, but make sure that they are not too tight.

Wearing a weave is yet another option. If you wear a weave, you should opt to get a full sew-in weave. With a full sew-in weave, you can have all of your hair cornrowed under the weave and cover your hair with the weave while it is growing out. Keep your weave maintained and take care of your hair underneath the weave. Change your weave as often as your stylist suggests. Just because you wear a weave or any other transitional styles does not mean that you will not have not have to cut your hair.

To Cut or Not to Cut

Even if you do not cut your hair off all at once when transitioning from chemically relaxed hair to natural hair, you will have to gradually cut away the permed parts of your hair. The area where the relaxed hair and the natural hair meets will break eventually, anyway, so it's best to evenly cut away the relaxer yourself.

Some women try to make their new growth, the natural part of their hair, look like the relaxed part by straightening it. That's a bad idea. Avoid straightening your hair with a curling iron or a hot comb because the heat will damage your hair and cause breakage. Your hair may break close to new growth or close to your scalp. It's best to just cut your hair to the new growth if you will be tempted to hot curl it or hot comb it. Try curling your hair the old fashioned way with setting lotion and rollers. It may take a little longer for your hair to curl, but it's safer than using the hot comb.


Transitioning from chemically relaxed hair to natural hair is a big step, but once you've done it you'll discover the delights of your natural hair texture and healthier, beautiful hair.

Transitioning from Chemically Relaxed Hair to Natural Hair