Transitioning From Relaxed To Natural Hair

So, you want to go natural. The first thing you must do when you’re transitioning from relaxed to natural hair is stop getting relaxers! Duh, right? It’s really that easy. When I first started I was just trying to stretch the time in between my relaxers. I would get relaxers every 4 months. I think I got to about month 6 of “stretching” when I decided to transition from relaxed to natural. I just threw out any relaxer I had and made up my mind that it was no longer an option for me. Sometimes the first step is the hardest. I also decided to stop going to salons because I didn’t want the pressure they sometimes put on people to get relaxers. Obviously, not all stylists are like that but those that aren’t are few and far between. If you’re not really a do-it-yourself stylist or you just don’t want to be bothered, I suggest finding a stylist that will support your transition.

Next, read my post on the top 10 Things You Could be Doing to Wreck Your Hair. If you’re doing any of those things STOP! Once you discontinue these practices you will see big changes — FAST!

The next thing you have to do when you’re Transitioning From Relaxed To Natural Hair is decide your hair staples.

Here are mine…

Next, when you’re transitioning from relaxed to natural hair, you want to build a regimen. Ask yourself these questions?

  1. How often can you wash?
  2. Are you going to trim, how often?
  3. How often do you want to deep condition?
  4. Are you going to straighten, how often?
  5. How will you straighten if you decide to do so — roller sets, hot combs, flat irons, etc.?
  6. Are you going to do protein treatments, how often?
  7. Will you use shampoo or just conditioner, apple cider vinegar or herbs to wash?
  8. How are you going to protect your hair when you sleep?
  9. How will you moisturize your hair?
  10. Are you going to pre-wash your hair?
  11. Are you going to do scalp massages, how often?
  12. What are your go-to styles going to be — braid-outs, curl former sets, buns, etc.?
A lot of this stuff was trail and error for me, but here are my answers to help you get started. Keep in mind that you have to do what works for you. My answers should just inspire you and point you in the right direction. If you’re totally lost/blindfolded the maze of transitioning, think of Mane & Chic as a helpful voice in your ear giving you tips on how to navigate and reach your goal of being natural with ease. There are some shortcuts I can share that saved me quite a bit of time and frustration. I cannot tell you what will or will not work for you — only what I have experienced and what worked for me. Occasionally I interview other women or provide links to their sites so that you see other techniques that I haven’t tried or products I haven’t reviewed.

My answers…

  • How often can you wash?I co-washed pretty much everyday for 2 years (and I still do) except for when I wore my hair straight. I just love clean hair. Once I started doing it, it just became a lifestyle thing.
  • Are you going to trim, how often?I went a whole year without trimming when I first started my transition because I wanted to see if that whole 6″ in a year thing was true — it was! Now, I like to do light dusting every 3 months or I do what has been called the “search and destroy method” where I look for split ends and trim them off. I have become a little obsessive with this. It’s very time consuming to go through each and every strand, but I usually do it in sections: one section per week whenever I feel like it. It’s relaxing for me. I can do it weekly and then skip doing it for a couple of months. I see no reason to trim off healthy ends when I can just search and destroy a few bad ends.
  • How often do you want to deep condition?During my transition, I deep conditioned twice per week. I used deep conditioner and left it on 45 minutes using the 15-10-10 method and steam towel wrap. I didn’t have the Gold ‘N Hot heat cap back then but I strongly suggest it.
  • Are you going to straighten, how often?I decided to straighten with direct heat once every 3 months. Rarely I would do it 2-3 times every 3 months.
  • How will you straighten if you decide to do so — roller sets, hot combs, flat irons, etc.?I always used roller sets followed by flat ironing followed by flat pin curls followed by a silk wrap.
  • Are you going to do protein treatments, how often?Once every 6-8 weeks.
  • Will you use shampoo or just conditioner, apple cider vinegar or herbs to wash?I did daily co-washes and weekly apple cider vinegar rinses. I may have shampooed and used herb sporadically, but not regularly.
  • How are you going to protect your hair when you sleep?I slept on satin pillowcases, I employed the baggy method, and I wore satin scarves/bonnets.
  • How will you moisturize your hair? Let’s se, I carried a spritzer of diluted moisturizer in my purse and car. I sprayed throughout the day when I felt my hair getting dry. I also carried small bottles of Giovanni Direct Leave In to use. I baggied at night.
  • Are you going to pre-wash your hair?I did most of the time. Most of the time I would just oil my hair at night or use conditioner overnight and wash/rinse out in the morning.
  • Are you going to do scalp massages, how often? How will you stimulate your scalp? I would try to daily scritching. I did that for awhile and then I adopted what I call the lazy girl’s daily scalp massage. I also like oils or products that tingle — anything with peppermint or tea tree.
  • What are your go-to daily styles — braid-outs, curl former sets, buns, etc.?I just stuck to my SouthernTease bun, curl former sets, my method for straightening, and flexi rod sets. I wish I would have known about banding and twist outs.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for this!!

  • karmelqt20

    I agree THANK YOU!!! im mos def going to be on this every thursday!!!!

  • Anonymous

    u must have read my wall post on facebook, i think i have found some hope :) thanks!

  • MummysGirl

    Thank you for the tips… I am transitioning (19 weeks into it) and I have gotten lazy with the ACV rinses, I can't remember the last time I did one. My hair doesn't seem to be missing them yet but I don't want to wait till that happens.
    I cowash 3 times a week and will soon increase to 4 (my hair loves it).

    Thanks so much for sharing all this information :-)

  • Anonymous

    LOL! I need to know what the lazy girl's daily scalp massage method is. It sounds about right for me.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the information. I have been transitioning from relaxed to naturally curly hair for 21 weeks. I am online everyday researching tips for transitiong.

  • Kei

    I love your blog. My goal is to transition the MC way. Thanks for shearing

  • Anonymous

    You have some really great ideas about goin natural. I have been without chemicals for almost a year now and my hair is soooo much better for it. I am definately a fan!

  • Anonymous

    what is the 5 10 10 method–sorry never heard of this.

  • Anonymous


    Congratulations on your curlyversary! Your blog site is so dope! I had my last relaxer on Apr. 25, 2009 and at first I was just going to stretch out my perms to 4 a year, but I began to think that I should just do with out it. I started googling, youtubing, and researching about becoming natural and transitioning. I also spoke to a lot of women and they all said you have to cut your hair, blah, blah, blah. I found your site and others like yours that transitioned while keeping their length and felt like I had to prove them wrong as well. I like short hair and believe that I have the face for it, but I would just like to keep my length and challenge myself to be patient and grow as my hair grows into something wonderful and natural. I just want to say thanks and I have officially begun my journey to becoming natural as well. Keep doing what you’re doing because you have really educated yourself with this process, which has truly helped me!

  • Anonymous

    Hi im 16 years old and im 4 months into transitioning. i decided to transition because my hair just stop growing. Relaxers,highlights,and heat just killed my hair.Your site has helped me so much! Thank you:]

  • Dominique

    Your blog is amazing,very well organized! i was wondering how many months is your hair in this pic?

  • Anonymous

    this sound like it will wotk really well im 15 years old and i have been getting perms for a awhile but my last perm was in august of 2008 and i havent had anohter one yet but im havin trouble with ways i can style my ahir.right now im doing kinky twist which really help me keeps my ahnds out of my head but i want to know some ways i can wear my hair when i don't have them..

  • AlinaBarber

    You have totally inspired me. I am embarking on transitioning for the fourth time.

    You've made me so confident that I can do it, and do it right this time.


  • Anonymous

    hey! im 15 and i have only relaxed my hair a few times but constant straghtining and just pure ignorance on how to take care for my bi-racial-but-still-black-enough hair left it really damaged.this site really helped me gain confidence in my curls. i love maneandchic and think its truely a blessing to see black hair in a positive light.

  • Kerry-Ann

    I am using Olde Jamaica Black Castor Oil to help with my transition to natural hair. It really softens my roots and makes it more manageabale. It is really growing my hair at a faster rate, but I am always on the lookout for new products to experiment with.

  • D Alexandra

    I can't believe you ever got a relaxer. You have beautiful hair.

  • maneandchic

    The relaxer was pushed on my mother by a hair dresser and as a teenager, I just wanted straight hair.

  • Chrissy E

    ThankYou,Glad i bumped into this "currently transitioning"and I felt lost but this totally helped!