Maybe you’ve been experiencing breakage, or maybe your hair’s pretty much damaged beyond repair. Maybe you want to make a style statement, or you want to stand out in the crowd. Maybe you just want a big change in your life, and your hair seems like a good place to start. Maybe you want to rebel against what you’ve always been encouraged to be. Maybe you’ve just had it up to here with having to go to the hairdresser as often as you do, or maybe you’re just sick of the stink and burn of creamy crack on your scalp. Any one (or all) of those reasons could lead a bella to consider transitioning from relaxed to natural.

It’s not a decision I think anyone should make on a whim — especially if you’re the kind of bella who makes a point of switching up her style often and gets bored with her hair easily, you might not be ready to commit to having natural hair. And it is a commitment. From the big chop onwards, it’s a whole new journey that will lead you to love your hair in an entirely different way. I’ve written about transitioning before, and I get more Ask Afrobella questions about that than anything else. So without further ado, here’s my top five tips for a successful transition.

1. Ask yourself — am I really ready for this? Am I making this change for the right reasons? The early stages of transitioning can be daunting. I’d be lying if I said I never had days when I was frustrated with my changing hair texture. Bellas who are hoping to keep their relaxed hair length while growing out the chemicals at the root night find themselves aghast at the idea of doing a big chop. I personally think the big chop is the way to go — just getting rid of the weak ends that can be easily broken off feels freeing. It’s a way to make the statement to yourself and to the world – I’m a natural woman, accept me as I am. As Dee on Nappturality says, it IS possible to transition without it, but your hair will be weakened at the line of demarcation and breakage might occur. There are some great big chop videos on YouTube, so perhaps watching other women go through it will inspire you, or at least let you know if it’s the right change for you. It could also help you to take Nappturality’s transitioning quiz to figure out your status.

2. Conditioner is your new BFF. Shampoo, not so much. I addressed this early on in To Poo or Not To Poo, and I’ll say it again — shampooing too often will leave your hair frizzy, stripped of its natural moisture, and not happy at all. In the transitioning period, it’s important to treat your tresses to lots of deep conditioning treatments – weekly is best — and conditioner wash your hair during the week if it feels heavy or dirty. Like Motown Girl said, there are concoctions you can make yourself to cleanse your new curls. Check out her recipes here. Matter of fact – this brings me to point number 3.

3. Educate yourself about your new hair. Become extra familiar with Motown Girl — she’s got a great post on staying natural here. Introduce yourself to the sisters at Nappturality — you would be hard pressed to find a community more encouraging, intelligent, and knowledgable about everything to do with natural hair. Learn which ingredients are good for your hair, and which ones are bad. Try some hair recipes. By learning more about natural hair, you’ll learn to love it more and work with it better.

4. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. From the inside out. So drink water, duh – and look for products with healthy ingredients to lock in moisture to your curls. I’ve reviewed so many products, I don’t know where to begin. But I must add — what works for me may not work for you. What feels like my holy grail might leave buildup or residue for you, and vice versa. Everyone’s texture and needs are different, so just take the time — do the research on products that work for women with your texture, and buy small sizes of hair products until you figure out what your hair really loves.

5. Don’t give up. I meet so many bellas who say to me, “I could never go natural,” or “my hair wouldn’t look cute natural.” How do you know? Have you given your hair the time and the love it deserves, to realize what your natural texture truly is? Did you give transitioning a fair shake, or did you get bored with your TWA after a month and a half and try to slap on some texturizer, or wear a long clip on ponytail because you didn’t feel as cute without long hair? (you know who you are, amiga! No shade, I still love you. But come on, you need to know you’re gorgeous without that yaki mess). Learn how to own your fro. Don’t be afraid to work it with fly accessories, or accentuate your femininity with jewelry or earrings, if you can’t get used to having shorter or kinkier hair. Natural hair takes confidence and knowledge of self, and thankfully there are online resources to remind you of that on the days when your nosy relatives ask you if you’re going to “do something about that.”

Need some extra transitioning help? Kinky Curly to the rescue! I reviewed the full line almost a year ago, and owner Shelley Davis has come out with a new product for this particular hair dilemma. Transitioners Tonic is loaded with aloe vera and chamomile to soothe your scalp, and… oh, I’ll just let Shelley tell you herself.

The Transitioners Tonics is an all natural scalp tonic to assist those in the grow-out phase of their relaxer. Many women are afraid to let go of the perm for various reason. They fear chopping it all off and worry about scab hair. The Transitioners Tonic will help prevent scab hair by soothing and healing the scalp with Aloe and chamomile from past relaxer damage and by softening the new growth with Sodium PCA. It also strengthens the hair at the line of demarcation to prevent breakage with Silk Protein and silica. What everyone really loves about it is that it helps with hair growth with Rosemary and biotin. I concocted this because the scalp is often overlooked and is very important to healthy hair especially during transitioning,” she explained to me via e mail.

Shelley is well aware of the shipping and communication issues of the past, and she was very honest with me about the difficulties she’s faced with that. I can understand where she’s coming from – going from a small venture you’ve started in your free time to a larger operation where you’re inundated with e mails and phone calls and orders must be crazy overwhelming at times. I can’t hardly stay on top of my e mail, and I’m not half as busy as Shelley is. But she acknowledges that there have been problems, and she wants to prove that they’re behind her. She also has great tips for those who aspire to transition.

So point 6. from Shelley — “The one thing I really want to stress to women transitioning who plan on wearing their hair in its natural state most of the time, is to avoid the use of heated styling tools during the transition. The heat from the flat iron or hot comb and even the pulling and stretching from the blowdryer can and will reduce the elasticity in your hair shaft and then ruin the texture of your hair…even with one use. Heat damage will result in even more breakage, and many different textures on your head (some stringy and some crinkly) This causes many transitioners to get frustrated and give up the journey to natural hair. My recommendations are braid outs, twist outs and good old fashioned roller sets – these styles are easy on the hair, are healthy and help a person learn to work with the natural texture of their hair. The above info will not apply if someone is growing out a relaxer and they desire to wear their hair in a straight flat ironed or press and curl style the majority of the time – they probably will not care if they have very different textures of hair on their head since it will be worn straight most of the time. And about the Transitioners Tonic I want to stress how important scalp massage is to everyone – it is relaxing, it strengthens the roots of the hair and it also stimulates hair growth. The scalp is an often overlooked but very important when it comes to hair care and healthy hair. If you have damaged hair you can cut it off and it will grow back but with damaged follicles that is not the case.”

I hope that information doesn’t freak you out, aspiring afrobellas. There’s a lot to think about before you transition, and I want you to be informed before you make a decision.

So are you ready? Really really ready? If you are, you’re in luck! Shelley is giving away five bottles of Transitioners Tonic, and all you need to do is leave me a comment. Tell me what’s inspiring you to transition and go natural. What are your particular transitioning concerns? This is a great opportunity to learn from our shared experiences, here. I’ll close the comments on Tuesday and post a list o’ winners during the week.

Happy Friday, bellas!

* the painting at the top of this post is William S. Carter’s “Woman Thinking.”

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Danielle says:
November 16, 2007, 1:13 pm
Great post Bella. I will move into transition for the New Year. I like to make a fresh start and my hair is usually the 1st thing to do. LOL! You have a fab site and I enjoy coming here. You create a wonderful and warm environment for your readers. Keep it up! D
nyc/caribbean ragazza says:
November 16, 2007, 1:29 pm
Excellent advice bella. Shortly after I did the big chop I moved to L.A. My natural hair does stand out here but I have no regrets. For a while I was bored with the 'fro and couldn't think of what to do with my hair. I almost went back to relaxing. I had twists put in and I love them. I don't think I will do it year round (hello, it's not cheap) but I finally realized that you can have variety with a natural.
Nishawn says:
November 16, 2007, 1:52 pm
Hi Bella! Great post as usual. Tomorrow will be 20 weeks relaxer free for me and I am very excited! I was frustrated a few weeks ago with the "old fashioned roller set" because I sleep like a crazy woman and it only lasted a few days so I got my hair braided. The first week was heavenly but now my hair line is taking a beating! I don't know what I'll do after I take the braids out but I'll keep trying until I find what works. As for why I am going natural? Health, finances, and out of a greater love for myself. As I get to know myself more, I have less of a need to make myself look how others feel I should look. I just want to do me and feel good about it! I do have frustrating moments because my hair grows slowly and it is very soft and delicate but I'm happy with my decision. I love the texture and I just feel better about my hair. Thank you for the information as usual.
Nikkia says:
November 16, 2007, 2:09 pm
I was looking for something like this because I have been wanting to transition for a long time. I'm scared to because my hair is very kinky and I know if I go out in public with my hair in it's natural state, I know I will get looks especially from black women. I'm also scared that if I go natural, my hair won't look like other women with the beautiful curls and sitting perfectly, it'll be wild and bushy. I want to stop using perms and let my hair grow free and natural like it's supposed to and I think I'm going to give it a try. Thanks for the advice.
Dominique says:
November 16, 2007, 2:34 pm
Thank you so much for this post today. I needed it! I was natural for 5 years then cut and permed my hair about two years ago...I then let my hair grow and finally decided to go natural AGAIN and I did the BIG chop July 2007. I've really been itching to relax my hair again, I'm in that crazy in between stage where nothing looks right to me and I was honestly going to go to the beauty supply store after work and get a box relaxer. I'm going to hold out because I reeeally miss my old 'fro. Today's post kinda gave a sistah a push.
Trinichica says:
November 16, 2007, 2:36 pm
I am almost at my 1 yr. nappaversery (don't know if that's right but; what the hay! As of December, I will be free of the perm for a whole year and I love it. I feel better inside and out, I have less restrictions on myself, I can walk in the rain in the summer while every one is trying to cover up, just feels soooooooo good. Now as for the the transition, there were soooo many times that I wanted to give up because I just did not know how to handle the horrible state that my hair was in....some of it was straight, some curly; it was knotty everytime I washed it, it was was just a hot mess! but after trial and error and almost breaking the bank buying products that I did not need, I finally did some research...and Nappturality has been like my hair Bible! I have learned so many important pointers from the lovely ladies and men on that site. Treat your hair with kindness and it will look its your research and like Bella says, conditioner is key....that's the only thing I buy....honestly, I rarely use shampoo because my hair ends up feeling like a brillo pad. The texture is just thrown off by shampoo so I just co-wash and use sesame oil to help retain the shine, let it air dry and I am good to go from there. Good luck to all you who are trying to transition, I guarantee you that if you hold on, you will be thrilled with the results. Bella, great post as usual.
warrior11209 says:
November 16, 2007, 2:57 pm
Great post! I have been natural for about 10 yr after having a perm for more yrs than I can count. I did the big chop and the first thing I remember was feeling freed- free from having to get my hair permed every 8 weeks , free from having breakage no matter how hard I tried and free from having to wait hours upon hrs in the hairdressers chair! I wore a TWA for the longest and I am now loced since Feb 2007 and I am loving it! Dominique - continue to hold out will be worth it! Have you tried twists, twist-out, bantu knots or afro puffs??
nicola says:
November 16, 2007, 3:04 pm
I have been transition for about 7 months, first it mainly because I was getting a lot of breakage. Then I started noticing that most black girls walking down the street had weaves, like have regular ol' permed hair wasn't good enough to be considered beautiful. And even the "black" hair magazines have people with weaves in them, nothing about actual hair care. I see natural hair as a process of me accepting me for who I am, as I am a person of African descent. The most difficult issue I have is that I have 4B type hair. When people talk about how beautiful natural hair is they usually mention biracial people or people who have "good" hair. One person even told me only light skin people look good with natural hair.
Holly says:
November 16, 2007, 3:16 pm
Great post! I had started to transiton and became so frustated I went out and relaxed my hair. I now regret it. I am going to chop it off in the New Year. I think I will probably keep it very sort and spend my money on accesories.
emmy kay says:
November 16, 2007, 3:35 pm
Hey bella. I am sending this post to my little sis. She is 14 years old, and this is a rough and confusing time for her. she tried perming her hair behind my mother's back. The hairdresser did a terrible job,breakage and everything, and my mother is not lettinng her retouch. Good! Im sure the article and links will be inspiring and encouraging. She needs more afro positive material to work with, because it is lacking in popular ( black) culture.
Coffy says:
November 16, 2007, 4:04 pm
Great post Bella, for any ladies that are experiencing breakage or severe shedding, try a mixture of walnut oil and rosemary. I apply it after I apply my cream hairdress, my hair can't live on oil alone, and it has made a huge difference. This mixture can also be used for permed hair.
Tamikia T. says:
November 16, 2007, 5:38 pm
I stopped relaxing my hair in June and it has been an emotional rollercoaster which i didnt expect. I had my hair relaxed since elementary school. I decided to stop because as i got older I learned about myself and learned to love and accept myself, including my natural hair. Sometimes it's frustrating because I have ALOT of hair but I'm grateful because it's beautiful. I no longer have the urge to relax it (i refuse to burn my scalp EVER again!)and im having so much fun learning about my hair and how to take care of it,which is actually fun! Its funny how we relax our hair so we can be accepted by other people because i never got so many compliments on my hair before when it was relaxed. Thank you for bringing this topic up again because its wonderful to get support on this. The transitioners tonic sounds genius by the way! lol
Black Doll says:
November 16, 2007, 5:55 pm
The first time I did the big chop I had a BIG issue with scab hair. The texture was really hard, every product that I put on my hair never penetrated th hair shaft and just set on top of the hair. It was so horrible, I never heard of scab hair before but it's when damage from relaxers penetrate the scalp in cause damage to the hair underneath. I got feed up and got another relaxer. I started transisting again in June but decieded to to the Big Chop because the straight ends kept getting tangled up and it started to look like an afro with straight ends. Last week I got my sister locks in and I am loving it.
grownnsxc says:
November 16, 2007, 7:24 pm
Bella, It's like you are in my brain. I recently did the big chop last TUESDAY and I was just telling someone that I don't know where to go from here. Your post has definitely guided me in the right direction and has shed light on some key mistakes I was already making (SHAMPOOING!). I have wanted to go natural for so long and I always let petty things stop me, such as people telling me that I won't look right with natural hair. Now that I have done it, I have feel like I have never made a better decision in my life because it’s a decision that I made for ME. It's like such a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders (literally). It's truly amazing what a simple haircut can do for your confidence. I am much happier because I no longer worry about having my hair silky strait. There are much more important things in life. I have learned to love me for me and although it's the beginning of my journey, it is one I look forward to embracing with open arms!
MoniMoni says:
November 16, 2007, 7:27 pm
Right now I'm natural (since 2002), but I'm getting bored...may go back to relaxer next year...not sure right now. Love the fact that you are open to options... One thing about us sistas, we will try something new in hair and fashion styles... Great post!
andrea says:
November 16, 2007, 8:19 pm
Hi Bella. Thank you for this article, it gave me a lot of information. I started my transition about 5 months ago. I simply got tired of sitting in the beauty shop for hours and having to work miracles with my schedule to find the time in my day to sit for hours. I've taken some advice that I found on nappturality and have been doing no poos and using shea butter as a daily moisturizer. I still have a lot of questions though, such as: how much do I cut off when I do the big chop, what products will work best for me and what will my hair look like when it's through transitioning? I'd also like to thank Shelley for her advice as I was seriously considering getting a blow out for Christmas, won't be doing that one!
Robin says:
November 16, 2007, 9:18 pm
Bella, Great post! I think I have sought out almost every article on the web regarding transitioning. Still, yours was very informative and I would love try the Transitioning Tonic. My last hit of the creamy crack was right before our annual New Years Eve party coming into 2007 and wow, here we are approaching 2008. I'm so proud of myself! This has truly been an enlightening experience. Oh yes, I've had "fuhget about it" days when I wanted to reach under the cabinet for the emergency bucket of relaxer (finally gave it away some months ago). But something was firmly fixed in my mind. Natural was meant for me. My Aunt is T'Keyah Keymah, actress and author of the book "Natural Hair, Natural Woman" (check it out) She has always insisted that my mom, sisters, and I return to our natural hair. Needless to say, its not a decision someone else can make for you. As you said, it's a commitment. I was tired of the flat, lifeless hair (my hair is actually extremely thick), I'm not really a beauty shop type of girl, I was tired of the feeling of being a slave to that chemical, plus, I love natural big curly serious fro's and I wanted one! I have not yet done a total chop, just because I don't feel that it's the best move for me. (also trying to find a great natural hair stylist in Chicago) However, I just recently cut off about 4 or 5 inches. I'm loving it! I love to feel the roots! It just feels like home. It feels so "me". I couldn't remember what my texture looked or felt like (which no photographs to remind me). So while I am trying to hold on to the length a little while longer until I can snip again, I'm looking for a product that can moisturize both hair types and prevent breakage while strengthening my roots and scalp. Transtioning Tonic seems perfect for what I'm going through. Thanks Again Bella!
cutie says:
November 16, 2007, 9:23 pm
to nikia: i thought i had 4z hair till i did the big chop and my hair is soo different frm wat i expected. somtimes it has its baaad days and its hard to handle and dont look good but other times it has defined curls that are tight (3c/4a) u dont know how ur hair will be till u try i think its down to the individual as to whether they go natural and i respect peoples decision, but i thnk it is healthy for ur hair when its chemical free or has less chemicals in it
SusieQ says:
November 16, 2007, 10:09 pm
Hi Bella, I had decided to go natural because in the years past, every time I got a relaxer, my scalp would be damaged. it did not matter which relaxer I used. I have scalp dermatitis and so any hair processing got it flaky, red and itchy, sometimes I would even cut my scalp from scratching. My major concern is my ends which are very dry and also, my scalp although not very flaky, gets very dry and I have to oil it often. I will not give up my goal of having a glorious head of 4b healthy natural hair, sometimes I look at the slick styles on my other sister's relaxed hair and I wonder but all I think about is how much I will suffer for it.
selinas says:
November 16, 2007, 10:16 pm
i am thinking about transitioning. i am heavily worried about it. i had natural hair until i was 13. i got a perm because people used to make fun of me. i am 21 now and i am gonna go for it for new years. it is going to be hard, my grandmother always told us your hair is your beauty. natural beauty is better so i am going for it!
BlackHoney says:
November 16, 2007, 11:22 pm
I was able able to grow out my relaxer using medium sized cornrows. The size of large enough not to cause a lot of breakage.
Tee says:
November 16, 2007, 11:25 pm
My 3 year old daughter inspired me to transition and go natural. She has beautiful natural hair, and I always tell her that its beautiful. I realized that if I really wanted to affirm her natural beauty that I had to embrace my own. I want her to look at me and see that I am confident, secure, and beautiful without a relaxer - just as I was created. Prayerfully when she gets older she will make the decision to stay natural, because she will know that she is beautiful just as she is. I have been educating myself on how to better care for her hair as well as my own. My main concern at this stage is keeping our hair moisturized and to have a healthy amount of protein (I'm still struggling to find that balance). And avoiding breakage during the transitioning period for me.
Trudi says:
November 17, 2007, 12:14 am
I decided to go natural because perming damaged my hair so much. Now my hair is much thicker and healthier.
Adrienne says:
November 17, 2007, 12:29 am
Hey, I was just thinking about this subject when I made my daily visit to your website. I am a 18 year old college freshman at a southern HBCU transitioning (perm free since May 07!). Although there are large range of looks (including many naturals), when I tell some people I am going natural, they often say "You won't catch me without a perm" or "I would but..." My personal reason for going natural is that I want a new, easy look because I am tired of wasting my life in a hair salon. Although it can be challenging, I going to keep up with the transitioning process until I experience my big chop in May 08.
Willette says:
November 17, 2007, 4:08 am
Hi Afrobella! I've been reading the site since this summer when I decided to go natural after rocking a short hair cut. I have had the perms, weaves, braids and all. So I was ready for something different. I liked the way my hair would wave up when wet and I was ready for a change. Your site was so helpful in educating me on what I was about to do. I've grown up in a family of women and a father who's motto was," My girls always have to have their hair done." So when my baby fro started appearing, my folks were like, "What are you doing?" But I've been free for 6 months. Im currently wearing a full sew-in to continue the growing out process and can't wait to see what's happening under the weave! Thanks so much for helping this girl from MS find her true hair!
Kali Billi says:
November 17, 2007, 6:21 am
Hair Drama in Turkey! Thank you so much for this post. I needed some step by step information and now I think I am ready to search for a barber. I have worn my hair naturally twice before and loved it! However, I gave into 'perceived social pressure' and had my hair relaxed when I was searching for a new job. I honestly felt I would not get hired anywhere with my natural hair. Well, now I do regret it because my hair is falling out all over the place. My new job is outside of the US, so I do not have access to a salon familiar with my kind of hair. Hopefully, I will be able to find a barber willing and able to cut my hair. Thank you for creating such a beautiful blog. I love it. Sincerely, Kali Billi
AJ says:
November 17, 2007, 7:37 am
Bella, I haven't had a perm since March of '07, and let me tell you, it has been a freeing and scary experience at the same time. I love washing my hair, slapping on some cream and a headband and just going, and I look so cute! At the same time, my boyfriend is still adjusting, I wore a lot of weave before I became comfortable with my mini fro, and when I have bad hair days, there is no ponytail to save me anymore. I was inspired by the thought of just trying something new. My hair has looked pretty much the same since the 5th grade when I got a perm. I was going to this website a lot,your make up reviews were on point! And I kept seeing advice about going natural. I kept wrestling with it in my mind...and I finally just did it. Two other girls at my law school are doing it too. We're like a mini support system. We know the stigmas attached to natural hair in the corporate world (that Glamour editor issue was so agitating in light that I am graduating from law school in May and looking for a job with my new mini fro), and we are going to go forward with this anyway. Thank you so much for your site and your advice. I've tried the Miss Jessies, as well as the Garnier soft curl cream which is great for a bella like me on a budget. My biggest issue right now is that I did a semi big chop in July when I got my braids. She didn't really cut it in any type of style, she just chopped it off. Now I have about an inch or so of permed hair at my ends, and my hair is kind of uneven. I'm not sure if I should go to a barber shop and get it shaped, or a stylist and get it trimmed. I don't know what to tell them to do, I just know I need to get these ends off, and my hair needs to be a unform shape of some sort. I hope I win!!
DMB says:
November 17, 2007, 8:53 am
I didn't transition. Just shaved it all off at seventeen. My father and brother looked at me with disgust. but my mother grabbed me and gushed, "You look beautiful!" Since then I've had a Nefertiti (totally eighties!) and nine years of gorgeous dredlocks, which I finally sold for $400. Now I have a light perm (and tremendous versatility-- straight, wavy or afro, no problem). I applaud everyone rediscovering the beauty of our natural God-given hair. Hopefully it is one step closer to realizing that we are all much more than what is on our heads, period.
birthmark says:
November 17, 2007, 11:01 am
I am making a transition I am growing my perm out and it is so hard I was going to give up and put a relaxer in my hair.. But after reading this it motivate me to keep going. I wash my hair once a week with conditioner and deep conditioner it seem like my hair is getting thinner by the week. But I am still motivated to go nat
HoneyB says:
November 17, 2007, 12:07 pm
My last relaxer was Aug. 2/07, and instead of touching up at my regularly scheduled appointment, I decided to just let it flow and start the transition... ...What's inspiring me to go au natural? A multitude of things...firstly, the try to preserve a healthy head of hair - I've ALWAYS had a head of beautiful thick hair, whether in the natural state as a child, or as an adult with a relaxer. However, for some reason my hair doesn't have the life it once what better way to infuse my strands than to get them back to their natural state? Secondly, I've been making various lifestyle changes, and it's only fitting that this transition is included with all the others I'm 24, I'm nearing the "Quarter Life Crisis", and I'd like my next 25 years of life to be even better than the first...and for what it's worth, I see this physical transition playing into that. Lastly, I was inspired by a comment my mom was so simple, but it really resonated with me...she was looking at pictures of me as a child with my full, wild, natural head of hair and,I told her I was thinking of going back natural - she said, "Well, of course! What better way to be in the world than the way God and I made you?" So my mind was pretty much made up at that point! Good luck to all the fellow transitioners out there!
B says:
November 17, 2007, 2:56 pm
Ugh! I swear, this issue has been haunting me for about 2 years and refuses to go away. I recently entered my first year of college and have had an increased desire to go natural, but even after all the advice, I don't know where or how to start. I would like to keep some (not all) of my permed length, but it seems as if that isn't the best way to go. Everyone I've told about doing this asks me why I would do such a thing and how extremely difficult it would be to transition. My hair (without a visit to the shop) is really thick. I hate leaving the shop with stick straight hair that is somehow "prettier." I think natural hair is so absolutely beautiful and would love to join the club, but I guess...I'm just scared.
Me_love_bklyn says:
November 17, 2007, 4:33 pm
Thanks for the post, Afrobella. I've been transitioning for over three months now. So far, the hardest part of the journey was getting started--looking in the mirror and recognizing my "texturized" hair for what it was: chemically altered, damaged and not my own. That last part really drove the journey home for me--for years I struggled with my hair and not in the color, blow-dry, etc. sense, but in terms of identity. I've sat in beauty salons my entire life, wasting weekends all for a temporary hair fix, when where I really wanted to be was in the world. My hair kept me from the world and "how does it look?" was a constant worry. Now, I don't care how it looks, because the chemically treated ends are no longer mine. My roots are and I cannot wait to chop the rest of this mess off my head, although I am in for a long transition--regular 1" trims through fall, braids through winter, BC in spring, summer=free! Thanks again for this post, Afrobella!
TRH8 says:
November 17, 2007, 6:33 pm
I have been thinking about goin' natural for about 2 years now. I have had a very short texturized style for 7 years and the chopping off part isn't an issue for me . It is the grow out stage that scares me. I have THICK hair and I thought I would not know what to do with a natural style. Thanks for all of the info it will help when I go for it!!!I LOVE LOVE LOVE you site.
gee says:
November 17, 2007, 9:02 pm
Slightly OT, Has anyone been able to get on Nappturality this week?
glamour puss says:
November 18, 2007, 9:45 am
Bella this is off topic, but are you aware that Ayo's albulm is being released this week. Tue-Wed Best Buy is selling it for $6.99. back to topic I had a short transition because my hair was breaking off from having a relaxer and having a stylist add bleach to my hair to lighten it instead of perment hair color.
Sabrina says:
November 18, 2007, 10:51 am
Maybe I'm one the weird ones...It's been more than 1 year since my big chop and I have fallen more and more in love with my hair every day. I've had fun washing it often (never thought I'd say that!) and just playing in it. I've not been bored yet. Afro puffs, twists, cornrows, fauxhawks....the style choices go on and on. This is also the first time I've been able to do my own hair on a daily basis, coming up with new products to try. Carol's Daughter has worked the best for me, and I'm trying Miss Jessie's now. The only problem I've had is where the ends split and I got it straightened (pressed) to get it cut. There is now a spot that I think will be straight forever and I'm sad. Thanks for your post. I started looking for websites like yours, MotownGirl's, and Nappurality when I started this process and you all have been super helpful with ideas for taking care of my original state!
Latasha Scott says:
November 18, 2007, 1:22 pm
I love that posting as well. I have been relaxer free since May of this year and it was the best choice I ever had. I decided to do the big chop because I wanted a new beginning in my life. What really inspired me to do the transition is wanting healthy hair and disliking what the relaxer was doing to my hair; which wasn't nothing. I was tired of the relaxer eating up my scalp and the burnt neckline at times and so on. I wanted healthy hair. Since May life has been so wonderful and I love myself even better with my natural hair. I get so many compliment with my TWA and the different styles and accessories I do with my hair. My only concern still is trying to find that right hair products. And as I have read over and over it comes with being natural and every hair is different. Thanks A lot for the posting.
Patricia says:
November 18, 2007, 6:47 pm
I haven't had a relaxer since April of this year. I am really struggling with the different textures of my hair. At first, I would style it by putting it in a bun. I felt so old fashioned with that. So for the last month I have been braiding or twisting my hair at night. In the morning I undo the braids/twists and comb them out with my fingers. I am loving this and adjusting to the texture differences better. For the first time in my life, I am starting to feel comfortable with my hair.
Yolanda says:
November 18, 2007, 8:32 pm
Great post. I am transitioning again for the second time. I plan on doing the big chop next year. My mom was transitioning too but last week she got a New Era Gel relaxer. She was telling me how it is gentle and does not burn. I have scalp issues so it did sound tempting. However, I am going to continue my napptural journey. Your encouragement came at the best time!
Danielle says:
November 18, 2007, 10:40 pm
Hey great post bella. I have been transitioning since July 2007. What really inspired me was my three-year-old daughter. Her hair is pretty much the same kinky texture as mines in its natural state. I really wanted her to have somebody that looked like her to look up to. However, I have pretty much been keeping my hair in braids (extensions) since then. My only real concern is keeping my braids clean and moisturized without ruining them.
MBA Mama says:
November 19, 2007, 9:35 am
I am ready to transition. My hair has never been the same since I had my babies. Put my name in the hat for the drawing! LOL
nanabana says:
November 19, 2007, 11:55 am
This was a fabulous post! I did my big chop right before I moved from down south to DC for law school in 2001. I needed a style that didn't involve expensive trips to the hair salon that ate up large chunks of time. It definitely helped that I was moving from the South where people were still fried, dyed and laid to the side to Chocolate City where I saw all kinds of hair styles- naturals, weaves, straightened hair, etc. After the big chop (I went from shoulder length permed hair to hair that was about an inch long) I definitely started playing up my features with makeup and rocking the big earrings. I really think that everyone has to take the walk for themselves. I have seen a lot of my friends transitioning through the years and our hair is just so much healthier and stronger. I would advise people to go natural but to be advised that there are going to be days when you think, "I look like a little boy" or "my head isn't right for this look." On those days throw on some lipstick and a pair of your biggest earrings and walk with confidence. You've made a wonderful decision!
ASW says:
November 19, 2007, 1:14 pm
Great post! I'm transitioning now. It has only been 3 months since my last relaxer so I have a long way to go! I'm going natural because I've noticed the improvement in texture for some of my friends and I want that for myself. I've done the relaxer and color thing for so long that I'm already getting a little anxious. I'm not bold enough to cut it all off and I'm not into the 'fro, so I'm having to just let the relaxer grow out. (Long road ahead, I know) I'm looking forward to healthy, natural hair!!!
Courtie says:
November 19, 2007, 2:21 pm
This post hit home for me. I was just talking to my boyfriend about how fed up I am with my relaxed hair. Nothing I do makes it look right, I would like to be able to have it curly sometimes, but with a relaxer it is stick straight or nothing. I am worried about chopping it all off (I know that's the route I need to go) because I have a VERY round face and I know I would look -- awkward for a while. Also, my hair grows pretty slowly, even when not being relaxed.I am so sick of my hair, but I wish there was some way I could, like, ease into it. What are the results of growing it out a little bit (like 3 or 4 inches) and then cutting off the relaxed part? Just to leave a little length.
LT says:
November 19, 2007, 2:26 pm
I decided to transition from a weave press and curl to natural in August 07. At times it can get frustration because it seems as if you hair has it own brain! However with the help of Motown Girl and I recently purchased the book Curly Girl who also offers great tips on how to care for your natural hair. I am loving my natural hair. Also another great site to research is Alot of sisters on Fotki. com offer pictures of their transitions and their hair care product routines. Love your nautural hair!
surayasmom says:
November 19, 2007, 3:19 pm
Hi Bella! I'm in the process of transitioning from relaxed hair to my natural hair texture. It's been challenging but I appreciate my hair more and more each day. I decided to go natural after trying to find the right products for my 16 month old Daughter. After reading your post for "Little Afrobellas" I found really nice products for her hair through the Curly Q line. I spent so much time thinking of her hair health I couldn't figure out why I continue to put chemicals in my hair when I wouldn't do that to her. So I am definetly making a change. I am concerned however about my new growth and breakage as I transition. I will ultimately do the chop but want a bit of hair to work with before I make that move. Thanks for your wonderful site.
missy says:
November 19, 2007, 3:21 pm
Don't hesitate - Do it - you will not regret going natural. I have been natural for almost a year. I have always been very vain about my hair. I was a weekly visit to the hair salon type of girl. I decided to go natural because I thought it was strange that I was 30 something years old and did not know what my natural hair looked like. But - - I worried about looking professional at work and about whether I would still look "fly" with natural styles. I thought transitioning would be a lot harder, but it was not. I kept in braids and twists until I had about 4 inches of my natural hair and then I got the Big Chop. I have wild, crazy, thick, 4b hair. I keep it in a TWA with lots of moisturizer and I get so many compliments. When my hair was permed, I thought it was so healthy. Yes it was shiny, and I did not have thinning or shedding. But once I started growing out MY HAIR I realized how damaged my permed hair actually was.
mona says:
November 19, 2007, 3:30 pm
Hello all, When I was transitioning, my favorite style to wear was a straw set. You can use the really small perm rods, or actual drinking straws (cut 'em in thirds or halves if needed). And the more you separate the curls, the fuller the style. Straw sets are great b/c they last awhile, are low maintenance AND they hide where your hair changes from natural to relaxed. Just my two cents!
Courtie says:
November 19, 2007, 3:59 pm
mona, That straw set sounds like what I need -- I am afraid my hair will break if I try to braid it. Where do I learn to do that? (I am so embarrassed, my hair expertise is strictly relaxing and straightening my hair. I have never known how to set it to make it curly or whatever)
Courtie says:
November 19, 2007, 4:08 pm
...Found it on MotownGirl! That site is the business! Thanks for the info, mona! And thanks for the post, Bella!
LBellatrix says:
November 19, 2007, 7:22 pm
Thanks, Bella, for yet another great natural hair post! Hopefully it will help sisters get over their fears and take the plunge. (Isn't it interesting how there IS fear when it comes to wearing natural hair...when relaxing is supposed to be "just a choice"? Food for thought.) I didn't transition...I chopped my relaxed hair off 7 weeks after a touch-up. It took me a few days to get used to it but seriously -- after 17 years of sleeping on rollers, fighting with hot irons (and usually losing), worrying about rain, humidity and what not -- with my TWA I experienced a freedom I didn't think was possible. That was 12 years ago next week and I'm still singing Diana Ross: "If there's a cure for this / I don't want it / Don't want it"... Just wanted to put in an extra heavy plug for Nappturality. The Transitioners' forum is the place to get ALL your questions answered...and then, once you've finally crossed over (heh), the Napptural Hair forum is full of helpful advice. Hope to see some of you there soon if you're not there already!
Coffy says:
November 19, 2007, 9:42 pm
this is a late entry but NaturallyCurly is also a great place to begin your journey.