Friday, February 8, 2013

Choosing How to Transition to Natural Hair (Pros and Cons Included)

Before and after transitioning to natural hair – Source

Transitioning from relaxed hair to natural hair can be a very easy process if you have an excellent plan. It is important to know what your options are for transitioning in order to make the best decision for your lifestyle and personal style as well.

The Big Chop

This method usually involves growing out your hair for 2-6 months and then cutting or "chopping" off your relaxed hair ends. This will typically leave you with a teeny weeny afro (TWA).


  • You don't have to wait. You can be natural in no-time and you can experience the liberation that many women feel after cutting their hair. Not liberated, well you are forced to embrace your hair instantly.
  • You have the opportunity to really get to know your hair and experiment with products without worrying about damaging long lengths of hair and having to cut off a lot of hair again.
  • Product selection is easier. You can select products for only one texture of hair and don't have to wish on a star that both your relaxed and natural hair will respond to a product in the same way. 
  • You don't have to deal with two different textures of hair which can be very challenging for some.

  • You may not fully be ready to deal with your hair and you must do your research before jumping into the "natural hair lifestyle."
  • Some people dislike the in between phase where you can't wash and go and your hairis not at the desired length for your styling desires. This con, however, can easily be struck out with adequate research into styling the use of weaves or braids or other natural styles that you just may like. 
  • You may not be sure if you will like the style of a big chop, but this is often the case with any hairstyle. 
  • Not everyone is going to like it. You may have to be strong to deal with the naysayers and haters of natural hair.
  • You can't do a lot of styles with your hair. This may be a problem for some people who like to experiment with their hairstyles. 
  • Although many styling options exist for short hair, the in-between stage where you can't wash n' go and you can't quickly throw your hair in a bun to get out of the house can be quite challenging.  

Long-Term Transitioning Method


This method usually involves growing out the roots of your hair for over a year or until you can comfortable enough with the length of your natural hair before cutting off  the relaxed ends. Some people transition for as long as 3 years.

  • If you are attached to the length of your hair, you don't have to remove the relaxed hair ends until you are ready to do so.
  • Nobody has to really know that you are transitioning and it gives you time to get used to your texture. 
  • If you find that you are not liking the texture of your natural hair or you do not think you will be able to keep up with it, you can go back to your beloved relaxer. 
  • You have the versatility of choosing different hairstyles to camouflage the new growth. There are many styles for transitioning hair with two textures. 

  • If you keep your hair straight to blend the two textures, your natural hair may become heat damaged. 
  • You may have difficulty with breakage at the line of demarcation. The line of demarcation is where the natural hair ends and the hair begins. This is a popular pace of breakage that can leave you relaxed ends looking extremely thing and unattractive. 
  • The different textures often respond to different products or different treatment. Handing two textures can be challenging to both treat and style. 
  • This method takes time. You may not have a full head of natural hair for some time. 

The Invisible Transition Method

This method is a type of long term transition. The difference? Nobody but you and/or your stylist will ever see your natural hair until you reveal it. Why? Because your hair is always in extensions.

Braids, twists and cornrow extensions are the most common for women who choose not to deal with their transitioning hair. They simply get their hair braided every 6 - 8 weeks and never wear their hair out. Some opt for sew-ins and wigs.

  • You never have to deal with two textures between styling. 
  • You can just wake up one day and start wearing a full head of natural hair for everyone to see without the annoyance of their opinion while you transition. 
  • You can find a stylist who can manage your hair well and therefore will have lots of time to research on natural hair before taking it on yourself. 

  • You do not fully get to know your natural hair texture and may be shocked when you first have to manage it fully on your own. 
  • Constantly wearing braids, wigs and weaves to cover up your natural hair can severely damage your hair if too much tension is applied during styling.
  • This method takes time. You may not have a full head of natural hair for some time. 
  • If you keep your hair straight to blend the two textures, (often in the case of "leave-out" with weaves) your natural hair may become heat damaged, meaning that it becomes a looser texture than the remainder of your natural hair. 

Did you big chop or transition? Share your decision and advice below. 


  1. I just started transitioning and I can feel my natural hair. I'm so excited. I'm only about a month in.

  2. I just started transitioning and I can feel my natural hair. I'm so excited. I'm only about a month in.

    1. Congrats! You can check out my main blog too -