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10 Natural Hair Bloggers Share Their Best Advice for Transitioning

by Martha Adams

The journey to natural hair is different for everyone. Some do the big chop and cut off their relaxed hair after a few months, some wear braids and other protective styles during the grow-out phase , and others style their hair throughout the transition. Any way you choose, you may not walk out of the transition unscathed. From battling two different textures to product trial and error, transitioning from relaxed to natural hair can sometimes leave you feeling defeated. Personally, I had a tough time transitioning because I didn’t understand the concept of patience— it took me three tries to really dedicate myself to it.

It's going to take a little time before you can sport your healthy, moisturized curls in the same fun styles that you see on Instagram and YouTube. Trust that you're not the only one who feels discouraged. You'll need patience—a key player even after you've got your curls to the length you desire— great products , and good advice. That's why SELF asked 10 natural hair vloggers their best tips for transitioning. After reading their advice, you'll have tangible tips to get you through those rough days (like how to keep hair moisturized) from women who have transitioned to natural hair sucessfully.

Ebony Bradley , @EbsCurlyTV

“Create goals for yourself. When I say this, I don’t necessarily mean goals in terms of inches of growth or creating the 'perfect curl.' What I mean is make small promises to yourself so you can consistently make progress and stick with this commitment. Going natural is a HUGE change from what you’re probably already doing to your hair on a regular basis, so it can be easy to find your way back to your comfort zone. That being said, try to commit to small but still challenging goals for yourself like no heat tools for a month, try at least one protective style for a week to see how it feels, or my personal favorite, research YouTube videos and natural hair Instagram accounts to find hair inspo. Knowing that my hair could look similar to the women I saw on these platforms kept me hungry for my own curls and what they might actually look like.

The second and probably most important thing you need to do to transition is have patience. I know that statement is the humdrum equivalency to 'eat your veggies,' but it’s just as important or more as far as I’m concerned (I’m very serious about my hair). With patience comes understanding, time, and effort…all things that are very necessary to successfully grow healthy hair . Without those things, you’re more than likely left with damaged hair, frustration that can lead to a relaxer relapse, and sometimes even a bruised perception of how you see the beautiful hair that grows out of your very own scalp.”

Ashley Hall , @curlsfothegirls

“Two pieces of advice I'd give to those transitioning to natural hair are to be patient and stay away from heat as much as possible! Patience is important because you'll be dealing with two very different textures of hair, and you want to avoid breakage as much as possible if you are worried about maintaining as much length as you can. I also suggest staying away from heat because you don't want to risk damaging your new growth while trying to make it blend with your chemically straightened hair. It's not worth it, especially if you want to see how your curls look coming in.”

Nicolette Francis , @modelesque_nic

“Find a style that is easy, simple, and can last you through each week. I say this because it will make the transitioning process smoother and go by way faster. You will have a chance to try out all the pretty styles you see on Instagram or Pinterest, but in time. For now, stick to comfort and find a go-to hairstyle. You should also just have fun and be patient. Transitioning can be difficult to those that are not optimistic about their journey. You have to be very patient and embrace your natural state with confidence. Once you do that, the journey seems like a few steps.”

Felicia Jones , @hif3licia

“You have to respect the process and never get caught up comparing your journey to others. Start a regimen that works for you and stick with it. Research DIY remedies you can do at home to help! I love using tea and rice water .”

Whitney White , @naptural85

“My biggest pieces of advice are to enjoy the journey and be patient with yourself. For many transitioners, it won't be an instant gratification sort of thing. You've probably spent your entire life working with one hair texture, now you're going to do a complete 180 and have to learn a brand new texture! It takes a lot of experimentation and patience to learn to style and care for a hair texture you've never dealt with. Expect a lot of surprises and some challenges, but the journey to natural hair freedom is one that is definitely worth it.”

T'Keyah Bennett , @tkeyahbennett

“If you’re comfortable enough, let the relaxed ends go or at least trim frequently. Dealing with such different textures and likely different porosities can be time consuming and hard on your pockets. Your new growth may react completely different to products than your chemically processed hair, so save yourself the headache. When I transitioned to being natural I was very gentle with my hair and I took my time. Patience and TLC prevented breakage and unnecessary damage for me early on. I just put on my favorite playlist or podcast and I go to work!”

Jarely the Curly Haired Specialist , @faithincurls

“I would advise that transitioners stay away from any manipulation that would further damage the hair growing in. That includes flat ironing, braids, and tight buns. Anything that involves putting tension on the hair will further damage the hair growing in. I also recommend hydrating the hair growing in by using styling products that will moisturize the hair. When buying products, look for specific titles like 'intense moisture treatment.'"

Jessica Lewis , @mahoganycurls

“The two pieces of advice I would give to those transitioning with natural hair is to have patience and to deep condition your hair regularly. Patience is very important because transitioning is like an in-between phase. You’re still relaxed but you also have a great amount of natural hair, too. Seeing others with their natural hair out can inspire you to wear your curls immediately (which is a great thing), but on the flip side, it can make you feel that you have a long way to go. Just remember why you’re going natural and take it day by day. Before you know it, your curls will be free."

Romance Cox , @heycurlie

"Trust the process and experiment with different styles. It's all about learning your hair and having fun!"

HappyCurlHappyGirl , @happycurlhappygirl

“My advice would be to always do your research and try different styles and products that are dedicated to not just transitioning hair, but to your texture of natural hair. Find YouTubers and naturalistas online who have dealt with transitioning to natural hair AND have had success to see if their techniques can work for you! Transitioning to natural hair is a long process. During that time, remain patient and never ever compare your journey to anyone else’s. The same way our hair needs are different and special, our hair journey is different and special.”

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