Tag Archives: transitioning from relaxed to natural

Big Chop vs. Transitioning

12 Dec

Once we make the decision to go natural, we each have to find the path that works the best for us. I’ve experienced transitioning and the big chop.  Before I did my big chop, I transitioned for 7 months. At that time, I didn’t even know the name for transitioning. I was giving myself a chance to decide what I wanted to do with my hair. I think there are pros and cons to both, and it really depends on what works for the individual. The big chop was the right move for me. If you are considering making the leap, you have to figure out which strategy is the best for you.

I posted the question on my Facebook page. 44 people answered. 17 transitioned and 27 did the big chop. Of the group that big chopped, a few initially intended to transition but big chopped due to frustration.

Big Chop


  1. Cutting your hair off is refreshing, and it really sets you in the frame of mind that you are making a change.
  2. Starting from a short haircut gives you time to get to know your hair before there is so much of it. This is a good time to do trial and error to see what works for you and what doesn’t. You may change products as your hair gets longer, but it gives you a place to start.
  3. You get to start fresh with healthy hair.


  1. The shock of having short hair can be challenging for some people, especially those that have not had short hair before.
  2. You may experience more backlash from people in your life because it is a sudden change.

Here are some comments from people who chose to BC:

J.E.- I BC’d…it was summertime and I was bold lol

N.W.- I did the big chop!! Why? 1. Because transitioning would take to long. 2. I didn’t want to try and manage two different textures of hair and, 3. I wanted to have natural hair as soon as I possibly could!!!

Dr. M.M.- I did the big chop. So glad I did!!! Longer, thicker, healthier hair!!

J.E.- Big Chop. I went natural in 03 and I didn’t know there was another way 2 do it. LOL

H.C.- Big Chop! I was anxious and I didnt really have the patience to transition. I wanted to be natural right away. Plus shaving my head would be a completely different look from what I and everyone was use to…and I liked that.

T.M.- BC it was freein at the time and enough was enough

C.E.W.- I just did the big chop on the 15th of october it was a spirtual thing for me the most high gave us beautiful black women hair like this for a reason mainly because nobody else has hair like us for me it’s embracing a part of myself a spirtual self I know that may sound weird to some but it means everything to me I so Love my hair I can’t stop touching it and looking at and thinking to myself THAT’S MINE THAT’S MY HAIR..REAL HAIR 🙂

J.A.- Tomorrow will make it one month since I did the BIG CHOP! 70% was a spiritual thing and the other 30%, I just always wanted to go back to my natural state. And finally I grew a pair and did the unthinkable by many black women! Boom pow! 🙂 It’s a BEAUTIFUL and LIBERATING thang! :))



  1. Transitioning gives you an opportunity to ease into being natural.
  2. You can wear many of the same styles that naturals wear.
  3. You can maintain the length of your hair by cutting it slowly and deciding when you want to get rid of the relaxed ends.


  1. It can be a lot of work to maintain two drastically different hair textures. The products that work for the relaxed hair may not work for the natural hair.
  2. There is a lot of potential for damage at the line where the two textures meet.

Comments from people who chose to transtion:

N.A.L.- Transitioned. I have always had long hair and wanted to retain my length.

S.C.- I transitioned because I didn’t want to go to having extremely short hair all of a sudden.

S.W-O- Transition with mini chops over a year or so…..I did it because 1 I’m vain and like my length and 2 I love short hair on other people, just not my head.

J.W.D.- Transitioned. Was too scared to chop.

What do you think the pros and cons are for both?

Follow me on Twitter @naturalbyl


Guest Blogger: The Nappy Race-The Real Beginning

27 Sep

The Nappy Race – THE REAL BEGINNING (Ch 2)

Tania writes:

It’s your official first month on the ‘transition’ leg of the race. Your run thus far is strong. You feel confident and secure with your decision. You pat yourself on the back because you have been solid in your decision to bear through this process. But little did you know the first 30 days are only a small piece to the prize. The real journey begins here….

As you count the weeks and months you have put behind you, the cushion of puffiness that surrounds your scalp is scary. No one told you that your ‘natural’ hair would grow in like this. Coily, kinky, nappy…. all of the above apply. The breakage and shedding has increased dramatically, which is the reason why you decided to go natural. As you continue to visit your hair stylist, she tries to ‘oh so nicely’, encourage you to PLEASE come back to the ‘relaxed’ side. This ‘natural phase’ you seem to be going through is out of her realm and she is pulling straws to try to figure out what to do with your hair in this state.

As the half a year mark swings through, those transitional styles such as braids, straw sets, and pressing begin to bore you. Maybe it’s time to be fully natural, no more breakage due to the two different textures, and you get the vision of a healthy ‘fro……. with your face on it (who would have known). It’s in that moment that you realize IT’S TIME. You are now ready for the Big Chop.

About the Guest Blogger:
Beauty is the business of Tania Chandler. With over 10 years experience in the industry, she has been recognized as the natural hair care expert. Specializing in caring, styling & repairing locs, double strand twists, pressing, weaves, & her favorite – easing clients through the process of transitioning back to Nappyness 😉 . She prides herself on staying educated & keeping up with the latest trends. Her work has been featured in film/TV, print, runway, and everyday beauties such as yourself! She currently services clients in Baltimore, MD & Central PA.

You can visit Tania’s site HERE

Brenesha Celebrates 7 months of Transitioning

26 Sep

Brenesha writes:

So I am so happy to say that I have been in my 7th month of transitioning.  I just wanted to update you all on my progress and fall hair plans.

Currently I have cornrows in my hair that I had braided about a week and a half ago.  I’m loving the fact that I can moisturize, seal, and go.  I’m really not looking forward to taking them out but I am going to give myself a good hotoil treatment, shampoo and condition and follow up with bantu knots or a braidout.  I also plan to give myself a trim as well.  It’s been about 3 months since I trimmed and it’s long over due.

In October I will start back with my cornrows or may possible do micros. My regimen for the fall will consist of more hotoil treatments because my scalp gets so dry.  I am also going to add about a cap full of Olive Oil to my shampoo and conditioner to help with moisture.  I will do co-washes more instead of shampoo to keep my hair moisturized and not as stripped as shampoo leaves it.  I am using Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo and Conditioner and I really like them both.

Something that I am really looking in to getting is the Caruso Steam Rollers.  I have been watching quite a few youtube vids on them and I love the results.  The hair is set with steam.  I have asked around to many Naturals and they really like the results as well.  So I plan to get a set and I will definitely tell you how it goes.

Thanks for sharing Brenesha. Visit Brenesha’s group “Transitioning to Natural”. The link is on the sidebar under “Great Sites”. If you have a story to share, send it to naturalbyl@gmail.com.

Guest Blogger: The Nappy Race-The Beginning

20 Sep

Tania writes:

A little bit of breakage here, a little bit of breakage there – And that’s how it starts. “Well maybe a treatment will help,”  you think to yourself. After a few treatments, trims, a weave, some Dominican blow outs, a couple headaches, and few pain relievers (need I go on) your hair screams, “Enough is enough, I’m going natural.” However, the look on your face is not that convincing.
Yes, the idea of going natural can be scary and confusing. A laundry list of questions began to ring in your head as you consider how the change will affect you. Of course, you see the wonderful pictures of ladies with healthy, natural hair everywhere. From the latest black hair magazines to GAP commercials, curls & kinks are in. But as you dig a little deeper, you find that there ARE even more options with wearing your hair natural. From a natural ‘fro, to locs, double-strands, coils, straw sets, pressing, and the list goes on. Through your research, you discover a cool idea of ‘transitioning’. Since everyone told you that the only way to go natural was to India Arie it, your relieved to find options (there goes that word again).

The transition either viewed as a wonderful inner beauty experience or a plague. This phase is only the beginning but the hardest obstacle to overcome. Unfortunately, this is the place were many of our sistas decide to drop out of the nappy race to Their Natural Wonder. But for the sistas who hang in there, put their boxing gloves on and go comb-to-comb with their coils get a greater reward, confidence and higher sense of self to match that beautiful healthy hair.

About the Guest Blogger:
Beauty is the business of Tania Chandler. With over 10 years experience in the industry, she has been recognized as the natural hair care expert. Specializing in caring, styling & repairing locs, double strand twists, pressing, weaves, & her favorite – easing clients through the process of transitioning back to Nappyness 😉 . She prides herself on staying educated & keeping up with the latest trends. Her work has been featured in film/TV, print, runway, and everyday beauties such as yourself! She currently services clients in Baltimore, MD & Central PA.

You can visit Tania’s site HERE

Thanks for sharing, Tania. Check back next week for Chapter 2-The Real Beginning. If you would like to be a Guest Blogger, contact me at naturalbyl@gmail.com.

Protective Style for Transitioners

9 Sep

Brenesha writes:

On 9-10-10 it will mark 7 months of transitioning.  I wanted to share my new braided style.  I am going to keep my hair braided for a while to retain length and to protect my ends.  This is similar to how I had it braided the last time I shared with you, however, this time the braids are up into a ponytail rather than to the side.  I prefer not adding hair extensions because it tangles my hair when it is time to take it down.  My stylist braids the ponytail to have a braidout look.  I want to encourage the ladies who are transitioning to do more protective styles.  I started at shoulder length in February and now I am at mid shoulder blade length.  I am almost to bra strap length!  I am so excited. 

Visit Brenesha’s Group “Transitioning to Natural” by clicking the link in the siderbar under Great Sites.

Thanks for sharing, Brenesha. If you would like to share  hairstyles, photos, et…send them to naturalbyl@gmail.om

Follow me on Twitter @naturalbyl

Book Review: Going Natural

31 Aug


I recently read “Going Natural-How to Fall in Love With Nappy Hair” by Mireille Liong-A-Kong. Ms. Liong-A-Kong is a native of Suriname, South America.  She published this book while living in the Netherlands.  It was the first Dutch book about African hair and sold out within two months. 

10 Things I Love About This Book:

  1. The book is well-researched-It has great information on everything from misconceptions of natural hair to how to alleviate scalp issues.
  2. There is detailed information about ingredients that are potentially harmful to hair
  3. There is a glossary at the end that is beneficial to new naturals as well as those of us who have been natural for years.
  4. Great recipes-Including a banana/avocado conditioner, a moisturizing spritz, styling spray, coconut oil pre-conditioning treatment, etc…
  5. There is a section devoted to transitioning.
  6. There are a lot of styling tips including more unique styles than I have seen in many other natural hair books.  There are also photos included.
  7. There is a section devoted to locks.  It includes explanations of different techniques used to start locks and the different phases.
  8. There is information on how to keep hair healthy while wearing extensions or weaves.  There’s information regarding specific types of hair used for those styles.
  9. The author shows a photo timeline of her first year transitioning.
  10. The book covers so many of the topics that regularly come up when discussing natural hair.

This is a great book.  It’s great for people who are considering going natural, for those who are transitioning, and for those who are already natural.  I’ve heard great things about “Going Natural”, and now I see why.  I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about the structure of our hair, different styling techniques, or who wants to know more about having natural hair in general. 

The book is available on the Going Natural website for $10.89 plus tax.  It is well worth the price. 

The Going Natural website is another great resource.  It’s a place where natural hair is discussed and celebrated.  Visit the site: HERE

Protective Style: Cornrows with a Side Ponytail

30 Aug

Brenesha writes:

I wanted to share my cornrow style.  I bought hair to add to the cornrows, but ended up getting the wrong kind of hair.  I was disappointed, but my stylist assured I would still like the style.  I have been transitioning for 6 months now.  The last time I got cornrows with added hair, my hair was so tangled.  I think this was a blessing in disguise because I really didn’t want to deal with taking out the cornrows with the extensions.  She braided the same exact way I wanted it (pic included) and just braided the ponytail so when I take it out, it will be wavy.  To all of the transitioners, I suggest you find someone who can braid and braid your hair every once in a while to give your hair a break.  My hair has grown a great amount since I have been putting my hair in protective styles and have not used any heat besides my hooded dryer when I do rollersets. 

Check Out My Transitioning Website:
Transitioning To Natural
http://grou.ps/www_transitioningtonatural (You can also find the link in the sidebar under great sites)
Transitioners, Naturals, and All are welcome

Thanks, Brenesha

If you have a protective style that you would like to share, please send it to naturalbyl@gmail.com.

More Tips for Transitioners and New Naturals

15 Jul


Thanks to everyone who left comments and tips for Courtney yesterday.  They were all thoughtful and helpful to anyone who is transitioning or newly natural.  Even those of us who have been natural for awhile can use the extra encouragement from time to time.

This post came from one of the comments that was left yesterday. Mesha gave great advice and style ideas.  (I added links to tutorials for some of the styles that are already on the blog.)

Mesha Wrote:

So many of us fear our natural hair texture because society tells us that it is unprofessional, unkept and unbecoming. The very first step in transitioning is realizing that “transitioning is 90% mental and 10% physical”. Your physical will catch up with your mental as you go through your journey.

Styling options are abundant. You can try:
1. Flex-Rod Set
2. Double Strand Twists or Twist-out with the ends rodded –TUTORIAL HERE
3. Braids or Braid Out with the ends rodded
4. Bantu Knot Out- TUTORIAL HERE
5. Cornrows with and without hair added (Just be sure to have the feed-in method used. This will help reduce the tension of the synthetic hair and the braiding at the hairline.)
6. Spring Twists – See EBNBHair on youtube for pics

Check to see if there are any natural hair meetup groups in your area. These groups have get togethers of women with natural hair and discuss hairstyles, their natural journeys and other tips and tricks for caring for natural hair. The website is http://www.meetup.com, and search for “natural hair.”

Finally get a journal and record your journey. Record your feelings, products that you’ve tried and how you feel about them, useful websites, etc. Re-read it if you ever feel like giving up.

Good Luck in your Journey!

Quote from the book “The Knotty Truth”

18 Year Old Transitioner~ Courtney

14 Jul
First off my name is Courtney, I’m 18 years old, and I’m trying to transition from relaxed to natural hair. However, so far it has not been easy. My last relaxer was about 2 months ago, and my whole family is trying to make me straighten my hair. I feel like I have no support, and I’m scared because I feel like I’m alone. My mother suggested that I straighten my hair with a hot comb because my hair is so thick (it’s like they’re afraid of my nappy hair!) I’m going to need some serious support to get through this!
1. Are there any styles that I can try? I don’t know how to do cornrows. 😦
2. When is a good time to trim my hair (i.e. when it’s wet or when it’s dry?)
All my life I have been forced to believe that the best thing about me was my beautiful, STRAIGHT, hair. Now that I am transitioning, I feel like I’m going against everything I’ve ever known. But I am a strong girl, and I’m going to stick with this! I know it’s going to be hard.
I’m sure Courtney will appreciate any guidance and support that we can give to her.  Thank you.

Guest Blogger~Brenesha Shares Her Transitioning Story

5 Jul


Hi I’m Brenesha.  I am no professional stylist or hair guru. I am simply a woman who is transitioning to natural hair and wanted to help others who are going through this process! I have a passion to help others and found that a lot of women are finally enjoying and learning to care for their transitioning to natural hair. My desire is to reach a larger audience and to show how beautiful natural hair is. I want others to embrace their natural God Given Beauty!!!
When I started transitioning I searched  the web for sites that supported women who were  transitioning to natural.  A lot of sites gave just tips on transitioning.  I learned a lot from the tips and different methods they shared, but I needed people I could relate to.  So in March 2010 I created Transitioning To Natural, a site that focuses on properly caring for transitioning to natural hair.   I share my highs and lows of my hair journey to natural.  I want the members to feel comfortable and know that I am experiencing the same frustrations with my hair.  Sometimes I feel like going back to the relaxer or straightening my hair.  I even start discussions on asking for hair advice and product suggestions.  
I am currently 5  months in my Transition.  I must admit, I expected transitioning to be quite difficult.  I accredit researching becoming natural to helping me stay committed to this hair journey.  The only things that I am worried about is coming up with different styles.  I get bored easily and I like switching up my hair.  Buns have been my “GO TO” style when I can’t seem to find a style that I want to do.  I have noticed that my hair grows faster while in buns. 
Most transitioners I have connected with are Product Junkies, but I have to keep it simple! I pre-poo with Olive Oil and Cantu Shea Butter leave-in and co-wash 1-2x’s a week with Suave Humectant.  My favorite leave-in is Herbal Essence’s Long Term Relationship.  I moisturize with Shea Butter and seal with Olive Oil.  For hairstyles, I suggest that you keep your hair simple.  I basically do buns or flat twists.  I like rollersets as well with a headband to hide the two textures. 
I plan to transition for 18 months.  I trim every 3 months.  I am no fan of short hair so BCing is no for me!  Finding Naturals online as hair mentors is a great way to help you in your transition.  A few of my mentors, I found on Youtube.  They are: Prettydimples01, Jadison03, Lexiwith thecurls, and Taren916.  I love those ladies!!!!  I also found that you need a support system.  Join discussion boards like my site Transitioning To Natural- http:www.transitioningtonatural.ning.com. There are a number of Natural and Transitioning boards on Facebook as well.  I suggest finding women who you can relate to.  So if you’re a transitioner, find transitioning boards.  If your newly natural you want to find a natural board who assists in caring for your natural tresses.  If you’re natural, I suggest getting a blog and tell others about your experience and help walk others through their transition to natural hair.
If you want to contact me:
Email: transitioningtonatural@yahoo.com
Youtube:  www.youtube.com/user/ahsenerb27
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Tranzition2Natu
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/QueenBre1980
Website: http://www.transitioningtonatural.ning.com

Thanks, Brenesha.  Email me at naturalbyl@gmail if you would like to be the next Guest Blogger.