Transitioning to natural hair is a process and not every woman will be quick to grab the scissors and start chopping away. The transition process is all about learning to grow and care for your own natural texture and curl pattern as you slowly remove the chemically processed ends of your hair.
There are several natural hairstyles that you can adopt while transitioning from chemically processed hair to your own natural hair texture and curls. From protective styling to wearing extensions while your hair grows, your styling options are endless. What better time to play around with different styles as you take the time to become familiar with your true hair texture?
Protective styling is a vital step in achieving your hair goals while transitioning and will allow your hair to grow without over manipulation or stress. As your new virgin hair emerges, the line where your natural hair and chemically treated hair meets will become more noticeable. This is commonly referred to as the line of demarcation.
The key is to utilize transition-friendly hairstyles that will allow your hair to grow while hiding the line of demarcation and allowing you to easily care for your hair without becoming frustrated from attempting to care for two distinctively different textures. Consider these styles and tips in this guide to help you transition easily and stress free.
Sew-In Hair Extensions
Sew-in hair extensions are one of the more popular transition styles that also serve as a protective styling option. While your hair is braided into cornrows, the weft of the extension hair is literally sewn into your own hair using a special hair weaving needle and thread. It is best that your sew-in extensions completely cover your hair while transitioning and none of the hair should be left out. If you prefer to have some of your hair left out for a more natural look, choose textured hair extensions with textures that closely match your own and can blend easily without having to use heat on your own hair.
Not only does this ensure that the hair blends evenly but it also allows time for your natural hair to grow without constant manipulation and pulling at the hair from frequent styling. Sew-in extensions can take anywhere from 2-5 hours to install depending on the style and the skill level of your stylist. When cared for properly, your sew-in can last you anywhere from 6-12 weeks. It is also important to allow your hair time to breathe in between sew-in hair installations.
Natural Hair Wigs
Wigs are one of the easiest transition methods because they require very little maintenance and they are super easy to install. You can cornrow braid or twist your own hair so that it lays flat under the wig. Then, simply adjust and secure the wig to sit properly on your head and that’s it.
Wigs can also serve as an effective protective styling method because your hair is completely covered and protected from manipulation, styling, and even damaging environmental factors. Many wigs can be customized to fit your lifestyle and personal style. The best choice is a human hair wig because you can cut, dye, bleach, or straighten the without risking damage to your natural hair.
Natural hair wigs loosely resemble Afro-textured hair types and will allow you to get a feel for what it will be like once your natural hair grows. Natural wigs can be found in varying colors, styles, and lengths so you can experiment with any style you desire as long as you don’t forget to care for your own hair while protective styling with wigs.
Clip-In Hair Extensions
Clip-in hair extensions are a temporary method to achieving longer, fuller hair easily and quickly. But clip-ins can also be used effectively as a protective style while transitioning. Clip-in hair extensions are multiple pieces of hair that have a small clasping comb attached at the weft. The clip-in extensions are attached to your own hair where the comb is then fastened securely into place.
It takes a matter of seconds to install them and they blend well with your own hair so the clip-in is unseen. If you’re thinking about wearing clip-in extensions as a transition style, look for natural hair textures that resemble your own natural hair texture. They can be easily matched to blend with your natural hair. This is a quick and simple way you can add length or create volume in your natural tresses while you transition.
Cornrows braids have remained relevant throughout the years as a cultural hairstyle nonetheless, but they also serve as a remarkable transition style. Although it is not required, you can add hair extensions to the style to give it the fullness and length you desire. Cornrows are one of the easiest styles when dealing with two distinctively different hair textures and can be achieved with as little as 1 ½ inches of hair growth without extensions. When adding extensions you will need at least 2-inches of hair growth in order for the style to hold.
A Twisted Updo
The twisted updo is achieved by two-strand twisting the hair upward and curling the ends with rollers or wearing it as a puff, faux hawk or high bun. There are numerous variations to this style and depending on how small you want your twists, you can achieve a beautiful twisted updo in less than one hour. Depending on how you maintain your hair, this style can last you for several days.
Roller set styles allows you to get effortless curls that are perfect for blending two different hair textures. The key to achieving a flawless roller set requires setting the hair while it is still damp and using a decent setting lotion or styling cream to give you soft, bouncy, and defined curls. You will need to start by detangling the hair properly so that your curls will lay flat and uniformed. It can take anywhere from 1-2 hours to set your entire head but with practice you’ll be able to achieve this style in no time.
Flat twists are very similar to cornrows but instead of weaving the hair into a braid, the hair is two-strand twisted against the head to create flat twists and definition at the root. Flat twists work best on dry, stretched hair to eliminate shrinkage, tangles and frizz. This also ensures that the twists remain smooth and will not become tangled.
Transitioning hair can become tangled easily as the hair grows out. Flat twists can unravel easily and may not last as long as cornrows, but they are a gorgeous style that works for transitioning and natural hair alike. Hair extensions can be added to the style to give the twists a fuller appearance and add length. Flat twists can take up to one hour to complete for a full head and even less if pairing the twists with another style such as a roller set or a pinup style.
Braid-out hairstyles are extremely popular within the natural hair community for their voluminous definition and ability to last for several days. Braid outs are easy to achieve and if you can braid or plait hair, then you can have a gorgeous braid-out in no time. Braid outs work especially well for camouflaging transitioning hair textures and hiding the line of demarcation.
Although you can achieve this style on damp or dry hair, you will get the best results if your hair is clean and well moisturized before braiding your hair. Braid the hair at night to allow time for the hair to set. It should take no more than one hour to braid the hair depending on the size of your braids, and 20 minutes to take down the braids and fluff out the hair the next morning.
Bantu Knot Out
Bantu knots are a remarkable hairstyle that can be worn in varying sizes but Bantu knot-outs take this style to a completely different level. Bantu knot-outs can give you full, voluminous curls or soft waves depending on the size of the Bantu knots. The style can be achieved on various hair textures and lengths which makes it an ideal transitioning hairstyle. Bantu knots done on damp hair will give your hair extra definition although the style can be achieved on either wet or dry hair. It can take anywhere from 45 minutes to one hour to complete the look and can last 3-4 days.
Twist and Curl
Twist-and-curl hairstyles are essentially achieved in the same manner as a braid out. The only difference is instead of braiding the hair you would install individual twists and curl the ends of the hair. When transitioning, your chemically processed ends will be much straighter than your natural hair. This will become more evident as your hair grows and the two textures become more distinct.
Twist-and-curl hairstyles are perfect for hiding straight ends. Bantu knot-out styles require moisture and hydration in order to look their best. After washing and conditioning your hair, section the hair, apply your desired moisturizing product and styling cream, and proceed to twist the hair. Once you reach the end of the hair strand, coil the ends around your finger and set it with curlers.
Roll & Tuck Hairstyles
Roll and tuck hairstyles are very popular because they are quick and effortless. These hairstyles serve as a wonderful protective style because the ends of your hair are tucked away and hidden from daily styling and damaging environmental factors. Roll and tuck styles are extremely versatile and can take less than 30 minutes to create.
Crotchet braids have become extremely popular because they tremendously cut down on the installation time of achieving gorgeous braided hairstyles with extensions. Crotchet braids are achieved by using a latch hook to weave pre-styled hair extensions into your own hair. Your natural hair is secured under the braids while promoting length retention. One of the advantages of this style is that you have full access to your hair and scalp so you can moisturize and condition your scalp while transitioning. Many natural hair extensions closely mimic natural hair textures so that you can get a feel for what it’s like to maintain your natural hair texture as it grows longer.
As you decide on the best natural hairstyle to wear and also consider accessorizing. Accessorizing is a fun way to play around with statement pieces, head wraps, and jewels to adorn your natural hairstyle. You can wear accessories with any hairstyle to give it a unique and personalized touch. You can style your hair with a colorful scarf or turban, or even use gorgeous flowers and jewels to play up your hairstyle. Accessories can take an ordinary hairstyle and turn it into a beautifully elegant style in less than a few seconds.