Tran­si­tion­ing Style Icon Alex

Have you ever won­dered why your hair used to real­ly love a par­tic­u­lar con­di­tion­er when you were relaxed but detests it when you tran­si­tioned to nat­ur­al hair? Have you ever expe­ri­enced hav­ing a mois­turis­er that does work when you are relaxed but mirac­u­lous­ly starts soft­en­ing and mois­tur­is­ing your new nat­ur­al growth? Here is the sci­ence for tran­si­tion­ers and new nat­u­rals who may be con­sid­er­ing switch­ing between hair prod­ucts.

1. Hair con­di­tion­ers
Increas­ing­ly, hair con­di­tion­ers are real­ly becom­ing more sim­i­lar ingre­di­ent wise. There is a ten­den­cy to reduce min­er­al oil use and increase the soft­en­ing ingre­di­ents. It is there­fore entire­ly pos­si­ble to find that some­one with nat­ur­al hair may pick exact­ly the same con­di­tion­er as some­one with relaxed hair. How­ev­er, you should bear in mind that if a prod­uct is specif­i­cal­ly for­mu­lat­ed for relaxed hair, it will tend to be a dam­age repair con­di­tion­er. It will be for­mu­lat­ed for hair that may have dam­aged cuti­cles and increased poros­i­ty as is com­mon in relaxed hair or in old nat­ur­al hair (3 yrs plus). This includes ingre­di­ents such as hydrol­ysed pro­teins, sil­i­cones and min­er­al oil. While none of these ingre­di­ents are par­tic­u­lar­ly harm­ful to nat­ur­al hair, a hair con­di­tion­er designed to soft­en the cuti­cle and increase mois­ture is prob­a­bly more use­ful for increas­ing the man­age­abil­i­ty and lus­tre of nat­ur­al hair. Select­ing a prod­uct that claims to soft­en or deal with dry hair is prob­a­bly more ben­e­fi­cial at this stage than one designed to repair dam­aged hair. Lat­er as your nat­ur­al hair gets old­er, the dam­age repair prod­uct may now actu­al­ly have a bet­ter func­tion.

2. Mois­turis­ers
Once more it is impor­tant to bear in mind that relaxed hair will tend to be more dam­aged than nat­ur­al hair which has no per­ma­nent colour treat­ment (exclud­ing hen­na). Humec­tants in gen­er­al (aloe vera, hon­ey) and specif­i­cal­ly glyc­erin based mois­turis­ers (e.g curl acti­va­tors) work well with nat­ur­al hair. They are also known sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly to strength­en nat­ur­al undam­aged hair through increas­ing mois­ture and flex­i­bil­i­ty. This ben­e­fit is not seen in relaxed or bleach/permanently coloured hair in part because the sur­face dam­age to the cuti­cle may make the humec­tant less effec­tive. There­fore pri­or to tran­si­tion­ing, you may have thought that this type of prod­uct is not for you. It is time to give it a try when you decide to go nat­ur­al.

3. Oils
Many peo­ple with relaxed hair nowa­days do actu­al­ly use oils and but­ters that are com­mon with nat­u­rals too. You will, how­ev­er, find that in order to keep relaxed hair with bounce and body, you need to use the oil spar­ing­ly. With nat­ur­al hair, it will nor­mal­ly take quite a bit of oil to weigh hair down, so you can def­i­nite­ly try using more prod­uct pro­vid­ed you spread it well and even­ly. How­ev­er, the gen­er­al prin­ci­ple of using less prod­uct is use­ful for both relaxed and nat­ur­al hair. Sil­i­cone serums and min­er­al oil based prod­ucts equal­ly can actu­al­ly work with both relaxed and nat­ur­al hair depend­ing on how your hair responds. Some nat­u­rals who find it dif­fi­cult to hold on to mois­ture even with thick­er nat­ur­al but­ters such as cas­tor oil or shea but­ter may find that a min­er­al oil grease based prod­uct is help­ful. Oth­ers will find that min­er­al oil cre­ates a very com­pact lay­er on the sur­face of hair and this slows down mois­ture uptake severe­ly. For those nat­u­rals, a plant or nut based oil/butter will be bet­ter. Click here for a list of the 7 best oils for nat­ur­al hair.

Have any of you made the tran­si­tion from relaxed to nat­ur­al hair prod­ucts? What tips and advice would you give?

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8 Comments on "Transitioning Tip: How to Switch from Relaxed to Natural Hair Products"

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Nice hair! Thanks for the tips. :)


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Robin Poli

I have thick coarse hair that looks great when it is relaxed. I have been exper­i­ment­ing with oth­er prod­ucts and for­got how much I love the Shielo Restora­tion Oil. 

I use the Shielo Oil on my hair for con­di­tion­ing every few days (depend­ing on hair dull­ness). My hair looks amaz­ing­ly shiny and more man­age­able. It also helps me pre­vent split ends. Recent­ly I was in a wed­ding and we used it as a fin­ish­er for my upsweep. The hair styl­ist was amazed, she com­ment­ed she had nev­er seen hair with so much sheen.

What is a good hair col­or that cov­ers gray in nat­ur­al hair? My gray hair is on my scalp or roots only, it does not extend to my ends. Its been 6mos since my last relax­er and I recent­ly applied a per­me­nant (box) hair­col­or after using rins­es for years because the rins­es stopped tak­ing in my hair. Well the box col­or took lit­tle effect. My gray is back, and the rest of my hair is brit­tle and dry look­ing. Three weeks ago I chooped my shoul­der length hair down to 2 inch­es because of the dry col­or. Ive been wear­ing glue… Read more »
Tiff Dizzle

Use all nat­ur­al ind­gio. its sim­i­lar to hen­na but hen­na turns the hair a red­dish the few greys I do have are still red. Mix it with hon­ey and green tea so that it does not make your hair to dry and fol­low up with a good deep con­di­tion­er after. Ive heard of of nat­u­rals mix­ing ind­gio and hen­na togeth­er and it made their hair a dark col­or just do a lit­tle research and see what best fits you.


Love­ly hair!


This arti­cle is so time­ly! I may have just con­vinced my mom to begin tran­si­tion­ing from a relax­er :)