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Home » What I Wish I Knew Before Transitioning To Natural Hair – Type 4C hair

What I Wish I Knew Before Transitioning To Natural Hair – Type 4C hair

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transitioning from permed to natural hair 4c hair

When I was transitioning from relaxed to natural hair, I really had no idea what I was doing. It was by luck (and of course hard work) that my hair managed to grow out so long (as you can see in the picture). In fact, many of us don’t know much about our hair during the first few years of transitioning. We don’t even know our hair textures. Mine turned out to be 4B and 4C. This was expected, since I’m fully Nigerian.

Our natural hair is a part of who we are. It represents our background, our culture, and even our race. Deciding to start a natural hair journey will require attention because it may look all nice and glamorous when people pull up great natural hairstyles, looking pretty and good in them, but yours may not start like that.

You must understand that keeping natural hair does not mean less work and effort than keeping permed hair. Our hair in its natural state can be very difficult to manipulate and, therefore, takes more time than having permed hair. On that note, if you are considering transitioning from permed hair to natural hair, this article can help you with a few tips to make the process smooth.

What Does It Mean to Transition to Natural Hair?

Transitioning to natural hair means changing your hair from permed to natural without chopping the whole hair off. You do this by letting the natural hair grow out of your head and letting the permed ends fall on their own. You may also trim off the permed hair little by little when the length of the natural hair is long enough to be easily separated from the permed ends.

Others, however, are bold about transitioning and immediately go for the big chop. The big chop means they cut off all their permed hair to regrow their natural hair.

Frequently Asked Questions When Transitioning to Natural Hair

How do I transition my natural hair to 4C?

How you choose to do it is up to you but keep in mind that transitioning to natural 4C hair is a journey! I started off gradually trimming off chemically treated ends and deep conditioning regularly to keep my hair nourished. Protective styles like braids help minimize breakage, and I’m experimenting with natural hair products to find what works best for my unique texture. I also used lightweight transitioning to natural hair products to to prevent product build up and breakage.

How long does hair transitioning take?

The question of ”How long does it take to transition to natural hair?” is tricky. On average, it can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to fully transition, but everyone’s journey is unique. Transitioning hair takes time and patience—it’s definitely a journey! For me, it’s been about embracing the process and focusing on healthy habits like deep conditioning and gentle handling.

How do you fix transitioning hair?

To fix transitioning hair, I focus on regular trims to gradually remove relaxed ends and promote healthy growth. Deep conditioning treatments nourish my strands, while protective styles like twists or braids minimize breakage. Consistency is key—I stick to my routine and embrace the journey to natural hair.

How do I transition my hair to natural without cutting it?

Although I cut my hair when transitioning, you don’t have to. However, transitioning hair without cutting involves a gentle approach. I focus on nourishing and protecting my hair to minimize breakage while allowing my natural texture to grow out. Regular deep conditioning, protective styles, and gentle handling help maintain hair health during the transition period, preserving length while embracing natural texture.

Things To Know Before Transitioning To Natural Hair

1.    Be Interested In Learning About Your New Hair Growth

Being interested in learning about your new hair growth is the first step to achieving that hair growth. It would be best if you tried to understand your hair. Get to know the basic things like the type of hair you have, hair porosity, the type of hair coil you have (whether type 4A, 4B, or 4C), and the pH level, amongst others.

These will help you get the right products and inform you on how to take good care of your hair. Because not all products may be good for your hair—after getting used to the soft and silky permed hair for a long time, transitioning to the hard and dry nature of natural hair can be quite discouraging and may make you rethink your decision.

Getting the natural hair to cooperate and be stable for a particular hairdo is difficult. Curls don’t stay in place and always escape from their hold, causing you to fuss about it most times. Therefore, it is necessary to grasp hold of your hair by learning a lot of methods and seeking out more information about the product before using it to make managing your hair less difficult.

There is quite a huge difference between natural and permed hair in terms of texture and appearance. Natural Hair should not stay hard for too long. After some time, when the length increases, there should be an improvement such that the hair becomes softer than it was when it started growing out.

2.    Give Yourself Time To Adjust

The transition to natural hair is not smooth and easy, as implied throughout this article. But it is doable. It takes time to adjust to your new look, and the beginning may be discouraging because the texture of your hair will be hard and very dry, making it very difficult to manage. The time and effort we put into making our natural hair more desirable are all worth it when you finally achieve it.

Some hairstyles that were easy to do before may not work with natural hair and can be quite disappointing at first. But after adjusting to it, you will find other styles you never attempted before with the permed hair that works perfectly with natural hair. However, if, after 3-6 months, you cannot manage the hair and there is no improvement, perhaps, you should decide to quit transitioning your hair.

3.    Remember To Trim

Remember to trim the ends of your permed hair gradually. This is very important. You may let it fall off, but that will take a long time. So, to transition easily, do not forget to trim the permed ends from the natural hair after you have gained some length and feel comfortable enough to do so. It isn’t easy to let go of your hair, permed or not.

The decision to transition does not mean seeing your get cut or chopped will be easy. So, you may decide to chop it off when the natural hair grows to a point, even if it is still short, or wait till it gets very long. The decision is yours to make. The permed hair, which is thin and lighter than the natural hair, may start to fall off at the line of demarcation (meeting point).

There is no cause for alarm, as it is normal because the permed hair will become weak and fall off due to the growth of the natural hair. Trimming the hair brings new growth that will cover up the hair breakage.

4.    Keep It Moisturized

Natural hair thrives on moisture more than permed hair because its nature is such that it dries up fast and becomes hard when left unmoisturized after a while. There is, therefore, always a need to keep your hair moisturized. It is one of the most important keys to having healthy and soft natural hair. Failing to keep your hair moisturized at all times will damage the hair.

The hair will become weak, dry, and hard, making it susceptible to breakage. Water is good for your body, too, as you keep your hair moisturized and keep your body too hydrated to produce a beautiful outlook. To moisturize your hair, get a spray bottle, pour water, and spritz it on your hair. You should also get a leave-in conditioner and incorporate the LOC (Leave-in, Oil, and Cream) method to ensure that your hair is living fully.

5.    Find A Hairstyle That Works

One difficult thing to get used to is that the hairstyles you used to explore with permed hair may not work on natural hair. While permed hair is easy to manipulate because it is silky and lies flat to the head, natural hair stands up from the head and is known to defy gravity. Therefore, it is not easy to manipulate. Some people try to force their hair into submission to their whims and desires by using many products to style their natural hair into certain hairstyles.

You need to let your hair breathe and refrain from forcing it into any hairstyles if it’s not working. This is for your good because it can cause your hair to have unnecessary breakages and even give you a headache if your hairstyle is too tight. Therefore, you need to try your hands at different natural hairstyles, master the ones that work for you and stick with them.

You don’t want to be overhandling your hair when you are just starting to grow it out. It could cause some major hair breakages, which is not healthy.

6.    Consider A Protective Hairstyle

You need to protect your hair, not only to prevent the culture shock but also to prevent the hair from becoming weak and to create room for more hair growth at a faster pace. Our hair is like weeds that need water to grow. Protective hairstyles not only give a protective covering to the hair from harsh weather conditions (which can damage hair), but it also causes heat and makes the scalp sweaty.

That is another way the hair gets moisturized. The pressure applied to the scalp of our heads from using these protective hairstyles pulls out more hair and causes the hair to grow faster than it would if left alone. You can try protective hairstyles like cornrows, braids, natural hair twists, etc. Some protective coverings like wigs, weave, or braids can give you a smooth transition from permed hair to Natural Hair.

7.    Go Easy With It

Compared to permed hair, the hard texture of natural hair does not mean that natural hair is strong and, therefore, can undergo harsh treatment. Natural Hair is fragile and needs extra care and attention when handling it. You could destroy your whole hair with harsh treatment and handling. Pulling hair can cause so much pain because of its texture.

It can cause breakages, too, and too much manipulation can cause hair loss. So go easy on your hair, especially when combing it. Detangle your natural hair carefully, by combing the hair from the ends, then gradually work it to the roots. Never comb out dry hair. You will rip your hair out. Spritz water unto your hair with a spray bottle, then gently comb it out.

The same care should be used when buying products. Use mild and fewer products in your hair to allow it to grow more naturally. Keep your hairstyles at a low maintenance level. Such hairstyles should be easy to pull off and easy to take down. Straining the hair to fit a certain hairstyle will do you no good.

8.    Switch To Co-Washing

Co-washing is using only conditioner to wash your hair instead of shampooing it. Shampoo tends to leave your hair dry because it takes away a lot of moisture and strips your hair of its natural oils. Even though natural hair is naturally dry, it needs a lot of moisture to maintain its glow and look healthy. Co-wash is a much better option if you want to retain your hair moisture as much as possible. However, you may wash your hair with shampoo once a few weeks when necessary, but not frequently.

9.    Don’t Be Afraid To Switch

Transitioning is not easy, as we have established throughout this article. It needs a lot of work and effort and can sometimes be frustrating, especially when you are not getting the desired results. Therefore, switching back to permed hair or getting a big chop should also be an option when it gets too hard to cope with the transitioning process.

That is why it’s a transition and not the big chop. You have the option of going back and forth.


Transitioning your hair is not a shortcut to starting a natural hair journey. How you handle your hair may take longer to transition or an even shorter time. Natural Hair is great to have. It would be best if you were determined to keep it and do things right for your hair to remain healthy.

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