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PHOTO COURTESY OF NATURALOLOGY

For transitioners, the natural hair journey can sometimes be a challenge.

For many, it's the awkward in-between stage of growing pains filled with self-confidence lessons, constant trial and error, and excessive product and technique junkyism. And although it seems like going natural can be more of a battle than a celebration these days, as long as you remember these basic tips for maintaining your transitioning hair, we guarantee you'll experience a smoother journey.

Look for products that moisturize and enhance.

For natural hair that has experienced heat and chemical damage, moisture is the key to bouncing back. Encouraging the natural curl in your hair is important, too. For newbies, it can be overwhelming understanding what works for your particular hair type while you are still trying to learn what it is--below are products that many naturals in the community recommend. These popular curly hair products are packed with both moisturizing agents as well as curl-defining ingredients.

Read: Knowing Your Curl Pattern Helps, Here's Why

You will learn to love bobby pins, headbands, and headwraps. 

As your transition phase progresses, the different texture in your roots and relaxed hair will likely stand out like a sore thumb. Turn the attention away from your hairline by dazzling it up with a thick headband or headwrap that will conceal the new growth. With bobby pins, you can create updos to tuck away your straight hair and let everyone focus on your natural texture. If there's ever a visible relaxed piece of hair, pin it up and out of sight.

Watch: 3 Ways to Tie a Head Scarf

Stash up on styling tools.

I'm talking perm rods, flexi rods, and Curlformers...NO HEAT! Especially while you're transitioning. You need tools that will help retexturize and blend your relaxed ends with your natural hair without causing any long-term damage.

More: Curly Girl Rehab for Damaged Hair

Play with protective styles.

If you've ever considered wearing a sew-in weave or wig, now is the perfect time. Braided styles like Marley twists, box braids, and Havana twists are popular mainly because they are intended to blend well with natural hair while covering your relaxed ends.

Read: How Weave Can Help (Or Harm) Your Natural Hair

Understand that your relaxed hair will never "return" natural.

At the end of the day, if you want to keep your relaxed hair for length purposes, you must know that it is simply impossible to allow time to let it get back to its natural state. If you want your entire head of hair to be natural, you'll have to eventually chop the relaxed hair off. Get regular trims to maximize your hair's healthy potential. Avoiding this step will only hurt you in the long run, as split ends travel up the strand and cause you to have more than just damaged ends.

Next: How to Big Chop With Confidence

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