I've been transitioning for a year now and I've never had a relaxer. However my ends and very heat damaged): a lot of times I just cut the heat damaged ends as I see new growth coming in because the ends ruin the look of my curl pattern. I choose not to hot towers the bottom too much unless they look really bad. Using this method I am slowly transitioning into becoming fully natural while retaining length and cutting my hair into gradual natural layers. All I do it take a pair of hair scissors and lightly trim my ends I never cut more than 2 inches at a time though. Hope this helped!
By the way I have 3c hair