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Transitioning is a popular term in recent years. Transitioning is the discontinuation of using permanent straighteners in an effort to allow your natural texture to grow out. Any woman who has previously straightened her curls and chooses to now wear her hair naturally will have a transitioning period, and the same rules apply on how to handle it. Cef with 3b hair finds herself in this situation and inquired about how to fix it in Curly Q&A section. 

Question

Serious trouble with curly roots while hair is growing out from permanent straightening!! I got a permanent hair straightening treatment back in June. It was not supposed to be permanent (should only last a couple of months), but it is January, and my hair is still board straight with the exception of the 1.5" roots, which are curly (I cannot even get the straight parts to be a little bit wavy using both a leave-in conditioner and Curls Rock- which was my go-to product for my naturally curly hair).  I had my hair cut so it is shoulder length- which helped remove the dead ends, but I cannot straighten it every day as I feel it is breaking, and I now have 2 different textures. Is there a product that can help relax the roots a bit while my hair grows out? There is a BIG difference between the roots and the rest of my hair.  My curly hair starts at the roots- it is not slightly wavy at the roots and then the curls start several inches out.  Has anyone else gone through this?

Answer

Yes, other women have gone through this and it is called transitioning either with the big chop (where you cut all the permanently straightened hair) or you long-term transition (where you allow your natural texture to grow out and slowly cut off the straightened ends.) Long-term transitioning can be anywhere from a few months to two years, as the decision to cut the remaining straightened hairs is completely up to you.

Mixing the two textures is an obvious solution to your problem but how to do it can be challenging. First off, steering clear of heat is a great idea especially since you are worried about breakage. You do not want to incur heat damage from the constant heat styling, so many transitioners opt for curly styles that can be achieved several ways. Also, there are heatless methods to stretch your hair.

Perm Rods

Perm rods are exactly what you expect, and while in the past they have been associated with little elderly women getting perms, they are highly prized and accepted by all. In the natural hair community they are used for amazing curly styles that last and give hair a uniform curl. They come in several different sizes and can be used under a hooded dryer or air-dried. This will allow your hair to have one texture instead of two, giving your hair the uniformity you seek until you are ready to cut the remaining straight hairs.

Twist outs and braid outs

Twist outs and braid outs are another popular transitioning style where hair is twisted or braided into small sections and unraveled leaving a uniform curl or wave pattern. While some may find them tedious others find them as a great protective style or excellent at masking different textures. When transitioning, grip your roots firmly but not too tightly to get a uniform twist or braid all the way to the ends. Use rollers or perm rods to curl the bottom straightened strands or you will have curly roots and wavy hairs on the bottom. Trial and error can guide you on which works better for uniformity in your hair curls.

Wearing styles that help hide the two textures

Buns, updos, ponytails, weaves, braids, or wigs are all viable styling options to help mask the two textures until you are ready to snip the rest of the straightened ends. Rocking hats, scarves, or big headbands give you a variety of styles to hide your varying textures too. Now, you always have the choice to cut it all off right now but know there are other possibilities. The options mentioned above will allow you to keep your hair at your desired length and still have amazing styles because transitioning can be for anyone who wants to go back to their hair’s true texture.