A Transitioning Nightmare

Hey Miss,

First off, let me say that I've been reading your site for quite a while now and I am so addicted. All of the information you give helps me a lot from the tutorials to the products you inform us, readers, about.

Well, I was in a nightmare today. I'm in my 5th month of transitioning and while washing my hair, I've experienced so much breakage. I just couldn't stop crying. My transitioning journey had been pretty smooth so far but from what happened today, I just want to go back to relaxing to save me from further damage. I don't know what I should do. Can you please give me any tips for the next time I wash my hair so it can be less breakage? I don't want to switch back to relaxing my hair from all the months I've done without a relaxer, However, I don't want to experience further damage from transitioning either. Please help.


Hi Sherisse,

Breakage-unfortunately is something that is common when transitioning because you're working with two different hair textures. It's also very common if you are coming from wearing braids or weave. Nonetheless, you don't have to become a victim to breakage. There are a couple of things you can do to minimize breakage. First, it's important to understand that your hair is very fragile right now, so you must handle your hair with a lot of care. The most important thing you could do is practice low manipulation. This means avoid too much styling or pulling on the hair. When detangling, use a wide tooth comb and/or a good detangling brush like the Denman.

Instead of working with two textures, many people find it easier to just do a big chop. While this is probably the best solution, please know that this can be a very shocking move. It has brought some of the toughest women I know to tears. So, if you choose this step, just be prepared and committed to follow through. Trust me, it's just a test of your commitment-it too, shall pass.

The first time I transitioned, I just did a big chop (BC) because the breakage was driving me insane. The BC was the shock of my life but I quickly fell in love with my short little fro. I just played up my look with accessories like big earrings and chic eyeglasses. The second time, (yes, I had to do this twice) I chose to work with two textures by wearing flexi-rod sets. This style was a savior because I did not have to manipulate my hair but once every week or two (if I was lucky). In between flexi-sets, I would trim my hair about 1/2 an inch until all of the relaxer was gone.

Last but not least, condition, condition, condition. You will find that this is your best friend. It will make the detangling process easier by softening the hair and making it easier to manipulate. Maybe replace most shampoo sessions with co-washing.

But more than anything, don't stress too much about the breakage because the relaxed ends are going to eventually come off anyway. It's more important to focus on the beautiful and healthy new growth that you have sprouting underneath.

But when all else fails, DON'T RELAX. Get that dirty word out of your mind...lol. Slap on a hat, wig or a beautiful accessory. BREATH, take a day and come back again. This too shall pass.
4 Responses:

Please don't give up! I had such a difficult time transitioning. I would mostly just pull my hair back into a ponytail because I couldn't deal with detangling or combing the two different textures. I eventually had to BC early because I had a big spot of breakage at the back of my head where my ponytail was!

I eventually discovered nappturality.com, which has a whole forum devoted to transitioners. Things could have been a lot different, since I learned about styles such as twistouts and braidouts, cowashing, washing in braids or twists to minimise tangles, not trying to comb through nappy hair like its permed hair, etc. On the other hand, I loved my hair from the moment I BCed, since it was 100% mine, so you may be pleasantly surprised if you go that route. Please don't get discouraged. Sometimes it takes our minds a little while to catch up with our heads!

Moni's right. You can also check out Sylver2's fotki and youtube channel. She's been transitioning for 10 months and her hair is amazing. Her routine focuses on low manipulation.

Thanks Heat Styled Natural for the tip:

Here's a link to Sylver2's fotki. Here hair is beautiful and certainly an example that working with two textures is possible.


I'm 4 months post and washing/conditioning my hair in 4 sections has helped greatly! I detangle my hair while its loaded with conditioner with my Jilbere shower comb before rinsing as well. Hope I helped :)

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