Transitioning 101 – How Long Should You Long Term Transition?

Big chop day on calendarTransitioning to natural hair does not have to be hard. If you arm yourself with the right knowledge and give 100%, you can not only succeed but actually enjoy it.

So many “naturals in the making” are happy to have finally taken the plunge but there are still many who are afraid or have tried and failed.

Many times it’s over not knowing what to expect. Sure allowing your natural hair texture to grow is a big change but don’t let that stop you. Keep in mind there are sites like this one ready to give a loving hand.

As I have said before, there are two ways to go natural. You can either do the BC (Big Chop or Long Term Transitioning.

Big Chop (BC) – Cutting off all relaxed hair immediately and starting fresh with only natural hair. This method allows you to use products for just one type of hair (natural) and most women start with the TWA or Teeny Weeny Afro.

Long Term Transitioning – Allowing the relaxed hair to grow out for a while before cutting the relaxed ends off. Here, you will be left with two textures to work with (relaxed and natural) for the duration of the transition but you will have the benefit of keeping your length until you are comfortable enough to cut the relaxer off.

There is no hard and fast rule on how long you need to transition. I actually spoke with a woman who was still transitioning after four years! That’s an extreme case but if I were to garner a guess I would say one year to a year and ½ should be long enough length for most people to achieve a wide range of natural hairstyles.


Now, you can stop your transition and BC at anytime and many do but don’t feel you have to be on anyone’s timetable but your own. How successful you become at working with two different textures will probably determine just how long you will transition.

There are certain types of women who choose to long-term transition over doing the BC.

Loves lengthThere are many women who are ready to go natural but they already have long relaxed hair and are not ready to sport or rock short hair. The BC is too drastic of a step for them.

► Hates short hair on her There are plenty of women who hate really short hair on them. Let’s face it, we have to feel beautiful about how we look if we want to make the transition successfully. Also depending on your shape of face, you may feel that short hair does not suit you so if you cannot stand a short hairstyle on you then the the long transition is your route.

Needs time for adjustment If you are not completely sold on going natural then a long-term transition is an ideal way to go. You can allow the perm to grow out while you feel if this is something you truly want to commit too. This is an ideal way to transition if you have a significant other who is not crazy about you going natural and needs time to ‘get used to it’.

Wants to practice on styles Do you love trying new styles and want to play with the natural styles you see already? Then slowly transitioning will give you that opportunity. Twists, twist outs, braid outs or straw sets are always more fun with length so go crazy and have fun.  You are learning as you are growing so enjoy.

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About Sabrina Perkins


Hello all, I'm Sabrina. I'm a freelance writer and a full-time blogger at my site, http://www.seriouslynatural.org/ where the focus is on Natural hair, beauty and style. I became natural 8 years ago at the tender age of 35 and love sharing my ups and downs as I master this thing called natural hair. Married, with two kids (one being a natural herself) gives me a different perspective on our hair and why I love being natural. I want healthy hair, long hair and sexy hair! I'm an older natural---that's right---I'm grown and sexy, and I have much to share. I love fashion too and recently opened a clothing shop for beautiful black women at www.seriouslynatural.spreadshirt.com

About Sabrina Perkins


Hello all, I'm Sabrina. I'm a freelance writer and a full-time blogger at my site, http://www.seriouslynatural.org/ where the focus is on Natural hair, beauty and style. I became natural 8 years ago at the tender age of 35 and love sharing my ups and downs as I master this thing called natural hair. Married, with two kids (one being a natural herself) gives me a different perspective on our hair and why I love being natural. I want healthy hair, long hair and sexy hair! I'm an older natural---that's right---I'm grown and sexy, and I have much to share. I love fashion too and recently opened a clothing shop for beautiful black women at www.seriouslynatural.spreadshirt.com

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Love Dee

Some time last year lol

Erica
Erica

I transitioned for 28 months. Was aiming for 30 months (2 1/2 years) but had a special event coming up and wanted to rock my natural hair for that.

Sunia Elizabeth Byers

I didn’t. I don’t have the patience to deal with two diff textures!

Sabrina Richmond Perkins

Your hair is beautiful!

Sunia Elizabeth Byers

aww thanks Sabrina Richmond Perkins

Valencia Quiet Storm

I transitioned since 2008, was all natural by 2009, but big chopped 10/12/2013

Lesa Anne

I transitioned for a whopping 2 months! I too excited!

Aleecya Bazile

Long time. And last week I just chopped it all off

Karen Jackson

Transitioned only. Didn’t big chop

Iris Brock

I stopped in April ’03 and cut the last away October ’04. I did a full big chop September ’10.

Iris Brock

I stopped texturizers in April ’03 and cut the last away October ’04. I did a full big chop September ’10.

Paris Williams

7 months because I didn’t have patience to deal with two textures. I big chopped June 07,2013 🙂

Colleen Vialva

Trying to do this but its frustrating. Afraid to make tge big chop lol..

Colleen Vialva

The*

Fallon Johnson

About 2 months, then one day I grabbed the scissors. Couldn’t wait! So glad I did it.

Juliana Williams

me toooo!!! lol

Angeline Nolovelost Hudson

Last relaxer was in August 2012.. I b/c in March of 2013.. My hair is stronger and longer than it gas ever been relaxed…

Aisha Kenyetta

I have no issues transitioning! I’ve been rocking two textures since last summer. I “dust” monthly, and I’ll cut a little more if I am going to get a weave. Bantu knots are a great fit for me.

Sabrina Richmond Perkins

Great to know someone has success with bantu knots.

Nakia Williams

Hair in between stage.

Akilah Smith

Literally one month and I had so much growth in that one month so I just chopped it off and was happy

Kembarly Thompson

I didn’t do a big chop! My stylist has clipped and trimmed my ends all last year! (2013) my last relaxer was last March…So 2014 here we come Team Natural

Lisita StayFabulous Huntley

Had mines in November 2013

Ameenya German

I transitioned for 3 months! That’s all I could take of having to deal with the two textures of hair.. And I don’t regret it neither.. Big chop was 7/9/2012. 🙂

Andrea Whyms

Yea I’m dealing with two completely different textures right now it’s pretty frustrating.. but I don’t want to cut my hair :0( I don’t even know how many months it’s been probably about 4-5

Tabrice Harrison

11 1/2 months. . Big Chop on 12/24/13

Tamika Birmingham

Nearly 8 months! Then chopped before I went completely insane…

Janessa MizzLovely Burts

8 months in

Pamela Willis

I started Jan 2013 and kept my ends trimmed. About 2 inches to go.

LaTasha Pollard-Warren

14 months, when i did cut i only had about 1 1/2 -2 in left. Tooo scared to BC

Adriane Washington

5 Month’s Now……I’m wearing My Protective Style So I won’t Revert Back!!!!! Its A Hard Processes……….Pray For Me….lol

Sabrina Richmond Perkins

I’m sure you will be fine. Have patience and be gentle with your hair.

Cassandra Thomas

Didn’t have the patience, did the BC 10 yrs ago.

Sandra Ifeoma Orimilikwe

I transitioned for a year…I cut my relaxed ends gradually over the year…My natural hair is so fabulous and healthy:)

Eunice Thomas-Troupe

1 week and said forget it, had hubby to BC

Sabrina Richmond Perkins

Hey, whatever works love!

Leandra Mauricio

8 months transition but i was wearing a wave in that time that helps a lot cos i cant deal with 2 diferente textures and next that time i do my big chop #alive

Tia Campbell

Transitioned for a year. I won’t say I big chopped but it was a big chop for me Jan 2012. 3 years natural

Angela Ankie Murray

Transitioned for 6 months big chopped in November of 2013 and love the end results

Carol Edmonds

I transitioned for 8 mths 2/12 -9-12 big chopped or finished the chop on sept 3.. 9/3/14 is my 2yr natural..versary

Mieshel Jett

Big chopped…no transition! If you transition, then that’s not a big chop..Your just trimming relaxed ends. Right?

Shadeye Smith

I’m in my 6th month! Last June I got so frustrated with everything so I went to the hairdresser and she did the big chop for me so I’m totally looking forward to seeing my growth in a few weeks from now, because of winter I’ve decided to get braids which I’ve had in for 2 months now!

Samantha 'Deltamade' Green

I transitioned for about 15-16 months..

Quishandrea Richards

I transitioned for 11 months and then did the BC in May of 2013

Esha Whitlow

6mths ago need help on products to help me grow My hair & keep it moisturized??

Brittani Michelle

11 crazy months and I’m so glad I got rid of those ends last week!

Britnea SweetandSpicy Tidwell

One year through protective styles

Laurie Mupompa

Since march 2013…

Amber Anderson

I transitioned for a year and some months. But still relaxed my edges and small leave out. Then I did the “big chop” last June

Aminatou Diallo

Since june 2013

Cassandra Miles

1Yr and 3 months so far. Planning my BC for the 1 1/2 mark but i don’t think I’ll make it that long. The relaxed ends are killing my style! lol Only an inch left. #I’mReady 🙂

Sabrina Richmond Perkins

LOL. YOu might need to let that last inch go.

Loren Tennyson

Ten months, I needed some hair before I did my chop.

Maww S Moore

Last time I went 3 months then big chop I’m going to try for 6 this time but my hair is short this time so idk

Chelsea Crouch

8 months

Desiree Johnson

9 months did my bc 6 months ago love it wish I would have done it 6 years ago when I went thru my battle of traction alopecia my hair would be so much longer. I love my curls 3c/4a curls I was told I have

Alisha So Blessed McCombs

BC – May 2013 and the pic below is as of today 1/22/2014 !!! Im loving my hair journey !!! 🙂