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.

Originally posted 2014-01-22 15:00:31.

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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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Lalis LaMoi

6 months.. drove me crazy.

Diamond Nelson

4 months. Went to get braids and my hair braider (she’s also natural. She has locs) says too me “Diamond. What are you going to do with all this uneven hair.” Lol, I told her to choppppp! And I got braids the same day lol 🙂

Nyca Anthony

I did a year and 3months so there was about 6inches once i bc’d

Lanaj
Lanaj

I transitioned for almost 11 months. The main reason BC was because I noticed that I was seeing splits travel up my hair shaft and thought this relaxed hair has got to GO!! Plus I had been comtemplating cutting it anyway before that but seeing all the splits solidified it.

Quetta
Quetta

I’m six months in to transitioning! But I have a plan! So so far, no big chop for me! Frustrating but learning to be patient!

Nicholet McCullock

About 5 months I am so happy I did it Just Loving My Natural Hair 🙂

Kimberlynne Sweetz Lewis

7-8 months then I chopped it off the end of December and again on the 19th of January as a final chop. Let’s see how this goes protective style starts this weekend

Gwendolyn D. Simmins

In transition for 11.5 months. I plan to transition for 2 years before the BC.

Sabrina Richmond Perkins

Good for you. I spoke to a woman who transitioned for 4 years!!

Tena
Tena

I’m 9 months into my transition and April 14th would make a year relaxer free! Currently rocking box braids and don’t know when i want to BC :/… Gonna keep going a little longer and try the curlformers this summer with the two textures. Excited! But not really cuz idk how that’s gonna turn out! :/ Lol!

Cherine Smith

My last perm was in August. I did the Big Chop 1/3/14.

Michelle F.
Michelle F.

I transitioned for 3 months then did the big chop. I didn’t really have the patience for two different textures, I just wanted to work with my natural coils already lol.

Tamika Murrell

I transitioned for 6 months then chopped.

Isidora Verónica

2 months

Michelle Hammonds

I got tired of seeing hair in my comb, so one night I went in the bathroom with a pair of scissors and just started cutting it all off and followed up with a pair of clippers. This was my second time going natural.

Cynthia Matthews Hall

12 months

Latoya Golman

Transitioned for 9 Months, Big Chop in May 2013…Natural 7 months

Sapphire T Mc Burnie

About 3 to 4 months, then i got irritated with the relaxed hair. I passed in front of my mirror stopped n looked at it angrily, next thing I know I’m chopping off my hair! But giiiirrrrrrrrrrrllllll I FELT FREE!!!

Amber Mcentire

No transition just cut it all off a year and 6 months ago

Eugènia Nini Santos Lucas

3 months

Andrea Leflore

I did not bc I transitioned for one year.

Mia Eubanks

3 months. Then it had to GO.

Mamet Haile-Keflezighi

Transitioned for 1 year

Nicole Caldwell

I transitioned for about 5-6 months and decided to do a big chop when my relaxed ends just snapped off lol. I literally still have that relaxed piece of hair bahahah! I knew it was time to let go of the perm then lol

Treva Barnes

close to a year..and a half..now 4-4-14..will b 1yr..

Tori Le Angel Randell

1 yr and 4 months. My hair is bra strap length note

Melissa Streeter

I transitioned for a year and a half and did a mini chop in August 2013…..

mojomo86
mojomo86

This is funny to me because when I was transitioning I didn’t even realize it. One day, 7 or 8 years ago, I thought why do yI keep perming my hair? At that time in my life I was wearing braids, weaves, wigs, etc. I never had my hair out unless I was washing and prepping for the next style. While doing this I would cut off the straight ends…I did it about 3 or maybe 4 times and that was it…Now that I think of it I had my last perm in 2006 and that was that lol. I just felt I was doing too much with my hair and it was unnecessary, perming hair and then styling it with weaves, braids or putting on a wig. I guess it was a habit for so long but once I began taking care of my own hair, I realized a lot of things that I needed to change lol.

socalgal
socalgal

I’ve been transitioning for 19 months. My two textures blend quite well together.

Kanna
Kanna

Hello,
I want to start my healthy relaxed hair journey since today I did the big chop. Do you have any articles that will help me make my hair journey successful, especially with breakage? Thank you.

Martina Griffin

I just did it one day…after months of thinking.

Martina Griffin

current situation 4 months after the boy cut.

Emirca L.

3 1/2 monthe

Latoya Aaliyah Small

Ended up doing 6 months planned to do 12 months but couldn’t wait lol

Shayla K. Samuel

A year more or less

Felicia Ahmed Grant

9 months in and it is so hard to keep up going crazy right now cant get it to do right lol on my broken point

Erica Williams

Just 4!

Jamie Carter-Bailey

So far almost a year my goal is a tear and a half to Keep hubby satisfied

Pamela Smith

4 months. Wish I cut it all off even sooner.

Anna Ogonji Smith

2 months!

Tracey Tavares

13 months

Kyra McDonald

One year

Sonita Simpson

Am afraid to do it,want to but how to manage it?

Michelle Nicole Charley

I’m big chopping NOW!! It’s been 18 months and my big day has arrived 🙂

Tanisha Watkins

I just stopped perms (3 yrs ago) never did a big chop (too afraid), gradually through trims the perm grew out, but it wasn’t an easy process!

Sakina Pecchillo

I’ve been transitioning since 2009. I have no plans to do a BC. I go to a salon for trims every now and then to take an inch or two off. You have to do what works for you and what you are comfortable with:-)

Kristin Douglas

Almost 4 years. Stopped relaxing, no big chop.

Zsa Zsa Brunson

I transition for 13 months, then BC. Love my all natural hair!

April Reneé Brown

2 yrs.. it was a process but sooooo worth it!! My BC didn’t even seem that big to me.

Sarah Nicole

Almost 4 months. BC august 3rd 2013.

Anette Sanders

I’m transitioning, is it necessary to cut it off or can I just wait until the perm hair turns kinky?