Transitioning 101 – What Is Scab Hair And How Should You Deal With It?

Very frustrated and angry woman pulling her natural hairOne point for all newly naturals to remember is that scab hair is a TEMPORARY phase.

This unruly, unwilling to listen to you hair is learning just as you are learning. It may be overly dry, overly thick, under moisturized and downright under the weather. Give it time while you allow it to grow and find out what it needs.

One thing is your scab hair will need lots of moisture. That should always be at the top of the list. Because of this issue, I would suggest conditioning more often and always do weekly deep conditioning treatments with heat under a plastic cap. Don’t forget to  protect your ends and above all have patience.

Another point to remember is this temporary phase of hair will look very different as time goes on.

My hair did not curl when I first went natural. It was dry, and frizzy. To be honest it looked a little dusty. I was slapping all kinds of products I found on the shelves back then because there weren’t as many choices.

By the time my sister went natural 4 years later; my hair was curly, moisturized and no longer dusty so I was in a position to offer her some advice. Either way, remember that the scab hair phase is temporary phase and before you know it your true texture will shine through.

The last point to bring up is that not everyone will have the hair texture they desire.

I am quite sure many newly naturals go back to relaxed hair because they wanted a certain type of texture. OK, let me just come right out and say it…they want curly hair.

This is a touchy subject within the natural hair community as many women are forever on a quest for the perfect curl, a certain curl or just ANY curl. I call this chasing the curl dragon.

The sad part is that your natural hair may be curly but scab hair may not! Despite what your hair will eventually end up doing the journey is about self-love.

It’s about loving whatever texture you have and realizing how beautiful your natural hair is. Even scab hair is beautiful hair despite the challenges it poses.

With love, attention, patience and knowledge, any natural can get through the scab hair phase with a better understanding and appreciation of her hair. Scab hair is temporary hair so give it TLC and patience and your scalp will give you your true natural hair texture when it’s ready.

For further reading on transitioning to natural hair, check out these articles:

Transitioning 101 – A Complete Guide To Switching From Relaxer To Natural Hair Part 1

Transitioning 101 – A Complete Guide To Switching From Relaxer To Natural Hair Part 2

8 Tips To Make Your Transition From Relaxed To Natural Hair Breakage Free

Originally posted 2014-01-13 15:00:42.

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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, 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

About Sabrina Perkins

Hello all, I'm Sabrina. I'm a freelance writer and a full-time blogger at my site, 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


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  1. Jakesha Butler
    Jakesha Butler

    My 7 yr old hair is just like that. I’m trying to manage it but don’t wanna cut it until this summer.

    1. Sabrina Perkins Post author

      Your hair may need some moisture. It’s very dry now and moisture is key during the winter months. Drinking water is so important as well as limiting your heat if breakage is an issue. Deep condition weekly or every wash day and either sit under a hooded dryer or apply a plastic cap on your head while you do your deep conditioning.

  2. Stefani Johnson
    Stefani Johnson

    I want to grow my hair to at least three inches more of new growth before i do the bc. what can i do to get some growth, does the inversion method and biotin really works?

    1. Sabrina Perkins Post author

      I have heard many suggest the Inversion method work but just a hair massage with do just fine if you feel that is not a way to go. Biotin has been known to help hair grow and I personally use Hiarfinity which has Biotin in it. I would suggest if you use Biotin or any hair vitamin to consult with your health professional and to up your water intake. Many have found they have more breakouts with using some hair vitamins but upping your water intake may combat that. Using excellent hair routines and methods will help you retain length as our hair is growing regardless of using any supplements. Retaining moisture, eating right, listening to your hair, low manipulation and not applying unecessary tension all aid in length retention.

  3. Johnna Williams Nash
    Johnna Williams Nash

    Cut or braid it…i couldn’t deal with the two textures when I was transitioning..but before my big chop I cut an inch every month..happy hair ladies

    1. Sabrina Perkins Post author

      You do not have to BC. You can periodically trim your ends once, twice or more times a year until the relaxer is completely gone. I’m not sure why your hair is curling at the ends. Is your natural hair curling as well?

  4. MiSonia Moore
    MiSonia Moore

    I’m having this issue now, especially when I wash my hair after I take my braids out. It gets tangled after it’s washed and conditioned and it takes me hours to detangle my hair, but it’s becoming easier to manage over time.

    1. Sabrina Perkins Post author

      I’m glad it’s getting easier. The detangling process should be happening during the conditiong and not when hair is dry as it is more prone to breakage in that dry state. Slather a great conditioner in your hair and slowly work through the tangles. You can finger detangle or use a wide tooth comb as Veronica suggests.


      You might also want to consider washing your hair in sections. It prevents too many tangles and it’s just easier to deal with small sections of hair at a time.

      1. Sabrina Perkins Post author

        Yes, you are right. I have been washing my hair in sections for over a year and the difference is like night and day. working in smaller sections really helps with tangles.

    3. Crystal Fowler
      Crystal Fowler

      First Get a good trim on clean blowed dryed hair to combat frizz knots and uneven flyaway hair. Always wash your hair in sections…never lose. Use wide tooth comb…seameless combs are best are best. Detangle hair in damp wet state with conditioner ALWAYS never on dry hair. PRODUCTS: I LIKE Garnier frutis Sleek n shine conditioner and Argon Oil Sulfate Free Shampoo on scalp. Use Virgin Olive oil, Aloe Vera juice, or c.booth body oil on hair and scalp to seal in moisture.

  5. Linda Evans
    Linda Evans

    Wow….this is exactly what I’m going through with my natural hair transition. I understand now….thanks

  6. Blessedfrom Above
    Blessedfrom Above

    Yes, biotin works…condition the hair!!! Also make sure to keep the hair and scalp clean and moisturized. ….

  7. An Quenet Patterson
    An Quenet Patterson

    My hair is still transitioning and it’s been 4 years since last relaxer, I decided not to cut my hair so I am just dealing with it I wear my hair in a bun

  8. MiSonia Moore
    MiSonia Moore

    I do. I never comb my hair while it’s dry. My hair is thick and transitioning doesn’t make it any easier

    1. Sammie Time
      Sammie Time

      I purchase at my negborgood beauty supply store, but you can go to their website as well


    You don’t have to do the BC, you can just trim a little bit as you go along. Eventually you will end up getting rid of all the relaxed ends.

  10. MiSonia Moore
    MiSonia Moore

    I tried that also, but it takes longer. Like I said, it’s not as bad as it used go be I just have to adjust to doing my natural hair again

  11. Jennifer Johnson
    Jennifer Johnson

    Ok , so that’s what it’s called. I transitioned 2 years ago and that’s where I had my breakage. My hair broke off 3 times before I started seeing progress with my growth. Got the last of the relaxer cut out May of 2013, my hair is just pass my shoulders now.

  12. Jalonna Gipson
    Jalonna Gipson

    i did the whole transition without the big chop its all oveer now and im happy….i just told my neighbor yesturday you gone get scab hair if you dont take care of your hair or cut it…..i told her to cut she would look so good so when she greases it short her hair will be transitioned by the time it gets long again.

  13. Beth Montgomery-Grant
    Beth Montgomery-Grant

    After mist three years natural I have one patch of scab hair left. I baby but it doesn’t care. That one patch is breaking and slow to grow.

    1. Sabrina Perkins Post author

      I had a patch of scab hair right at my crown. I ALWAYS had to add extra product and oils to it. It FINALLY went away after a couple of years but I had to baby that bad boy for a long time!! Keep adding product and even massage it every night to help it along.

  14. Pamela Bell English
    Pamela Bell English

    That is what I did. I clipped my ends every 4 weeks until I had gotten rid of all of the perm. My hair is now thick and healthy. I am going for length now.

  15. Crystal Mari Gaines
    Crystal Mari Gaines

    I liked the article but, though Scab Hair may not be an official term, that is precisely what it is. Think of it like this, if you cut or hurt yourself in any other part of your body, a scab forms to promote healing. Well, our scalps and hair follicles have been injured by relaxers, color and other chemicals over the years. our scalp/hair follicles have to heal and recover their original operations or coding as it were, so that our true texture can emerge. So, scab hair is a great way to describe the hair that grows out. It has to heal too.

    1. Sabrina Perkins Post author

      What a great way to look at it. Yes, our hair and has to heal after years of relaxing. Thanks for sharing Crystal!

    1. Sabrina Perkins Post author

      “Scab hair is not a true scientific term. Naturals describe the newly grown hair after the chemical relaxing has stopped as “scab hair” due to its dry and unruly nature. Many feel scab hair is a result of the residual chemicals finding their way out of your scalp.” Not my favorite term a real issue for some naturals.

  16. AntLina AjNikki TiceJacob
    AntLina AjNikki TiceJacob How can I determine what type of hair I have? I tried asking for help before but never got a reply. I’m multiracial & the back (neck area) is completely different from the rest of my hair

  17. Erica Selvie
    Erica Selvie

    No such thing as too products entering into your hair follicle. The ONLY way you can try, key word TRY to restore a damaged hair follicle is by scalp manipulation. Scab hair isn’t a word used in the hair industry anywhere. It’s hair shaft, and there is nothing you can do to change the way your hair grows out of your follicle. Majority of black people hair is considered over curly, due to the size and shape of our hair follicle, which is flat.


      I don’t think that many of us naturals consider our hair “over curly” really. Just the perfect amount of curly 🙂 Still you are right, scab hair is not a recognized term but then again it has not been studied so give it a few years and perhaps we will get some official recognition for this very real phenomenon.

  18. Emmalee Lumley Lockett
    Emmalee Lumley Lockett

    My hair is thick and healthy but I have curly roots then straight and then curly ends. Its weird because I have trouble getting a natural curl with it like that

  19. Erica Selvie
    Erica Selvie we as blacks may not think our want to think that our hair is over curly, but it’s a written and documented fact. Think about it. Whether you are natural or not, take a close look at the new growth you will see. Barber Stylist 101…

  20. LaRita Smith
    LaRita Smith

    wth yall been natural so long u done forgot what your new growth was like? my new growth was then and is now 3 years later just as thick and coily bka nappy. i LOVE it!!!!!!!

  21. Jessie Jess

    This is so true. I transitioned for about 9 months before I decided to chop the rest of the relaxer out of my hair. I’m just going to say that it was a struggle every single day not to put that relaxer back in. My hair only curled when I washed it but as it dried, it became more and more straight. I was frustrated and tried every single product I could find…nothing worked. I started concentrating more on what I ate and thinking that if I could keep my body healthy, my hair would follow. I do took multi-vitamins and Biotin everyday, and I would drink about 12 cups of water a day as well. I also heard about Jamaican Black castor oil and started using that right away. It took about a month to see the difference, but it was well worth the wait. The back of my hair curls perfectly, but I’m still working on getting over the “scab hair” on top. It just so happened that I took a really good look at the top of my hair today and I’m excited because the curls are starting to come through more and more and they are absolutely beautiful! I’ve learned that patience is the real key to getting the natural hair that you want.

  22. Sahara

    This is exactly what I’m going through. I have A LOT of new growth scab crap and it’s been making me so mad especially my straight ends. Ughhh. So yea my roots are It’s extra frizzy and thick to the point where I can’t even pull it back. I can’t pull my hair together for crap! Butttt Keeping a spray bottle with water and conditioner is pretty helpful though. I cN def say my hair is not dry.

  23. Anna Ogonji Smith
    Anna Ogonji Smith

    The top of my head has a straighter, drier texture while the rest is a bit curled. I recently big chopped after only transitioning for two months. We shall see if this changes!

  24. Charelle Melodic Lewis
    Charelle Melodic Lewis

    Omg….perfect timing. I was just telling someone that I put twist all over my head a cut the straight parts off leaving the fluffy my my ends and my roots don’t match. I have a distinct curl pattern then it gets weird at the end. And now I know its scab!!! Wait…is it still scab if im transiting from heat damage and not relaxed?

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