Best Transitioning Hairstyles for Black Hair

If you're thinking of leaving relaxers behind and you don't want to cut all of your processed hair off, you'll need some transition styles that will take you from straight hair to your natural texture. While most of these styles are protective, you can still wear your hair out on occasion. Try these hairstyles to get you through the sometimes awkward stages of transitioning and you'll feel confident that your hair looks good every day.

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Wet Sets

Wet sets are a great way to style transitioning hair.
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Blend those curly roots with your relaxed tresses with wet sets. You can set your hair on magnetic rollers, flexi-rods, perm rods or Curlformers. You have a good degree of controlling how curly you want your finished style to be because setting tools come in an array of sizes. Because wet sets don't rely on direct heat, they're a gentle way of styling your hair. Plus, you're getting the hang of making your straightened hair match your textured new growth, which is a healthy way of transitioning.

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Flat twists
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Unlike two-strand twists, which require curly ends that can hold themselves together, flat twists work well on hair that's not completely natural. Similar to cornrows, you use two strands of hair instead of three when fashioning these twists, which lie on the head. You'll still need to secure the ends. If your hair is past your shoulders, you can gather the ends into a ponytail or bun, while shorter hair can simply be pinned into place. More »

Cornrows are a good transition style
By Joanita Hafermalz - originally posted to Flickr as Orit's Cornrows work, CC BY-SA 2.0,

You may want to get some hair additions if you choose this style, but they're not a requirement. You should also consider your workplace environment. While many businesses are becoming more open to what were traditionally seen as "ethnic" hairstyles, keep in mind that some extremely conservative environments still frown upon them. However, if braids or cornrows are a "go-to" style for you, they're perfect for dealing with different textures; they also work with varying lengths of hair, with and without extension additions. For women who like rocking wigs and weaves to get through the transition, they can create cornrows as their base style before slipping on a wig or attaching a weave. More »

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Woman with bun hairstyle
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Buns, topknots and chignons are all easy and elegant ways to style transitioning hair. If you work in a professional environment, skip the scrunchies and choose other accessories to hold your hair in place, such as hair sticks, hair pins and tortoiseshell clips. This is definitely one of the easiest styles to create, but be careful not to get lazy about it: give your hairline a rest from this sleek 'do at least a couple of times per week. This cuts down on the risk of thinning hair around your edges. Speaking of edges, there are plenty of edge control products out there to keep that hairline "laid", so try one of the healthier options such as Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Edge Treatment or Creme of Nature Argan Oil Perfect Edges (both available at Amazon) instead of an alcohol-laden gel that will dry out your mane.

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Woman with weave

For some women, weaving their hair away during transitioning is much easier. You can even choose extensions that mimic natural hair so that you can get an idea of what your new texture will look like on you. Twist and braid extensions are easy enough to get from a professional who's qualified in this area. When worn correctly and caring for your own hair while sporting them, weaves cut back on the frustration of dealing with different textures during your grow-out phase. More »