The Mestiza Muse

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Be Beautiful. Be Natural. Be You.

How to Transition from Straightened Hair to Natural Curls

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Image of my straightened damaged hair to natural curls.

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Seeing how many people accept and embrace their natural curls after decades of straightening to fit into society and media beauty standards is refreshing. Those with treated hair and relaxers now hold the question, how do I transition from straightened hair back to natural curls? 

Transitioning from straightened hair to natural curls can be done with patience, regular trims, scalp and strand care and conditioning, clarification and chelation, and avoiding further chemical treatments, hair coloring, and heating tools. The hair will require repair and healthy new growth.  

Let’s focus on understanding how the process of transitioning from straightened hair to natural curls is possible, how to achieve it, and why you should avoid doing it in the future. 

How to Transition Your Straightened Hair to Natural Curls 

A compilation of my hair's transitioning journey from 2016 to 2018.
Here’s a compilation of my hair’s transitioning journey from 2016 to 2018.

There are a couple of reasons why people will want to stop straightening and embrace curly hair, which we discuss a little later in the post.

But there are several things you can do to help transition your hair from straightened and possibly damaged to gain back your natural curls. 

Here are some helpful tips to achieve that: 

Get Educated on Curly Hair 

Image of curly girl looking at her laptop.

It only makes sense to start something this significant and possibly challenging by getting educated. If you don’t understand curly hair, how it functions, what products it requires, and what the best routines for curly hair are, you are likely setting yourself up for failure. 

My blog has everything you need to know and more – including some scientific information – on curly hair. You can start with this comprehensive guide to embracing natural curls. I can also help you with the curly hair dictionary and an in-depth guide to growing natural hair

Additionally, I have experienced the transition from chemically straightened, damaged hair to natural curls. You can learn more about my experience in my blog post, “A Brief Look Into My Healthy Hair Journey.”

Learn Your Curly Hair Type 

Image of hair type chart.

When transitioning from straightened to naturally curly hair, the best way to understand how to care for your curls is to understand your curly hair type. Try to remember or look back at old pictures of your curly hair to determine your type. 

It may be different or mixed textures once you finally restore your hair to its natural state. However, following a routine according to your type will ensure the best health for your strands and provide faster results to seeing those bouncy curls again. 

Be Patient 

Image of an hour glass.

Patience is key. Accept that the process will take time, and your hair might go through phases of looking and feeling worse at times. This is the natural progression of the process. You can slow the journey down if you get impatient and switch products or routines too fast or too often. 

Get Regular Trims 

Image of curly haired person getting a trim.

You may not want to cut your length, but regular trims can help your hair transition. The ends of your hair hold the most damage and lingering straightening treatment.

As new, healthy, natural hair grows from the scalp, cutting off stagnant ends can help you see progress faster. 

Use Clarifying and Chelating Shampoos 

Image of Ouidad clarifying shampoo and Malibu C chelating shampoo.

Clarifying and chelating shampoos can help to remove product residue, build-up, environmental pollutants, and chemical components from the hair.

Product build-up can weigh down the hair and prevent curls from forming properly. By using a clarifying shampoo, you’re ensuring that your hair is free from any residue that might inhibit its natural curl pattern.

This should not be done too often, but using them once every three to four weeks can speed up getting rid of straightening treatments and restore hair health. 

Both clarifying and chelating shampoos assist in the transitioning process by ensuring the hair is clean, free from build-up, and in its optimal state to embrace its natural curl pattern.

Focus on Deep Conditioning 

Image of Keratin Hair Mask Deep Conditioner.

Deep conditioning treatments play a pivotal role in restoring damaged hair. They penetrate the hair shaft, replenishing lost moisture and nutrients, which in turn strengthens the hair and improves its elasticity.

Damaged hair, often characterized by high porosity, has a lifted cuticle that lets moisture escape easily. This damage can be exacerbated by frequent chemical treatments, UV radiation, and heat styling, which further weaken the hair cuticle and expose the hair’s inner structure.

High porosity hair requires specific ingredients such as proteins, conditioning agents, and emollients. These ingredients help to fill the gaps in the cuticle, seal in moisture, and protect the hair from further damage, ensuring a healthier and more resilient mane.

Avoid Chemical Treatments and Dyes 

Image of chemical being applies to hair with a big red x on top.

Avoid using additional chemicals and dyes during your transition. They can impede your progress, harm your natural curl texture, and further weaken your hair.

It’s crucial to steer clear of these treatments when moving from straightened, damaged hair to natural curls to preserve and restore the hair’s innate curl pattern.

Once you have fully regained your natural curls and your hair is healthy, you can consider coloring it again.

However, it’s crucial to seek the guidance of a professional curly hair stylist/colorist to ensure the best results and maintain hair health.

Don’t be Afraid of Shedding 

Image of shedding hair in a brush.

Through any transition process, shedding is normal. The same goes for your hair. As you work on removing straighter and relaxers from your hair and growing new, healthy curls, your damaged and treated hair will shed. Allow this to happen as you provide your hair with quality care. 

Take Care of Your Scalp 

Image of curly girl looking at her scalp.

Your scalp is the most important part of hair transitioning. Straighteners and relaxers can damage the follicles and roots. Ensuring scalp care can repair the damage, which allows your new growth to be healthy and strong. Scalp care can also include clarification and chelation. 

Avoid Heating Tools 

Image of curly iron and flat iron in the background with red x in front of it.

Heat styling, particularly during the transitioning phase, can harm curly hair by depleting its natural moisture, resulting in dryness and breakage.

Regular use of heat can also compromise the hair’s protein integrity, making it challenging for curls to return to their natural state.

During your transitioning journey, you’ll discover the benefits of using a diffuser. Though it’s the gentlest heat styling method for your curls, it’s still best to stick to low to medium heat settings.

The Transition from Straightened Hair to Natural Curls 

For decades, people with curly hair, particularly women, were made to believe that curly hair is wrong and only straight hair is beautiful. The pressure to fit in, be liked, and be seen as beautiful according to the standards of society and media was high. Many curlies caved into that narrative. 

Over recent years, especially with social media taking over the world and people opening up and speaking their truths as many social issues are being addressed, the standards of beauty have been in the front line of those conversations. Curlies are now embracing and indulging in their natural curls. 

This means more and more curlies are noticing the change and gaining confidence to get rid of the daunting task of applying straighteners and relaxers and spending unnecessary large amounts of money at the salon. But doing that also comes with learning how to manage natural curls. 

The biggest question that most people consider is whether the transition from straightened hair to natural curls is even possible. From the tips above, you know that it is with dedication, patience, and effort. But if you work at it and stick to a routine, you will see results sooner than later. 

The best part about this transition is that you get to restore your hair’s health and enjoy your natural beauty while empowering other curlies to also embrace their hair types, textures, and heritages through one of their best and most beautiful accessories – naturally curly hair. 

Transitioning Damaged Straightened Hair to Natural Curls 

Other than embracing your natural hair, you may want to transition from straightened hair to your natural curls to get rid of and repair damage. Using straighteners and relaxers can take a toll on your hair’s health over time. 

Before you know it, your hair is dry, brittle, burnt from chemical damage, and is suffering unbearable hair loss. Many people end up cutting most of their hair off to eliminate the damage. And sometimes your hair is never the same again. 

That is why focusing and working on the transition from straightened to naturally curly hair is a good idea and essential if you want to ensure healthy hair for years to come. 


It may seem impossible, but you can transition from straightened hair to natural curls. With time, resilience, and proper care, your hair will return to its naturally curly state, and you can enjoy those healthy, bouncy, and luscious locks again.


I’m just a girl who transformed her severely damaged hair into healthy hair. I adore the simplicity of a simple hair care routine, the richness of diverse textures, and the joy of sharing my journey from the comfort of my space.

My mission? To empower others with the tools to restore, and maintain healthy hair, and celebrate the hair they were born with!

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