Here are a few tips that have made transitioning a whole lot easier for me. They might be of help to you too.
1. Do your hair in sections.
Doing your hair in sections makes detangling much easier and helps distribute product evenly to all hairstrands.
2. Maintain protein -moisture balance.
You will need to use a protein conditioner to keep your relaxed ends and especially the line of demarcation from breaking off. Moisture on the other hand will give your hair the elasticity it needs to keep it soft and manageable. A balance of the two = healthy hair.
4. Do not comb dry hair.
Combing transitioning hair while it is dry will cause breakage especially at the line of demarcation. It is advisable to comb the hair while it is wet or moisturised. I only comb mine when it is freshly washed and conditioned.
5. Finger detangle your hair.
Using hands/ fingers to detangle transitioning hair will cause less breakage especially if the hair is prone to tangles. A comb will pull out hair and cause breakage every time it is used.
6. Find a go-to style & protective styles
Curly styles such as braid outs, twist outs, rod sets, roller sets e.t.c are usually the best while transitioning because they help to blend in the relaxed and natural hair these styles can be achieved without the use of direct heat. Straight styles are a lot harder to achieve and maintain because natural hair reverts. The above mentioned styles are low manipulation styles and require little to no combing at all. Low manipulation hair styles can be changed to protective styles by turning them into buns or other updo's. A protective stlye is any hair styles that keeps your ends safely hidden, tucked away... These include buns, applying scarves, braids, weaves, cornrows e.t.c check out my First natural hairstyle
7. Don't be discouraged.
Only you know why you have decided to longterm transition to natural. It will be important for you to set your eyes on your goal which is healthy, beautiful natural african hair. There will be people who will say negative things about your hair but just keep going.
Find a good support system of women who have either done a longterm transition or are still transitioning for advice and inspiration.
9. Be patient
Hair grows slowly so please be patient you will get there.
11. Do not put expectations on your hair just accept it as it is.
Avoid comparing your hair with anybody elses, keep in mind that your hair will be unique in it's own way. Some women have curls, coils, kinks, waves and they are all good! Embrace your own hair as it is!
12. Co washing instead of shampooing
At some point I had a feeling that my hair was getting more tangles when shampoo was used on it. Other than that shampoos can dry out the hair especially if they contain sulphates. Washing with conditioner will help improve moisture levels in your hair and ease detangling.
13. Cut down on heat
While heat can be used to blend in relaxed and natural hair, it is not advisable to use heat to transition to natural. Heat can damage the hair's curl pattern. Always use a heat protector when you use heat.( blow dryer, flat irons, curling irons...)
14. Trim your relaxed ends off gradually.
As the new growth increases, the relaxed ends start to look very thin. If you don't want any rude schocks and are not comfortable with the length your natural hair is now do not cut off too much of the relaxed ends. Plan for small trims until you are satisfied with your length.
15. Pre shampoo treatments.
Pre shampoo treatments have been a life saver for me. Just applying an oil to my scalp and hair and finger detangling before washing really makes a big difference.
16. Wash your hair on a regular basis.
Transitioning hair likes to matt/ tangle at the line of demarcation. Leaving this kind of hair unwashed and undetangled for too long means that all the shed hair will attach itself to the tangle and keep growing as a result you will experience breakage.
I had to cut off all of this because of a bad tangle. I had not washed or detangled my hair for two whole weeks.
17. Satin/ silk Scarf and brush
If you love smooth styles then a scarf and a soft bristle brush will be great investment for you. All you need to do is to moisturise your hair, seal the moisture in with an oil then brush/ comb your hair as desired. Lastly apply a scarf to you hair especially on the edges and this will get them flat in less than 10 minutes.