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Curly Hair Care

Transitioning From Chemically Straightened Hair to Curly Hair

February 22, 2017

I grew up extremely frustrated with my curly hair.

I hated the frizz (lovingly called Jhaadu by some bullies) & was hell bent on getting them straightened.

My hair used to originally look like this.

Rough FFrizzy Curly Hair

I Got A Smoothening Treatment

One day, just before my 12 std college farewell, I got my curls ‘smoothened’ which is basically a keratin treatment that doesn’t last as long as straightening. It adds spaces between the curls in our hair and makes it smooth.

I was SO HAPPY. People around me were happy.

After Keratin Treatment

Initially, anyway.

Soon enough, my curls drew up in rebellion and came back damaged, more frizzy and rough. They also started falling at a crazy rate.

Damage After Chemical Straightening

It was terrifying. I was SO scared to comb my hair just because I didn’t want to see that amount of hair break and fall on the ground.

Damaged Curly Hair

One day, in my first year of college (around 1.5 years after I got this treatment), I went to get a hair cut. The hair stylist obviously couldn’t stop himself from recommending ANOTHER treatment.

Thank god I was broke & couldn’t afford it. I was also quite traumatised by how it looked then.

But, unknown to me, this hair cut was a blessing in disguise. The man had cut a lot of damaged hair off. And at that point my hair had grown quite long, leading to rough curls from my crown to the middle and the ends were these wavy messy damaged strands. You can see the two textures in my hair below.

Curls And Damaged Hair

Transitioning Back Into Naturally Curly Hair

This cut was my initiation into ‘Transitioning’. Which in the natural hair universe means – Going back to your roots, literally! Or growing your natural wavy and curly hair & slowly chopping off the damaged part.

But Pallavi, why is chopping off the straightened part so important? Can’t I just follow your Curly Hair Rules For Beginners & get them back?

This is not easy to hear or accept, but chemically altered hair is NOT going to go back to your natural curls.

In chemical treatments , the products used (also called relaxers) alter the chemical bonds of your hair permanently, making it straight. It canโ€™t go back now. That is why it is called permanent straightening (even though for us curly girls, it hardly lasts more than a couple of months)!

Within a few months, the silky-straight quality goes & your hair becomes a mixture of textures- wavy & straight with lots of frizz, like you saw with my pictures.

Curly Hair

This chemically and heat fried hair needs to go. You don’t need that kinda negativity in your life!

Some girls are brave enough to chop off ALL the damaged hair completely! But you DONโ€™T have to do that if youโ€™re not comfortable. Do it slowly as your new hair grows but remember that this will take a few months or even a year.

BUT you CAN & WILL get them back if youโ€™re willing to put in the effort.

My Hair Transformation After Transitioning

Healthy Curly Hair

Right after I found out about curly girl techniques and the CGย  method, I slowly understood WHY my hair was always rough and frizzy. This post should help YOU understand.

10 Things to Remember About Curly Hair

After a few months – I was SO HAPPY at the change! My curls were shiny, more soft and bouncy.

I applied all the tips & techniques I learnt to my hair and watched it grow healthier everyday.

If you want to get your gorgeous wavy and curly hair back too, remember my tips below.

How to Get Back Curly Hair After Chemical Treatments

How To Get Back Curly Hair After Chemical Straightening

Your Goal

Slowly chop off my chemically damaged hair & keep my new curls growing healthy.

Products You’ll Need:

  1. Gentle Shampoo (Ideally, try switching to a non sulphate shampoo).
  2. Moisturising Conditioner (If your shampoo is non sulphate, make sure your conditioner doesn’t have silicones.)
  3. Deep Conditioner (You can also make deep treatments at home)
  4. Leave-in Conditioner (No this is NOT a serum. Find out why leave in’s are SO important in this post: What is a Leave in Conditioner. Make sure this is free of silicones too if following Cg Method)
  5. Alcohol Free Gel (You can make DIY Flaxseed Gel as well.)
  6. Wide-toothed Comb
  7. Plain T- shirt

Damaged curls to healthy curls

Do’s & Don’ts of Transitioning

1. Don’t apply any heat on your hair. This means no straightening, blow drying, even if itโ€™s โ€˜just the bangs’.

2. Don’t brush/comb your hair dry. Or this will happen.

3. Do oil your scalp and use a gentle shampoo (preferably sulphate free).

4. Do condition your hair generously from mid length to ends.

Applying Conditioner To Curly Hair

5. Do finger-detangle & use a wide-toothed comb after conditioning.

6. After rinsing it off, on wet hair do remember to apply your leave in conditioner/ Curl Cream & gel. Want to watch how I do it? Check out my routine below. Don’t forget to subscribe once you do!

7. Do trim your damaged length every 2-3 months. You can also chop off all the damaged hair in one go. It’s completely your call.

8. Do deep treatments every weekโ€“ This will help your curls to remain moisturised & reduce breakage. Super hydration is the key! You can check out 3 ways I deep condition my curls in my video below!

9. Do put your hair in protective hairstyles

A big issue girls with transitioning hair have is that they canโ€™t stand how โ€˜weirdโ€™ their hair looks- straight at the bottom, curly at the top. In order to avoid that & until you have only curly/wavy hair on your head, you can put your hair into a plait, a loose bun or any other protective hairstyle.

10. Don’t Lose Hope

This is the most important rule! This will take time – hair grows only a couple of inches naturally every month. You can take hair vitamins and oil your hair regularly to speed it up but you can’t do this without trusting the process & having patience.

The Curious Jalebi

To stay motivated, especially on the days you are sick & tired of trying so hard, visualise how awesome your curls will look in some time. Do not compare your hair with other curly girls right now, as tempting as that is because this process is to find out about your curly hair pattern, not to match to anyone elses.

Hungry For More Tips?

Check out my post for beginners – Curly Hair Tips For Beginners

You can also watch more helpful tutorials on my Youtube channel.

Lastly, start researching now on your own! Check out โ€˜Transitioning to natural hairโ€™ & youโ€™ll find many curly haired girls talking about their journey on the web & Youtube.

You can see their struggles & recommendations & arm yourself with enough tips to stay determined.

All the best & stay positive! See you on my Instagram @thecuriousjalebi for more post updates & tips on hair care.

Love,

Jalebi

  • Reply
    Sohini
    February 26, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    Hey Pallavi,this was really informative and helpful.
    I have been going through a problem…it would be kind of you if you help by recommending some tips.
    Here’s my story…
    A few months ago I had a hair smoothing treatment and I was told to use a professional shampoo and conditioner for the same, for maintaining the treated hair.However,while using the shampoo and conditioner I started noticing huge hair fall and so stopped using them and switched to other shampoo and it got worse.My hair fall got doubled up and my hair now looks really slim compared to what it looked shortly after the treatment.(I naturally had curly hair and after the treatment it got wavy.)and I don’t know how to regain my natural curls..My hair problems seem to increase day by day as my hairline is thinning and turning gray.(I am 16 btw and really worried about the hairfall.These problems are giving me a hard time and making it impossible for me to stand confidently in the public)
    The crown of my head has curly hair whereas the Lower ends of my hair is wavy.It would be really….really….really kind of you if you helpe give atleast some suggestions and is the hair fall problem chronic?Will it damage my hair forever?
    Please reply your tips and suggestions are vital and important to me.

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      April 10, 2018 at 11:43 pm

      Hi Sohini, I went through the same thing, even my hair fall after keratin treatment was crazy. Yes, it got better and it became less. Don’t worry. I want you to read through the tips I have given in the post (I have updated the blog post) and then slowly cut off the damaged hair. Let that nehgative energy go. Time to grow healthy curls with proper care. Don’t stress about the damage already done- won’t change! Concentrate on what You CAN control and that is your next step.

      Get a good but basic conditioner & leave in conditioner until you’re able to chop off all the damaged part

  • Reply
    Laura
    February 4, 2018 at 1:10 am

    This gave me lotsa hope. Iโ€™ve chemically straightened my hair too. Chopped off most of it. My hair naturally is straight on top and lotta curls and frizzyness under. Reading this gives me more hope that it will be back into its originally state

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      February 7, 2018 at 7:57 pm

      I’m glad the post helps Laura! Be patient while you’re transitioning & remember to keep chopping off chemically treated hair!

  • Reply
    Ron
    January 2, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    Hi, thank you for posting tutorials and your transition story. It’s given me the hope that my hair days will get better. I have been following your routine. I work out daily and my sweaty scalp causes an odour. Can you recommend something that does not include washing my hair? For now i have been spraying rose water to my scalp. But because of my gym pony, the crown flattens out and becomes frizzy

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      January 20, 2018 at 7:12 pm

      Thank you Ron! i’m glad this posts helps! Please make sure your rose water is pure and does not have any alcohol as an ingredient. You can learn to refresh your curls (once the sweat dries up) with this DIY spray mix I use: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBaiYA4oM6s

  • Reply
    Cleo
    December 20, 2017 at 12:55 am

    thanks for your tips to get my curls back
    but my curls have small locks not large locks and it is somewhat long
    now 8 months have gone after my rebonding and it has grown to a certain length
    since those rebonded part never become curly is it ok if I put spiral perms to those rebonded parts
    I’m afraid to deal with chemicals now cause rebonding damaged my hair alot and it reduces my self confidence as well
    so please tell me is it ok if I put spiral perms only to rebonded part not and never for natural growing part

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      December 21, 2017 at 11:50 am

      HI Cleo! You can get your chemically rebonded hair permed if you’d like but I wouldn’t recommend another dose of chemicals to already damaged hair. If you really want to get them a little healthier, you can try an olaplex treatment in the salon which helps in repairing the hair bonds. But, the best thing would be to slowly cut off your damaged hair while taking care of the new curls the right way. Let the bad sections go so that the good sections grows faster and curls better!

  • Reply
    ankita
    December 14, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    mine is not chemically treated but still they are dry and damaged fine thin hair brittle and break halfway… they dont grow beyond shoulder length..plus no volume. i have faced hairfall in last few months. its better now. can u help me out with this.? how to go about it..how can i reverse hairfall n strengthen my hair

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      December 21, 2017 at 12:05 pm

      Hi Ankita, have you used a lot of heat on your hair? Also you can’t reverse hair fall but you can you can reduce it for the future. Do consult a dermatologist for the hair fall – he or she might prescribe some hormone & iron tests plus hair vitamins. Also try the following tips:

      1. Keep your scalp clean with a non sulphate shampoo
      2. Use a moisturising conditioner in the shower & detangle only then. Try a method called Squish To Condish
      3. Use a denman brush with a light leave in and flax seed gel to style.
      4. Use a diffuser with your hair dryer for more volume.

  • Reply
    Curly Hair Tips For Beginners - The Curious Jalebi
    September 23, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    […] Pallavi Juneja on Transitioning From Chemically… […]

  • Reply
    adii
    September 11, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    very inspiring! just started trying out.. Ur amazing:*

  • Reply
    anshu jain
    September 4, 2017 at 10:57 am

    my hair r smooth and I want to curl them now,will it work as I have chemically straighten my hair, plz reply.

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      September 23, 2017 at 11:30 am

      You mean you have naturally curly hair?

  • Reply
    Minnie
    July 7, 2017 at 4:27 am

    Awesome Pallavi!!!
    You are helping so many curly gals!

  • Reply
    Jhimli
    June 15, 2017 at 5:35 am

    Hi Pallavi, is there a shop/website (not Amazon) in Delhi/NCR where I can buy the shea and garnier product and a good quality diffuser

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      September 11, 2017 at 5:33 pm

      No, it’s difficult to get offline ๐Ÿ™

  • Reply
    Sargun
    June 5, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    hey … this is so inspiring… its been 3 months i have quit using straighter.. i’d rebonded my hair in 2015 and that was the worst decision of my life.. well i really need your advice.. i have curls now except at the ends..( rebonded ends) and i can’t chop my hair ( family rituals) i am unable to manage my frizz .. I am using cantu creamy lotion and enliven conditioner. . results are not as expected..its been a month i have started using these products.. guide me please ๐Ÿ˜•

  • Reply
    Ruchira Ghosh
    June 2, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    I too am transitioning, but it’s not from treated to natural hair. I have been one to always comb my hair (dry) and never use any product apart from shampoo and conditioner (the regular ones). I never knew curly/wavy hair is not to be combed, just like I had no clue about not using sulphates and silicone! Can you please tell me is my transition journey going to be any different or less time taking than yours. My hair is straighter near the roots and the ends curl well. So since I have just recently stopped combing my hair looks just plain unruly and unkept. There is no definition whatsoever.
    I have hardly ever used dryers. I don’t know what to do to make my curls look nice.
    I have been using rainforest range (shampoo and conditioner) since a month. I have started using the same conditioner as leave-in. And use either set wet gel or aloe Vera gel. It’s only been about two weeks since I started with the leave in and gel routine.
    My hair type is 2c/3a I believe. Any help tips or guidance is welcome.

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      June 3, 2017 at 9:05 am

      Hi again! Your transition journey will be faster and easier for you as compared to mine! Can I suggest you to use a different leave in ? I’ve tried that conditioner and it doesn’t give any hold so I don’t think it’s good as a leave in. A gel will definitely help. Have you tried ecostyler gel? It’s my favourite. Really good hold. Can you send me your hair pictures on Instagram or fb. @thecuriousjalebi? I can recommend better that way. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Ruchira Ghosh
        June 18, 2017 at 7:37 am

        Hi! I had sent you my pics on FB , I think the very day I got this reply from you. Haven’t heard from you since. Please send me some product recommendations, I cannot seem to be able to get my curls to look defined. Most of the curly products seem so expensive, and I don’t know which one really to pick up. The only thing I have been able to figure out till now is that, aloe Vera gel and egg make my hair look more messy and unkept, and thus do not work for me!!
        Please help.

    • Reply
      Ruchira Ghosh
      June 4, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Hey! Pallavi thanks a ton for replying, and that too so soon. Please do suggest a leave in conditioner that you think might help me.
      I have used the set wet gel, the yellow one and blue one once each. Otherwise I have been using the green leaf aloe Vera gel on and off, maybe only 3 or 4 times till now, since I left dry combing my hair.
      I would like pocket friendly options, since I’m just starting out, don’t want to spend too much only to realise that the product isn’t really working for me!
      Can I DM my pics to you on Instagram, I’m already following you. Or should I send it through FB messenger, I don’t would like to basically send it personally.

  • Reply
    Hinshara Habeeb
    May 28, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Very inspiring. I am at the transitioning stage as well and following Curly penny tutorials but I was unhappy with the fact that I couldn’t find most of the products in India. Now I have discovered your blog. Excited to start the journey ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      May 28, 2017 at 4:09 pm

      Thank you Hinshara! Let me know your experience with the products ! All the best on your hair journey ! โค๏ธ

  • Reply
    peppypetite
    May 21, 2017 at 6:46 am

    which gel and serum do you use and in what order? your hair looks great!

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      May 21, 2017 at 7:02 am

      Thank you! Eco styler gel followed with cold pressed avocado oil of sometimes bodyshop grapes seed glossing serum ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Maithili
    April 26, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Wowwww….Just when I needed to read it..! Found it….!
    Keep inspiring girl..! U r awesome..!

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      April 26, 2017 at 3:43 pm

      Thanks Maithili! I’m glad you liked it. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • Reply
    My Favourite Curly Hair Products You Can Get in India + Links to Where You Can Buy Them – The Curious Jalebi
    March 22, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    […] If you are transitioning from Chemically Treated or Heat Damaged hair, I would suggest you read this first:ย Transitioning From Chemically Straightened Hair to Curly Hair […]

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