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Curly Hair Care

Transitioning From Chemically Straightened Hair to Curly Hair

February 22, 2017

A lot of you have asked me how to get your curly hair back after having them straightened. The top 2 pictures in the grid below show how my hair looked a year after having them chemically straightened at the parlour. I’ve received messages along the lines of “That’s how my hair looks too now but the tips aren’t helping much! My curls aren’t coming back.”


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

It is not like reversing the heat damage that comes with using a blow dryer or straightening iron now and then. In that case damage can be reversed (to a point) with conditioning & deep conditioning.

In the chemical treatment however, the products used (also called relaxers) alter the chemical bonds of your hair permanently, making it straight. It can’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.

If you really want to love & live with your natural curls, you need to grow new curls & slowly chop off the damaged length. This is called Transitioning.

Some girls are brave enough to chop off ALL the damaged hair completely! But you DON’T have to do that if you’re not comfortable. Do it slowly but remember that this might take months or even years.

BUT you CAN & WILL get them back if you’re willing to put in the effort. (I’ve done it & at that time I had no idea that what I did is called transitioning!) Check out my hair journey below.

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My Transitioning Rules

  1. My Goal: Grow out my heat/chemically damaged hair & keep my new curls healthy, without breakage.
  2. Products I’ll Need: Non-sulphate shampoo, moisturising conditioner, strengthening deep conditioner, leave-in conditioner, wide-toothed comb, t- shirt, my hair oil of choice. Gel, serum, spray bottle & a micro-fibre towel are optional.
  3. I will avoid: Heat in all forms (no straightening, blow drying, even if it’s ‘just the bangs’) & most importantly, losing hope.
  4. I will keep a consistent routine: Even on the days when I feel really lazy. This will also prepare me to take care of my hair the right way when it gets curly again.
  5. I will keep my scalp clean & oil it weekly– A dirty, dry scalp stops hair growth.
  6. I will NOT brush/comb my hair dry. Or this will happen405855_377194985643695_1297052679_n
  7. My routine will be – Oil scalp & hair, shampoo scalp or co-wash (it means using your conditioner to clean your scalp if I’m not oiling), condition hair, finger-detangle gently (to avoid breakage) & comb with a wide-toothed comb inside the shower. Rinse and style with a leave-in conditioner, gently comb again & seal the ends with oil.  You can watch my routine here:
  8.  I will trim my damaged length every 2-3 months, ideally at the Line of Demarcation. If I want to trim it more often, I’ll do it! It all depends on how fast my hair grows.Line of demarcation is the spot where the curly hair & straight hair meet. You need to treat hair gently to avoid breakage here.
  9. I will pamper my hair with protein & deep moisturising masques every week– This will help in strengthening my hair & reducing breakage. Super hydration is the key!img_4860
  10. I will put my hair in protective hairstyles – A big issue girls with transitioning hair have is that they can’t stand how ‘weird’ their hair looks- straight at the bottom, curly at the top. In order to avoid that, I can put my hair into a plait, a loose bun or any other protective hairstyle.

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. Make patience your best friend when you do this.

Another thing, get on YouTube! Search ‘Transitioning to natural hair’ & you’ll find many curly haired girls talking about their journey. You can see their struggles & recommendations & arm yourself with enough tips to stay determined.

All the best & stay positive! Feel free to comment or DM me on Instagram (@thecuriousjalebi) for any queries.

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

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

  • Reply
    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
    July 7, 2017 at 4:27 am

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

  • Reply
    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 🙁

  • Reply
    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 😕

  • 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. 🙂

      • 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 🙂

    • 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 ! ❤️

  • Reply
    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 🙂

  • Reply
    April 26, 2017 at 1:05 pm

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

  • 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: Transitioning From Chemically Straightened Hair to Curly Hair […]

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