Before actually being successful, I tried to transition and then failed at 8 months post. I think getting that last relaxer really help me, because after that I didn't look back! I transitioned for about 16 monthsish, I did a mini chops every couple of months until I was all natural! I didnt do too many styles. I wore my hair straight, braidouts, Senegalese twist, and in the winter since my bangs were natural i would wear my bangs out in a wash and go and wear the back braided under a hat. Transitioning is truly a journey and different for everyone, but here are a couple of my tips!
1. Don't look at only one hair type for inspiration unless you are 100% sure you know what your natural hair looks like. One of the biggest mistake I see people make is going natural because they like the way another persons hair looks or going natural thinking or hoping their hair will be a certain way. Unless you were completely natural before as an adult there is no way of knowing so you should be ready to embrace and work with what ever texture you have. On the hair forums I see so many naturals trying to get their hair to mimic things other peoples' hair does natural. Whether you wash and go hangs or coils up, Embrace it!
2.Heat doesn't have to be bad! I know many frown against this and many recommend not to use heat, I believe it depends on your hair. I have never had a problem with heat and still don't. I blowdried and flat ironed for the the first 8 months of my transition probably every other week and saw no damage. Straightening made it easy to blend the two textures and lasted longer than other styles. Of course it is ideal not to use it , but if you need to go ahead. Just stop once you notice any signs of damage. Also, make sure to deep condition and only flatiron clean hair, use a heat protectant and minimal products, and not to use heat daily.
3.Protective style! Especially around month 8+ dealing with the two textures can be a hassle. I learned that long term protective styles like weaves and twist or braid extensions were extremely helpful in keeping me out of my hair and keeping it protected. The more you mess in your hair and get frustrated the more likely you will relax. One thing to remember with these styles it to not get them too tight and not leave them in too long. I got Senegalese twist a couple times during my transition and I loved them because I was having issues looking the way I wanted with my transitioning hair, but I was still able to look presentable with these! Wigs are also good for some because you can hide your hair, but you are able to get to it whenever you need to care for it.
4. If you don't want to use fake hair there are many ways you can style your own hair. Most of these style require a good amount of manipulation but can be preserved for a couple of days. These styles include braid outs, flat twist outs, straw sets, bantu knot outs, etc. If your hair is long enough you can also cowash and wet bun often. What ever style you do be very gentle with your hair.
5. I wish I could offer product suggestions.I washed my hair weekly and deep conditioned after each wash. I am pretty sure I used Biolage shampoo and conditioner whenever straightening and any drugstore shampoo and conditioner otherwise. I also like Cantu Shea Butter leave in and Hawaiian Silky 14 in 1 to moisturize my hair. I also liked to experiment with whipping my own butters to use to seal and on my skin, need to start doing this again. I don't like giving product suggestions any way because what works for my hair may not work for yours. I used so many products that worked for others and hated them! Moisture is a big problem for a lot of naturals so find products that keep your hair soft and moisturized.
6. Research! There are so many tips and style ideas out there don't just look in one place. Also there are so many people sharing their journeys and inspriation.