15 transitioning hairstyles to help you slay your curl journey

About to embark on your hair journey? Here are some tried-and-tested transitioning hairstyles to help you make the change in style.

Transitioning to natural hair isn’t the easiest of choices, not to mention the difficulty of trying to rock two different hair textures at the same time (awkward stages are inevitable!). And, that’s why we’ve put together our favourite transitioning hairstyles from Instagram to help you through this period of hair trial-and-error.

So, scroll down and get inspired – and good luck with your hair journey!

15 easy transitioning hairstyles to make your hair journey a breeze

side profile view of a girl with natural hair in a low bun puff style with braided bangs
Keep things neat for the office or school with a chic low bun and braided bangs. Credit: Instagram.com/terri_ann_xx_

1. Low bun

Self-conscious about having some really curly strands and other noticeably straighter sections? We’ve got a good hack for that. Pulling your hair into a bun will bring it all together and conceal any contrasting textures. Sorted! Credit: @terri_ann_xx_

Editor’s tip: Think you’d like to give this look a try? If you’re wondering how you can get that high-shine, glossy bun look we’d recommend trying out the VO5 Frizz Free Cream.

Working just a small amount of this cream through your hair while styling will completely smooth down any frizz or flyaways and you can also top it up on dry hair during the day for on-the-go smoothing.

side profile of a lady with natural hair in bantu knots wearing oversized diamond shaped earrings
Rihanna and Blac Chyna have both rocked bantu knots in the past. Credit: Instagram.com/christyclovere

2. Bantu knots

Fun and playful, the protective abilities of bantu knots make them fantastic transitioning hairstyle. These mini twisted knots can be made as big or small as you like, just remember as you’re dividing your hair up into sections that the more sections you have, the smaller (and therefore, more) bantu knots you’ll have.

Try leaving a small amount of hair out of your knots at the front of your hair, so that you can add in an individual braided detail around your face. Credit: @christyclovere

woman with her natural hair in a slick high top knot bun hairstyle standing in front of a pink background wearing a black strappy top
It doesn’t get any easier than a basic bun. Credit: Instagram.com/curlygallal

3. High bun

The path to natural hair never did run smooth and there will probably be times when all you want is to get your hair up and out of your way; in which case, you should make a mental note of the fail safe ballerina bun.

Elegant but practical, it’s both work and play appropriate and takes less than a minute to do. Credit: @curlygallal

woman wearing a nude roll neck top with short teeny weeny afro hair and large hoop earrings
Starting over is always an option if you’re not afraid to go short. Credit: Instagram.com/avielleamor

4. The TWA

Ok, so this one isn’t necessarily for the faint of heart, but if you’re sick and tired of having to deal with two different hair textures, then you might want to consider going for the big chop and starting all over with a teeny weeny afro (TWA).

The big chop is exactly what you think it is: cutting off your relaxed hair, leaving only your natural hair texture behind to grow out again. Instantly, you’ll be a full-on natural. And the best part? It’s super low-maintenance too.Credit: @avielleamor

Editor’s tip: Going natural is really exciting, but don’t forget that natural hair is at higher risk of damage. This is because its coily texture makes it harder for oils to distribute through the lengths. Protect your curls by incorporating a leave-in conditioner into your regime to up the hydration and lower the chance of breakage. We love spray formulas like the TRESemmé Botanique Nourish & Replenish Hydrating Mist as it’s super easy to pop in your bag for midday moisture touch-ups!

selfie of a girl with long brunette box braids in a half up half down bun hairstyle wearing a purple and gold patterned tunic top
Box braids are the naturalista’s go-to. Credit: Instagram.com/breenylee

5. Box braids

On the market for long-term protective transitioning hairstyles that you can keep in for a good few weeks? Beautiful box braids might just be the answer to all your hair prayers.

Plus, they work on pretty much any hair length, and while they take a few hours to put in, once completed they’re really versatile and low-maintenance, too. Credit: @breenylee

Black hair transitioning hairstyles boxer braid cornrows
Trying to grow out your hair? Cornrows are known as one of the best protective styles. Credit: Instagram.com/jadorebeauty

6. Cornrows

Cornrows, boxer braids (or whatever you like to call them) are one of our favourite transitioning hairstyles as it hides the hair texture change really well. It’s a great way to keep your hair looking on point, be it at the gym or just out-and-about in town. Now, all you have to do is decide on how many you want, will you go for just 2 or an all over look like this Instagram stylista? Credit: @jadorebeauty

Become a boxer braid pro with help from our step-by-step tutorial, here.

woman with long brunette marley twist braids
Twists are another alternative to standard box braids. Credit: Instagram.com/mariannedacruziam

7. Senegalese twists

Hair boredom is a very real thing, so if you’ve only ever worn box braids in the past and like how practical they are but want to try something different, why not give twists a try instead?

Senegalese twists (also called rope twists) allow you to try lots of different hairstyles, but can be quicker than box braids to install. Credit: @mariannedacruziam

natural haired woman with a halo braid hairstyle wearing a dogtooth print square earring
Come on angels, show us your halos! Credit: Instagram.com/braidsbybobbie

8. Halo braid

Don’t let the intricacy of this style scare you off, as the halo braid is easier to do than you’d think. It’s a princess-worthy style that wouldn’t look out of place at prom or a wedding, but once you get the knack of it you’ll find yourself gravitating towards it all the time as it’s such a pretty and practical look.  Credit: @braidsbybobbie

Read nextHalo braid how-to on natural hair.

woman with natural curly hair tied up with a patterned silk head scarf standign in front of a rainbow wall
What’s life without accessories? Credit: Instagram.com/ku.chena

9. Accessorise!

You don’t always need to go to extreme lengths with transitioning hairstyles. To nail this look, all you have to do is distract everyone with your beautiful hair accessories! So grab your prettiest headscarves or headbands, and start wrapping.

You can create beautiful turbans or simply use your headband to hide your growing roots. Credit: @ku.chena 

woman with strawberry red coloured natural curly hair wearing a brown off the shoulder top with a blue denim jacket
You don’t have to risk damaging your hair with heat to get your dream curls. Credit: Instagram.com/emazadilan

10. Cute curls

For heat-free curls, try doing a cute twist-out or braid-out early on in the transitioning process. Curls are a great way of disguising the growing difference in your two hair textures and braid-outs and twist-outs will help make your curl pattern more uniform and manageable. Credit: @emazadilan

TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Shine Oil Front

Editor’s tip: To prevent your transitioning hairstyles from becoming frizzy as you take them out of the braids, apply a smoothing oil, like the TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Shine Oil, to your fingertips before you unravel your braids.

This will give your hair some slip while you undo them and give your curls a smoother, shiny finish and stop them becoming undefined.

woman with an intricate twisted natural hair updo
You’d be amazed at how many different updo variations you can create. Credit: Instagram.com/parlourrva

11. Twisted updo

If you’re a bit of a braiding aficionado and want a look that’s really going to wow, get creative with a showstopping flat twisted updo that shows off your plaiting prowess. Play around with pomps, side buns or even an ultra edgy braided mohawk, the world’s your oyster! Credit: @parlourrva

Transitioning hair ideas: Woman with blunt cut bog hairstyle, wearing red eyeshadow with red lipstick
Will you go short or long? Credit: Instagram.com/nyane

12. Wig

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a break from dealing with your natural locks. The best way to do it? By trying out a protective wig of your choice, of course. Credit: @nyane

Transitioning hairstyle idea: Woman with dark brown hair styled into a sleek Sade side braid, with bobby pins, wearing all black in the car
Sade is that you?! Credit: Instagram.com/kersti.pitre

13. Sade braid

Follow this Instagram star’s lead and channel Sade vibes with this easy braided ponytail. Using braiding hair extensions, you can try this easy, sleek hairstyle whenever you want to feel like a #girlboss. Don’t forget the bobby pins! Credit: @kersti.pitre

Editor’s tip: Transitioning hairstyles like this need hair gel to make them work. So, we suggest you try the Alberto Balsam Wet Look Gel to help you create it. Its long-lasting, non-greasy and will leave your mane with a cool wet-look finish.

Transitioning hairstyles: Woman with curly dark brown pineapple updo, wearing black and posing against red brick wall
When it comes to transitioning hairstyles, this one is a fave. Credit: Instagram.com/syanafromparis

14. Pineapple updo

Every naturalista loves a good ol’ pineapple hairstyle. They’re a great way to preserve your curls after a twist-out during the night, and also double up as a cute wearable look for the day. Credit:  @syanafromparis

Transitioning hairstyles: Woman with dark brown curly perm rod hair with copper ends, wearing necklace and posing outside
Encourage your curl pattern with this technique. Credit: Instagram.com/ahfro_baang

15. Perm rods

Craving some serious curl definition? Regardless of whether you’re a 4C or a 3B, you can get the beautiful bounce you desire with our easy perm rods tutorial, right now. Credit: @ahfro_baang




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