Here is a list of some things you can do right now to improve your transitioning hair.
Protein Treatments. Transitioning hair needs protein for strength, and protein treatments are hands-down the best way to repair damaged hair. You may already be familiar with this treatment, as they're commonly used with both natural and relaxed hair. However, with transitioning hair, you'll want to do a different routine. Instead of strengthening the entire strand, try doing frequent protein treatments to the line of demarcation. You can still apply it to the whole strand if you need to, but then do an additional protein treatment on the line of demarcation only.
Deep Conditioning. Curly hair needs moisture, and doing regular deep conditioning treatments will help to infuse moisture into the hair shaft. Deep conditioning treatments will soften your hair and prevent breakage at the line of demarcation. Use a heat cap or a plastic shower cap when you condition to allow the cuticles to open and receive the nutrition.
Use Products with Slip. Slip is a beauty industry term that refers to how slippery a product is. Slip will allow your strands to slide apart easier and help you avoid tangles. Tangles tend to lead to breakage, so preventing them will help.
Sulfate-Free Shampoo. You may have gotten used to using a conventional shampoo with your relaxed hair because it was inexpensive and widely available. But you should always choose sulfate-free shampoos with transitioning hair. You'll find them less drying and your hair will be easier to detangle. In fact, you should start experimenting with different natural product lines, to see which ones your hair likes best. Not all-natural products are low in chemicals, so be sure and eyeball the ingredients list first.
Co-washing. Co-washing is popular among naturals, and it can be very helpful when you use it in the right way. Shampoos can cause both dryness and tangles, but you don't want to completely avoid washing your scalp. Keeping your scalp clean and unclogged is a must if you want your hair to grow. So, don't completely skip the shampoo. Instead, use co-washing during the week to give your hair an extra hydration and conditioning boost. You can always keep a water spray bottle on hand for mid-week usage, but there's nothing like getting your hair completely soaked in water in the shower. Do the co-washing as much as you can during the week.
Finger Detangling. You can easily rake a comb through relaxed hair, but with natural hair, it's a different story. Natural hair quickly becomes tangled because of all the tiny curls. Use your fingers to detangle your hair instead of a comb. You'll find that you're able to feel and gently guide knots apart better than a comb can. It's a good idea to do finger detangling even after you've transitioned too.
Trimming. Cutting your hair a little more often than usual will help you get rid of your relaxed hair sooner. Normally, you might trim 2-3 times per year. Shifting to 4-6 trims per year will put you on a faster path of getting rid of your relaxed and damaged ends.
Satin Bonnet. Using a satin bonnet at night will help to save your strands from breakage. Rubbing your head against a cotton pillowcase all night tends to make transitioning hair dry and frizzy. Use a satin bonnet or silk scarf at night to protect your transitioning hair. You'll like being able to make your hairstyles last longer too.
Protective styles. Protective styling has a lot to offer transitioning hair. This is a great time to place your hair in crochet styles or goddess braids. These extension styles won't pull your roots, as long as you don't make it too tight. Plus, it will protect the line of demarcation and allow your hair to grow out underneath. Then, at some point, you can trim the last bit of relaxed hair.
If you follow these tips, you should be able to save your hair from breakage until you are finally ready to chop away the relaxed ends.
Are you transitioning? What are some things you've done to repair your transitioning hair?