If you keep your natural hair, then you have definitely experienced shrinkage (especially for type 4C hair). For those who might not know, shrinkage is when your natural hair transitions from stretched and lengthy to more compact and short hair. Shrinkage can be frustrating especially if you want to show off your length but it isn't all bad.
Interestingly, our hair shrinks when it loses moisture. To an extent shrinkage is more of an alarm blower to let us know it's time to hydrate our hair. It also aids us in identifying our hair porosity or how well our hair retains moisture. So shrinkage isn't such a bad thing afterall. There are some things you can do to reduce its impact.
Does this mean detangled hair doesn't shrink? No please. Detangling properly helps do away with knots and tangles which prevents you from seeing the real length of your hair. Take a few minutes to moisturize your hair, divide it into sections and detangle gently with your fingers or a wide tooth comb and leave-in conditioner.
Deep condition regularly
Deep conditioning basically restores moisture to your hair. Not only does your hair become moisturized but it also seals in the moisture if you deep condition regularly. After deep conditioning, don't apply too much oils to weigh down your hair. Moisturizing hair mists such as the Aloe Vera Hair Mist is a better alternative.
Stretch you hair (with heat)
Before we talk about this, please make sure you use a heat protectant always before applying heat to your hair. Now that that's out of the way, blow drying or doing a silk press can help you know the true length of your hair. However, please do so advisedly and from time to time. Doing these too often could have an adverse effect on your curl pattern.
Stretch your hair (without heat)
You can do African threading which is basically stretching your hair with a thread. Most prefer using a black thread but for the sake of having fun, the brighter the colour, the more fun it is!
You can also go in for banding which is using hair bands to stretch your hair.
Our very own natural hair twists and braids are also a great way to stretch your hair without using heat.
Style your hair before bed
It sounds weird right but if you leave your hair out in an afro, shrinkage will be your portion in the morning. Instead, go in for chunky twists or braids or even pineapple (not the fruit), put on your satin scarf or bonnet and go to bed. Moisturize your hair in the morning and style as desired.
What you need to understand about shrinkage is that there's no way of getting rid of it. You only need to embrace it and engage in good practices that could help to reduce its impact. Please make sure your shampoo is sulfate-free to prevent it from stripping your hair off its natural oils.
Ultimately, keep your hair moisturized as often as possible. Moisturize! moisturize!! Moisturize!!!
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