Shrinkage! One of the many words the natural hair community cannot stand. If you're new to natural hair, shrinkage can be quite frustrating. Quite frankly, even veteran naturalistas are yet to come to terms with it. So here are are a few things you ought to know about shrinkage.
Shrinkage is a sign of healthy hair
Yes, you read that right. Shrinkage is a sign of healthy hair. By its nature, natural hair is curly, compact and coily. Shrinkage just means your hair is able to bounce back to its naturally curly state. This indicates that your hair hasn't lost its elasticity (strength) and hasn't been damaged by heat or any form of chemical.
Hair without moisture shrinks
If you've noticed, your hair tends to shrink anytime there's no moisture in it. Once your hair is moisturized, it stretches. This is why it is crucial to always keep your hair moisturized. If you're not a fan of shrinkage, you know what to do now - moisturize! The Aloe Vera Hair Mist or Anti Itch Hair and Scalp Spray are perfect moisturizers.
Stretch your hair to reduce shrinkage
To prevent your hair from being compacted due to how coily it is, stretching it (after moisturizing) helps. There are many ways of stretching natural hair. You can opt for African threading, banding, blow drying (this should be done once in a while with a heat protectant or with low heat). Other options including silk press is available. However, this shouldn't be done often. If you have to do it, visit a professional so your hair doesn't get damaged.
Style hair to bed
To prevent your hair being mushed up whilst you sleep, style it to bed. Chunky twists, pineapple, big braids in sections and a host of other hair styles will keep your hair stretched. Style as desired in the morning and you're good to go.
Stop comparing relaxed/texlaxed hair to natural hair
By nature of relaxed or texlaxed hair having undergone a chemical transformation, it's not prone to shrinkage. This is because the chemical used literally loosens up curly hair to straight hair. Comparing relaxed hair to natural hair is a complete waste of time. Whichever state you hair is, enjoy it.
Before you go looking for a 'solution' for shrinkage, just know that shrinkage is normal. It shows you have healthy, elastic hair and there are no products to 'cure' shrinkage. Of course, if you want to loosen your curls, this is a different conversation.
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