If you have kinky, curly hair and rock your natural texture, you most likely deal with curl shrinkage. While the effects may not be as noticeable on certain natural hair subtypes, some women have claimed to experience shrinkage up to eight inches when their hair goes from wet to dry. Want to minimize shrinkage as much as possible? Try out these tips for long, strong locks that still show off your natural texture.
What Is Hair Shrinkage?
Shrinkage is a decrease in length which occurs as kinky, curly hair goes from wet to dry. It is typical for all curls of type 3 and 4, for some locks of type 2, and unusual for healthy type 1 hair. The reason for this difference in length is that while hair is wet, it is weighed down, so curls stretch and fall to their maximum length. As hair dries, inches of length disappear.
Make sure you understand what type of hair you have in order to realize which methods work best for you to minimize shrinkage. More noticeable shrinkage is in type 3c and types 4a, 4b, 4c natural curls. Waves of type 2 and type 3a hair will look almost the same in wet and dry conditions, so with right products and styling methods you can prevent the decrease in length.
Note, that while curl shrinkage can be frustrating or bothersome and you can’t get rid of it completely, curls that bounce back into place are often times the healthiest.
#1: Blow It Out
If you are looking to really maximize your length, a blow out is your best bet. Although, there are a few steps that you should take to get the best results with minimal damage. Because excessive heat can weaken and damage the hair shaft, it is important to prep the hair with a heat protectant and a deep conditioner before blow drying. Once you are prepped and primed, clip on your comb attachment to your hair dryer. The comb attachment works with your curls and ultimately helps limit the amount of time that you have heat on your hair. Want an alternative to a full-out blow dry? Let your hair air dry about 80 percent and blow dry your roots on a medium heat. This method will result in a little more length but will keep your curls intact down the shaft.
#2: Embrace Bantu Knots
Bantu knots are the perfect option for the lady looking to use a little less heat on her locks. They stretch out the hair without using any heat and don’t require any special styling skills. To create bantu knots section your hair off into squares — keep in mind that the smaller the section, the tighter the curl. Brush out any knots that you have and start twisting! Make sure to leave a little bit of space between your scalp and your knots to make sure you don’t overdo with the pressure on your scalp. Bantu knots are also an amazing option when it comes to styling your hair.
#3: Rock Your Roller Set
Roller sets are a common find in any curly girl’s bathroom. Because roller sets are used on wet hair that can be left to air dry, they are one of the least damaging ways to stretch out curly kinks and thus to prevent natural hair shrinkage. Make sure to comb out any knots before rolling in order to prevent a tangled mess. Coined as the “bunning” method, this technique stretches out curls with a very small amount of effort. The bunning technique can be utilized on both wet and dry hair, which makes it a great alternative for when your curls are no longer damp or freshly washed.
#4: Banding Together
Banding serves as another heatless option for the curly girl searching a little extra length:
- Separate wet strands into small sections and secure each one with a snag-free elastic at the base of your hair.
- Select one strand and put another elastic a few inches lower from the first one.
- Go on like this until you reach the ends of the strand you are working on.
- Do the same thing for all of your strands.
Keep in mind that the smaller the spaces in between the bands, the more stretched out your curls will be. While banding is a great heatless option, make sure to use this method sparingly as it can lead to breakage.
#5: Put Your Hair in a Bun
One more way to control your extreme black hair shrinkage is creating a high bun while your hair is still damp. Note that it hasn’t to be too tight in order to prevent creases. To reduce the shrinkage even more, use bobby pins to make your bun less messy. Keep your hair in a bun for 1-2 hours. Don’t expect to get all 100% of your hair length back, but the result of your efforts will be noticeable.
So, is hair shrinkage prevention a myth or a truth? As we found out above, it is a natural state for curly hair, so healthy locks will definitely decrease in length after every hair wash. Magical anti-shrinkage products don’t exist, but you may reduce this phenomenon with the help of right hairstyles for curly hair and deep conditioning. Everything is in your hands!