When you go natural, there are a lot of things that people tell you. They say, “It’s a great decision, all the chemicals in relaxers are harmful to the body. They inform you that, “Being natural is empowering and gives you a new found sense of pride.” These things and so much more are very true; being natural is a beautiful thing. But of all the insights and tips that people give, there is one aspect of the lifestyle that many do not mention- shrinkage.
If you don’t understand what I mean when I say shrinkage, here is a very simple definition: It is the difference in the look of your hair when it’s dry (usually shorter and less defined curls), vs. when it’s wet and gently stretched. It is very real; just ask any woman who has been natural for a few months. While people experience different degrees of shrinkage, it can be frustration nonetheless. Especially after getting out of the shower having just washed your hair and seeing how the curls hang. They may sway at your shoulders, but by the time your curls dry, they have shrunk to your ears.
There are things you can do to help with the shrinkage and a lot of naturals employ different methods and techniques to maintain your length. Here are a few things to try.
Many natural hair products promise a lot of things. From moisturizing your hair to keeping it strong and healthy, there is a cream, spray or lotion for just about everything. With that, you can find items on the shelves of your local department store and online, of course, that will help prevent shrinkage. Au Naturale Anti- Shrinkage by Dark and Lovely is a good one to try.
This method is a popular one. When it comes to combating shrinkage, twisting your hair will definitely give you more natural length. Just section off your hair into 4- 8 segments and make sure you use a good product to help the hair twist better. You want to let your hair dry a little bit too because twisting it straight out of the shower will take a long time to dry. And what’s worst than shrinkage is a damp twist out. You will not get the results that you want.
Depending on the type of length you want, you can use rollers to combat shrinkage as well. I suggest doing it while your hair is damp because your hair will set better. You can use rods or plastic rollers, it’s up to you. Your hair won’t have the coiled curls, but you will not have to worry about shrinkage, which for a lot of naturals is what they most want to prevent.
One of the best ways to stop shrinkage is to blow dry your roots. What this does is open up your cuticle making it easier for the cuticle to expand. Lifting the roots will tremendously help with shrinkage. You want to make sure, however, that you don’t use too much heat. If you are one who doesn’t mind a little bit of heat (some naturals stay away from it completely) then this is a viable option that may give you the exact results you are looking for.
When it comes down to it, working with your hair is all about trial and error. If you experience shrinkage and wish you didn’t have to deal with it as much, these are just a few ways to help you better manage your hair.