January 16, 1979 – August 25, 2001
January 16, 1979 – August 25, 2001
*Post was inspired by the recent “pleasant” affects of the humidity in good ol’ Georgia*
*Few curse words used, just so you know*
Hair shrinkage. For those who don’t know, shrinkage is the difference between what your hair looks like when it’s wet and gently stretched to its maximum length and what it looks like when it’s dry. It happens to all curls but it is more noticeable in kinky, coily hair because that hair type has tighter curls.
Shrinkage isn’t all bad since it does indicate that your hair is in good condition, meaning that the hair follicles can “spring” back to the scalp without breaking.
Why do I have a love-hate relationship with my shrinkage?
In the beginning of my natural hair journey, disliked shrinkage for superficial reasons. It didn’t display my hair’s true length and I didn’t know how to do my natural hair. I was not fond of my natural hair’s curl pattern and the teenie-weenie fro look (which was amplified by shrinkage). To avoid giving up and going back to the perm box I made it my mission to fight shrinkage. I’ve tried it all from a variety of weaves, wigs, and braids over a period of 6-8 months. After receiving terrible headaches and some hair loss from all those sew-ins and tight ass braids, I decided to bite the bullet and figure out how to maintain my natural hair.
When I began to love my shrinkage:
I began to love shrinkage once I embraced my hair for what it is. I sucked at twists outs in the beginning so I often did wash-n-gos using Miss Jessie’s Baby Butter Cream and Curly Pudding. Once that got too expensive, I began to use Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie in conjunction with the Olive Oil Eco Styler Gel. My curls looked amazing!!
When I began to hate my shrinkage…again:
How so? After explaining how much I love and embraced my hair. Well lets just say once my hair began to grow out I began to notice some things.
First, I discovered I have two hair textures. The front, some parts of the middle and back hair pattern is a loose curl (3b-c) and both sides of my head are kinky (4a). I initially thought the looser pattern was heat damage due to dealing with inexperienced hair stylists but realized that its just growing out of my head like that (lol). To avoid looking a hot mess in public with two textures doing what they wanted to do, I stopped doing wash-n-gos and mastered twists, twist outs, ponytails and buns.
Now that my hair is bra-strap length with 80% shrinkage, the length will appear shoulder length (or shorter) if my hair gets wet or it’s humid outside and that’s on a good day . To make matters worse, once it shrinks, my hair begins to matte up. Matted hair equals tangles, fairly nots and all sorts of fuckery if I do not twist it up promptly. I pineapple my hair at night at times, but often during the summer months I’m twisting it more unless its in a high or low bun.
I truly find shrinkage annoying but instead of combating shrinkage with weaves and extensions, I use styling products that reduces shrinkage (which I will post soon) and incorporate high buns and twists in my regimen. Some days I just give up and just go with the flow. I understand that shrinkage is apart of the going au natural and it is inevitable so to “fight it” would be a losing battle.
How do you feel about shrinkage?
Check out Miss Curly Nikki’s blog post Easy, Practical Ways To Combat Natural Hair Shrinkage here for more tips!
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