Let’s talk about this one thing that most 4C naturals hate, shrinkage! I know we’ve all experienced shrinkage, some don’t mind it and others definitely hate it. Shrinkage is the main reason I don’t wear a wash and go cos it takes all of my length with it.
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Your hair shrinking means that your protein/moisture ratio is balanced. It means that your hair is absorbing the products you’re putting into it and the products are working just perfect. It’s also a sign that your hair is growing, retaining length and healthy. And lastly, your natural hair routine is working for your gorgeous mane.
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So, what exactly causes shrinkage? Shrinkage is healthy and it all comes down to the unique structure of 4C natural hair. Our tightly coiled strands have a tendency to spring back. When sopping wet, our hair tends to elongate due to the weight of absorbed water but tends to shrink as it dries.
Type 4 hair shrinks more than other hair types due to the tightly coiled curls and coils. If your hair especially 4c natural hair never shrinks even when shopping wet, your hair might be experiencing heat damage.
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How to Manage/ Minimize Shrinkage
I mean, we all wanna see those inches every now and then, not all shrunken afro, wash and gos, twists outs. It’s possible to minimize shrinkage using different methods and tools, but don’t compromise health while chasing length. Let’s dive into ways to minimize shrinkage.
Heat/ Using Hot Tools.
The easiest way to deal with shrinkage is straightening your hair using heat. Careful though, too much of everything is dangerous. Excessive heat usage can cause heat damage to your gorgeous mane. Use heat at low temperatures and apply heat protectants before using any heat on your hair.
Related post; everything you need to know about heat damage on hair.
Use Curl Elongating products.
Some products are known to have curl-stretching properties. These products typically contain ingredients that keep the curls from shrinking. Use these products when styling your hair to give the desired length.
Some of the curl elongating product
- Aunt Jackie’s Flaxseed Recipes Don’t Shrink Elongating Hair Curling Gel for Natural
- Sheamoisture Curl Stretch Pudding for Curls
- Maui Moisture Frizz Free + Shea Butter Elongating Gel
- M & H Melanin Haircare Twist Elongating Style Cream
Heatless Hair Stretching methods.
If you don’t wanna use heat on your hair but still wanna see the length, use heatless stretching methods. These methods include; African threading ( use threads to stretch your hair), braiding and banding. With hair stretching, you’ll notice longer hair but with looser curls.
Related post; how I stretch my 4c natural hair without heat.
Style to bed.
When my hair is in braid outs or twist out or whenever am wearing my hair out, I install flat twists, braids or do the banding before bed. These styles manage shrinkage and give me more length the following day. The styles also preserve your coils and curls. Next time you want to tame shrinkage, sleeping with these styles on will give you just that.
Related post; how to keep your hair from tangling when sleeping.
Using humidity resistant products.
We all know how much the weather affects your hair. If you’ve never left your house in the morning with your hair at shoulder length only to return in the evening with hair behind the ears, you must be lucky or you already know all about the humid resistant hair products. There are several humidity-resistant hair products that can help you combat this problem. These products include:
- Shea Moisture Raw Shea & Cupuacu Frizz Defense Styling Gel-Cream
- Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel
- Arvazallia Antifrizz and Antihumidity Hair Spray
Also, I should mention that as much as shrinkage is a sign of healthy hair, it can be the reason you notice lots of tangles and knots. Wearing stretched styles is more advisable compared to wearing your hair in a shrunken state to keep tangles and knots a bay.
I would love to know, how do you manage shrinkage?