How To Reduce Shrinkage On Natural Hair

by To All My Black Girls on June 26, 2024

Embracing your natural hair is always a fun and liberating experience as you get to discover all the unique qualities of your curls and coils. However, one of the main quirks you may experience is its tendency to shrink. Shrinkage and natural hair often go hand and hand, and when you're hoping to show off the length of your hair and experiment with different hairstyles, this can be a little bit frustrating.

Now, although shrinkage is not a bad thing and can often be a sign of healthy hair, you may be wondering how to stop it from happening. The truth is, there is no way to completely prevent shrinkage. However, there are several ways you can minimise it. Read ahead to discover our go-to methods for reducing shrinkage on your natural hair.

What Causes Natural Hair Shrinkage

Natural hair has a curved shaped follicle that causes the hair to grow out of the scalp in a coiled pattern. This growth pattern results in tight curls that tend to loop around and into themselves, causing the hair to shrink and appear way shorter than it actually is. The level of shrinkage you get often varies based on your hair type. People with type 4 hair often experience the most amount of shrinkage with their hair shrinking to about forty percent of its actual length. 

Essentially, shrinkage is simply a normal feature of natural hair that is not caused by any particular thing. However, it can be increased when hair is dry and not properly hydrated.

Benefits Of Reducing Natural Hair Shrinkage 

Although shrinkage is not necessarily bad for the hair, keeping it in check can be extremely beneficial for several reasons. Some of these include:

  • Improving Manageability 

If your hair is always left in its shrunken state, it can easily form knots and tangles that will make it harder to detangle and style your hair. However, minimising shrinkage will make the hair more manageable while also reducing the possibility of breakage and split ends.

  • Improving Length Retention 

If you want to grow your hair, reducing shrinkage is an underrated trick that helps you retain the length. Since shrinkage can sometimes cause knots and tangles that cause the hair to break off, minimising it prevents breakage and allows you to maintain the health and length of your strands.

  • Improving Smoothness

Keeping shrinkage in check also makes it easy for the natural oils in your scalp to move down the hair shaft and properly coat your strands. This will help improve the smoothness and shine of your hair and make it easy for you to evenly cost your hair strands with styling products.


5 Ways To Reduce Shrinkage On Natural Hair

1. Try A Blowout

A blowout is undoubtedly one of the easiest ways to tackle shrinkage on your natural hair. This method stretches the hair evenly using a blow dryer. However, before getting a blowout, it is extremely important to make sure your hair is fully moisturised. Applying heat on completely dry natural hair can cause damage so make sure your hair is conditioned and moisturised before grabbing your blow dryer.  For extra protection, apply a heat protectant spray first and then proceed with the blowout.

2. Stretch Your Hair

If you are sceptical about using heat on your hair, you can try manually stretching the hair. There are several heatless stretching methods that help to minimise shrinkage. The banding method and African threading are two amazing options that produce great results. 

For the banding method, divide the hair into 4-6 sections. Then grab about two hair ties and pull each section tautly from the ends. Next, wrap the hair ties around the full length of the hair from root to ends. After banding the whole head, cover it with a satin bonnet to keep it protected while you sleep, and take the hair ties out the next morning.

The African threading method follows a similar process. But, instead of using hair ties, you will use some yarn or rubber thread and tightly wrap each section of hair from root to tip. Then leave the thread on the hair overnight and gently loosen the thread from the ends up to your roots by the next morning. 


3. Ensure Your Hair is Fully Detangled And Hydrated

If your hair is dry, brittle and full of tangles, it can worsen your shrinkage as your curls and coils will become stiff and stuck in one position. This is why it is extremely important to thoroughly detangle your hair from the ends to the roots. Detangling natural hair requires patience and care so try to avoid rushing through it. Take your time and use a proper detangling brush that is designed to glide through thick coils and coils. After detangling, be sure to hydrate your hair with a little bit of water or leave-in conditioner to soften your strands and enrich them with moisture.

4. Sleep With A Protective Style 

Putting your hair in a style that helps preserve and elongate your curls when you go to bed is another great way to minimise shrinkage. Divide your hair into 2-4 sections and put them in braids or twists before you go to bed. This will help prevent your hair from being flattened and shrunken while you sleep. The twists do not have to be perfect since the to simply help stretch the hair. After putting your hair into the protective style be sure to protect the hair with a covering like our satin bonnet to help preserve your hairstyle and prevent frizz.

5. Wash And Style Your Hair In Sections

One of the main causes of shrinkage on natural hair is using the wrong techniques on wash day. When you wash your hair by piling it up on your head all at once, you are compressing your curls and making them shrink even more. This is why you may notice your hair looks extremely short right after you wash it and remains shrunken all through your styling process. 

The best way to prevent this is to do every step of your washing and styling routine in twisted sections. Sectioning off your hair into twists will keep it stretched the whole time and also prevent the formation of tangles and knots. You do not have to do anything intricate. All you need is about 4-6 large twists

Shrinkage is an inevitable part of natural hair but that does not mean you always have to be stuck with shrunken curls. By following the tricks we've discussed in this article, you can keep you minimise shrinkage while also making your hair more manageable.



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