Of the many natural hair types, regarding frizzy hair, shrinkage can be one of the most frustrating phenomena for some women.
You can spend hours stretching your curls to their actual lengths, only to see the opposite effect as soon as your roots dry out.
It can be even more frustrating when you have short hair.
As annoying as it can be, thinning frizzy hair is completely natural. It’s part of the adventure when you have curly hair.
Rest assured, by understanding your hair texture , there are solutions to help reduce shrinkage.
Let’s first see the definition of shrinkage, and how to reduce this phenomenon.
What is shrinkage on frizzy hair?
To begin with, shrinkage is an English term, translated shrinkage. Shrinkage is the decrease in length between when your natural hair is wet and when it dries.
Depending on each hair type and porosity , curly hair can shrink by more than 50% when dry . Shrinkage does not mean that your hair is unhealthy, quite the contrary!
This actually shows that your hair is very well hydrated and has good elasticity .
It’s a phenomenon that we cannot change on curly hair, it’s what gives the unique side of textured hair.
Admittedly, you lose long-awaited length when your curls tighten together, but with the right care, including anti-frizz products, you can change your hairstyle without risking damaging them.
Shrinkage: What are the causes?
To better understand shrinkage , let’s take the example of the sponge.
You see, the little holes in the sponge absorb water to soften it, but also enlarge it. But when the water in the sponge evaporates, it returns to its original size.
Likewise, when you wash your clothes, before you spin them, they feel heavy and stretched. Well for your afro hair, it works the same way.
The water passing through the hair fiber makes it more flexible and adds a little weight to it. Because of this, damp hair will expand and stretch.
But in the case of hair, when the moisture is removed, whether through air-drying or using a hair dryer, it loses that weight and shrinks.
However, the benefit of shrinkage is that it acts as a natural humidity barometer . When the curls are hydrated, you can see that they are more flexible and elongated. But when you start to see your hair dry, you’ll know it’s time to rehydrate it.
It is also a good way to determine the porosity of your hair; that is, your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. This is an important factor in determining the health of your hair and is covered in a detailed article here .
How can we reduce the shrinkage of our hair?
Regardless of the nature of the hair (oily hair, fine hair, brittle, normal, straight, wavy…), in any case, there will always be some shrinkage, and this is completely normal.
To answer the question, it exactly depends on several things:
- Hair type.
- Your hair routine.
- How often you moisturize them.
- Hair products used.
Even taking a few steps to reduce shrinkage, keep in mind that the real cure is moisture.
Here are some hair routine tips to help you.
· Stretch them!
Stretching out your natural hair is one of the best ways to get rid of shrinkage. Good stretching techniques are also protective.
These hairstyles include:
- Vanilla or twists.
- African braids.
- The low bun.
- Banding method.
- Wire braids.
- The bantu knots.
- The hair dryer (in moderation or on cold heat).
As you know, frizzy hair gets tangled easily and small strands cling to each other to form knots.
It’s a good idea to stretch your hair because it will be more manageable and less brittle.
Moisturize your hair in the shower
The key to making sure your hair stays hydrated for as long as possible starts in the shower.
You might not notice it at the time, but the type of shampoo you use can impact how well and how quickly your hair dries later on.
To retain moisture in the hair, it is recommended to wash the hair with a sulfate-free shampoo to avoid stripping the natural oils.
It will help you clean your hair of residues, while preserving the volume of frizzy hair.
Detangle your hair
Without proper detangling, they will inevitably shrink. Plus, they won’t be properly moisturized when you apply your hair care.
So be sure to comb your hair with a soft wide-toothed or spiked comb (like the tangle teezer) starting from the tips to the roots to avoid breaking the hair unnecessarily.
Apply the right products
Once you’ve completed the previous steps, you’re ready to work with humidity.
Use a conditioning or repairing treatment to provide moisture and easy detangling.
Certain vegetable oils such as castor, jojoba, coconut or argan oil in a treatment make the hair smoother. You can then apply a styling milk without rinsing.
Speaking of stretching, you’ll need to do a bit of manual lengthening both when the hair is wet and once it’s dry.
Try the LOC method (the process of applying water, oil and cream without rinsing) and finger detangling.
Anti-frizz styling products will also help smooth and lengthen your curls. Creams and gels are useful for reducing both frizz and shrinkage when doing twist-outs , braids, and even wash-and-gos .
Look for products that say “anti-frizz” on the front label.
Protect your hair at night
Of course, it is essential to cover your hair all night with a satin bonnet or sleep on a satin pillowcase.
Also, I strongly recommend that you do a protective hairstyle , in order to keep the curls loose overnight. Indeed, sleeping on your curls will not only have an impact on their appearance , but also on the health of your hair.
If you’re in a hurry, do a pineapple (a high bun forward) in your hair if it’s long enough, or multiple pineapples if it’s not long enough to make one. This method will stretch your hair and give it volume when removed the next day.
In another article, I give you 8 tips to keep your frizzy hair well hydrated .
One last piece of advice, I would even say the most important. Once again, shrinkage remains a natural phenomenon. How about accepting it?
Easier said than done, but always keep in mind that shrinkage is inevitable on frizzy hair .
Don’t try to compare your hair texture to that of an influencer, your loved ones, or even a celebrity. Their porosity like their type of hair can be totally different from yours.
What do you do to stretch your natural hair?