Everything You Need to Know About Shrinkage

Everything You Need to Know About Shrinkage

As a curly haired girl, we know how frustrating shrinkage can be, that moment when water touches your curls, and they start to shrivel up forming into a tight and compacted coil and well - there goes the length check! We spend so much time styling, pulling, and altering our curls to make it look as perfect as possible only for it to do the complete opposite. To our dismay and utter disapproval shrinkage is part of the curly hair journey whether we like it or not. Some may not know however, that shrinkage is not a sign of unhealthy hair but rather a sign of flourishing coils!  


black man afro hair

So, what causes hair shrinkage?

Hair shrinkage is bound to happen once we wash our hair and is simply due to the decrease in length from when your curls are wet to when they are fully dry. As your hair dries, you lose moisture causing the hair to "shrink" back up. It also has a lot to do with hair porosity. The higher the porosity, the higher the shrinkage due to the hair’s inability to retain moisture. Our hair can shrink up to 50% of its true length but this is perfectly normal. Sometimes it can be hard to accept hair shrinkage as we like to see our curls sweeping across our back, but again, shrinkage is not a bad thing.


afro woman

Is shrinkage a sign of healthy hair?

I’m sure we are not the only ones that wonder why our hair shrinks anytime water touches our tresses but shrinkage is one of the best indicators of textured hair health. Textured hair that is hydrated and well looked after will shrink no matter what. When your hair is badly damaged though, it will not display shrinkage. So if your hair is not shrinking in the shower that means it's time to do some major damage control so you can get your spring back.


black woman with afro hair

Can you reduce hair shrinkage?

You might be thinking "how can I reduce shrinkage" if there is ever such a thing? Over the years, there have been so many ways invented to reduce NOT prevent shrinkage. Shrinkage will still occur however, you can stretch the hair once washed. Certain products such as shea butter and flaxseed can all play a part to help decrease shrinkage and help to elongate your curls. Hairstyles such as twists and braid outs can help you stretch your hair safely without any damage as well. You can also always use heat styling tools to stretch your hair to its fullest potential but just be sure to use a heat protectant to keep your hair safe.

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