Hair shrinkage is part of the package you sign up for when you decide to go natural. It’s also part of the versatility and beauty of natural hair—TWA(teeny weeny afro) one day and huge fro the next. Afro textured hair can shrink up to 80% of its actual length and that may be bothersome for individuals who want to wear their hair in styles that require more length. If you’ve been struggling with stretching your shrunken hair, here are some tips that may help:
This is the most common method out there. Braiding or twisting you hair in sections after you wash and condition will ensure less shrinkage and give you a nicely defined hairstyle when you take them out. For more stretch, try clipping down the top (roots) of your twisted/braided sections with double prong clips.
Rollers, flexi rods, and strawller sets are all methods you can use to stretch your kinks. You can air dry or sit under a hooded dryer for straighter results. Obviously this method will only work if your hair is long enough to wrap around the rods.
This is a very effective and simple way to prevent shrinkage. All you have to do is section your hair into parts depending on your hair’s thickness and wrap as many ponytail holders as you can fit around each section as shown here. Once your hair is dry, remove the bands and style!
My African sisters will feel me on this one. This is probably the closest you will get to blow-dried results without using a blow dryer, and I think banding borrows from this method. African hair threading is not only an amazing protective style that you can wear under wigs, but it also stretches your hair so well and you can leave it in for a week or longer. The threads used vary from cotton to a stretchy rubber texture and you can find them at most African shops/markets; they come in bundles like this. Here is an example of fully threaded hair and this one shows threading spaced out.
Heat is definitely not the most preferred technique for women who don’t want to damage their curl pattern, but if you choose to go this route try not to have the blow dryer directly up against your hair. You can have someone else hold the dryer over a section while you comb it. As always, use a heat protectant first.
What methods do you use to prevent shrinkage?