Hair Shrinkage: To Deal or Not to Deal?

Afro-American young woman with afro hairShrinkage is an issue that most Naturalistas deal with. However, just as all people are different, so are the opinions on shrinkage.

For instance, some hate shrinkage with a passion. I can relate to this, because one minute you are rockin a fierce twistout, or bantu knot out, and people are asking if your hair is a wig, or they are incredulous as to how much hair you have.

Then, after wash day, and shrinkage, those same people are like, “What?! Did you cut your hair?” And then you have to explain shrinkage to them. Meh. I know, I know. You worked hard to get and keep the length you have, and you want to show it off. You gon’ witcha bad self!

Then there are others who don’t mind shrinkage. I have a friend  loves, loves, loves her shrinkage. She says that it’s just what her hair does, and she doesn’t mind it because she knows how long her hair is.

Then, (because I asked, of course), she tells me about the dangers of heat styling and blah blah blah. (Sorry, I love her, but that drives me nuts.)

Personally, after I detangle my hair and dry it, I stretch it out. I don’t mind shrinkage, but when I let Claudette (my hair’s name) shrink, she goes nuts. She curls into my scalp like an angry fist.

And after about one day, she’s tangled, she’s dry, and hard. I find that when I stretch her, I can manage her better, thus keeping her happy and healthy. During my hair journey, I have stretched my hair with heat and without. I have found what works for me, and perhaps I can help you find what works (and what does not work) for you.

So, beautiful ones, let us discuss the 2 methods of stretching hair that I am familiar with – Heat and Heatless.

1. Heat

Yes, lovelies, you can certainly stretch your hair with heat. You can use a heat protectant, then put a comb attachment onto your blow dryer, and stretch it out. You could also do it without a comb using the tension method of blow drying.

Be sure that your hair is detangled before you use the blow dryer, and do not dry saturated hair. Let it dry about 70%. DO NOT use the highest setting and I can not stress enough the importance of a heat protectant otherwise, you will fry your strands.

Alternatively you can put your hair in twists,  dry completely, and then flat iron the hair straight. Once again, a heat protectant is crucial.

Originally posted 2012-05-12 19:00:47.

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About Ashes

I am a 28 year old wife, daughter and friend. I have been natural for almost 10 years, heat free for 6 months. I have recently started my own blog and would like to write for other blogs and sites as well. I love everything about hair and makeup and fashion, as I believe that those are powerful ways to express oneself. I very strongly believe that people should be themselves, no pretenses. I love to talk to different people and hear different viewpoints, because there IS room for everyone.

About Ashes

I am a 28 year old wife, daughter and friend. I have been natural for almost 10 years, heat free for 6 months. I have recently started my own blog and would like to write for other blogs and sites as well. I love everything about hair and makeup and fashion, as I believe that those are powerful ways to express oneself. I very strongly believe that people should be themselves, no pretenses. I love to talk to different people and hear different viewpoints, because there IS room for everyone.


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  1. Neisha Simpson
    Neisha Simpson

    There is nothing wrong with it ….I just laugh at the folks who thought I was bald headed …baby the faces they make when I blow my hair out !! Lmao

  2. Joyce Killedthemessenger Williams
    Joyce Killedthemessenger Williams

    Women are starting to look like crackheads like they dont feel like like combing their hair. I’m not down with that nappy “natural look” every white group, there is one blk girl with a nappy ass fro trying to “keep it real” and I’m always like “Girl bye, get you a weave or something”

    1. Leandra Mauricio
      Leandra Mauricio

      u hate natural hair so why u have post “like” in this page ffor natural sisters??? get i live and learn to respet the people

    2. Jamillah Davis
      Jamillah Davis

      LAWD HAVE MERCY! Was tellin’ ol’ girl 2 kill herself, and talking about her mother REALLY necessary?! Geez!!!

    3. Shemeka ThickeMaddam Adams
      Shemeka ThickeMaddam Adams

      When I was growing up. I learn that everybody will have there opinion and will judge me but it is my choice to not care because god created me and he love me just the way I am. If you feel that way, that’s your opinion. The only thing I can tell you is that not everybody is like me and will take things to the next level so be careful of what you saying or how you posting things on social network.

  3. Yolanda Green
    Yolanda Green

    I don’t like it.. But I put up with it… It’s a product called curls unleashed.. It helps keep my curls semi full lengthy

  4. Nicole Cato
    Nicole Cato

    Well, it is a natural occurrence that you can’t really do anything about. I don’t worry too much about it. I stretch my hair with two strand twists sometimes because I like the style.

    1. Leandra Mauricio
      Leandra Mauricio

      no thats not tru. yes is natural but u can do something i just braid my hair and guess what: no shrinkage and that u do also is a way to combet i shrinkage a natural way.

  5. Wilma Latimore
    Wilma Latimore

    Guess what I’m proud to be me ppl need to stop trying to be some one else now thts keeping it fake buying so called human hair what yo hair ain’t human ?

  6. Erin Daniels Holme
    Erin Daniels Holme

    Whenever my hair shrinks, it tangles up on itself. I have a baby and haven’t been able to spend a lot of time detangling and stretching, so now it is just a mess. I have tangles, I have post pregnancy shedding so it’s falling out, but sometimes the loose hair is stuck within my hair and just gets tangled back in. I really don’t want to cut it, but it might be easiest to have a TWA with a baby. Any suggestions are welcome.

    1. Leandra Mauricio
      Leandra Mauricio

      honey just brsid ur hair or use marly or senegalese twist and u will be fine or if u want so bad just cut it less work thats true. but find some time for u and deal with ur beauty

  7. Marlaina Anderson
    Marlaina Anderson

    Just read a comment on here. Smh. There is absolutely nothing “crackhead” looking about well taken care of natural hair. A lot if us are just brainwashed into thinking straight hair is so much “prettier”, BEAUTY is in the eye of the beholder. And natural is “keeping it real”. 100%

  8. Amber Mcentire
    Amber Mcentire

    I have what seemss to be 75% shrinkage if there is such a thing (j/k). I usually twist my hair in individual braids and once they dry I re twist (helps with my ocd) and or untwist and blow dry the roots whilst stretching the hair out, extending away from my head.

  9. Yinka Fedden
    Yinka Fedden

    Shrinkage – isn’t that just what our hair looks like naturally. It doesn’t shrink, it just “is”. And it certainly is not a problem. <3

  10. Sweetvanilla Miller
    Sweetvanilla Miller

    I have 50 percent shrinkage and the only time I stretch is when I’m getting braids or Senegalese twists. Other than that it’s whatever.

  11. Alnisa Stokes
    Alnisa Stokes

    A blow dryer and round brush works for me. Nothing wrong with being natural and switching it up sometimes.

  12. Evette Howard
    Evette Howard

    Blow dry it then do a twist out or braid out, make sure u moisturize. Its ok to be annoyed with shrinkage, it comes with being natural though.

    Also roller sets can bring a lil length

  13. Danielle Oliver
    Danielle Oliver

    I embrace if but rock twist out to minimize knots & tangles… I know my hair is long even if my curls shrink up to my ear lol

  14. Patience Ifeoma
    Patience Ifeoma

    Is it just me we hate shrinkage when our hair is short or medium but as our hair grows longer we begin to say stuff like” i embrace my shrinkage” ” i love my shrinkage” lool am one of those when my hair was shorter i hated shrinkage bc ppl will constantly ask me if i cut my hair now i begin to love it most especially when i blow dry or flat iron my hair or even stretch it they are like 😮 is that ur hair

  15. Iris Brock
    Iris Brock

    I’ve never had a problem with shrinkage. Even when my hair started growing back from getting shaved bald I didn’t have a problem with it. I let my hair do what it wants to do.

  16. Shelly Renee Stafford
    Shelly Renee Stafford

    I don’t mind shrinkage at all because I love how coily my hair is because it makes my fine hair look thicker. If I had one complaint, it would be the SSKs. Sometimes I stretch by twisting or braiding it though.

  17. Ameenya German
    Ameenya German

    Like, I always say shrinkage is a “beautiful surprise.” I love mine and the secret what it holds is awesome. Compact hair doesn’t mean short hair. Shrinkage is proof of that… 🙂

  18. Joeneyce Cunningham
    Joeneyce Cunningham

    I HATE shrinkage but as my hair grows, it won’t even matter. I stretch it by leaving it in twists or braids for days after detangling. So pretty!

    For the comment about weave, I like weave. It’s an important part of my TRANSITIONING journey. You can screw off!

  19. Besie Bennett
    Besie Bennett

    I embrace it.. It’s natural. When I want to achieve another look I stretch it usually by blow dry it with grape seed oil of course.

  20. Angela Hekeptme McCreary
    Angela Hekeptme McCreary

    Marlaina Anderson thank you for your post! I LOVE my shrinkage! A lot of work but well worth it. People talk but won’t contribute to the cause. I am blessed to have friends that love the natural look. It has taken me a long time to get to this point. I use leave-in conditioner and water, mixed in a spray bottle to detangle my hair. I then add a shea butter moisturizer and twist hair all over.

  21. Cynthia Lawson
    Cynthia Lawson

    Dont like it, never will. I HAVE to stretch mine by braiding it while damp otherwise there are so much tangles and pain if I let it dry completely.

    1. Leandra Mauricio
      Leandra Mauricio

      finali someone like mi uff… yes u rigth thats hapen to mi when i was a little girl now i dont let shrinkage win no no nooo… i wash my hair normaly and there is a shrinkage ok..what i do to deal with it: just mousturize my hair in secions and do my braids normaly and after 2 or 3 days i have my lenght back with no shrinkage with no problems a dont have problems with shrinkage cos i know very well how i can deal with

  22. Ashley Shorter
    Ashley Shorter

    Joyce Killedthemessenger Williams you’ve got to be one of the most ignorant people….take them chains of your enslaved mind! Smh…

  23. Ciarra MG
    Ciarra MG

    Shrinkage is part of having natural curls. I didn’t know people purposely did styles to stretch their hair, I just thought it was another hairstyle to try. I get the tangles argument, but stretching it just because you hate the shrinking? We’re not white, what did you think was gonna happen to your hair?

  24. Deborah Denise Street
    Deborah Denise Street

    Joyce, I will pray for you. You are a people pleaser, it is so apparent in your thinking. Yes, you are entitle to your thinking, but, when you voice them, the the negative way you just did, you sound like a damn fool. Sometimes, silent is better. Don’t be so vain.

  25. Carissa Baines
    Carissa Baines

    It’s just the natural design if our texture. It also symbolizes healthy happy hair. My shrinkage doesn’t bother me because I knw the lenth of my hair and that’s what I care about. The health of my curls is more important than showing”the world” my lenth. Embrace ur shrinkage because it’s a part of embracing ur natural.

  26. Leandra Mauricio
    Leandra Mauricio

    i deal with no problem just stretch braiding my hair and its ok sooo i dont have problms with srinkage cos i know sooo much to deal with that srinkage and pass 2 or 3 day i have my lenght back normaly

  27. Andrea Simpson-Jones
    Andrea Simpson-Jones

    I embrace it also and I think it should be looked at more positively – after all, that’s what gives us our curl and texture! We should instead ask “how do you stretch?”

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