Shrinkage 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.
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.