Shrunken Afro, A Protective Style?

Shrunken afroThe shrunken afro has been marketed as a protective style but is there another side to the story? 

A shrunken afro certainly ticks some of the boxes of protective styling as it keeps your hair off your shoulders and clothes. However, depending on your hair type this style is more a ‘frenemy’ than a friend!

If you have 4a, 4b and sometimes 3c hair then a shrunken afro can do you more harm than good. Very curly hair when left to its own devices after a wash will shrink to as low as 50% of its true length. With such tight curls they unfortunately have a tendency to curl up on themselves forming the evil single strand knots. Single strand knots are when a single hair forms a knot usually in the bottom couple of inches of the strand.

Now granted, it is not possible to completely eliminate single strand knots if you have natural hair but excessive single strand knots are a sign that your regimen needs to be adjusted. Not to mention that your ends feel rough even when your hair is straightened smooth.



Shrunken afro’s also produce ‘regular sized’ knots, and in abundance! These are the ones that get caught in your comb when you are attempting to detangle. Sometimes the hair gets so knotted that frustration can ensue causing you to rip through the knot tearing your hair out in the process. However even for the very patient among us, only a pair of scissors will remove the knot sometimes.  It makes you think that you may as well bypass the shrunken afro all together and just start hacking at your hair with a sharp pair of scissors!

For those reasons, a shrunken afro is probably the worst way to ‘protect’ your hair. When there are so many other protective style options, shrunken afros are best left on the shelf.

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About Alma Ruddock


I’m Alma Ruddock, the founder and editor-in-chief of Blackhairinformation.com.I stumbled on a hair care forum back in 2008 frustrated with my breaking relaxed hair and the information that I found there changed the fate of my hair, and quite possibly my life, forever! I immediately started to transition to natural hair and started BlackHairInformation.com as a way to help both myself and other women of color achieve their dreams of long healthy hair. I have now achieved my goal length and I continue to help others achieve their dreams too.My three passions are hair, art and entrepreneurship and I love to be able to bring my unique view on hair growth and successful hair journeys to our readers. I am an eternal optimist and workaholic. In addition to BHI I have founded quite a few other websites and businesses including Elongtress Hair Vitamins and Urban Gyal which all fall under the umbrella of my company Coils Media Ltd.

About Alma Ruddock


I’m Alma Ruddock, the founder and editor-in-chief of Blackhairinformation.com.I stumbled on a hair care forum back in 2008 frustrated with my breaking relaxed hair and the information that I found there changed the fate of my hair, and quite possibly my life, forever! I immediately started to transition to natural hair and started BlackHairInformation.com as a way to help both myself and other women of color achieve their dreams of long healthy hair. I have now achieved my goal length and I continue to help others achieve their dreams too.My three passions are hair, art and entrepreneurship and I love to be able to bring my unique view on hair growth and successful hair journeys to our readers. I am an eternal optimist and workaholic. In addition to BHI I have founded quite a few other websites and businesses including Elongtress Hair Vitamins and Urban Gyal which all fall under the umbrella of my company Coils Media Ltd.

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8 Comments on "Shrunken Afro, A Protective Style?"

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HB

Good info, but I've never seen wash n gos marketed as a protective style because of the reasons you stated! Those darn knots…

You missed the point I think, wash and go's are not a good protective style at all! I edited the article to make it clearer though.

Didi

So true. Once its 2 inches start twisting. Mine is close to three inches n thrives with twists. No more single strand knots. Also wash n goes are a no go area for me.

Nakpangi Ali

For the past 6 months or so I’ve routinely been piling my 4b-ish hair on top of my head in a wash and go poof that would be called a “pineapple” on a looser curl texture. I finger detangle with lots of slippery conditioner every time I wash my hair (and sometimes in between) and haven’t found knots to be a huge issue. I used to use twist- and bantu knot-outs constantly but now that I’m more comfortable with my hair’s length and natural texture, the shrunken wash and go pineapple set up has served me pretty well in terms of hair health and length retention. Sure the ends aren’t tucked in but with a little tlc every now and then they’re fine.

Krista Kinchen

My hair shrinks into an Afro after a twist out. No way to change it… After three days the bobby pin goes in and then after 5 the headband..that’s my cycle until I see more growth

Leah James

Ugh I hate shrinkage . I have 3c and 4a hair . I keep it in a protective style . I braid in two braids no worries no problems no shrinkage . Don’t have to style everyday I just moisturize everyday . Only have to worry about tangles when I rebraid.

Leah James

Ugh I hate shrinkage . I have 3c and 4a hair . I keep it in a protective style . I braid in two braids no worries no problems no shrinkage . Don’t have to style everyday I just moisturize everyday . Only have to worry about tangles when I rebraid.

Hairy

I’ve send this article to my friend I think it might help get so thanks 🙂

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