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What Is Natural Hair Shrinkage And How To Stop It?

Last updated Jun 28, 2024

Natural hair is stunning and alluring, allowing for diverse styling options, but dealing with shrinkage can be a hurdle for most people with this hair type. While shrinkage does not indicate unhealthy hair, it can hinder you from showing the actual length of your beautiful natural hair. To address this concern, this article will delve into everything about shrinkage, for example, what natural hair shrinkage is, how to stop hair shrinkage, etc. Keep reading to gain more information.

What Is Natural Hair Shrinkage?

natural hair shrinkage

Natural hair shrinkage is a unique characteristic of curly, coily, or kinky hair texture, which refers to the reduction in hair length when the hair is dry or exposed to humidity. It is the result of the structure of curly, coily, or kinky hair with multiple bends, twists, and turns along the hair shaft. The amount of shrinkage can vary depending on the hair type, curl pattern, and hair porosity. Some people may experience minimal shrinkage, while others may experience significant shrinkage of up to 50% or more. In some cases, natural hair shrinkage can result in hair that looks much shorter than its actual length when dry.

What Leads To Hair Shrinkage?

After learning what hair shrinkage is, do you want to know what causes it? Now, here are some reasons that lead to natural hair shrinkage.

1. Hair texture

hair textures_1

Hair texture is the primary factor in hair shrinkage. Compared to straight hair, curly or coily hair tends to have a higher degree of shrinkage because of its unique natural curl pattern. Curly and coily hair has a spiral or helix shape, which causes them to coil and shrink when exposed to water or moisture, resulting in shrinkage. If you want to know more about your hair type, you can read: How To Define Your Hair Type?

2. Hair porosity

hair porosity-1

Hair porosity is the ability of the hair to absorb and retain moisture. Hair with high porosity tends to have more shrinkage because it readily absorbs moisture, causing the hair strands to swell and shrink. In contrast, low-porosity hair shrinks less because it absorbs less and takes longer to absorb moisture.

3. The elasticity of hair strands

the elasticity of hair strands

The elasticity of hair strands, or their ability to stretch and bounce back, also affects the natural shrinkage of hair. Hair strands with high elasticity stretch and maintain their length even when exposed to moisture, resulting in less shrinkage. However, low-elasticity hair has a poorer ability to stretch and hold its length, resulting in more shrinkage when exposed to moisture.

4. Moisture content

Compared to straight hair, Curly or textured hair tends to have a higher moisture content. High moisture content causes hair strands to absorb moisture and expand, causing hair to appear shorter in its natural state due to increased curl or coiling. When hair loses moisture, such as in dry conditions or with certain hair care methods, it shrinks and appears shorter.

5. External factors

Humidity and temperature can also have an impact on hair shrinkage. In high-humidity environments, curly or coily hair tends to absorb more moisture from the air, causing further expansion and shrinkage. Temperature changes can also influence the moisture content and structure of the hair, affecting the degree of hair shrinkage.

How To Stop Hair Shrinkage?

While hair shrinkage is a natural characteristic of curly, coily, kinky hair types, there are some tricks and tips that can help minimize shrinkage. Now, here are a number of methods to potentially stop natural hair shrinkage.

1. Blow-drying with a diffuser

blow-drying with a diffuser

Using a diffuser attachment on your blow dryer helps reduce the natural shrinkage of your hair. Diffusers help distribute airflow evenly and minimize interference with natural curl patterns, thereby reducing shrinkage. Please note: Always use the lowest temperature and keep the hair dryer at a safe distance from the hair as this will prevent heat damage.

2. Gentle hair treatment

gentle hair treatment

Rough handling of natural hair can cause it to shrink and lead to increased shrinkage. Therefore, using gentle hair treatment techniques can help reduce shrinkage. Avoid hard towel drying, rough combing or brushing, and over-handling. Instead, use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to comb through your hair and set your style gently.

3. Use stretching products

curl stretching creams

There are various stretching products on the market, such as curl stretching creams and curl stretching gels, which are specially formulated to help reduce shrinkage and elongate natural curls. These products often contain ingredients that help soften and stretch hair strands, making them more manageable and less susceptible to shrinkage.

4. Use heat styling

heat styling tools_4

Although we often talk about avoiding heat styling tools because they can cause hair to dry out and break. However, using heat styling tools such as flat irons or curling irons can temporarily straighten or elongate hair and reduce natural hair shrinkage. However, it is important to use heat protection sprays and avoid using overheating to prevent heat damage.

5. Choose protective hairstyles

protective hairstyles_2

Opt for a protective style, such as braids, twists, or updos, which can help reduce the amount of hair shrinkage by minimizing manipulation and friction. When your hair is in a protective style, it is less likely to shrink and tangle, so it can hold its length longer. More importantly, protective hairstyles tuck in the ends and minimize friction and promote hair growth.

6. Proper moisturization

leave-in conditioners_1

Having proper moisturization is critical to controlling natural hair shrinkage. When hair is well moisturized, it is less likely to shrink excessively. Therefore, you can use leave-in conditioners, moisturizing hair creams or oils, and natural oils to keep your hair hydrated and soft and reduce natural hair shrinkage.

7. Regular trimming

regular trimming

Split ends cause hair to shrink and appear shorter, so regular trims help keep hair healthy and prevent split ends, thus preventing natural hair shrinkage. By keeping your hair ends healthy, you can minimize shrinkage and show more natural length.

Conclusion

After reading this article, do you have a good understanding of what natural hair shrinkage is? If you are experiencing natural hair shrinkage, then try the above methods quickly. In addition, if you have other better ways to prevent natural hair shrinkage, please share them with us in the comment section.

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