Shrinkage is probably at the top of a woman’s list of “natural hair problems”. But should it be viewed as a blessing or a curse? Here are four reasons why shrinkage isn’t so bad.
Shrinkage Is a Sign Your Hair is Healthy
We tend to bad-mouth shrinkage as if it’s some sort of flaw when, really, it can mean that something very right is going on. Especially if you have coily or kinky hair, shrinkage tells you whether or not your strands have a good amount of elasticity- the ability of your hair to return to its original state after being stretched. Hair that lacks elasticity is more prone to breakage. Think back to your relaxed hair. Due to the chemical in relaxers, the bonds were broken to “relax” your curl to the point where, if the hair is stretched, it will likely snap due to a lack of elasticity.
Excessive heat is an example of how hair can lose elasticity and is why many experience breakage as a result. The constant use of direct heat over time can cause your natural curl or kink to loosen or be lost altogether. This can even occur if hair has been exposed to heat that is too high in only one application. When your hair reverts back to its kink, aren’t you happy? On the flip side, if you’ve ever experienced heat damage, shrinkage is something you wish you had!
It Makes Your Hair Unique
Who else’s hair can do this?! The fact that our hair can stretch and coil right back up is like a trick that no other hair texture can do… so, why not celebrate that? No doubt you’ve got that one coworker (or five) of a different race who thinks your hair is “so cool” because of what it can do. They’re in awe. It really is a beautiful characteristic of afro-textured hair. It’s absolutely not the worst thing that can happen and in no way makes your hair inferior to other types. Embrace it!
Hair That Shrinks is Versatile and Fun
Think about it: you can have a fro on Monday, a twist-out on Tuesday and Wednesday, round out your work week with straight hair then back to the fro next Monday. Shrinkage is what allows your hair to do all those wonderful things! Women with straight hair or hair that doesn’t have much texture may often complain that they can’t do a thing with it or very little. But look at the versatility you can have with your afro-textured hair, often with little effort. Your fro can be big and bold one day then cute and compact the next. Thank shrinkage!
That’s Just the Way It Is
…and that doesn’t make it a bad thing at all! It just makes it different. Shrinkage is inevitable, it’s simply the nature of our hair. Wouldn’t it be far less stressful to just accept it than to try so hard to fight against it? Wanting to show off your true hair length is understandable but don’t let it take over what’s most important- the health of your hair. Just add shrinkage to the list of things that make you the beautiful person you are.
Shrinkage Happens, But…
While most may not care for shrinkage because it prevents hair from showing is true length, others are more concerned about tangling. Yes, coily/kinky hair that shrinks up is more prone to tangles and single strand knots which just means we have to approach hair care differently than most. Stretching your hair using various techniques or wearing stretched styles can lessen tangling but this too is something we just have to accept as the way things are when it comes to naturally textured hair.
Let’s face it, shrinkage is one of the things that makes our natural hair what it is. I encourage you to embrace all of the characteristics that make your hair beautiful and awesomely unique.