Okay… so if you google “shrinkage” or “natural hair shrinkage” you’ll see all of these amazing images pop up of women who appear to have really short hair… stretch their natural kinks/curls/waves out to intense lengths that are just mind baffling. Along side that you’ll also find many people struggling to get their hair to stretch and fight that shrinkage that prevents them from being “great”. In passing conversation over the past few weeks I’ve even said the exact words as I stretched my hair out that my natural hair just wouldn’t let me “be great”.
Here’s the thing… Shrinkage is a part of the natural hair game! It comes with the territory of being a fierce naturalista. If you have curly hair, it will shrink point, blank, period. But you would never know so with all of the products, methods and techniques promoted in the natural hair community to prevent shrinkage from occurring. So though the title of this article says that I’m anti shrinkage … what I really meant is how I’m anti… “Anti Shrinkage” practices. And here’s why:
I’ve gone through (and still do) moments where I want my style to look or lay a certain way which some times involves me stretching it out a bit. But… over stretching your hair can cause severe damage. Also… shrinkage is one of the signs that your hair is healthy! And I’m all about the health of my hair versus the length of my hair. You can have hair down your back that is filled with split ends and damage that isn’t really worth much to you. Though the length may be there, without the health your styles will suffer. Twist outs, flex rod sets, and perm rod sets just don’t have the same eye popping effect when your hair isn’t in its healthiest state. So yes having length is nice… but if you are constantly forcing or manipulating your hair to do something it doesn’t want to do you are putting your hair in harms way.
Also it brings me great concern when I see products marketed as “anti shrinkage”. It makes me wonder what in the world is in those products that prevents your hair from shrinking into its natural state? With the incidents that occurred a few years back with salons putting in relaxers and texturizers into “deep conditioners” as a means of making the hair more manageable I am very weary of similar things happening regularly in products marketed in the same manner. What makes those products so different and is it worth the extra money that they charge?
So as I approach the end of my hair rant which I have from time to time (but share very sparsely) be careful with what you put in your hair. There are no miracle products or pills, and at the end of the day for most companies and brands business is first before the health of your hair. Shrinkage isn’t your enemy, unhealthy hair is. Never sacrifice the health of your hair for a little bit of length!
Happy Natural Hair Journey loves!
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Hey there! I’m Melissa, co-founder of Trials n Tresses, natural hair and beauty lover, binge tv watcher and lover of life. When I am not creating content for TNT, I’m busy teaching the future of society.