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What is Natural Hair Shrinkage?

For the average curly person, natural hair shrinkage is the common denominator in a great curl day going completely unplanned. Yes–it’s annoying and yes, it’s the ultimate struggle but the good news is there are ways to combat shrinkage by elongating those beautiful luscious curls.

Look at it this way, shrinkage is a positive sign that your curls are healthy and moisturized. Here’s a few practical tips on how to control natural hair shrinkage, product recommendations, and styling routine tips to help you win the everlasting battle against shrinking curls.

What is natural hair shrinkage?

Natural shrinkage happens when your curls decrease in length while your hair is drying. This means after wash day, depending on your hair type and porosity, your hair can shrink past it’s wet length and curl up into a shorter length. While this may seem a bit alarming, shrinkage is completely normal! Contrary to what some may believe, shrinkage gives curls a plump and defined look after using your favorite curl products on soaking wet hair.  It’s a sign that your curls are hydrated, moisturized, and have a good balance of elasticity. While your hair may appear shorter, the benefits of shrinkage are positive. Don’t worry–embrace the shrinkage!

What Should I Use?

When it comes to shrinkage, a lot of the time the length of our hair can be affected by the products we use. If you’re no stranger to shrinkage and using stretching techniques doesn’t have the best results for your curls, it may be time to switch up your routine. Depending on your hair porosity, your hair may curl and shrink more or less depending on the type of product you use. Try using cream products like Super Stretch that will keep your curls hydrated but also won’t weigh them down. If you realize that your hair shrinks more when you’re using styling gels, try using a leave-in conditioner such as Leave-in Decadence to keep your hair soft after wash day.

What Should I Do?

Outside of embracing and loving your curls and shrinkage, there are a few hacks you can use when styling to minimize shrinkage. While shrinkage cannot be completely eliminated, there are ways to stretch your curls out while also preventing hair damage and tangling. Try sectioning your hair and using satin scrunchies (about 3 or 4) to stretch each section of hair out. You can also try using flexi-rods after using your styling products while your hair is still wet to stretch the middle of each section out. After taking them out, fluff your curls with your hands and use a finisher such as DevaCurl’s High Shine to finalize your look.

What are your favorite ways to battle shrinkage? Let us know below!

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