Shrinkage can be frustrating when you pull a curl down just to see it snap back up. Shrinkage can hide the true length of your hair. Some curlies experience more shrinkage than others. The curly girl magic trick can be frustrating for some and can take time to fully accept and embrace. Previously, I was frustrated with my shrinkage and did not know how to fully accept it. I would try to use hair products that would aid in reducing shrinkage while sitting in front of my mirror and waiting for results. My 4-year hair anniversary is approaching soon, and while reflecting on my journey I finally came to terms with my love-hate relationship with shrinkage.
The era of length checks
The reason I did not like my shrinkage was because I was not able to see my true length with my shrinkage. I did the big chop in August 2011 and right away I learned how to love and care for my natural hair. I learned how to properly moisturize and style my hair so it can be healthy and grow to its full potential. I watched many YouTube videos and received advice from loved ones who wore their natural hair to learn this texture. I like to call this time period "the era of length checks." While watching these videos, it was normal to compare your hair and growth to these other curlies. Even though it was great to see curlies at different parts of their hair journey, it was also discouraging and challenging at times.
I discovered stretched hairstyles
I started to wear more stretched hairstyles like twists outs and braid outs to see my length. It allowed me to see my hard work and that I did to take care of my healthy hair. I would occasionally wash and go, but the shrinkage would frustrate me. I realized that seeing my hair in stretched styles allowed me to see my growth and it proved that what I was doing was working to maintain length.
I came to love my shrinkage
Now, I have fully accepted, embraced, and love my shrinkage. I do not wear my hair in stretched styles as often as before. I still pineapple my hair at night to simply maintain my hairstyle at night. I learned that shrinkage has great benefits for curls and can even help maintain length! I no longer get frustrated with my shrinkage because I know it makes my curls special and unique. It makes me happy that I do not view shrinkage as a negative thing anymore.
Do you hate your shrinkage? Question it
Shrinkage is so common with curlies and there are many different techniques that we use to stretch our hair. Not only that, there are many products in the market that claim to help reduce shrinkage. With all of these resources available, it is common for a curly to try to reduce shrinkage with their curls. However, just try not to lose sight that your curls are already beautiful with the shrinkage.
If you’re battling a love/hate relationship with your shrinkage, think about the reason why you dislike it. Is it because it affects the end result of your styling? Does it mask your truth length? Be honest with yourself and the acceptance will start there. Try styling your hair a few times a week without stretching your hair. You may like the versatility that you actually do not get with your hair stretched. For example, I personally like the definition that I receive when my hair is not stretched. My twist outs last longer due to this definition and it can last up to a week.