Natural Hair Shrinkage: What Is It & How Can We Overcome It

Is natural hair shrinkage good?

Natural hair shrinkage is a common and healthy characteristic for  textured hair types between 3 and 4c, recognized by kinky, coily, or curly hair textures. When on your hair journey, you may noice hair shrinkage of nearly 70%. It occurs when the hair strands contract or curl up, often making the hair appear shorter hair than its actual length when stretched. While some individuals may find shrinkage frustrating, it's a sign of the hair's elasticity and health.

Here are a few reasons why natural hair shrinkage is considered a sign of healthy hair:

Hair Health: Shrinkage is an indication that your hair is well-moisturized and has good elasticity. Healthy hair is more likely to retain moisture, leading to better hydration and less breakage.

Natural Curl Pattern: Shrinkage showcases your natural curl pattern. The extent of shrinkage can vary from person to person based on their specific hair texture and curl type.

Protection: The natural curl pattern formed during shrinkage provides protection to the ends of the hair. Tightly coiled or curled ends are less exposed and, therefore, less prone to damage.

Versatility: Shrinkage allows for versatility in styling. Your hair can be worn in its shrunken state or stretched out for different looks. Embracing shrinkage opens up various styling options.

Less Manipulation: Embracing shrinkage often means less manipulation of the hair. This can contribute to healthier strands over time, as excessive stretching or manipulation can lead to breakage.

Why natural hair shrinks?

Natural hair shrinkage is due to its distinctive curl pattern and structural characteristics. The inherent oval or zig zag shape of the hair follicle, coupled with the complex structure of curly and coily hair, results in a greater degree of elasticity and flexibility. This allows the hair strands to twist and coil, contributing to the unique curl pattern. Additionally, the higher porosity of curly hair enables it to absorb and retain more water, causing temporary changes in hydrogen bonds and resulting in the hair's ability to swell and contract. Factors such as humidity, the application of certain hair products, and styling techniques also play a role in determining the extent of shrinkage. Ultimately, natural hair shrinkage is a normal and healthy aspect of textured hair, showcasing its inherent beauty and versatility.

What causes natural hair to shrink?

Natural hair shrinkage is a normal and healthy characteristic of textured hair. While it can be influenced by various factors, like humidity, styling products, hair elasticity, the way your hair dries (air dry, although preferred will promote greater shrinkage), and more;  it showcases the hair's inherent beauty and versatility, allowing individuals to embrace their unique curl patterns and textures.

How to stop natural hair shrinkage?

While natural hair shrinkage is a normal and healthy characteristic of textured or curly hair, there are methods to temporarily reduce shrinkage if desired. At Sunny In Denbigh we don’t recommend heavy use of stretching techniques or heat when hair styling as it can lead to damage, instead we rely on our Natural hair gel when achieving desired styles and maintaining the overall health of our natural curls. While other styling gels have complex chemicals or damaging ingredients like coconut oil, this gel prioritizes hair care when stretching your curls. We love it because it is specifically designed to minimize shrinkage and  elongating curls.

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