Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Dealing with High Shrinkage Hair

Hi Doves!

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I'm back with another educational post. Shrinkage is a very good sign that your shaft is healthy and undamaged. But as much as we love seeing our curls pop and squiggle, shrinkage  and particularly high shrinkage poses a hidden danger: breakage.

How do I know if I have high shrinkage hair? Well basically if your hair reduces to 40% of your stretched length or less you fall into the high shrinkage me.

shrinkage on a "good" day
                      And my hair shrinks to even less than was just getting started, lol.
The problem with high shrinkage is that the strands curl around each other, so much so that they  tangle and knot.  and breakage is high. Early in my journey, I often found myself detangling a section, moving on to another and then only to come back and re-detangle because the strands had curled up on each other again. Here are a few things i've learned that have helped me to handle my shrinkage in such a way that i minimise breakage and tangling.

1. Don't skimp on sectioning
Whenever your hair is damp work in sections, using a butterfly clip or loose twists to keep the hair from reducing in size. You'll find it easier to work with and the shrinkage is kept to a minimum

Which brings me to my next point : section as much as possible when washing.  On wash day, the arena is just set for shrinkage city. We all know that sectioning is the key to tangle free hair..however there comes a time when your hair is so long that you can manage to reduce the once 10 sections to 5 or 6, and you're like #winning! But the reality is that a bigger surface area in your section means that you can't handle all the hair at once. This leads to strands straying and shrinking.

In my desperation to keep detangle, I would rip through the knots and tangles in a large section, breaking and snapping strands as I went. I did not realise that having such a huge  part, clumped all my tangles together as they shrank, and I needed a smaller surface area to work with. My detangling was not as thorough and ended up causing more harm than good, all because i wanted to be in the long hair girls league, WITH JUST 6 SECTIONS on wash day..cause my hair was long like that. Lol!

So work in as many twisted or braided sections as possible. Even though my hair is quite long, I ensure that my wash day sections are always at least 9 to 10. As I go along, i find myself breaking down sections into two to thoroughly detangle and keep shrinkage at bay.

2. Keep it taut when handling it wet.
Whenever I handled my wet hair, I was in the habit of detangling a section, then leaving it free, then twisting it up. I soon realised that continually leaving it alone between the end of my detangling and twisting it up, would lead to shrinkage and tangle city again. I now pass the comb through to detange..hold the ends taut...give it another pass...hold the ends taut....then proceed to twist. In short, you don't want to give it room to coil up again.

3. Carry bobbies..always.
A sudden change in weather or humidity is sure to set the curlies in. Keep some bobby pins on hand to secure your hair and minimise shrinkage when the weather decides to take a turn.

 4. Use a heavy conditioner
The weight of a heavier conditioner stretches out my hair as comb and detangle it. I found that the heavier the condish, the less my hair shrunk, and the easier it was to keep it detangled as i worked with it. A few "hair weights" I have discovered are : molasses, ors hair mayonnaise, and  dark 'n lovely cholesterol. There are other products besides these. A good rule of thumb is that the thicker the conditioner, the more it will weigh your hair down and thus stretch it.

 5. Keep it stretched, or in hairstyles that don't allow for much shrinkage
I always talk about how when my hair is out, I work with textured hair from  a braid out or twist out. I find that braiding my hair in sections at night contains the shrinkage and I don't have to worry about tangles forming. The braids don't have to be super tight or a lot. Sometimes I simply do two pig tails, call it a night and my hair is good to go for any style I desire the next day ... with some lovely texture to boot. And im the queen of bunning..cinnabuns, twisted buns, textured tucked buns, and more recently..flat twists to keep my hair from shrinking when I have the fro is out and about. This tip is most especially for those who live in humid climates.    
This textured bun was the result of 5 big braids the night before.
twisted bun

 How do you handle your high shrinkage hair?


  1. wow great information, Thank dear

  2. Informative post and i like your protective style, how did you do that?

  3. Lots of useful info in this post. Thanks Bee. I have high shrinkage hair too

  4. Great post! I love your protective style! Will be waiting for my hair to get long enough to do that!


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