Friday, May 10, 2013

Shrinkage Struggles

#Shrinkage #CurlyHairStruggles
Don't mean to brag, but I've been having crazy good hair days lately! My hair has been soft and moisturized and is really flourishing. But as the weather warms, shrinkage is becoming more and more of a "problem." I put problem in quotations because it's not so much a problem than it is an annoyance. Let me explain; a couple weekends ago, I rocked a bomb twist out to a dance party (#CRANKPARTY, what up?) but after dancing the night away, I ended up with a TWA by the end of the night. My hair shrinks down to like 25% of it's length and reverts to it's curl pattern very easily. It can be frustrating to start the evening out with stretched hair and end the evening with shrunken, not to mention, tangled hair. No need to make detangling sessions more time-consuming than they need to be, so I prefer to keep my hair at least semi-stretched through braid outs or twist outs.

Disclaimer: The idea of combatting shrinkage can be a controversial one. It sort of implies that kinky/curly/coily hair needs to be "fixed" or "managed." I don't know about you, but my hair does need to be managed. It's just the way it is; it doesn't make my hair any better or worse than someone with a looser curl pattern or straight hair. The fact of the matter is that when I don't stretch out my hair (with braid outs or twist outs), my hair will tangle. If you're not into "combatting shrinkage," skip this post...

Here are a few things I suggest for combatting shrinkage this Spring/Summer:

  1. Use less water in your hair. I know what you're thinking: 'But water is what moisturizes my hair!' Yes, that's absolutely true, but as the weather warms and the air gets more humid, the natural moisture in the air will contribute to the moisture in your hair. That's why after dancing in a crowded club, my hair soaked up enough moisture to cause it to shrink.
  2. Skip the water-based products. Again, I know this sounds like crazy talk, but hear me out. Water-based products add a tremendous amount of moisture to kinky/curly/coily hair, but again, when there is already moisture in the air, no need to add more.
  3. Add humectants to your products. Humectants are products that attract moisture. Examples include vegetable glycerin and honey. If you're going to be using water less often in your moisturizing routine, the addition of glycerin to your spray bottle will ensure that your hair remains moisturized. Even after the water dries, your hair will continue to attract moisture, but at a slow enough rate that won't cause extreme shrinkage.
  4. Use heavier oils or butters. Now, this depends on your texture, but for my hair, which is in the type 4 range, olive oil works like a dream. The idea is two-fold: (1) you seal in the moisture (water) you have put in your hair, and (2) using a heavier product will "weigh down" your hair so that it would be  less prone to shrink.
How do you combat shrinkage and avoid tangles in the warm, humid Spring/Summer months?

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