Shrinkage is NOT the Enemy: 4 Tips for Rocking Your Hair in its Shrunken State

by Nisus of It’s Just Hair


Shrinkage is totally annoying when you know you have long hair and you can’t seem to get any hang time.  Completely frustrating when you want to have hair on your shoulders or back, or surrounding your face, but alas, your hair coils up to your ears.  I find that the warm flat iron is the answer for those times, for me.  Using the tension method with a blow dryer works well too, but takes a little longer, and seems more drying.

Either way, you end up spending more than a day getting your hair “right.”  It has to be completely dry before the stretching process.  That takes a full day for my hair!  And you also have to have a very solid shingle set before hand.  Defined, moisturized curls stretch, and stay stretched better.  I don’t always have time for that, and the stretched look is also not always what I’m going for.  It’s nice when I want a different look, or when I have plenty of time to do it, but there are other times when the shrunken shape of my hair is cute and easier to work with for certain styles.

When I want to wear my hair shrunken up, I just have to beware of tangles, and single-strand knots after the first day.  Here are some other tips for wearing fully shrunken hair for more than a day:
  • Make sure that the hair is fully de-tangled before letting it dry. I like to co-wash, detangle and put my hair in 4 sections by double strand twisting it and rinsing it with the 4 twists still in.  I then open each section one by one, apply my leave in, gel and oil and loosely re-twist.  I usually do this at night and let it partially dry over night.  This helps set the part where you want it and tell the hair what direction to dry in.
  • Keep the ends moisturized.  That means a little spritz and leave in every evening for me.
  • Protect it at night!!  I sleep on a silk pillow case (better for skin than satin) and I also either pineapple or re-set in the 4 large twists before bed.  If I used gel before letting it dry, retwistsing keeps it smoother, if not, pinappling keeps the roots a little flatter so I don’t have a round fro by day 3 :)
  • Unlike my stretched wash and go, the shrunken version will tangle faster and more completely.  This leads to single strand knots and a heck of a time de-tangling later.  Thus I only recommend wearing loose shrunken hair for 4 or 5 days instead of 7 or longer. This tighter hair is also more difficult to manipulate into a different style later, such as a bun or updo because of the density and tangles, so be careful if you try to do so, and be patient and gentle.
Here are some picts of my BSL hair shrunken into a bob with a side part.  I also have a headband on in these picts. It looks like I had a major haircut!  Fun to throw people off sometimes, though their curiosity can be tiring lol.




Ladies, do you rock your hair in its shrunken state? What tips do you have for making it work?

Nia (Nisus of itsjusthair.com) started this blog to share what she’s learned about caring for her natural hair for the past 12 years and to encourage others to embrace whatever texture naturally grows from their head. However, there is a cultural impact in changing ones viewpoint on something as simple as hair. How and why does one grow, love and respect a hair type so different than most, and so unique to each?
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