In this post, I want to talk about shrinkage and whether shrinkage is good or bad or somewhere in between for curly hair. I will also speak about history of shrinkage in afro-textured hair in the US.
Whether you have curly or natural hair, you are well aware of shrinkage. For those who are unaware, shrinking occurs when your hair appears shorter when dry than when wet. It’s common with afro-textured hair and curly hair, and it may be aggravating at times. Yet, shrinking is a normal and necessary component of having curly hair.
It is critical to realize that shrinkage is caused by the inherent curl pattern of afro-textured and curly hair. As your hair is damp, the curls become more spread out and loosened, making it appear longer. However, as your hair dries, the curls contract and shrink, creating the illusion of shorter hair. This is perfectly normal and natural, and it is not something to be worried about. In fact, we should celebrate it! Because it means our hair is curling and swirling and twisting in ways that it is meant to do.
History of Shrinkage
Shrinkage in afro-textured hair has a long history, and it has been a source of pride and frustration for many people. Shrinkage was often seen to be a sign of “unkempt” or “unprofessional” hair, and persons with afro-textured hair were sometimes urged to straighten their hair to comply to conventional beauty standards. As a result, people employed harsh chemicals and heat to straighten their curls, causing significant damage to our natural hair.
Yet, there has been a new trend toward embracing natural curls and kinks. People are more accepting of their afro-textured hair and rejecting the notion that straight hair is the sole acceptable standard of beauty. Shrinkage has become a source of pride for many people as a result of this transition. It’s a way to appreciate the natural beauty and texture of afro-textured hair while rejecting the idea that curls must be tamed or controlled.
What do I think?
When I first started my natural hair journey, I surrounded myself with people who celebrated natural curls. Surrounding myself with people who had and appreciated natural curls helped me to feel more confident about my own. It also helped me to see that shrinkage wasn’t something to be ashamed of, but rather something to be celebrated.
So if you have curly or natural hair and are experiencing shrinking, keep in mind that it is a fully natural and normal part of having afro-textured hair or curly hair. Accept the shrinking and appreciate your gorgeous curls! See another woman’s take on her shrinkage on Refinery 29!
Good luck, ladies! Check out my other blog posts here!