Shrinkage is a real issue for many naturals. Some women don't mind it as much, but if you're frustrated because your shrunken-up 'do appears way shorter than your actual length -- and you're tired of natural-cynics wondering out loud why your hair isn't growing -- you probably do mind. You know your hair is growing, but not getting visual affirmation of your healthy hair habits can get even the most positive woman down.
While combating shrinkage with stretching efforts is common, you can also try and embrace your natural hair's tendency to hide its true length with these tips.
Your Style Can Change Daily
Don't you love the looks of amazement on your coworkers', friends' or family members' faces when you show up one day with an Afro that's hugging your head for dear life and the next day, hair that's trailing down your back after a flat ironing session? "No, this is not a weave," you tell them. They'll probably try to detect tracks anyway, but you know it's all yours. Black hair can easily shrink up to over 70% of its real length, and if you have a lot of shrinkage, you know just how dramatic the difference is.
Instead of complaining about your hair's tendency to look many inches shorter than it really is, embrace the fact that your hair is extremely versatile. Monday, wear a 'fro. Tuesday, look like Pocahontas.
For Certain Styles Shrunken Hair Works Best
The versatility of black hair can't be overstated, so use shrinkage to your advantage. Your hair may fall halfway down your back when stretched, but let it shrink up for a fierce frohawk. Or hit that 1970s-style party with your two Afro-puff ponytails that you can only achieve with great shrinkage.
Remember Length Isn't Everything
If all else fails, try and remember that long hair, or letting everyone know you have long hair, isn't everything. What's most important is that your hair is healthy. Sure, it can be disheartening to hear someone say that "black hair can't grow long" when you have the proof that it does indeed grow...except it's hard to prove because your curls are currently shrunken. In those cases, try and consider the source. Does it really matter what some uninformed person says, especially if it's a stranger who you'll never run into again? What matters is that you're taking great care of your hair and it's as healthy as it can possibly be. It looks fantastic whether it's shrunken down to 5 inches or blown out to an impressive 20.
Enjoy Your Hair at Every Length
Having long hair is nice, but don't miss out on styling opportunities because you're constantly wishing your hair was something else. Instead, enjoy each length you experience. Once your hair grows longer, you may not be able to enjoy those shorter styles again.
If you have tips/advice on how to embrace your shrinkage, please feel free to share and/or comment below.