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Let's talk about how to stop shrinkage on 3C natural hair, because...
Even though it’s empowering to embrace the shrinkage, sometimes it can be fun to pull a strand of shrunken hair and observe your full length. But most of the time, we want to be able to celebrate how much our hair has grown. So how do you stop your hair from shrinking away?
Of course the best curly hair products and oils will help, let's go a little deeper though...
We’re gonna get to 5 super-smart natural hair care tips that will prevent the shrinkage from hiding your true length.
Shrinkage is when your hair coils or compacts due to water, air, or a chemical reaction. So many naturals freak out when they think about shrinkage, but I want to let you know that shrinkage is normal; actually, shrinkage is good!
Shrinkage is proof that your hair has enough elasticity and protein to properly defend itself against the elements outside. It also means that your hair has the right amount of nutrients to display your curls.
Now, there are some downsides to shrinkage when it comes to growth. If shrinkage goes unchecked for too long your hair can develop tangles that lead to breakage, it can decrease the amount of moisture that reaches the scalp, and you can lose length.
With that being said, I want you to know that shrinkage isn’t something that needs defeating, only something that needs managing. One way of how to stop shrinkage on 3C natural hair is knowing how to prepare your hair for stretching. And that's part of our 3C hair tips...
[RELATED ARTICLE: How to Thicken 3C Hair]
When discovering how to stop shrinkage on 3C natural hair, you'll soon find that using the right products and tools will make stretching a breeze, and fortunately, there are so many amazing oils and curly hair products that can help with your preparation for proper stretching and preventing shrinkage on natural hair 3C-4C.
If you want to go for natural curly hair products that you may already have at home, then I recommend the following 3C-4C hair oils:
The fats in these oils not only promote 3C hair growth, but they have enough moisture to add necessary slip to your hair. Using oils with a significant amount of slip makes detangling and stretching easier.
I also know that some 3C-4C hair naturals prefer to use over-the-counter products for stretching.
If that sounds like you, then I recommend looking for curly hair products that clearly state they’re for stretching, detangling, and/or fighting shrinkage. You can look for these keywords on the bottle:
The last thing that you’ll need for preparing your hair for stretching is the right tools. You may already have these 3C curly hair products at home, but if you don’t then it may be time for a shopping spree. Try looking for the following:
Don’t feel obligated to grab all of them, but I do recommend trying one or two new methods to see if something works better for you when figuring out how to stop shrinkage on 3C natural hair.
1. Blow Outs - To blow out your hair properly, the first thing you need to do is fully moisturize your hair with the LOC method. However, instead of using a curl defining cream use your anti-shrinkage serum.
Next, section your hair with clips to make the stretching process easier. Then, use the chase method with a comb and your blow dryer to dry and elongate your hair. Once you’re finished, your hair will be properly stretched.
2. Tension Method - If the chase method for 3C hair is too cumbersome, then I recommend trying the tension method instead. After moisturizing your hair and sectioning it out, make sure that your hair is thoroughly detangled.
Next, hold your hair taut and run your blow dryer up and down until the section is dry. The move on to the next section. Though this process isn’t as fast as the chase method, it’s significantly easier than a blowout.
3. Twisting and Braiding – Twisting and braiding is low energy and efficient method to stretch your hair. There are so many twisting and braiding styles out there that will help you stretch your hair. From cornrows to Bantu knots, there are many ways to style your hair and stretch it in a way that doesn’t interfere with your day-to-day activities.
After you’ve freshly washed your hair, moisturized it, and detangled it, divide your hair into four to six sections. Once you’re finished, try to braid or twist in your desired style. Make sure that you’re gentle on your hair as your braid it otherwise you can cause breakage.
4. Roller Sets – Another way for how to stop shrinkage on 3C natural hair is using roller sets.
Yeah, roller sets can seem like an archaic, 1950s way of curling your 3C hair, but it’s actually a great way to stretch your hair and enjoy bouncy curls. When choosing curlers, make sure that you get the right size for your hair length.
It’s easy to overestimate what size you need for curling your hair, so make sure you ask a sales rep for recommended sizes.
Applying the rollers will be a similar method to using the tension method. After freshly washing, moisturizing, and detangling your hair, divide it into four to six sections. Once you’re done, separate your hair into three layers per section.
For each layer, roll the curler into your hair from the ends to the scalp. Then, gently secure it in place as instructed (it’ll vary from curler to curler). I highly recommend air drying your hair because it’s much gentler. However, if you need to dry your hair, feel free to do so in the low, cool heat setting.
5. African Threading – African threading is another interesting method for hair stretching. First, make sure that you wash, moisturize, and detangle your hair. Next, divide your hair into sections.
Once you’re ready for threading, grab a small section of hair and tie a gentle knot around that section roughly two inches from your scalp. Then, wrap that thread five or six times around the knot.
Once it’s wrapped, twist it down the section. After it’s twisted down the section, tie it up and move onto the next one.
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I'm Melissa Lee...
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Stretching your 3C-4C hair is an important part of the natural hair process. It’s easy to do and you have so many options to choose from.
But no matter what method or curly hair products you choose, make sure that you’re gentle on your hair and you’re comfortable with the method. If you are a curly girl method follower, check out this article about "Is Maui Moisture curly girl approved?"...
So tell me...
What methods do you use to stretch your hair? If you have some tips on how to stop shrinkage on 3C natural hair that we don't have, email us at questions [@] naturalhair-products.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Melissa Lee
Melissa Lee is a Contributing Editor to NHP and a former owner of the BlackhairOMG website. She formed 4C Trichology Growth Services, LLC., a US based hair care consultation service. She has also contributed as a writer and consultant for various hair and beauty websites. Melissa can be followed on Twitter here.