The hair tips, advice and recommendations given on this blog are given based on the experiences of the authors. These tips may not work for everyone and every hair type and it is important to acknowledge this since we are neither hair specialists nor trichologists.

Also many pictures on this blog belong to the authors but there are others that we do not have ownership for and thus we do not claim ownership of the ones that do not belong to us.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The thing about shrinkage

Often time’s non-naturals ask me how I cope with my natural hair. They really just want to know if my head hurts when I try to comb it. They often exclaim: “Ehn, you are natural? That means your hair must be soft. My hair is hard o.” Combing your natural hair does not have to be torture. You only need to learn the tricks of the trade. First, learn not to comb your hair when it is dry. Really, it’s a recipe for disaster. You will probably loose more hair than you need to and it will hurt you more than it has to. Comb your hair when it is damp with water or when it is soaked in conditioner.

Now I read somewhere that natural hair can shrink up to 70%. So this brings me to the second tip. I’ve learnt that the longer my hair gets the more I should make sure that I do not allow it to shrink up unnecessarily. Imagine if your hair reaches down to your back and you let it shrink up to 70%. Imagine how painful it would be to comb out such hair?

Now that my hair has grown longer, I try as much as possible not to let it shrink up too much. So when I wash my hair I make sure that I wash it in about 4 braids so that it doesn’t get tangled up while washing. After I rinse out the shampoo and conditioner, I use an old T-shirt to soak up excess water. Afterwards, I take the braids out one by one, put some Shea butter in it and comb my hair through. Then I put the combed out section into a twist. I usually wash at night so that I can go to sleep with big twists (about 8 of them) in my hair so by the next morning my hair is dry and the twists have enabled my hair not to shrink up again. This makes my hair easy to manipulate the next morning.

Now this brings me to my dilemma. My favorite style to wear are small twists. I put them in and wear them for about 3 to 4 weeks. This means I wash them about 3 times then wear a twist out. So they always shrink up to almost half the length of my hair. Now this shrinkage means that detangling (combing) my hair after I take out my twists is a strenuous task now that it is longer. When my hair was shorter it was easy peasy And now I am thinking of sacrificing my small twists because detangling my hair after I take them out is just too much wahala for me. So what do I do?


Moni said...

I've found a couple of ways to help minimize the shrinkage. First you could wear the twists for less time, 2 weeks as opposed to 3 or 4. Second, don't wear the twistout. Out hair always tangles more. Third, braid the roots of your mini twists instead of twisting all the way to the root. The braid provides more stability than just a twist. Hope that helps!

Omozo said...

Moni, these are interesting tips. I will try braiding the roots of my hair for my next twists.

Something I do is minimize the amount of moisture I apply to my hair when they are in twists. If I must use moisture (like leave-in conditioner or water) I stretch my twists over-night. So stretching may include using hair thread to wrap my hair or using strips of cloth to wrap my hair while I sleep.

Indigenous Productions said...

Hmmmm Moni, those are really helpful tips. I will them out for sure. Thanks

And Omozo, I never thought about stretching out my twists. Perhaps when I wash my twists I should try stretching them out as they are drying.