|Stretched hair shows it is about 5.5 inches (just above upper lip)|
|But look at the length now without stretching: just above my eye brow (about 3inches)|
I had a colleague who could not just understand the concept of shrinkage. He once asked me why I cut my hair and I told him that I did not cut it but that my hair was shrinking. He gave me this “You must think I am stupid look” then burst into laughter and repeated “Yeah shrinkage like when I go in the pool!” *shock horror* As much as I tried to explain it, he could not understand it. Sometimes you have to experience it to get it!
The thing about shrinkage is that it only “masks” the true length of natural hair. Which means when looked at, the natural hair only looks shorter than it really is. For example, a person with hair length up to her back may look like someone with length only to her shoulders. From looking at the hair, you would never know the true length unless the hair is pulled or stretched. Some Napps want their length to be visible and that is one of the reasons why shrinkage is an issue.
|From looking, you would think she has short hair because it is just below her ears. However, true length is almost mid-back when stretched. Wow!|
One thing I enjoy about shrinkage is teasing or surprising people about my hair length. This usually happens when I am with people who do not know much about natural hair and I get the “natural hair does not grow long” or “your hair is so" comments. And then I stretch my hair a bit and then a bit more and then to its real length and watch their eyes widen the longer it gets. It is like being a magician! Or when I go swimming with one length and get out of the pool with another length: classic! “Ummm … Omozo? What happened to your hair?” Then I do the horror movie scream “OH MY GOD! It must be something in the water! OH MY GOD!” The person starts to check themselves freaking out too. *Evil laugh*
Shrinkage does not have to be so bad. Knowing that it happens to all natural black hair is comforting: as in, you are not alone, we are all in it together *cue High School Musical song* It helps to also know what to do to manage it. Next post, we will talk about stretching and straightening techniques.
Keep it natural!