How I Avoid Shrinkage with My Curly Hair Routine

I hate shrinkage.  That seems to be the one thing that I don’t like about my natural hair journey.  My hair loves to shrink up into a tiny afro so I’m always looking for ways to get more hang time.  I used to think that  the hair products I used for my  curly hair routine would give me more length.  Lately though, I’m finding that it has a lot more to do with technique.  

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My Curly Hair Routine with Less Shrinkage

Whenever I wear my hair curly I usually only use three products.  I always reach for a leave-in conditioner, a moisturizer and a styler.  The only other thing I use is water which I keep in a spray bottle so that I can spritz each section when needed.  Currently my wash and go combo is Aussie Moist conditioner, a Shea Moisture product for, well, moisture and Eco Styler Gel with Argan Oil.  Now, I didn’t specify which Shea Moisture product because I have been getting great results from multiple items in their line.  The Curl n’ Style Milk is a keeper while the Raw Shea Butter Extra Moisture Transitioning Milk and Restorative Conditoner also work for my hair.  Lastly, to combat frizz and give curl definition, I use the hair gel.  Eco Styler gel and I go way back so be sure to check out some of my other posts on this product.

Side view of woman with naturally curly hair
My hair has more “hang time” when I use my new technique when I style my wash and go style.

As for my technique, the first thing is, I don’t towel dry my hair.  I have noticed that not only do I have to use more product when I do this, I also get more shrinkage.  So I squeeze as much water out of my hair as possible and then reach for my leave-in conditioner.  The application is key because any part of my hair that doesn’t get any product is going to go poof.  For this reason, I always part my hair in sections whenever I apply my hair products.  

Next up is the moisturizer which goes right on top of the conditioner to add softness under the gel.  Then I spritz my hair with water which is another key step when avoiding shrinkage.  The wetter my hair is, the more it will hang.  See what I did there?  Now comes the final step where I apply the hair gel.  Another reason why I’ve stuck with Eco gel so long is because of how it weighs my hair down.  Without it, I won’t see as much length and usually some frizziness.  Lastly, I spritz my curls with water again to help loosen up the gel and enhance curl definition.

curly hair style, african american hair
My hair before using my new technique with lots more shrinkage

Air Drying vs. Blowdrying

Have you ever read the book, Curly Girl:  The Handbook, by Lorraine Massey?  Well, the author suggests that every curly girl (or boy) should stay away from the dreadful “blowfryer”.  I realize that blowdrying hair is a sensitive subject in the natural hair realm, but I’ve noticed a lot less shrinkage when I do this.  I’m not suggesting that it’s for everybody so air drying also works but may take much longer.  I usually do my hair at night so I’m not too keen on going to bed with wet hair which is where the blowdryer comes in.  If I let my hair airdry for about an hour, I really just need to do the roots.  This last step stops shrinkage in it’s tracks!  

There you have it!  That’s my new curly hair routine which gives me curl definition and a lot less shrinkage.  It only took me years to get it down.  Hopefully this post will help someone get closer to the curly hair style they’ve always wanted.

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