Some people hate shrinkage, while others don’t mind it at all. When I first went natural I hated it... a lot. Especially because I wanted my hair to look long. If you’re wearing your hair natural there is almost no way to avoid shrinkage. And many of us have just learned to embrace it. Fighting shrinkage can really damage your hair especially if too much heat is involved or too much tension is placed on the hair and scalp.
But here are some ways to at least minimize shrinkage or stretch your hair:
Banding is the process of using ponytail holders to gently stretch out wet natural hair. The hair is divided into sections then the holders are wound tightly down the section from root to tip so that the hair stays stretched as it dries. If you are going to try this method, be sure to use ouch-less elastics made without the metal piece that can snag your strands. Be careful with this one because it can lead to breakage and thinning edges if too much tension is applied to hair. This is also true if you use rubber bands or elastic bands with metal closures.
The same warning from above applies. Thread is wrapped around strands of hair from just above the roots all the way to the ends. This wrapping is not just stylish, but also protective in many ways, hence its increasing popularity in the natural hair community over the past few years.
Recently, Curlformers have been the go to heatless natural hair stretcher. But sets in general stretch natural hair whether its a straw set, roller set, flexirod set etc.
Bantu knots are done by take a section of hair and wind it in one direction. Take the wound section and continuously wrap it around and around, forming the knot. Tuck the very ends of the hair underneath the knot to secure it. For finer hair textures, use a bobby pin to hold the knot in place and to keep it from unraveling. For extra elongation twist or braid sections of hair, then make a bantu knot with the twist or the braid.
Lastly it’s great to just embrace it! Instead of fighting it and getting frustrated, accept and embrace it! It is a part of the natural hair journey and it can’t be avoided.