Reader Q&A: Blogger CurlyNikki on Ways to Reduce Shrinkage

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Calling all naturalistas: Do you have urgent tress questions? If so, you're in luck. Every Thursday, natural hair blogger extraordinaire CurlyNikki will be solving your curly hair conundrums!

Check out this week's installment in CurlyNikki's reader Q&A series:

READER QUESTION:

When I comb through my wet hair, its shoulder-length, but when it dries, it shrinks to about ear-lobe length. What can I do/use to prevent shrinkage? Should I henna? -- Patrice

CURLYNIKKI’S RESPONSE:

If you have natural hair, shrinkage comes with the territory! Henna, a plant-based hair dye, can help reduce shrinkage for short periods of time, but this isn’t necessarily the case for every naturalista. If you’re currently wash and going, try twisting, roller-setting, twist-n-curling or braiding your wet hair. Let it air dry completely, take it down, and fluff. Wet setting greatly reduces shrinkage, allowing you to enjoy your hard-earned length.

I used to stretch my roots on occasion to achieve a fuller, longer look. This hair tip definitely works, but please use it sparingly. After my wash-and-go was fully dry (this is very important), I’d grab chunks of hair and blast the roots (with warm air) with a diffuser or air concentrator attachment. I’d do this until most of the hair was stretched… taking about 5 minutes total. The end result was a bigger, fluffier curly fro that would last until humidity hit it, or it got wet.

Recently, I discovered that pulling your freshly set and dried hair up into a loose pony overnight, yields the same results as the blow dryer trick above…with much less stress and damage of course! This is my new bedtime routine…I either leave it out, or pull it into a high pony.

Nikki "CurlyNikki" Walton is a psychotherapist and creator of the largest online natural hair resource. Along with tips and product recommendation, Walton also implements her psychotherapy skills in the sub-section "On the Couch with Curly Nikki."