Thursday, December 9, 2010

Products + Techniques That Help Prevent Shrinkage


Depending on how tightly wound your coils are, your hair could shrink up between 50-80% of it's actual length when wearing it in natural styles. Check out these pictures to see how different my hair looks with different products & techniques!
Twist out done on slightly damp hair yields more of a longer, fuller twist out
Twist out on fully dry hair gave me more of a somewhat silky, wavier look
Regular twist out using Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding + Jane Carter Hold Spray
Twist out using Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie 
 Twist out using Eco Styler Gel

As you can see, you can achieve various degrees of length based on your techniques and product selection. Here are my recommendations for keeping as much length as possible!

Try one or a combination of these techniques to help prevent shrinkage!

Shampoo hair in braids: Not only does this help prevent tangles, and make styling a breeze, it also helps prevent shrinkage because your coils are kept in an elongated state while cleansing. 

For thicker twists, clip roots with metal duckbill clips: Thicker twists tend to give more fullness, but you run the risk of extreme shrinkage because there isn't enough tension on your roots to keep them from shrinking.  For those days you are craving big hair, secure the roots of your twists with metal duckbill clips to keep the roots from shrinking.

For thinner twists, clip ends with metal duckbill clips: Thinner twists may yield more definition overall, but they can also cause shrinkage as well. Secure the ends of each twist with a metal clip or roller to help elongate the twist as it dries. The result should be hair that is longer with more definition.

Braid hair into four cornrows and allow to air-dry until slightly damp: If you have extremely springy, coily, hair; it may be necessary to up the ante and air-dry your hair before styling. For best results, cornrow the hair because it applies the necessary amount of tension that ensures your retains as much length as possible as it dries. {be careful not to apply too much tension on your scalp} - Once the hair is slightly damp, take down the cornrows, and twist or braid the hair as usual.

Dry hair in large bantu knots: Drying hair in large bantu knots is perfect for those that are challenged in the cornrowing department, as all it requires is a bit of twisting. Drying hair in bantu knots yields the same benefits of cornrowing, only it leaves your hair curly instead of crinkly.

Twist/Braid hair, then sit under a hooded dryer for 40-60 minutes: You can always twist or braid hair per your usual styling routine, place metal duckbill clips on the ends of each twist and sit under the dryer. The metal clips will help keep your hair elongated while your hair dries. Using heat also helps your hair dry before it has a chance to shrink completely. - For the health of your ends, please use end papers in between your clips and your hair if you decide to use this method as the metal tends to get warm. - End papers and metal clips can be found in most beauty supply stores near the color isle.

If you always experience an enormous amount of shrinkage, opt for braid outs instead of twist outs: Braid outs yields more length because of the amount of tension applied on your hair as it is braided. Because of this tension, your hair does not shrink much as it dries.

Product Recommendations For Wet Twisting/Braiding:  
While there are many products out there that do a wonderful job at moisturizing hair, providing great hold and definition, I have found these the best at curl elongation. 

Aloe Vera Gel: Add a few heaping dollops of Aloe Vera to your favorite product to increase its curl elongating benefits. Not only does adding Aloe Gel stretch the amount of product, but it adds moisturizing benefits as well.

Eco Styler Gel: This has easily been one of my favorite products of the year because of it's versatility [I can use it for twist outs, wash and go's and sleek buns], and because of how well it elongates my curls. I use this primarily for twist outs, and it gives me definition and more length versus any other curl cream I have tried to date. 

Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding: This is one of the first curl creams I have tried, and one I always go back to when I'm in a pinch and need something quick and effective. Curly Pudding gives me great curl definition [when used as a creme to twist hair], and also helps out a bit in the elongation department.

Product Recommendations For Dry Twisting/Braiding:
Karen's Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia {formally known as hair milk}: I used this in the first picture on damp hair and it was amazing. It hydrated my hair without causing it to revert, and it provided some hold and protection against the chilly NY weather I was in. I have been experimenting with many products to use for "dry-damp twist outs" but this is definitely the winner.

Herbal Essence Long Term Relationship Leave-In: Another one of my favorites, this moisturizes my hair without causing it to revert, and makes a nice product to twist dry/damp hair with.

What do you do to beat shrinkage?

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  1. Wonderful as usual :)
    So much information. I wish I had the energy and time to devote to my hair the way you do..

    I am just. too. lazy -- I'll be working with a partial sew-in this Winter.

    Hope to see you around LA sometime!

  2. great great information! my bff and i were just trying to figure this out last night as we were doing my hair. i'll forward this information along and take notes. you rock!


  3. This post is very timely. I did twists with Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and my shrinkage was crazy. My hair is soft but it shrank alot.

    I get the least amount when I twist or braid on try hair or when I use kinky curly knot today and the curling custard

  4. omgosh i love the one with the shea moisture smoothie. i must say, you really have your twistout game on lock.

  5. Fantastic post. Good timing as I am still in the beginning stages of figuring out what types of twistouts work best with my hair. I absolutely LOVE your blog. Keep doing whatcha do as it is cleary working for you and oh so helpful.

  6. Great post! What kind of aloe vera gel do you use and where can I purchase some?

  7. These are such great tips. I was thinking about how I need to start doing something to stretch out my strands. My short fro wouldn't look to tiny if I did a twist-out to the top. If I would only stop being so lazy...

  8. Wonderful post and just what I needed!!! I am almost 9 months BC and my hair growth is amazing. Now I want to showcase some of my length. This post has been GREAT at giving me tips to show my length. Thanks so much!

  9. I recently made a concoction of shea butter whipped with coconut oil, olive oil, and a little Aubrey Organics GPB conditioner. My hair is fully natural so I do the "wash and go" method. I add the whipped product to my hair in the shower, comb through one more time under water then squeeze up into a scarf. Hydrophobic effects= quicker drying. With this method, my hair almost barely shrinks! (Not to mention the moisture is super good for my hair during the colder winter months!) Curl definition stays, also. I HIGHLY recommend!!!

  10. Thank you!

    I am in my seventh month of transitioning and as my natural hair grows, the shrinkage grows. It's annoying at times, to say the least, since it makes my already thin and fine hair look thinner and more fine.

    I appreciate the tips.

  11. Excellent post! I wanted to know what products do you use on a daily basis to moisturize your hair when you do twistouts and when you press you hair. Thank you

  12. Nothing. My hair is going to shrink no matter what, no matter how long it grows or what I use. I just have learned to accept it (took me two rounds of being natural though) and now that I have, I really enjoy the moisture that comes from creme based puddings even though I know I'll get major shrinkage. The longer I let it go free in the twist out stage, the more I love it on me! :-)

  13. Girl I am SO running to the store tomorrow to get the clips and the Aloe Vera gel. I'm so excited to try the twist out again.

  14. Thanks so much for the tips! Today I tried the curl enhancing smoothie on dry hair (just put little water on the ends with wet hands) with a little aloe vera gel on top sealed ends with castor oil..Best twist out to date! Excellent crunch-free definition and not much shrinkage at all! I'll try the duckbill clip under the dryer next time. Ive never thought of that.

  15. I will definitely take these tips into consideration.

  16. Hi for clarification about the Herbal Essence Long Term Relationship Conditoner(RED BOTTLE) are you talking about the one with the pump top or just the conditioner alone that you suggested that can be used as a leave in as well. Thanks:) I was not sure so I bought the one w/o the pump and I must admit that I liked using this(w/o pump) as a leave in and it smells good:) Thanks

  17. The only way I know to prevent shrinkage is to do a dry twist out on 2nd day hair! First day hair consists washing the hair, a leave-in conditioner and moisturizer-then set in twists. using any gel or cream will surely have my EXTRA curly hair shrunken like an old skull!!! thanks for this great post :)

  18. On Cyber Monday, I just bought my first bottle of the coveted KBB Sweet Ambrosia--the second ingredient is vegetable glycerin!! On the website glycerin is farther down the product list (fourth or fifth). Now Im scared to use it for fear my hair will become hard. Has anyone else come across this?

  19. I do the clips and that seems to help a lot. The size of the twists make a difference too. I did a video on "Mastering the Twistout" on my YT channel with some of the same tips. I like the look with Miss Jessie's and Jane Carter! Great post as always...thanks for the tips!

  20. Another method that I use when twisting my hair wet is to cornrow my twists together as I complete twist sections, and then leave the cornrows in until my hair is dry. This stretches the twists and also gives them a nice wavy texture, since you get the best of both the twist/braid-out! The method also works with plaits, if you don't know how to cornrow. Just make at least four braids so all the twists get nice elongation in the plaits.

  21. My hair shrinks like crazy but I will try a gel to see if that helps elongate it a bit. I do a twist out, sit under a dryer, take it out and my hair is back to a 'fro like nothing even happened! How annoying, and I even use aloe vera gel!

    I will also be trying Nefertiti's advice lol

  22. My shrinkage isn't too bad, but I do have it. On wash day, I do twisted bantu knots and wear my hair loose all week. I use purabodynaturals butters and on the ends of my twists I used Uncle Funky's Daughter's Curly Magic. My hair gets fluffier the older it gets, but the curls are super tight the first 3 days. When I blowdried, I'd do two cornrows for a wavy look.

  23. Ok I'm a weirdo this question has nothing to do with hair, Did you paint the pictures behind you in the third and fourth paintings? I really like them, if you did you should sell art work and jewelry if you didn't is there an online store where I can go to purchase artwork like this.

  24. *pictures in the third and fourth pictures not paints lol


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