Helping Clients Understand Hair Shrinkage
More and more women with Afro hair are embracing their natural hair texture and moving away from relaxers. Afro hair requires more moisture than straight hair and tends to shrink when dry, but accepting hair shrinkage is one of the greatest challenges for clients on a natural hair journey.
So what is shrinkage exactly? Multi-award winning Afro hairstylist, Charlotte Mensah, says: “Natural hair shrinkage means your natural hair has shrunk in its appearance. Your natural hair will shrink, as no heat has been applied to make it straight. In its natural state it will appear much shorter than it is in reality.”
She continues, “It is a well-known fact that Afro hair can shrink up to 80% of its actual length”
All natural hair types have a tendency for shrinkage and there is almost no way to avoid it. Historically, the natural coil, coarseness or curly state of Afro hair was considered unmanageable and it was more desirable to groom hair straight to help prevent shrinkage using the application of heat or chemical-based relaxers. However the excessive use of these techniques over time can weaken and damage the overall health of hair. While it can be frustrating, hair’s ability to shrink is actually a sign of well-nourished hair and indicates a clients natural curl pattern has retained high elasticity and is resistant to breakage. If you pull a curl and it springs back (or shrinks) back, congratulations—you have healthy hair!
Customers may prefer a longer length of hair but its all about educating them that shrinkage is not a bad thing. Its normal, the most unique factor of Afro texture and a sign that you have a healthy head of hair.