Natural hair shrinkage ranks high on the top ten lists of challenges for natural hair divas. This statement applies especially to those naturalistas who dare to wear their natural hair free during summer months boldly. While some natural hair mavens don't mind a little bit of shrinkage, there is another sector of the natural hair population who would much rather rock a natural hairdo without it.
To avoid natural hair shrinkage, natural hair divas must take necessary precautions to care for and style hair in climates where humidity reigns supreme.Humidity can feel like a naturalista’s worst enemy during summer months. Natural hair often shrinks in the face of any sign of water. Thereason for this has everything to do with natural hair’s tendency to crave moisture.
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Here are five tips to help you combat natural hair shrinkage during the summer months in a humid environment.
Plan for Your Twist Outs
Are you planning to wear a twist out? Make sure your hair is healthy, moisture rich and ready for this favorite natural hairstyle. Also, you may want to consider making those twists a little bit smaller. Smaller twists will allow for greater volume and definition upon unraveling those twists. Speaking of unraveling, be sure to take the time only to separate your twists once. While natural hair experts dictate that you unravel your hair in multiple sections per twists to create volume, less is often more for summer months. Because of your hair’s instinct to seek the moisture that is in the hair, you should be able to unravel those locks once. As the day goes on, your hair’s volume will slowly increase.
Also, excessive manipulate of hair during the twist out process can cause hair to become frizzy; therefore, a single unravel approach is best to reduce the risk of both frizz and shrinkage.
Use Gel During Summer Months
Does seasonality dictate the products you use on your hair? If yes, you are miles ahead in the journey of natural hair and seasonality. For those of you who enjoy twists, Bantu knots or braids, you should consider using of alcohol-free gels like Eco-Styler & Flaxseed Gel during summer months. Custards may work as well, but can prove tricky so, beware. Gels can assist in improving the hold of your style, and they can support your efforts for stretching or giving natural hair definition for a twist out.
Natural hair styling creams such as Miss Jessie’s Curly Meringue are best during winter months. Creams tend to weigh natural hair down during summer months and for some naturalistas, may have the opposite effect of achieving a bold twist out style.
Humectants Are Good But…
The first three tips may minimize shrinkage in summer months, but they do not eliminate it. Below are two more options that may further assist you in your battle against shrinkage.Humectants are a favorite go-to for naturalistas who might be experiencing dry hair. Some even like to use them during summer months if their hair is experiencing damage, frizzies, or excessive dryness.
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However, it is important to note that too much of a good thing can work against you. If your hair has a normal porosity or is of a high porosity, humectants could work against you and lead to more shrinkage. Therefore, if your hair is healthy and porous, avoid products that contain high levels of humectants like honey or glycerin and replace your styling regimen with the opposite. Products like shea butter, coconut oil, castor oil, mango butter will keep your hair moisturized without attracting more moisture from the air.
Protective styling is a naturalista’s go-to strategy for those months where humidity rules the climate. Twists, braids, and weaves are all alternative methods to side-step shrinkage. For those who are not fans of the silky, bone straight Asian tresses on the market, consider investing in some of the natural hair extensions that are now on the market that will allow you to stay true to your personal natural hair brand. Should you choose to buy any natural hair extensions, make sure you do your research and read the reviews about texture, feel, and the lifespan of the hair. If planning to blend your hair with the extensions, make sure you are clear about your existing hair type.
Up-DosUp-Dos are an excellent alternative to during summer months. You can avoid the fuss of the frizzies while keeping it classy at the same time. For those seeking a bit of edge, consider wearing a fro-hawk. Fro-hawks allow you to wear your hair without the fear of a frizz or shrinkage. Wild is good. However, if you decide to wear an updo, be careful to not put too much tension on your hair line or natural hair as this can lead to breakage.
Finally, do not be afraid to embrace the shrinkage. Shrinkage is just another aspect of wearing natural hair. Just have a backup plan to keep your natural style classy.