12 Photos That Prove The #ShrinkageIsReal

Black Girl Magic presents itself in many ways — and hair is high on the list. Our hair has the ability to shape-shift like nobody's business. It can be molded and sculpted. It can go from curly to straight to braided in a matter of days. And it also tends to "draw up" once wet or in the midst of humidity... also known as shrinkage. Or, in some circles, it's called the devil. A 'fro might look short, but once you stretch a curl, it goes on and on and on...

"Shrinkage is what prevents your coils or your curls from having freedom and from standing out,” celebrity hairstylist Anthony Dickey of New York City's Hair Rules tells us. And, if you don't properly care for your hair when it's wet, the chances for breakage are very high. “The last thing you want to do is let your curls dry up [in this state]," he adds.

And shrinkage can happen to just about any curl type. Search the hashtag #shrinkage, and you'll see over 230,000 before-and-after photos for proof. One section of the hair is long, while the rest remains closer to the root. "I shared mine because I was very shocked at my length," Tantyona Smith, a student who used the hashtag throughout her natural hair journey, says. "I hadn’t done a length check in a year and wasn’t expecting those results. People don't realize that Black hair does grow and has a life of its own. I just have a tighter pattern."

Of course, there's nothing wrong with shrinkage. Curls and coils are beautiful in any state. But for those who get a little discouraged after getting their hair damp, don't trip: We know what you're working with. See some crazy examples of shrinkage ahead.

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Photo: Via @hairducation.
"Where does it end?" Lade (who has a texturizer in her natural hair) captioned. We can't tell, either, sis.
Photo: Via @elite_braider.
Believe it or not, but the left side of Nysha's client's hair is only blow-dried.
Photo: Via @lavishlybritt.
"When I see this picture, I see a beautiful woman who is proud of the woman she is becoming. I see a woman who no longer battles with the thought of should I relax my hair, is my hair good enough?" vlogger Brittany said of this image.
"People used to tell me 'your hair has stayed the same length for years, why doesn't it grow?!'" popular beauty blogger Jackie Aina captioned this post. "Well there's that theory debunked."
Photo: Via @amekacoleman.
Once blown out, Ameka Coleman's hair doubles in length.
Photo: Via @armeasha.
We're jealous of both sides of @armeasha's healthy hair.
Photo: Via @inhale_mycurls.
TaShonda Bowser credits her hair growth to Mielle Organics' Adult Healthy Hair Supplements.
Photo: Via @eversogorgeous.
Dominique shows off her gorgeous air-dried curls and her smooth blowout. You can see her entire tutorial for this look here.
Photo: Via @bien_etre_pour_les_cheveux.
We bet the stylist behind this look used a strong heat protectant before straightening (and you should, too).
Photo: Via @funkycold504.
"Shrinkage is strong but that silk press game stronger," wrote @Glamjour.
Photo: Via @ahairstory.
"There are little tricks that you can do with natural hair to prevent shrinkage," Takisha Sturdivant-Drew, who styles Kerry Washington, once told us. "I take my Dyson Supersonic with the comb attachment, and blow it on cold [to set the curl]. Hot would make it straight. I lift the roots up to expand it and make it bigger."
Photo: Via @fromato4z.
"We can have short hair one day, long hair the next, and medium length the third while keeping the world guessing as to how we do it. Embrace your shrinkage," wrote Instagram user @fromato4z.
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