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.