Hair Care

How to Prevent Shrinkage in Curly Hair

I love to style my curls to reach their full potential. However, natural hair tends to shrink. It’s especially frustrating when you spend hours picking, pulling, and twisting your curls.

Even though it is frustrating, hair shrinkage is a natural process, and there is no reason to stress too much because you can solve this issue very easily. Once you know why shrinkage happens, understand your hair texture, and master the styling of your hair, you are going to notice that making your hair beautiful is simple.

What Is Natural Hair Shrinkage?

If you wonder what exactly hair shrinkage is, it’s pretty much exactly how it sounds. Curly hair can change from longer curls into tighter coils: they visually shrink. Even if your hair has the same length for a longer time, you may notice shrinkage.

Shrinkage isn’t anything bad and shouldn’t be treated as a symptom of unhealthy hair. This is what makes your hair curly. You might lose some length because of this, but with the right care, you can recreate your perfect cut in no time.

What Causes Natural Hair Shrinkage?

Let me explain natural hair shrinkage to you with a visual example. When you put a sponge underwater, little holes absorb water, making the sponge softer and bigger. Your hair works the same way.

When you moisturize your hair, the coils expand, stretching out a bit. Water gathered in your hair adds a bit of heaviness to it. And just like when a sponge dries out, it shrinks back to its original size.

When your hair is moisturized and has enough water stored in it, it is going to remain stretched. However, if it dries, it loses the water weight that was keeping your hair down and can puff up. Don’t treat it as something bad. You can even consider this phenomenon useful: when curls are plump and elongated it means they have enough moisture. When they shrink, you might need to add some conditioning to your hair routine.

Can I Stop My Hair from Shrinking?

Natural hair shrinkage is, well, a natural process. That means it is always going to appear to some extent. The shrinkage level depends on many factors, including curl pattern, products that you use, amount of moisture your hair gets, etc.

There are a few tricks that I use to prevent my curls from shrinking. The most effective one is using anti-shrinkage moisture products.

1. Moisturizing During Wash

The first moment when you should pay attention to your hair moisture is your daily shower. The shampoo you use for daily care can influence how your hair looks and cause faster drying. Carefully check what shampoo you use. The best option is a sulfate-free shampoo. It cleans your head and scalp without stripping your hair of its natural oils. Additionally, you can pick a shampoo dedicated to curly hair to get an even better bouncy effect.

2. Detangle Your Hair

If you want long, bouncy curls, you have to say goodbye to knots and snarls first. When your hair is tangled, the true moist length cannot be shown. Moreover, tangles can stop your hair from getting proper nutrition and hydration. The best tools for curly hair are wide-tooth combs that can help you to get rid of tangles quickly. Remember to always comb from the ends to the roots. This way, you can prevent breakage and make the whole process easier and painless.

3. Remember About Conditioning

The best way some moisture to add your hair is by using a conditioner. Use it on clean hair. You can find various options on the market. I prefer those which can hydrate my hair but also reduce tangles. Pick products rich in emollients and other moisturizing components, for example, coconut oil. Thanks to conditioner, your hair is going to stretch a bit even before you start styling.

4. Use Deep Conditioning Once in a While

If you notice that your hair is constantly dry, porous, and damaged, you should give it special attention. When I see that my hair frizzes more than usual and shrinks faster, I perform deep conditioning. Thanks to this, you give the moisture time to seal your hair and keep water inside. Remember to not go too over the top with oils, otherwise your hair can be weighed down too much.

5. Stretch Your Curls

If you dream about beautiful, long curls, you need to use your hand to stretch your hair. Do it when your hair is wet after a shower, but also when it’s dry. In the case of wet hair, you can stretch your curls while applying products. Comb your hair with your fingers from the roots to the ends. When your hair is dry, you can use a pick to separate compacted curls and make them hang loose.

6. Sleep Well

If you don’t have much time in the morning but still want to enjoy long, bouncy curls, there is a way. You should usually sleep with a bonnet or scarf to protect your hair, but sometimes you can make an exception.

If your hair is long enough, you can loosely gather your hair together with a scrunchie on the top of your head. This way, you stretch your hair a bit and add extra volume when you let them loose in the morning.

You can also braid your hair or use twists to keep your curls stretched. After you wake up, untangle your braids and enjoy long and bouncy curls.


Shrinkage is a totally natural and healthy process that can inform you about the condition of your hair. It might be a bit frustrating when you are trying to reach your style goals, but it’s nothing bad.

I like to change my hairstyle often, so not being able to reach my goal in the beginning was making me mad. Until I discovered those tricks that I shared with you. Keeping your curls long and bouncy is easier than it seems. And I can assure you that this hairstyle is so gorgeous that you are not going to regret the time you spent taking care of it.


Hi I'm Hati and my hair is naturally very curly, obviously! I have started this blog to share curly hair stories and what I use to manage my own hair. Hopefully you will find it useful! My other main passions are food, art and animlas. I have a little cat who I love very much.

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