A reader Melanie wrote to me a few days ago asking to see my naked hair with no products and fully shrunken. Of course I was taken aback by this request and was fully intending to respond saying “No [insert string of profanities here] way!” After all I’ve already shown you guys my wet unadorned hair but then it struck me that I haven’t actually seen my hair fully shrunken with zero product since right after my big chop.
I’ve always known that loose shrunken hair spells bad news for us type 4 hair girls so I’ve never dared. Call it dutch courage but this week after my wash, I was fully intending on doing a puff as I’d expressed the urge to do so last week so I thought, hmm, why not take those twists down and let my hair do what it naturally wants to do.
Now before you see what happened, I think it’s important to qualify the way my hair behaves to you. Like most other people my hair tends to stretch easily when it comes into contact with water, when it’s dripping wet that is and it also tends to clump for the most part. When it’s wet, you can see visible curls and if I was to apply my curl enhancing products at this point aka wash & go, my hair would remain curly/wavy after it’s dry.
If I don’t apply any products however, it dries into an unintelligible mass of shrunken-ness that is neither ideal because it’s impossible to tame nor very attractive. I know I sing woes about having fine hair all the time but I simply don’t have hair that wants to grow straight upwards like any self respecting afro hair should naturally want to do.
At the smallest sign of length (read weight) my hair heads down south and there is nothing more ugly than an afro that doesn’t really want to be an afro. If you know what I mean.
I should mention that I added absolutely nothing to my hair, I just washed, quick conditioned in the shower and allowed it to air dry for about 30 minutes while fluffing it to remove clumped curls. And unfortunately what I was left with was a kinky shrinky mess that felt pretty awful too!
It was like I was playing chicken with my hair. Surely you can’t shrink any more I would say . . . then it would just that. My hair isn’t actually completely dry in the last photo, it’s about 80% dry so it probably still had a bit more shrinkage left in it but I wasn’t willing to go any further with this experiment. Still, regardless how much it shrinks, it never quite looks like a classic afro, maybe I should have picked it out?
Another thing that I was pondering is the fact that even though I like to think that I have the worst shrinking hair there is, I really don’t. The hair around my nape will tend to shrink quite a lot but the crown area doesn’t shrink up that much. My sister on the other hand has the most extreme shrinkage I’ve ever seen, it shrinks to about 75% of her true length from grazing BSL when stretched to a 2 inch TWA. I will post pictures of her hair in the future.
Anyway, to try and salvage a wearable hairstyle, I styled my hair following the curly fro method inspired by longhairdontcare LLC’s video.
I twisted in large sections in an attempt to stretch it and rolled each twist with a flexi rod. I got a cute curly fro out of it the following day but of course it was only a 1 day hairstyle. I co-washed mid week to infuse some moisture help to re-stretch it with water and I was back to the old faithful braid and curl by Thursday.
I will just stick with what works from now on folks. I’m done experimenting.