Approaching Shrinkage With A Noodle-head Curly Afro

Last week I felt the urge to go with a shrunken style. More often than not shrinkage does not go hand in hand with length retention and as such I try to avoid it as much as possible. I must say that I am not against the idea of shrinkage as long as it is approached in a  controlled fashion.

For instance, allowing my hair to shrink up after a wash without doing anything to it is a sure fire way to gain a single strand knot on every hair I own. Further, I fully expect a ton of breakage while detangling next. But there’s a way to approach shrinkage without fighting with tangles and breakage.

The first way is using braided roots. I know a lot of you probably dismiss this idea as too much hard work but I have used the approach many times in my hair journey. Not only does it prevent tangles along the length of your hair, but it gives ultra defined long lasting curls too. I only braid about a 1/2 inch down the hair so it takes only a couple of hours to do.

The second way is keeping your ends stretched.  There’s nothing wrong with curly ends but when you have the classic small curls of a 4a or 4b, the size of the curls in my experience, consistently encourage single strand knots which is not ideal. You can stretch the ends by either going with a classic blow out before braiding the hair or alternatively you can use shea butter/avocado butter on the ends while braiding to reduce shrinkage. I find that applying a heavy butter like than creates more frizzy stretched ends than curly ends which is a definite improvement.

Another popular way is Curly Nikki’s twist and curl technique. You twist your hair while wet until you get close to the end of the strand then apply a largish perm or flexi rod and roll the rest of your hair around the rod so that your ends can set with larger curls. This leaves you of course with pretty curls from root to tip but  the larger curls on the ends reduce the incidence of ssk’s.

Anyway, even though I wasn’t due to wash my hair this past week, I decided to braid my roots and one thing lead to another and I found myself in my shower co-washing in large braids. There was no combing involved so in my mind it didn’t really count as a ‘true wash’!

Actually the main reason why I co-washed was because of the arrival of a couple of products that I have been dying to try. Yes ladies I finally bought some Cantu Shea Butter and Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding. I tend to avoid buying products that I cannot easily find at my local BSS but since some stores in England have not quite got the memo on the natural hair movement, Amazon is my new BFF.

curly pudding and curling custard

With my hair wet, I braided it (I prefer braids to twists) and rolled the ends with flexi rods. I left my hair in those braids for a couple of days, not really out of choice but because my little Jasmine was unwell with a stomach bug. Since we were not leaving the house I didn’t bother to take them down.

It took a while for her to recover but she’s finally better now and back to her playful, cheeky self. My curly fro was tight and ultra defined once I took down the braids. I loved the shrunken pretty bob shape that I got but as the day went on, the curls fell a bit and they settled at my shoulders.

I call this a ‘noodle-head’ curly afro because like noodles, the curls remain separate and frizz free for the most part. I left a portion of hair at the top and sides unbraided but I have worn my hair will all the roots braided before and it still looks great.

braided roots noodle head afro

Here is a similar look on my little Jasmine’s hair, I only did flexi rods with her hair no braids.Forgive the hair accessories overkill but she’s going through an Angelina Ballerina phase so she has to wear pink dresses every day. She would wear every hair clip she owns at once if I let her! lol But I negotiated my way down to two clips and a bow!

Jasmine's curly fro

After 3 days, a bit of humidity has got to my hair so it’s looking decidedly poofier but the curls have held up beautifully when I would usually expect my kinks to win out. I think curly pudding is a keeper!

curly fro

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  • Petra

    Lovely curls my dear… And this is my first time seeing your little princess…she is soooooooooooo adorable look at those eyes!!!!

    • Cheers hun! She’s an angel!

  • curlyprincesses

    Adorable little girl..both of your curls were pretty!

    • Thanks curlyprincess!

  • Tomes Edition

    Your curls came out really great and lasted really long
    Please check out my blog when you get a chance at

    • Thanks for the link. I’ve added you to my feed reader!

  • Andrea Bonds

    Your curls look amazing. And your little girl is too friggin cute! lol! Awesome blog! Adding you to my healthy hair fam! 🙂 Check mine out at
    Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

    • Thanks for sharing Andrea. Adding your blog to my feed now!