Shrinkage is just one of those certainties that comes along with afro hair.
But I haven’t done full shrinkage since I was a fool child washing my hair like the woman in the Timotei ads. Oh yes! There is no joy to rival the experience of detangling one’s hair after using a sulphate shampoo whilst overzealously massaging the roots in a circular motion.
So I wash my hair in plaits or twists to minimise the impact of shrinkage. But sometimes I feel a little bit curious about just how much my hair will shrink, so I undo a plait and let it be (below left). And sometimes if I’m feeling reckless still, I’ll undo all the plaits and admire briefly (below middle) before I quickly, quickly section it off and plait it up.
So whilst I have an afro I almost never wear it that way. My hair is stretched all of the time. Here it is 5 days post wash (below left and middle) with shea butter, aloe gel and an argan oil mix. The picture below on the right is the result of stretching my hair with TMS, shea butter and no heat.
I didn’t think I’d ever put TMS near my hair. But less than a year after I discovered it and decided it wasn’t a product for me, I’ve used it twice.
Mostly this is because my hair has grown (time line below). Despite my judicious trimming of my hair every wash day, it has managed to retain some length and that growth, modest though it is, has meant an exponential increase in the time I spend pre-pooing, washing and styling my hair. And there are just more tangles to deal with. My desperate search for a good leave-in led me down the TMS path. But that is a story for another day.