We will never stop telling ya’ll this, natural hair shrinkage is a good thing.
Remember landline telephones? Rotary or dial, chances are you or your mama had an Illinois Bell (or whatever state you lived in Bell) phone mounted on the kitchen wall and/or sitting in the living room. It had a perfectly coily curly cord that could stretch the entire room and then some while you were talking on the phone. As soon as you hung up that cord snapped right back in to its tightly compacted coil.
Over time and with a lot of manipulation that coil would start to turn and twist on itself, getting distorted and stretched out. I’m (Aeleise) going to tell on my younger self that I may have destroyed a telephone cord or two trying to see how much I could elongate it.
Our curls act just like that telephone cord. The more we stretch them out, manipulate, pull, and tug on them, the more we are setting up our curls for mechanical damage. We hear the word elongation so often from our salon clients and our digital curl friends, it feels like there is a consistent quest to pull our curls from where they live to show off length, loosen a tighter curl pattern, or to add volume to a hair style. There are even products marketed directly to us tight curl folks that promise to elongate the hair that we buy en masse.
One of our hair’s essential elements is Elasticity: the hair’s ability to stretch and return to its original length without breaking. Often in the salon we see the desire for all the time curl elongation result in breakage spots, altered curl diameter, increased porosity, and difficulty maintaining a lasting hair style.
We get it. We all want dope hair. And there are a few tools and techniques we use in the salon to achieve a bit of elongation during styling in a curl safe manner so we can have our cake and eat it too.
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