6 Ways to Reduce Shrinkage on 4C Hair July 06 2018 2 Comments

Shrinkage on 4C hair is inevitable but you may be wondering about some ways to reduce it. As you probably already know, 4C hair types experience shrinkage the most because the curls are tighter than the other curl patterns.

Before you read this article make sure you're NOT making these 10 Natural Hair Mistakes!

And this can make it difficult to detangle, manage, and style. In fact, shrinkage can be downright discouraging when you want to do hairstyles like a low bun or twist-out.

Plus, you may be anxious to show off your true length to let people see just how hard you’ve been working to grow your hair out.

Contrary to popular thought, shrinkage is a sign of healthy curls. It means your strands are strong and not limp, dull, or stringy.

However, you may still want to do some things to reduce the shrinkage and make your hair more manageable during the week. In this post, you’ll find 5 ways to reduce shrinkage on 4C hair.


4C Hair Woman


1. Keep it Sectioned and Twisted While Washing

The easiest way to solve shrinkage is to not allow your hair to shrink on wash day. Keep your hair organized in several twists when you wash it. Only take out a twist when it’s time to apply shampoo, conditioner, or for rinsing. You can use your Snappee hair ties for this job.

Even after the shower, only take one twist out at a time to style your mane. You’ll find your hair is less likely to shrink if you keep it in elongated twists while it’s wet or damp.


2. Stretch It

Stretching your natural hair is one of the best ways to get rid of shrinkage. Good stretching techniques are also protective. These hairstyles include twists, braids, low bun, banding, and the African Threading Method.

As you know, 4C curls become tangled easily and the tiny coils cling to each other to form knots. It’s a good idea to stretch your hair because it will make it more manageable and lead to less breakage. Again Snappee hair ties can help you stretch you hair.

Of course, there may be days when you want to rock a wash and go. And it’s perfectly fine to let your hair down some days of the month. You don’t have to do stretching 100% of the time, but you should aim to do it as much as you can to get healthy, long hair.  

3. Condition with Coconut Milk

Using coconut milk during the conditioning phase on wash day will help to reduce shrinkage on your final outcome. Coconut milk has a rich fatty acid content and it packs on five grams of protein per cup.

The result is stronger, smoother, and softer strands. Plus, the water inside coconut milk is hydrating and contains several minerals.

If you’re accustomed to applying coconut oil to your hair, you may want to switch to using coconut milk. It contains protein, water, and fat—everything you need to create healthy strands.




Coconut milk has molecules that are small enough to penetrate the hair shaft. That means the coconut water, protein, and fat can enter through the cuticle and feed the shaft hydration and nutrients.

You’ll probably find that your curls are not as tight after using the milk, and that your shrinkage has been reduced.

Use coconut milk alone as your conditioner or mix it into a small amount of deep conditioner. Fresh coconut milk goes rancid quickly, so it can’t be used for a leave-in conditioner. Rinse the coconut milk out after 20 minutes to 1 hour.

Using canned coconut milk is easiest, and it will last for several wash sessions if you divide it into small plastic zipper bags and freeze.


4. Apply Aloe Vera Gel Before Styling

Aloe vera is loaded with hydration, enzymes, and amino acids for hair. These are the building blocks for healthy, strong hair. The gel has smoothing properties and will help to reduce shrinkage when you apply it before using your styling products.

Have you noticed that your hair has more length when it’s wet or hydrated? Aloe vera is one of the only substances on the planet that you could use instead of water.

In fact, some haircare brands opt to include aloe instead of water, resulting in a high-performance product. The hydration from aloe penetrates the hair shaft like water can, and then it feeds the hair nutrients too.

Aloe vera won’t straighten 4C hair, but it will help to smooth and elongate the curl, giving you more manageability.


5. Do Monthly Henna Treatments

Henna doesn’t have to be reserved for coloring gray hairs. It’s an amazing conditioner that will bind to the keratin in your hair and strengthen the strands.

This unique hair dye helps to reduce shrinkage by adding weight to each hair strand at the curve. It will make your hair smoother, softer, and stronger.

Henna deposits along the shaft are permanent, but it will take several treatments over the course of a few months to see a difference in shrinkage. 

If you get henna on your Snappee hair ties you can always put it in the washer and dryer to get it off!


6. Use Anti-Frizz Products

Anti-frizz styling products will help to smooth and elongate your curls. Creams and gels are useful for reducing both frizz and shrinkage while you’re doing twist-outs, braid-outs, and even wash and gos.

Look for products which state “anti-frizz” on the front label. Manufacturers formulate anti-frizz products with the intention of smoothing the curl and reducing shrinkage.


Ready to Reduce your Shrinkage?

Keep in mind that if you’re aiming to reduce shrinkage, you’ll likely see some disruption in the curl pattern. Reducing shrinkage on the regular basis may even permanently break the curl pattern.

Treatments like henna may change your curl type, resulting in curls that are not as tight as they once were. It could also result in having two or more different curl patterns on your head, as some curls elongate, and others stay tight.

This can be a problem if your goal is to have defined curls. Reducing shrinkage is helpful if you like to wear your natural hair straight or in updos a lot. But you may not want to change a thing if your goal is to have ultra-defined curls for a wash and go.

However, loosening the curls is inevitable if your goal is to reduce shrinkage. So, you’ll have to decide whether you want defined curls, or looser curls. It’s entirely possible to have both, but it helps to begin with one objective and go for it.

Reducing shrinkage will ultimately make your hair much more manageable, healthy, and less prone to breakage.

If you would like more help with your natural hair then check out Curl College!

What’s your favorite way to reduce shrinkage on 4C hair?