One of the greatest parts of having naturally curly or coily hair is the ability to drastically change the state of your hair in a short amount of time. It can take on many different forms, including shrinking up to less than half of its length when wet or damp—a less than popular aspect of curly hair care.

In reality, it's usually a sign of moisturized healthy hair, yet we spend countless hours trying to battle it, tame it, and stretch it out to achieve longer curls and coils. Granted, as a type 4 natural myself, I know there are benefits to consistently wearing stretched styles, one of the most important being protection from breakage. For some curlies, retaining length is dependent on stretching their hair. And in addition to length retention, there’s nothing more satisfying than a perfectly executed twist out.

But if you’re panicking over shrinkage from excessive humidity (the devil) or one “failed” stretched style—stop stressing. Your hair can still look stunning, even if your bra strap-length hair is pretending to be a TWA. Shrinkage is just one of the many characteristics of curly hair that contribute to it’s never-ending charm. If you’re feeling discouraged (or you just want to appreciate some natural hair), see the shrunken curly hair inspo ahead.


Image Source: @saythelees

Jaleesa’s type 4 ‘fro compliments this soft glam look perfectly.

Image Source: @nymcfly

Nyzeire shows us you can never go wrong with laid baby hairs and tight curls.

Image Source: @naturallychantal

The true definition of shrinkage. Chantal’s 4b/4c hair looks like a TWA, but like Erykah Badu says, it goes on and on.

Image Source: @frizzybri

This half-up half-down look on Bri’s shrunken ‘fro is everything. And shrinkage aside, her hair color is also gorgeous.

Image Source: @brirene3

Finger coils are a great way to style your hair if you’re looking to embrace some shrinkage. Want to get the look? Check out Bri Ren&eaute;’s finger coiling tutorial.

Image Source: @_falamana

Flowers were made to be placed in curly hair—shrinkage holds them in place even better.

Image Source: @gerilynhayes

NaturallyCurly editor Gerilyn styles her Afro with a cute headwrap, showcasing some flawless 4c hair.

Image Source: @globalcurlz

Frohawks always look great on curly hair, whether stretched or shrunken.

Image Source: @gataimpecavel

Evelynn’s bright red curls look bouncy and full of life. Even looser textures can experience some degree of shrinkage.

Image Source: @ __aprilshowers

When all else fails, a puff will look fierce every time. Rose-colored shades are optional, but definitely recommended.

Image Source: @naptural85

Natural hair guru Whitney White aka Naptural85 maintains maximum definition with quite a bit of shrinkage.

Image Source: @samanthapollack

Try styling your shrunken curls in a blended half-braided style. Cornrow the front and let the curls in the back be free to do as they please.

Image Source: @imsors

One of the benefits of shrinkage is that it usually allows for a lot of volume. This side puff style has maximum volume and shape.

Image Source: @jadenikaylah

Jade’s gravity-defying pixie cut makes definition and length seem vastly overrated. An effortlessly beautiful look.

Image Source: @_iamlenn

You have to appreciate the double puffs. Lenn’s double puffs are a fun way to sport some coily shrinkage.

What’s your opinion on curl shrinkage? Do you allow it to happen occasionally? Or do you avoided it at all costs? Drop a comment and let us know.