The simple fact is that shrinkage is part of the natural hair journey, so you should know how to work with your curls, not against them.

photo courtesy of @luvyourmane

Struggling with natural hair shrinkage? Here are products along with tips and tricks to help you combat that unwanted shrinkage and show off your true natural hair length.

The best products to stretch your curls

This curl definer is infused with active ingredients mango and bamboo milk which are known to moisturize and elongate curls. Dark and Lovely’s Au Naturale Anti Shrinkage Coil Moisturizing Souffle is a must for achieving a defined style without the crunch.

This light cream adds intense shine and definition to your curls. Specifically for stretching curls, this cream will deliver moisture and control unwanted frizz.

If you’re for a gel that doesn’t produce shrinkage for your wash-n-go’s? Aunt Jackie’s Don’t Shrink Flaxseed Gel works well on all curls and coils to give you a defined look without losing your length.

Shrinkage-fighting ingredients

If you don’t want shrinkage, look for products containing these ingredients.

  • Flaxseed
  • Bamboo Milk
  • Shea Butter
  • Mango Butter

The best curl stretching techniques

There are several ways you can achieve a stretched look with your curls. Try one of these options to style your hair and to reduce your shrinkage.

Braid-Outs, Twist-Outs, Bantu Knot-Outs

These stretched styles work wonders to stretch your hair, producing beautifully defined curls. Braid-out and twists are simple enough to create for any level of expertise.

Tip: To get the most out of your style, begin pinning them to the opposite side of your head. The hair on the left, you’ll stretch and secure with bobby pins on the right side of your head, and you’ll do the same on the left. This tension helps your curls to retain the length while the hair is stretched, so the coils won’t be able to shrink as easily.

Roller Sets

Want a way to create sleek, soft curls without heat? Try roller sets help to create smooth, silky curls.

Tip: To create a frizz free style, style on damp hair and detangle each section before rolling. For roller sets, it’s best to stay away from heavier products example   butters and opt for a foam or mousse such as Shea Moisture’s Coconut Hibiscus Foaming Mousse Be sure to sit underneath a hooded dryer and allow your hair to dry completely before removal.


These stretching tools will give you the look of juicy stretched curls without damage. CurlFormers are flexible mesh curlers that are great to stretch even tighter coils. With practice and a little bit of patience you too can create bounce full curls.

Tip: Only use CurlFormers on wet and dampened detangled hair! Apply a light moisturizer or alcohol-free mousse to each section before putting your hair through the tool. If you are having trouble, twist the root of each section before hooking. Also check to make sure you don’t use too much hair or you could end up snagging your strands when pulling your hair through the CurlFormers. Let your hair completely dry before removing and you’ll be left with light, bouncy and stretched curls!


The easiest and most simplest stretched style, bunning is your friend. The best thing about bunning is that this can be done on both wet and dry hair. If you want the most stretch for your hair, make sure it’s moisturized by using a good leave-in and styling product.

Tip: Pay special attention to your ends and use a dime amount of butter or pomade to keep your edges smooth.  With longer hair, begin twisting the loose hair in three to four twists to give you looser curls.


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