Fighting shrinkage is a full-time job with no benefits and rarely any vacations! I have been natural for almost a decade and this problem has got to be one of the biggest gripes, concerns, and nuisance from curlies, naturals, and coilies to date! We want some hang time, and although it is super cute, our hair loves our faces so much it wants to stay close to it. Sounds silly? No, not at all especially since there are numerous products on the market that claim to fight shrinkage or elongate our curls. This is a valid concern for many curlies. Here are tips and tricks that we use to elongate our tresses and here are a few that actually work.

Stretching

  • Banding- place sectioned hair in ponytails, scrunchies, or hair ties. I use this but with only one or two ponytails and allow to dry around 80% before shaking and fluffing. This gives me some serious hang time with minimal manipulation.
  • Bunning- this style will help to stretch your roots without disturbing the volume of the rest of the hair.
  • Braiding- create as many braids as you like with smaller braids giving less stretch but more definition and for more stretch and less definition use bigger braids.
  • Blow-dry- this technique is for the curly who has no qualms about applying heat (no judgment!).  Considered a pretty simple technique as you simply direct the heat to the hair roots and work your way down while holding the hair to help stretch it.

Elongated Wash & Go

Can hair products actually elongate?

Now, there are those products that claim to help elongate the curls as well so here are a few but honestly it seems the trick is a product with little to no water and heavy or give a heavy hold to help weigh down the hair and help with elongation. Many just go the DIY route and try a smoothing mixture (much like the so-called coconut relaxer) that does not relax the hair per se but seems to be a great moisturizing and smoothing treatment for your curls. Those heavier products with the absence of water along with the aid of one of the anti-shrinkage tips above can in fact elongate your curls, coils and waves. Here are a few products to try that are heavy enough to do the job if you incorporate them with one of the above methods.

Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Aloe Fix Hair Styling Gel

Product claim: If scrunched into the hair it helps to give your hair definition, volume and bounce, and when smoothed into hair it can help stretch out the curls you have and add weight to hair to help elongate and define curls.

It is a gel and if applied heavily it should aid in elongating those curls in conjunction with one of the methods above.

Miss Jessie’s Stretch Silkening Crème

Product claim: a quicker to dry whipped soufflé that delivers an amazing plump curl and a brilliant shine.

It is considered a soft to medium hold and they do mention for maximum elongation to use with a blow-dryer like the technique mentioned above.

Aunt Jackie’s Don’t Shrink Flaxseed Elongating Curling Gel

Product claim: Give dry, shriveled up curls and twists a nice stretch with Aunt Jackie's special blend of moisturizing conditioners, flaxseed, shea butter, and extra virgin olive oil. With nourishing Omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed has been widely used as a natural remedy for hair growth, anti-thinning, and overall scalp health.

They do not really state how this will elongate your tresses but it does seem heavy so it may be good to use in conjunction with one of the methods above.

Eco Styler Gel

Product claim: Eco Styler Olive Oil Styling Gel contains 100% pure olive oil for deep down conditioning while maintaining maximum hold.

I can attest to the hold this product has. If you slather it on it will elongate those curls like a champ! I still have to band my hair to get maximum shrinkage so I think it works just like the rest mentioned above that need a stretching technique added to them for significant elongation.

The bottom line is you must try a product and see how it works but it will take a little trial and error for the right product and the right anti-shrinkage technique to elongate your tresses.

What products elongate your curls?