Shrinkage, ugh! I think just about every natural can agree how annoying shrinkage is. I mean, it just won't let us be great! Check out the cover pic for this article--that's my baby girl, and the shrinkage is REAL! But did you know that shrinkage is a sign of healthy hair?
Elasticity is the hair's ability to be stretched to its longest point and return to its original length without breaking. Elastic hair is strong, as it is an indication that the side bonds (hydrogen, salt, and disulfide bonds) holding the hair fibers in place are intact. Wet hair will stretch up to 50% of its original length, dry hair a lot less.
Hair with high elasticity will be hydrated, soft and springy--hello shrinkage! Hair with low elasticity will be dry, brittle and snap or break easily. This is usually a result of excessive heat use and/or chemical over processing.
Here's how to do the test:
1. Wet your hair thoroughly and stretch one strand gently. You can also take a strand and try to gently pull it apart.
2. Release the strand and observe. If it springs back to its original length, elasticity is normal. If it breaks or doesn't return to its shape, elasticity is low.
Low elasticity can be managed with deep conditioning for moisture and protein treatments to add strength. It definitely doesn't hurt to get a professional assessment from a licensed stylist.
So even though shrinkage can be annoying, celebrate those healthy strands!
Do you know what your hair elasticity is?