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Do Anti-Shrinkage Hair Products Actually Work?

Avatar • Feb 3, 2014

Au-Naturale-Group-Pack-Shot-600x428

Breathe, just breathe, now let us try and be objective.

If you have hair that shrinks, you may have given a massive eyeroll to the “anti-shrinkage” moniker on the au naturale products from Dark and Lovely. However let us attempt to be objective!

Q: What is shrinkage?A: Shrinkage is a description of how curl formation causes hair length to decrease (perceptively rather than in fact). Here is a video, parlez vous Francais? 

Q: Is decreasing shrinkage beneficial?

A: If your hair benefits from being in a stretched style or if it shrinks rapidly and tightly enough to cause tangling when washing, then you will benefit from a reduction in shrinkage.  However, if your hair is the clumping type, then you are in the opposite group and require products to enhance shrinkage and your natural curl (ergo, curl enhancing products do work by promoting shrinkage and increasing the weight of hair so it will hang downwards).

Q: Can a hair product decrease shrinkage?

A: No, certainly not in a way that a physical method such as twisting, braiding, banding, African threading, roller setting etc would. A hair product can somewhat increase your hair’s resistance to humidity and slow down reversion of a straightened style. This is normally reliant on oil as the product or within the product and also the exclusion of water

Q: Can Dark and Lovely’s products actually decrease shrinkage?

A: I very much doubt it, at least not without the addition of the physical methods as listed in the prior question. My opinion is based on analysis of the ingredients and not on actual use. The company itself states that the au naturale line ‘contains an anti ‑shrinkage recipe with mango oil and bamboo milk’

Here is the product label for the hair conditioner (latin names removed, some spelling corrected)

WATER, CETEARYL ALCOHOL,  PALM OIL, BEHENTRIMONIUM CHLORIDE, FRAGRANCE, GLYCERIN, PHENOXYETHANOL, ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL, STEARAMIDOPROPYL DIMETHYLAMINE, MANGO SEED OIL, CAPRYLIC / CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE , CITRIC ACID , CHLORHEXIDINE DIHYDROCHLORIDE, BENZYL SALICYLATE, LINALOOL, BAMBUSA VULGARIS EXTRACT. F.I.L. D158442/3

In my opinion, it looks like a pretty standard moisturizing conditioner. My concern would be that the bold ingredients mango oil and bamboo milk are really far down in the list, which means they are very low in volume within the product. (Side note: What is FIL D158442/3?). A further concern is that fragrance is listed high up (no. 4 after water). However, I will explain that in another article on another day as it is unrelated to the anti-shrinkage theme.

Q: Should you purchase this product?

If the ingredients are to your liking, you can do so.  You won’t be disappointed if you expect your hair to shrink when wet.

This article was inspired by The Mane Captain who takes a different view point discussing whether you should really trust a relaxer company to produce products for natural hair .

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lex
lex
6 years ago

I have the souflee and the only reason I bought it was b/c I wanted to redo their ads for my portfolio since I found them to be really basic and I wanted to see if I could reposition it so they’re not lying lol. So purchasing the product was a part of my research. Aside from that I wouldn’t buy this product based on the brand premise alone because I know better. Honestly anything that claims to be anti-shrinkage a) I side eye and vigorously read the label. Because the only anti-shrinkage I know is a relaxer. Even when… Read more »

LBell
LBell
6 years ago
Reply to  lex

**THIS RIGHT HERE**
“Because the only anti-shrinkage I know is a relaxer.”
“Type 3 + 4 hair is not meant to function nor look like type 1 + 2 in its original state. Dassit.”
**THIS RIGHT HERE**

The sooner new naturals accept this, the easier their hair journey will be. PERIOD. And frankly I don’t care if the manufacturer is Dark and Lovely or the kitchentician down the block…if the label says it’s anti-shrinkage and doesn’t come with a warning to use gloves with it, I’m keeping my money in my wallet.

anastasia
anastasia
6 years ago
Reply to  LBell

AMEN! The truth and nothing but the truth! (Both comments above=)

TINA SMITH
TINA SMITH
6 years ago
Reply to  lex

WELP THERE’S NOTHING TO ADD TO THAT LOL. PREACH

labloophah
labloophah
6 years ago

Honestly, I wish there was a magic anti-shrinkage product. My curls do clump (altho they are ridic tiny) and they also get tangled as they shrink. Everything gets poofy ugh. cant stand it. But i’m pretty sure no such product so it’s just one of those issues that there is no point in making a big deal about. Resistance is futile lol.

Knotty Natural
6 years ago
Reply to  labloophah

When resistance is futile, all that’s left is to embrace!

jojo
jojo
6 years ago
Reply to  labloophah

well you could try stretching your hair with twist outs, braid outs, threading and whatever else mechanically/physically.

Jonette
Jonette
6 years ago

Please hear me out, there won’t be a need for pitch forks lol. I really like the 10 in 1 styling gelee. No, it does not stretch my hair. But, it does a nice job of helping my 4c hair from shrinking so much over the course of the day when its wet. The curl moisturizing souflee (the orange one) really cuts down on frizz when I style without being flakey when it dries. My hair loves these two products. Of course I’d love if the price points were lower, but its a still worth it to me because of… Read more »

gapch
gapch
6 years ago

i wish there was as much if not more promotion towards embracing shrinkage as there is towards “combating” it.

Sure
Sure
6 years ago
Reply to  gapch

My thoughts exactly! I really do not see what the big deal is. Shrinkage IS what comes with natural hair. So why should we be looking for ways to ‘combat’ it. I honestly believe this whole natural hair care journey would be A LOT easier if people would just ACCEPT their hair for what it is. No harm in spicing things up by wanting to rock straight styles, but actually’ combating’ shrinkage?!?!? We are basically just complicating things for ourselves.

The Mane Captain
6 years ago
Reply to  Sure

good point. the problem is, many naturals see it as a problem. and that’s why relaxer companies have decided to capture that specific group! shrunken hair is a bit more difficult to style and manage i agree. but you can do stretched hairstyles such as flat twists, african threading and the like in order to make your life easier. but buying a product to fight the issue? oh please!

teetee
teetee
6 years ago
Reply to  gapch

Ikr I love big hair and how I get that is because of my shrinkage everything ain’t for everybody though

gapch
gapch
6 years ago
Reply to  gapch

including from this site

dot
dot
6 years ago

Yes! A big eye roll indeed!

Kadija
Kadija
6 years ago

that isopropyl alcohol is very high. omg that’s rubbing alcohol. how is that moisturizing at all? rubbing alcohol is very volatile and i dont believe thats good to put in your hair

Darlyn
Darlyn
6 years ago
Reply to  Kadija

It’s clear that they know nothing about what’s bad for natural hair. If natural haircare companies such as Oyin Handmade and Koils by Nature can make products without drying ingredients, than Dark & Lovely can too.

lv
lv
6 years ago

I have to agree with the Mane Captain. I am, on a conscious and subconscious level, extremely skeptical of anti shrinkage products and/ or products that promise to straighten the curl. I was too long in the world of beating my pretty curls into submission and somehow came out on the other end with a healthy head of curls. I will not take that for granted. I will never jeopardize that. Even the “keratin treatments” scare me. The stories of going to the salon and having a stylist mix a little relaxer or texterizer in with the conditioner sends chills… Read more »

lex
lex
6 years ago
Reply to  lv

WOW so that’s what’s in keratin. 0_0 I didn’t know what was in those products but I heard it keeps your hair straight for months so that scared me away by itself. I avoid products with any keratin like a cat from water.

Dee
Dee
5 years ago
Reply to  lv

You made the right choice as a parent.

Brittany
Brittany
6 years ago

These hair products do not work at all (as far as anti-shrinkage), but smells great!!

kitso
kitso
6 years ago

I have been using the curl defining cream, i find it very moisturising to my 4c hair and the moisture stays longer, i also do not have to re-apply the product, i dont like piling on products, i only need to wet my hair a bit and then its all ok. Im not quite sure if the product is anti shrinkage but if i twist my hair, it stays stretched longer, compared to when i use cantu ( it snaps back immediately). My problem is the price, because of that il go back to cantu. BTW i noticed ORS has something… Read more »

Jasmine
Jasmine
6 years ago

I’ve purchased the knot-out conditioner before, only for research and I was beginner at buying products..(never again)

Pseudonym
Pseudonym
6 years ago

I find that adding a little gel on top of my moisturizer stretches my hair. Also wrapping my hair into a scarf (a la Musiq Soulchild back in the day) once it’s about 80–90% dry stretches my tresses.

Brittany. L
6 years ago

ant-shrinkage product LMAOOO sounds like a ploy highly doubt it can do what it says the product doesn’t seem to bad though. I don’t think anything can really cause ant-shrinkage but the creamy crack.

Check Out http://www.curlskinksfashion.co

Andrea Taylor
Andrea Taylor
6 years ago

My mother in law bought the whole line for myself and my daughter. While I like the products they did nothing to combat the shrinkage. My daughter has 4c hair and it did actually give her hair something of a curl pattern, which was really impressive it didn’t do anything to help with shrinkage. I dont really mind shrinkage.

Jasamine
Jasamine
5 years ago

Heck no. I purchased about 4 of these Dark and Lovely August Naturale products and they do absolutely nothing but have bees chase me.

Elaina
Elaina
5 years ago

Is anybody else besides me concerned about isopropyl alcohol being one of the ingredients in the product?

BalancedThinker
BalancedThinker
4 years ago

I plan to try the Au Natural Anti-Shrinkage product by Dark and Lovely. I came here for a product analysis. However, I was disappointed because the product had not been tested by The Natural Haven person who reviewed the product.

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