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Protective styling: The Shrunken Fro


I have short natural hair and I'm looking for easy hairstyles. Does wearing my hair in its shrunken state count as a protective style?

Frohawk Archaic HumanWhen we think of protective styling, I think we automatically jump to styles that are more intricate or take a lot of time to do. When in fact, protective styling can be any style that doesn't require too much manipulation. In my opinion, wearing your afro in its shrunken state is a form of protective styling.

The truth is, even though we enjoy playing with our hair and trying new hairstyles, it can hinder our hair growth. Our hair thrives when it's left alone and when I say left alone, I don't mean neglected.

I decided to wear my hair in its shrunken state for about a month. Shockingly, this is something I have never done before. For an entire month, I did not retwist my hair at any point or try to stretch it in any way. Come bedtime, I just went to sleep on a satin pillowcase.

On wash day:

Step 1 - Shampoo (Mabu Tribe Nourishing Cleanser)

Step 2 - Apply oil mix first (WGN Solutions Growth Elixir), then smooth the conditioner (Mabu Tribe Conditioning Touch) on top of it. Deep condition for 30 minutes and rinse with cool water.

Step 3 - Wrap hair with a microfiber towel or a cotton t-shirt for about 5 minutes.

Step 4 - Moisturise hair in sections. Apply a leave-in first (Mabu Tribe Shea-Cocoa Aloe Cream) and then some Shea butter to seal (Daolus Organics Unrefined Shea Butter).

Every morning, I took a shower with my hair uncovered so that the steam could moisturise and loosen my curls. Once I was dressed, I spritzed my hair with water, massaged my scalp a bit, and then styled. I didn't add any more products, creams or oils; just water.

So after wearing my hair this way for a month here are the pros and cons.


Archaic Human Afro side part

  • I saved so much time and energy. I didn't spend time thinking about what to do with my hair every day. It was a hair holiday.
  • The same thing can be said for bedtime. I just went straight to bed. I didn't have to look for a scrunchie or anything. I just climbed into bed. That was beautiful.
  • I loved the way my hair looked. It changed the way I see my face and I remembered how pretty my natural curls are.
  • I walked around with a different kind of confidence. I felt proud. I don't know how much of that was inspired by Black Panther but I loved the way I felt wearing my hair in its shrunken state.
  • Styling my hair was quick and easy.


  • I got a lot of single strand knots. I made peace with it because it's temporary. If you can't stand it, they'll drive you insane.
  • Keeping my hands out of my hair was even harder. My strands are beautiful and soft so obviously, I wanted to touch them all the time.
  • Detangling my hair took a bit longer than usual but not much more than I expected.

Afro Hairstyles Archaic Human

As you can see, the styles are simple but can change your entire look. Have fun with your hair. It's not that serious.


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  • Archaic Human
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