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 phyical 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 on the exclusion of water
Q: Can Dark and Lovely's products actually decrease shrinkage?
A: I very much doubt it, 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 view, it looks like a pretty standard moisturising conditioner. My concern would be that the highlighted 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 and you will not be disappointed if you expect your hair to shrink when wet and it does.
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 .