Let's be real. Sometimes the maintenance of natural hair becomes the prevention of shrinkage. This has been seen by many as an underlying hatred for natural hair in it's "natural state". So the story goes, you become natural, then the obsession to control the curls begins and you are back to self hate because you are still manipulating nature. But there is an aspect of this that many don't understand and that is the fact that stretching the hair/protective styles do reduce breakage, increases health and helps it grow.
Like anything there are pros and cons to shrinkage. Doing protective styles in the hair or applying non-heating tools which stretch the hair helps to keep the hair from bunching and becoming matted not because this is considered unattractive, but simply because the percentage of hair tangling and snapping/breaking will increase with more bunching.
But while learning to maintain our hair we have also discovered that once you stick to a regimen that incorporates hair products with no harsh chemicals, protein treatments and constant moisturization, the negative effects of shrinkage reduces significantly. We have been able to wear our shrinkage and our hands and comb can slide through our hair without breakage. What it comes down to is finding that balance of regimen, protective style and shrinkage. Where you can have those glorious moments of enjoying your curls in the shrunken non-manipulated state without worry of damage.