Hair Porosity refers to just how open your cuticles are on your hair strands. This also determines how well your hair can absorb moisture. Hair porosity affects how moisture gets into your hair. This means if your hair porosity is low, moisture doesn’t really get into it because the cuticles are not open enough.
For low porosity hair, you will have to use heat (warm water or steam) when applying moisture to open up your cuticles and let the moisture in. Don’t over-apply hair products to your hair, instead give your hair more time to absorb moisture.
The hair strands are made up of three layers:
- The cuticle is the outermost layer of your hair. It comprises individual cuticles that overlap each other, like the tiles on a roof.
- The cortex is the middle and thickest layer. It contains fibrous proteins and pigments that give your hair its color.
- The medulla is the central, innermost layer of the hair shaft.
With low porosity hair, the cuticles tend to overlap each other and are tightly packed together. Because there are no spaces between the cuticles, it makes it harder for water, as well as products like oils and conditioners, to deliver moisture to the hair shaft.
If you have hair with high porosity, it means your cuticles are too open and your hair takes in moisture easily and loses the moisture easily. For hair with high porosity, you have to use a sealant and heavier oil to retain moisture in your hair. You can also use products with some protein to maintain your hair strength.
Features of a Low Porosity Hair
These are the features that lets you know if your have low porosity natural hair;
- Water, moisturizers, and oil sit on the surface of your hair, instead of getting to the ends of your hair.
- It takes time to get all the hair wet and it takes a longer time to completely dry the hair.
- When dry, the hair strands become inelastic.
- It is very resistant to chemical processing such as coloring.
- It is quite sensitive to protein.
- Products build up easily on hair strands.
How To Check Your Hair Porosity
Still don’t know the porosity of your natural hair? Try this test
- First off, wash your hair properly with shampoo as you need clean hair for this test.
- Spritz water on your hair using a spray bottle.
- Take note of how fast or slow it takes your hair to get wet.
- Also, note how long it takes to dry. You can use a timer for this process.
- If it soaks the water up right away, it’s indicative of having highly porous hair. If the water sits on top of your strands for longer, then your hair likely has low porosity.
9 Effective Ways To Care For Low Porosity Natural Hair.
When you have low porosity hair, you may be tempted to apply a larger quantity of a product, or more than one hair product at a time, in an effort to saturate your hair.
But because the cuticles are so close together, not much product will penetrate, no matter how much you apply which could lead to product build-up.
We have provided some tips to help you out with this problem.
1. Using the Right Products
The key in caring for low porosity hair is to find products that have the right formulation for low porosity hair. Go for products that contain humectants such as aloe vera, honey, and glycerin. These ingredients can easily penetrate low porosity hair as well as draw moisture from the surroundings into the hair. Avoid products with heavyweight proteins.
2. Steam Your Natural Hair
Steaming your hair every now and again is an excellent way to get your cuticles open and for moisture to be absorbed. A great way to do this is to use a hair steam cap. They are relatively inexpensive and will make a whole lot of difference to how your hair grows in the future.
When you apply heat to your hair, the cuticles will naturally lift making it easier for moisture to be absorbed into your hair strands. Apply products when your hair is wet and warm. The heat will definitely lift the hair cuticles, allowing oils and moisture to penetrate the hair shaft.
3. Diluting your conditioner
Try diluting with a small amount of water when you apply it to your hair. This can help make the conditioner more absorbable and less likely to just sit on your hair. It also helps to provide good slips for smooth detangling.
4. Deep Conditioning your Natural Hair.
Deep conditioners are made to be much more penetrating than regular conditioners or leave-in conditioners. For maximum efficiency, use a deep conditioner along with heat. Leave the deep conditioner on your hair for about fifteen minutes to an hour before washing it off. Utilize this and relax under your hooded dryer to make sure the hair strands are well soaked with moisture.
5. Use a Clarifying Shampoo
For low porosity hair, you have to use a clarifying shampoo when washing it. The job of a clarifying shampoo is to get rid of old, build-up products on your hair. Rinse it out with a protein-free rinse-out conditioner. You can also try clarifying with a Bentonite or Rhassuol Clay mask.
6. Use a water-based leave-in conditioner
Use a water-based leave-in conditioner on moist hair after every shampooing. Water-based leave-in conditioner, which contains little to no protein, will infuse your low porosity hair with hydration and oil the hair strand, without glossing the hair with too much product.
7. Trim your Hair Regularly
Trimming your hair at least every 4 months helps with the overall health of your hair strands. Untrimmed ends could lead to splitting of the hair strands and lots of breakage which you do not want.
8. Apply Products in Sections
Divide your hair into different sections, keep the hair wet with water as you work through each section with your hands to ensure that your applied products are distributed evenly.
9. Less Protein Treatments
This does not mean you should totally skip protein treatments but if you must do so, do it every 6-8 weeks and with products that contain low weight proteins.
Get to know your hair and use the products that best suit your hair. You can discover this product through several experiments.
How To Moisturize Low Porosity Hair
These are easy ways to moisturize low porosity hair;
Prepoo before Shampooing
Always pre-poo your hair before washing it. You can make your own pre-poo recipes by adding oils such as sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, and grapeseed oil along with other ingredients.
Wash your Hair Regularly
Wash your hair once every week. This will help get rid of any product build-up on your hair and give your hair another chance to absorb some more moisture. Don’t forget to wash your hair with warm water to open up the cuticles and then cold water at the end to seal in the moisture.
Moisturize on a Regular Basis
Moisturizing your hair at least 3 times a week keeps it soft and touchable at the end of the week rather than dry and brittle. Put a mixture of leave-in conditioner and water (you can also add Aloe Vera Juice to this mixture) in a spray bottle and spray it onto your hair. Make sure you give it a spray each time you change your hairstyle.
Seal in Moisture
Seal in the moisture on your hair by using the best oil for low porosity hair such as Baobab oil or Olive oil.
Cover Your Hair
Always cover your hair with a satin bonnet before going to sleep. This prevents the moisture from escaping unlike cotton material that can absorb the moisture away from your hair.
How often should I wash my low porosity hair?
For low porosity hair, washing it once a week is enough and all you need to wash to keep your hair soft, moisturized, and free from buildup until your next wash.
Again how often you wash your low porosity hair depends on the buildup on your hair, because washing your hair is all about getting rid of this buildup and having a clean healthy scalp.
Does Low Porosity Hair Need Protein
Low porosity hair has its own protein known as Keratin, hence it does not need frequent protein treatments.
Low porosity hair is very protein susceptible so it’s best to stay off any product that contains heavyweight proteins as it could make your hair feel very frail and hard. This will lead to breakage and damaged strands of hair.
Don’ts of Low Porosity Natural Hair.
We have looked at the best way to care for low porosity natural hair, let’s take a look at some of the things you shouldn’t do to your low porosity hair;
- Don’t use heavy oils on your hair such as castor oil
- Don’t use heavy butter or cream, always go for lightweight products.
- Don’t use many different products at the same time, as it won’t penetrate your hair.
- Don’t use a lot of protein, as we said earlier.
- Don’t skip the heat with the conditioner.
- Don’t engage in long-term co-washing.
- Don’t use only a moisturizing shampoo also incorporate a clarifying shampoo.
Best oil for low porosity hair
Light oil is the best oil for low porosity hair. These types of oils would not weigh your hair down and are much easier to absorb. There are a lot of light hair oil, some of them include;
- Baobab Oil
- Jojoba Oil
- Sunflower seed oil
- Argan oil
- Sweet almond oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Pomegranate oil
- Apricot kernel oil
- Sesame seed oil
- Safflower oil
With low porosity hair, it’s not easy for moisture and oils to penetrate the hair shaft. It takes longer for your hair to become drenched when you wash it.
Low porosity hair seems to be complicated when it comes to maintaining it but like every other hair, knowing the type of products to use and the type to stay away from, makes the difference and helps you keep your hair healthy.
It may feel like low porosity natural hair is a bad thing, but I promise you that low porosity hair is great. It actually looks healthy and has lots of sheen because of the smooth cuticle layer. The hair color tends to pop a lot, which is great!
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