What is porosity?
Porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb moisture can be categorized in three ways: low, normal, and high. Low porosity hair has tightly closed pores which resist moisture and tends to create protein-sensitivity.
If the hair has closed pores moisture has a hard time penetrating the hair shaft, but once it has penetrated the hair shaft moisture tends to be locked in. Normal porosity hair allows a right amount of moisture to penetrate the hair cuticle and is evident of how well it will hold a chemical treatment such as color.
High porosity hair is most likely the result of either damaged hair or chemically treated hair. It is characterized by large pores which leads to allowing too much moisture to enter the hair strand.
It’s important to note that protein is essential in repairing large holes and gaps in the hair strand. Knowing your hair’s porosity is critical in the natural hair care community because it will determine which products and ingredients are best to keep your natural hair healthy and moisturized.
A question I am asked a lot is: “what is more important to know and understand porosity or hair type so my natural hair can thrive and grow long.” This can be a bit tricky because they both serve a different purpose.
Your hair type describes your texture appearance and sometimes its behavior about product interaction and the environment. Hair porosity is necessary for reference solely in moisturizing your hair and locking it in.
Since moisture is the number one key to maintaining good hair health, hair porosity is essential in hair growth too. Knowing your hair porosity is something you should be aware before choosing products and maintaining hair health.
Hair porosity test
The best indicator for which porosity type your hair falls under is the hair porosity test. This test is easy and simple to conduct and doesn’t require any purchases.
Natural hair has proven to be different from a person’s head, so you should use different strands of various sections of your hair to get a full analysis of your hair’s porosity. Secondly, you will place the strand of hair in a glass of water.
Allow a few minutes for the hair to absorb the water at its own rate. Hair that remains at the top of the water is categorized as low porosity hair.
The strand of hair that flows midway in the glass is classified as average porosity. Lastly, hair that sinks to the bottom almost immediately would be considered porous hair or high porosity.
Low porosity hair care regimen
Neither category is harder than the other, it just depends on how educated you are in maintaining your hair porosity. Many women have different variations of porosity on their head so don’t be alarm if this is you.
The best option is to choose products that best fit most of your hair. Knowing which products work well with your hair type is essential to creating a successful hair care regimen and mastering low porosity hair.
Here a few things you want to consider when building a regimen to fix porous hair either or how to care for low porosity hair.
Use indirect heat – Low porosity hair works great when heat is used, it helps with opening up your hairs tightly closed pores. For example, a hair steamer, shower, or a heated hair wrap can help open up your hair pores to receive necessary moisture.
It’s been well documented that using a hair steamer on your hair once or twice a month can make a huge difference in the condition of your hair.
Deep conditioning with heat – Deep conditioning on a regular basis is always sound advice for anyone with natural hair. It is crucial in maintaining moisture, a healthy scalp, and in low porosity natural hair, it provides another opportunity to lock in moisture.
Adding heat to the equation opens up your pores so the necessary moisture will seep inside. You can implement heat in your session by sitting under a hooded dryer (with a plastic cap on).
You should notice a huge difference with your hair strands. Your hair will feel softer, smoother, and stronger depending on the type of deep conditioning hair mask you use.
After you condition your hair with heat, you will need to rinse with cool water to seal in the moisture you just lathered your hair with, and to close your hair cuticle.
Clarify – Product build can be an issue with low porosity hair. Since the product cannot easily penetrate your hair follicles, product and debris can build up very fast.
When cleansing, you want to utilize products that will remove dirt and improve hair elasticity. Clarifying shampoos for low porosity hair includes ingredients such as bentonite clay and Rhassoul clay.
These types of cleansers are known to remove product gently without stripping your hair of necessary moisture and nutrients. Since most of us with curly hair love co-washing low porosity hair, I recommend co-washing between shampoos sessions.
How to moisturized low porosity natural hair
Moisturizing low porosity natural hair can be tricky, but it’s entirely possible. Using a steamer is ideal for achieving the highest level of moisture; the process is fairly simple.
It’s best to use a hair steamer before styling and moisturizing your hair. A steamer will help melt tangles away as well as stretch your hair.
After steaming, you would follow up with the LOC method. The LOC method consists of using liquid, cream, and oil in your hair.
With low porosity natural hair, it’s ideal to use protein sensitive products with the LOC method. On the other hand, protein helps rebuild hair strands by filling in the holes and/or gaps caused by damage and low porosity hair has a closed hair shaft and won’t benefit from protein.
What the end results from protein overload is dry, brittle hair regardless of how many times you attempt to remoisturize.
The use of humectants draws moisture from the air to your hair and penetrates your hairs pores. Humectants include honey, glycerin, and even agave to name a few.
Finding these ingredients in the gel that you use is a bigger plus for styles and health. During the colder months, it’s crucial to continue your use of glycerin and the protection your ends by tucking them in.
You want to moisturize your hair while damp versus thoroughly wet or dry because the pores would either be too full or too flat to reap the benefits. Ideal oils for low porosity hair include sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, argan oil, and grapeseed oil.
What is your hair porosity, and how do you manage it?