Is This Keeping You From Your Hair Goals?
Unless you’re really into natural hair, you probably haven’t heard of the term ‘Hair Porosity’ before. And for some of us, the first few times you heard it, you didn’t understand what it really was and why there was all this fuss about it (Plus depending on where you heard about it from, you might have got more confused than you were before). So fret not, I am here to tell you what it is and why it matters.
Let’s jump right into it!
Hair Porosity refers to how your strands willingly take up foreign substances especially moisture/water, hair products, oils and treatments etc. into themselves. Most of the time when we refer to it though, we’ll be talking about moisture.
There are 3 types of Porosities:Source
- Normal/ Medium
Let’s first consider the 2 extremes: Low Porosity hair takes longer, than both normal and high porosity hair, to absorb moisture and other substances into itself since it has a compact/smooth cuticle that has fewer gaps/openings for the water or product to enter into and is likely to indicate a healthy state of hair. Even though it is hard to get water into it- it retains that moisture well and stays hydrated for longer.
High Porosity hair has an easy time absorbing moisture and products. It’s kinda just eats everything up like this guy:As they say, “easy come, easy go” and because high porosity hair strands have more large gaps in their cuticles they lose moisture way faster than the other hair porosity types and are more prone to dryness.
Normal porosity is pretty much middle ground. So, if you have it you may find that it might not take you so long to absorb moisture but you also don’t lose moisture quickly either.
That’s all good but… How does this affect me? Why is it Even Important?
- It affects the products that work best for you.
Porosity affects a whole lot about your regimen. It dictates which products work best for you, the treatments you need to introduce into your regimen ASAP and how often you do them, the oils you need to use… everything, really!
For example, when you have low porosity hair, your hair is protein sensitive. Why? Because your hair is resistant to moisture, it tends to be protein sensitive. So avoid frequent protein treatments; natural or otherwise and certain products that are rich in proteins or you’ll be left with some dry hair that may start to break after a while. Your regimen should be focused more heavily on moisturizing your hair instead.
If you have High Porosity Hair, it means you can not only stand withstand more protein but you also need more of it than your normal porosity and low porosity counterparts. Obviously with all things, proceed with caution, I’m definitely NOT saying that you should do daily protein treatments. That is probably Hair Suicide! Weekly might also be too much for you. If you notice that your hair is feeling really dry after a protein treatment or using some products then stretch the period between treatments so that instead of a one-week gap, try a two-week gap and keep adjusting accordingly or avoid using the product in general.
And even when purchasing hair products keep this in mind:
It doesn’t mean that you can’t be a low porosity natural and still use protein-based products but most of the time, that wouldn’t be your pain point while high porosity hair does well with protein-infused products that help to fill up the spaces in the cuticle
2. It affects which oils work for you
For high porosity hair, oils that seal the hair’s moisture in at the end of wash day and spritz bottle cycles especially butters, creams and thick oils such as castor oils are a must have. You might notice that if you use a light oil like coconut oil to seal in moisture at the end of wash day your hair is just like:So opt for thicker oils and creams such as Castor oil, Jojoba oil and Shea butter.
Although for low porosity hair types light/ runny oils are bae (for those who don’t understand: A bae is “a person expected to take you for something nice on Valentines Day this year, who’s committed enough to actually do so and who has intentions to still be with you long before and long after that day is done and shows this to you through their actions”. Thank Me Later- You can also pre-order my new e-book “The Dissection of Bae” to be released in a store near you 😂).
Due to their light consistency, your hair will have an easier time absorbing the oil into it’s tightly knit cuticle which is always a plus. So opt for Coconut, Olive or Grapeseed oils that are like and chock-full of good things for your hair.
3. Sealing Your Hair and It’s Frequency
If you have low porosity hair you definitely don’t need to seal your hair as much as those with high or medium porosity hair types. In general, your hair is pretty good at keeping in moisture and any sealing you do do with heavy oils actually goes a long long way.
However, if you’re one of those people sealing your hair every wash day with a thick oil such as Castor oil and your hair still feels extremely dry the next day, you may need to seal your hair more frequently and the LOC method is nothing short of gold.
4. Product Processing Times
If you have low porosity hair and a product says leave in for 3 to 5 minutes, for example, don’t be a 3 minute person, be a 5 minute person. (Unless for reasons, aside from laziness, it would be desirable to do so). If it says 10-15 minutes, don’t be a 10 minute person, be a 15 minutes type of person. Your hair needs more time to absorb products so allow it the maximum recommended time to do so.
(This obviously doesn’t apply to products like relaxers, texturizers, hair bleach etc… because if you’re itchy/burning then whether it’s 1 minute or 9 minutes in: Take it off!)
5. Heat or No Heat? A guide to DIY Deep Conditioning and Pre-pooing
For low porosity hair, you’ll want to focus on moisturizing deep conditioning treatments and less on protein treatments yet if you have high porosity hair, you’ll want to do the complete opposite. As with the case with product processing times, low porosity hair types should explore keeping in these DIY/Natural treatments for longer periods of time than those with high porosity hair.
If you have low porosity hair implement a heat step into both of these and you’re products will go a long way especially because your hair is actually absorbing the product rather than it sitting on top of the hair shaft and getting washed out. Use either the baggy method, a heat cap (more specifically a bomb deep conditioning cap such as Bounce Essentials Cap that I reviewed here.) or a hooded dryer. This indirect heat will be your best friend since it will help open up your cuticle so that it can take in more products.
As you can see, porosity affects practically your whole hair regimen and is definitely a great step in getting to know your hair better along this journey.
So have fun along the way and feel free to leave any questions you have below 🙂
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