Had known about hair porosity when I was transitioning to natural hair I probably would have lasted longer in my transition and I probably would have spent less money on products that did not work for me. 😛
So congratulations if you are transitioning or a natural newbie-this article is meant for you.
Now let’s get started…
What is hair porosity?
Hair porosity is the way your hair absorbs and holds onto moisture
Why learn about hair porosity?
Yawn.. yes I know this sounds like boring Form 4 Chem class…but once you learn about your own hair’s porosity… whether your hair is processed, transitioning or natural, you will be able to:
- know right types of products to use to make your hair soft and manageable.
- know how to retain moisture and as a result see your hair grow
- know the right types of styling products for curl definition
- spend less on hair products that won’t work for your type of porous hair.
What type of hair porosity can I have?
Well, there are three types of porosity your hair could be:
Highly porous-This means there are many gaps and holes in your hair shaft-due to damage to the cuticle from relaxers, heat, harsh products, rough combing etc. If your hair is highly porous it means water enters the hair shaft but it also leaks out. It results in frizz, dry and fragile hair.
What to do: Use thick butters and creams infused with oil to seal moisture when your hair is wet.
Use Protein treatment on a regular basis to strengthen hair- protein molecules will temporarily fill in the holes of the hair shaft and thus prevent breakage
Deep condition after every shampoo
Use products with low pH to flatten the cuticle and seal moisture -aloe vera gel/juice, ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar)
Use heavy oils like avocado, olive, coconut.
Finger detangle or use a wide comb tooth in order to prevent further damage to your hair strands.
Other products available in the Kenyan market for highly hair are : ORS Olive Oil Conditioner, ApHOgee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor, Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque
Products to avoid/use sparingly: Humectants such as glycerine-will leave your hair frizzy
This means moisture finds a hard time entering the hair shaft. Those with low porosity usually feel as if the products are sitting on top of the head.
What to do: Use deep moisturizing conditioners that will penetrate the shaft with moisture.
Use a steamer/hair dryer when deep conditioning for 15 to 30 mins. The heat will open up the hair shaft and allow the moisture to seep in.
Deep condition with oil infused coconut milk.
Use lighter oils such as Amla, jojoba and sweet almond oil. They will seal in moisture without leaving it greasy.
Apply products when hair is damp, this will allow your hair to absorb both moisture and product.
Use curl activators and glycerin to style and moisturize your curls
Use alkaline products such as baking soda (in a baking soda rinse) or bentonite clay to remove product buildup, lift the cuticle and allow water in.
Other products to use: Shea moisture curl enhancing smoothie, Tresemme Naturals Moisture Conditioner
Products to avoid/use sparingly: coconut oil-a heavy protein-based oil
This type of hair is healthy, shiny and with volume.
It requires the least amount of maintenance and allows the right amount of moisture while preventing too much from escaping.
An occasional deep conditioning treatment is recommended on a regular basis to allow for maximum growth.
What to do: Congrats, Keep doing what you are doing. You are on track to awesome natural hair.
So how do you determine your hair porosity?
You can check your porosity by taking a strand of your freshly washed hair and sliding your thumb and index finger from the end of the strand upto the scalp. If it’s smooth, you have normal hair porosity. If it feels exceptional slick, dense, hard it has low porosity, and if it is rough then you have high porosity.
Wash day tests
Study your hair on your next wash day.
- How long does it take for your hair to get wet in the shower?
- Are your conditioners having difficulty penetrating the shaft?
- Does product just sit on your hair after a wash?
Strand in cup of water test
This is a popular test in the natural hair communities. It involves placing a freshly washed strand of hair from your detangling comb into a glass of water. The strand should be free of any product. The glass should then be observed for 1 minute. If it floats your hair has low porosity.
Some hair bloggers call this junk science which kind of make sense because hair will almost always float on water.
FAQs on hair porosity?
What determines porosity?Damage due to heat, relaxers, straighteners, coloring, use of fine toothed combs…oh, yeah and genetics.
Can you have different porous on your hair?Yes. You can. For instance if you are transitioning your natural hair will most likely be less porous than your processed ends.
Can you repair your porosity? :- ( no you cannot fix repair your hair porosity but it can be temporarily fixed. If it is as a result of chemical or color damage, regular trimming will get rid of your fragile porous hair.
Learn your own hair porosity so that dryness and breakage will become a thing of the past.
Are you ready to start on your natural hair journey?Do you want to transition to natural hair but you don’t know where to start?Do you want soft and manageable natural hair?Our natural hair consultations can help. Find out if you qualify…. Learn more