Well as we come to the end of this series, 101 Natural Hair Tips, it was tough for me to settle on the last topic. Then I realized, I’m always talking about how knowing your hair porosity is the most important aspect of a healthy hair journey, yet I never told you why I feel this way. Or how this could help. So it was kind of no brainer. The Last topic is Hair Porosity.
Knowing your hair porosity literally determines what products will work best for your hair. What processes will give you the best results, and why certain buzz words and holy grail products will or won’t work for you.
- Know Your Hair Porosity- Here are the two most common ways to determine hair porosity. Take a strand of hair and hold it between your fingers. Run your pinched fingers down the shaft. If it feels tight & stiff you have low porosity hair, which means your hair shaft is tightly closed and it is difficult for moisture to get in or out. If you feel ridges or jagged peaks you have high porosity hair, which means the shaft is open and it is easy for moisture to escape. If your fingers move smoothly up and down the shaft you have normal porosity hair. which means you can accept and retain moisture easily. The most commonly promoted way is the water test. Take a glass of water drop a strand of hair in the glass. If the strand sinks to the bottom rapidly, you have high porosity. If the stand slowly floats to the middle of the glass, you have normal porosity. If the strand floats at the top and does not sink, you have low porosity.
- Test On Clean Hair- It’s important to test on clean hair. The product on you hair can obscure the results. Your hair may float at the top because you have certain product or oils on your hair that seal in the and stop the water from penetrating the shaft.
- Test Different Areas Of The Head- Believe it or not you could have more than one porosity level on your head. Just as you can have different hair textures. The best places to test are the crown, the nape, and the temple. Although I would not recommend using several products on your head. I would suggest you utilize a process that will assist in moisture retention for that specified section.
Lets say you find out the hair at the crown of your head is high porosity but the rest of your hair is normal porosity. Here are the tips I would suggest you use for that section of hair.
- Rinse High Porosity Hair Cold Water- The cuticle on high porosity hair is lifted. The cold water will coax the hair cuticle closed. This will seal in the moisture. Also using cold leave-in for your L.O.C.
- Aloe Vera Juice- Adding aloe vera juice to your wash day will help seal the moisture in. Aloe vera juice can also be added to your daily maintenance routine. Add it in your water bottle.
- High Porosity Hair Benefits From Protein – Protein is in your deep conditioner. It’s in your leave in. You can do protein treatments.
On the other hand, if you find that your nape or temple area is low porosity and the rest of your hair is normal. Here are some tips that will help you get the best results.
- Low Porosity Hair Benefits From Steam- The steam will open the cuticle to allow the moisture to penetrate the hair shaft. If you don’t have a steamer, bring water to a boil and hold a towel over your head while leaning over the pot as the steam evaporates. You can also sit your leave in and or your oil in hot water to heat the product.Using heat when deep conditioning will also help the product penetrate the hair shaft.
- Avoid Product Build Up- Low porosity hair is prone to product build up, because the hair cuticle is closed, the product will sit on the hair and not penetrate the shaft. If the product builds up on the shaft it will give the hair a dull appearance. Apple Cider Vinegar rinses will cleanse the hair from build up.
- Limit Protein- It may be hard to avoid protein completely, but you need to limit the protein. Stay away from protein masks, and look for deep conditioners with out protein. Do not add protein to your regimen.
Now, this last tip is one of the most important tips on the whole natural hair journey. There will always be buzz words, or some miracle product, or the latest greatest find. They always say the journey is trial and error, but this can lead to curl damage, or worst yet breakage.
- Stick To What Works- Stay off the bandwagon. I remember a few years back, coconut oil was the holy grail of the natural hair community. But for me I tried it once or twice and knew it wasn’t going to work for my hair. I listen to my hair, if my hair doesn’t respond well to the product, I leave it alone.
I have covered the most important points about hair porosity and how it applies to a healthy hair journey. Now there are always factors that will affect your hair porosity and condition, such as hair color,(color treated hair tips) medicine, and or illness. These factor will affect the results of your test, but these tips will help to repair any temporary damage that may occur.
Employ good basics (Click here for: Natural Hair Basics 1 & 2), develop a stable wash day regimen (Click here for: Wash Day Tips), stay off the product bandwagon (Click here for: How to Avoid Being a Product Junkie), and listen to your hair. Well that about wraps it up for me. Do you know your hair porosity? Do you think it matters? If so how has knowing changed your regimen? Leave us a comment or if you have any questions please drop us a line in the comments or on social media.