Learning about your natural hair is one of those things that will naturally begin to happen the more you experiment with your hair. Before I was natural I didn’t even realise that learning about your individual hair type was even a thing.
I thought that hair was hair and what works for one person would easily work for another. No wonder my hair had stunted growth back then. I had a lot of learning to do.
Once I had committed to being natural the phrase hair porosity started popping up and I had no clue what that was all about. All I knew was that some people had low porosity hair and others high porosity hair.
In actual fact, there is a lot more to it than that because knowing your hairs porosity will give you a lot of indication as to what will and will not work for your hair.
Low porosity hair care is completely different from high porosity hair care.
So we don’t end up with a dissertation on our hands today lets take a look at low porosity hair care and why it should matter to you.
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What is low porosity hair?
Having low porosity hair means that your hair finds it difficult to gain moisture.
The cuticles of your hair are laid down tightly flat making it difficult for moisture to get in.
If you want an idea of what this looks like imagine trying to add water to a shingled roof. It would be pretty difficult because the shingles are laid in such a way that it stops water from entering. Each shingle is overlapped to stop water from entering in.
Low porosity hair is the same. The cuticles are laid very much in the same way as a roof so when you try to add water to it it is very hard for the water to penetrate and your hair to absorb the water.
Depending on how tight the cuticles of your hair are will determine how much water can get in.
Those with low porosity hair have very tight cuticles and those with high porosity hair have very loose cuticles.
Thankfully if you do suffer from low porosity hair there are a few things that you can do about it which we will discuss in a moment so don’t feel too discouraged if you fall into this category.
How do you know if you have low porosity hair?
There is a simple test that you can do to discover if you have low porosity hair or not. This is very easy to do if you are not sure on the porosity of your hair.
Here’s how to do it.
Take a glass of water and a strand of your hair
Put your hair strand into the water.
If the strand floats at the top or takes a long while to sink further down the glass you have low porosity hair.
If your strand immediately sinks to the bottom you have high porosity hair meaning that your hair is absorbing too much water too quickly.
If your strand floats in the middle of the glass you have normal porosity hair. This is where we all hope to be and is the best position for your hair.
How to care for low porosity hair (5 tips)
All is not lost if you have low porosity hair, as mentioned before there are things that you can do to help your hair get the moisture that it needs to help it grow.
1. Steam your hair
Steaming your hair every now and again is a good way to get your cuticles to open and for moisture to be absorbed.
A good way to do this is to use a hair steam cap like this one or a steaming cap like this. Both of these options are fairly inexpensive and will make the world 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 the hair strand.
2. Use the greenhouse effect
The greenhouse effect is another great way to get your cuticles to lift.
You can moisturise your hair as you usually would then put on a shower cap over your hair. You can do this overnight or during the daytime if you are not going out.
If you are a little creative you can do it even when you are going out by covering the shower cap with a headscarf. I have done it many times in the past and no one had a clue what was going on under there.
You will notice that when you take off the shower cap there will be lots of steam and it will feel quite warm. This is exactly what you want to happen. The heat that is trapped in the shower cap will help the cuticles of your hair to open up.
You can get yourself some really cheap disposable shower caps here
It’s a great and easy way to get some moisture into your hair if you don’t have a lot of time during your day to dedicate to it.
3. Clarify your hair
Clarifying your hair is a really important thing to do every couple of weeks or so.
If you don’t take the time to clarify your hair you will find that your strands of hair will carry a lot of product build-up making it even more difficult for your strands to get the moisture that it needs.
You can easily clarify your hair by using a clarifying shampoo like this one. If you don’t like to shampoo your hair too often then make sure you are keeping your products light so you minimise product build-up.
4. Give humectants a try
Humectants help your hair because they take moisture out of the air and into your hair. They can be compared to magnets in this way, moisture magnets.
Glycerin is a good example of a humectant.
Just be sure to do some further research before trying to apply glycerin directly to your hair as you may need to dilute it and it also doesn’t work as well in some weather temperatures.
5. Deep condition with heat
It’s a good idea to get into the habit of deep conditioning your natural hair.
Deep conditioners are made to be much more penetrating than regular leave-in conditioners or a conditioner that you would use after shampooing your hair.
For extra attention, you should use a deep conditioner along with heat for added effect.
Deep conditioners usually require you to leave the conditioner on your hair for approximately 15 minutes before washing off. Use this and sit under your hooded dryer to make sure the hair strands are well absorbed with moisture.
How to moisturise low porosity hair
It’s a good idea to have a low porosity hair regimen in place if you know you have low porosity hair so that you make sure your hair is always at its best.
Here are a few tips for you:
You can apply them to your hair using the greenhouse effect explained above.
2. Wash your hair regularly
Washing your hair weekly or every 2 weeks will keep it free of product build-up and give it another opportunity to absorb some moisture. Remember to wash your hair with warm water to open up the cuticles and then cold water at the end to seal in the moisture.
3. Moisturise your hair mid-week
Midweek moisturising is very important for your hair. If you don’t do this you could find that by the end of the week your hair will feel very dry and brittle to the touch. You don’t want that. Your aim is to have soft natural hair that is healthy.
Midweek moisturising doesn’t have to be too labour-intensive. You can add a little leave-in conditioner to your spray bottle mixed with water to use as a moisturiser. Make sure you give your hair a spray each time you redo your hairstyle.
4. Seal in moisture
You should be using the LOC method to do this
5. Cover your hair
Using satin makes sure that any moisture that you apply to your hair will not be absorbed away by cotton or any other material. Satin does not absorb moisture which makes it really good to use at bedtime or any other time that you want to lay down.
Low porosity hair products
Best oils for low porosity hair
These oils are really good to use for low porosity hair care as they are light enough that they can be used without having a lot of product build-up and they won’t weight down your hair. Take a look at these really great oils for natural hair.
Best shampoos for low porosity hair
There are also some really good shampoos on the market for low porosity hair care. One of the most popular shampoos is Shea moisture low porosity protein-free shampoo.
Best conditioners for low porosity hair
Does low porosity hair need protein?
Low porosity hair does not need protein as it already carries a lot of its own natural protein called Keratin.
Low porosity hair is very protein sensitive so it’s best to stay away from products containing protein as it could make your hair feel very brittle and hard. This will only lead to breakage and damaged strands of hair.
Final thoughts on low porosity hair care
Although having low porosity hair can feel like possibly the end of the world to begin with, it really is not. Once you know how to deal with low porosity hair it actually puts you at an advantage as you now know exactly how to manage your hair.
As explained above there are little things that you can do to help improve your position without having the low porosity hair issue work against you.
If you have any other tips on low porosity hair care I would love to hear them.
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