For many persons, keeping their hair moisturized is a difficult thing and there are many factors that are responsible for this. One of the biggest reasons for this is hair porosity.
See also: 5 Major Benefits Of Steaming Your Natural Hair
Porosity refers to how well your hair absorbs and holds moisture. Hair porosity is one of the main culprits that may hinder your attempts at maintaining or increasing your hair’s moisture content. Think of your hair strands as covered in ‘scales.’ These “scales’ allow water (moisture) in your strands. To get your hair moisturized effectively you have to know whether your hair has low porosity or high porosity.
A simple way to determine this is to drop a strand of your hair in a glass of water. If it floats then your hair is low porosity, if it sinks in a short space of time (think 30 seconds to a minute) then you have high porosity.
Low Porosity Hair
With this type of hair things get a little tricky. It’s definitely not impossible to moisturize however. Once you know your hair then you can easily find out what you need to do to get it to look its best! With low porosity your hair has a tightly bound cuticle layer which pretty much repel water. You may notice that your hair takes a longer time to feel wet during the washing process and a longer time to dry. Low porosity hair generally looks very shiny and healthy too (With the cuticle laying flatter the strands will reflect light better which causes the hair to look shiny and healthier).
To moisturize this hair type steam is your friend. Whether you want to get in a steamy shower or invest in a Q-Redew handheld steamer, steam temporarily lifts the cuticles and allows products to get into hair strands easily. While not necessary, you may then use a very light oil on top of your leave-in-conditioner. Low porosity hair can get product buildup very easily so always opt for lighter, less greasy products and clarify with a sulphate free shampoo when necessary.
See also: Product Review – Q-Redew Hand-Held Hair Steamer
Ensure that your products are protein free as that can result in your hair feeling straw-like, and that your daily conditioners have humectants in the ingredients list. These help to pull moisture from the atmosphere and into the hair. Examples of humectants are honey, glycerin, Panthenol, and Aloe Vera.
Medium Porosity (Normal)
So you have medium porosity hair? Lucky you! Your hair requires very little maintenance. The cuticle layer is not too tightly or loosely bound. This type of hair allows just the right amount of moisture in without allowing too much to escape.
High Porosity Hair
But how does hair porosity affect hair moisture content? Well if you have high porosity hair doesn’t panic! This just means that your hair absorbs moisture readily. That’s great right? Unfortunately it loses moisture to the atmosphere just as easily. With high porosity hair the main issue to keep this moisture in the hair. So how do we fix this? Simple. Use sealants like hair butters (Shea butter, mango butter, hempseed butter for example), thicker sealing oils (think castor oil, jojoba oil, grape seed oil etc.).
This brings us to the popular L.C.O method Liquid, Cream and Oil method. The L.C.O method is the application of Liquids (water for example), Cream (Leave-in-conditioner), and Oils. Many naturals swear by this method, I personally opt for a modified version of this, L.C.O as I find this more effective for me. As always, I encourage you to always do what’s best for you. What works for one natural will not necessarily work for another.
A word from Sabrina:
First off, I have and LOVE my Q-Redew. I can use it year-round but it gets the most work out of me during the winter months. Secondly, having high porosity hair is a big indicator of hair being damaged and the biggest culprits are chemical applications (color, straightening treatments) or heat. If you find you have high porosity hair you may want to start using a protein treatment monthly and make sure to deep condition after EVERY WASH!
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