Hair Porosity: Low Porosity
What is hair porosity and why is it important to consider when building your hair care regimen / routine?
Porosity can be determined by finding out how one’s hair reacts to moisture. First of all, our hair (natural African hair), no matter the type of porosity or density, needs moisture (water); and how it takes water in is very important.
Low porosity hair:
Popular Traits of low porosity hair
- Cuticles are closed, so moisture does not enter easily / resistant to moisture.
- Products sit on your hair.
- Water beads up on hair.
- Hair takes a long time to dry.
- Looks healthy but doesn’t have much elasticity or volume
- It may look / seem straight and doesn’t have much shrinkage when wet
Here’s an easy regimen to follow when you’ve determined that you have low porosity hair
- Soak hair in warm water, and work in the water until it isn’t simply sliding off the strands
- With your hair in 4 – 6 sections, apply a bit of moisturizing, clarifying shampoo directly to the scalp and massage the scalp to get rid of the gunk and build up (REMEMBER: shampoo is for the scalp, conditioner is for the hair)
- As you rinse out the shampoo (with warm water, you’ll be able to get your hair clean as well – you don’t need to rub the hair to wash it
- On wet, sectioned hair, work in your conditioner / deep conditioner (and follow the instructions of the product, e.g. wear a plastic processing cap for 15 minutes etc.)
- Rinse with warm water – other naturals detangle with a watered-down conditioner before the deep conditioning / after, others do so even before the shampooing. You do what works for your hair
- Do bantu knots or large braids and allow your hair to air-dry up to maybe 80%
- Work in your leave-in conditioner in sections as you unbraid the section
- You may seal in with butter if you feel it’s necessary, though most low porosity hair I’ve worked with doesn’t require butter after the leave-in conditioner (again, it depends on the oil content of your leave-in conditioner)
- Braid or twist or do whatever protective styling that works for you (REMEMBER: protective styles are to protect your natural hair, not the weave/extensions and it’s always best to have a protective style that allows you to wash your hair every 1-2 weeks without having to take it down; this helps to ensure that your scalp is clean and your hair isn’t manipulated more than it is necessary. My go-to protective style is mini-twists – they’re easy to work around, you can wear them for 2 weeks and still be able to wash and treat your hair in both those 2 weeks)
- Remoisturize hair by using a moisturizing hair mist
- Apply and work in your leave-in conditioner (all this should be done without over-manipulating your hair, with your protective style intact)
Best products+tips for low porosity hair:
- Light oils to seal in moisture – e.g. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Avoid products with heavy proteins / protein treatments
- Ensure your products with mineral oils and any ingredient that ends with “cones” , e.g. silicone
- Deep condition with processing caps / heat / steam before deep conditioning
- Invest in a leave-in conditioner that is moisturizing / contains aloe vera, humectants and jojoba oil
- As with other hair type, ensure you get the best out of your diet by adding nutrients-rich food products to your lifestyle