Just discovered I'm low poristy - what now?

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  • 2 Post By gardencurls
  • 1 Post By gardencurls

I've been more or less poo free for 4 years, but ocasionally use a sulfite free one after drenching my hair in olive or argan oil for hours in desperation.

No matter what I do, my hair remains bone dry with a texture like straw, even when I leave it in plaits to try and keep it protected and out of my way. I do seek and destroy every week with a pair of hairdressing scissors, yet never seem to be free of numerous split ends.

I am complete novice really when it comes to caring for my hair. What on earth can I do, where do I start when it comes to low porosity hair care?
Low porosity hair is usually quite healthy. You don't say what other products that you're using. My hair doesn't care for straight oils/butters, but likes them in products. I use minute amounts of really rich products all of the time. It takes my hair a long time to absorb products, in general. My hair is frequently dry before my products are absorbed. My hair just gets better as the day goes on. My hair is so moisturized, I never DT and the shampoo guy at the salon won't condition it after he shampoos it--he thinks it's healthy enough (IMHO, he just doesn't "get it.")

I'd try using some DTs that aren't straight oil. Something like CJ Curl Rehab comes to mind.
3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity
modified CG, since April '07
CG since 3/11/08

SE PA

HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic (now Hello Curly Curl Stimulater); Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Marie Dean Leave Ins and Curl Creams
I'm in the UK.. so am not sure if all of the products you mention are available here.

Day-to-day, I usually use various Naked conditioners, usually Naked Bounce or Rescue

And once in a blue moon I use a tiny bit of Naked Mildness shampoo, usually after I do a DT, for which I either use straight Olive Oil, eggs or Lush's Ro's Argan body conditioner which is made largely of argan oil and has no foaming agents or silicones.

Afterwards/whilst drying I tend to use R&B from Lush which is rich in butters.. and recntly I have given in and ended up using serums because I've been so desperate to give it some weight or shine
I don't know the naked products. I've tried to use body products on my hair. You have to be careful, it could be too much for your hair. If your hair is low porosity, it takes it a LONG time to absorb product. You have to be careful about using too much.

There are some websites that carry some of the online, "boutique" products for European curlies. Some of the US websites send them, too. Shipping is expensive--but some of the products are worth it. You could also try to buy some things on the European swap board.
3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity
modified CG, since April '07
CG since 3/11/08

SE PA

HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic (now Hello Curly Curl Stimulater); Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Marie Dean Leave Ins and Curl Creams
Oils are not generally moisturizing in and of them themselves. Oils seal - locking moisture in (or out).

If you are low-po, make sure you saturate your hair with warm water for several minutes then leave your conditioner on for several minutes. (Under a shower cap while still in the shower creates a mini steam treatment and works great.) Low-po means your cuticles are tightly closed - the warm water helps open them up and the time allows the conditioner to soak in well.

That said, 'straw like' is typically how protein overload is described. Do your products have protein? Maybe cut all of them out for a short time, do a couple DT's and see if your hair doesn't improve.

How did you determine your hair is low-po?
remember, with all advice or suggestions for your hair, YMMV!!
My hair:
2b wavy, medium texture, low porosity, med-high density. Protein finicky.
My routine:
Cleansing: DCNP, every 4-5 days (occasionally use CJ cleansers).
RO: CJSC, occasionally use JCDC
LI: KCKT or CJSL
Gel: KCCC, CJCIAB for 2nd day hair (sometimes third)

Heat is my friend: warm water rinses, steam caps, and diffuse dry. I love CLU cloths and my Denman.
Protein was the first thing I thought of when you mentioned "straw", but another ingredient that I've discovered can make my hair brittle is glycerin/glycerol! After much trial and error I learned that my hair doesn't seem to mind small amounts of protein much at all in styling products. Protein deep treatments, however, cause my hair to feel dry even when it's wet! Hair gels with a high concentration of glycerin dry my hair out and cause tangles and knots.

But - protein and glycerin aside, what my hair needs most is moisture sealed onto it so my hair can eventually absorb it. Mostly I rely on leave-in conditioners to moisturize, because products that are supposed to both moisturize and style wind up causing frizz. In arid dry weather, if I try to use some of my favorites for humid weather, like Coffee Coco Curl Cream, or Argan Oil Curl Cream, they make my hair feel like burlap ropes coated in syrup.

My hair is naturally pretty coarse and low porosity, but I do color my hair with demi-permanent coloring. Strangely, coloring my hair seems to help it become more absorbent, probably because it damages it just enough to give it some porosity. Still, high percentages of glycerin can easily block my hair from being able to absorb any moisture in my products.I get split ends like crazy as well, and horrible, impossible knots. The dryer the air (low dew points I guess) the worse the split ends and tangles get.

For me, some of the CG friendly products that really help both moisturizing and styling are Curls in a Bottle, As I Am Coconut Cowash, SheaMoisture Conditioning Milk, SheaMoisture Moisture Mist, and Beautiful Curls Reviving Tonic.

If you're not strictly CG, you might be interested in these. Some do contain glycerin, but they don't dry out my hair like gels containing glycerin: Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls lotion, Ouidad Hydrafusion Intense Curl Cream, Paul Mitchell Curls Shampoo, Leave-in, and Twirl Around cream,Hair One Argan Oil Conditioning Cleanser & leave-in.

I wash my hair at night, a couple of times a week. I love to use Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls as a leave-in conditioner. Even though the ingredients list make it look like it would drying as all heck, when I wake up the next morning, my hair feels like silk and frizz stays away for at least 2nd day hair. I think this is the kind of product designed for coarser hair with low porosity (because it's light), and not many are. This stuff really, really helps with knots, too.
multicultcurly and misbehave like this.
3b/c, Coarse, Low Porosity, Desert Climate
CG since August 2011/Occasionally Modified since 2013
Favorites:KCKT/KCCC/CHS Curl Keeper/Camille Rose Curl Maker/
ORS Curls Unleased Second ChanceRefresher/
It's a 10 Leave-in/BRHG/
Jane Carter Nourish & Shine butter/
Ouidad Double-Detangler Comb
Thank you so much for all of the advice!

You all seem to think I may have more of a protein sensitivity, and that's what's causing the horrible brittle, straw-like texture? What kind of things do you recomend for a protein free DT?

I figured my hair was low porosity by doing a strand test. Did a lo-poo wash, then got a few shed hairs from my brush and floated them on a sinkfull of water and they just stayed there for aaaaages. Also my hair takes forever and a day to dry.. Like, I can go to bed with it wet, and wake up still wet.. or if I wash it in the morning, it'll still be damp in the evenings!
I've done the "floating" test several times over the last couple of years. I always suspected that the test was flawed, because I couldn't believe that after all I've done to my hair, it's "low" porosity. (Although, this may be the reason why I got away with abusing my hair so much). I started researching other "symptoms" as they came up, i.e. products "foaming" like shampoo on wet hair, hair taking 10 hours to dry, glycerin causing stiffness, tangles and dryness (during low dew points), positive response to "steam". They all turned out to be characteristic of low porosity

Here's a few links that helped me:

Applying Products to Low Porosity Hair

Porosity and Curly Hair

LOW POROSITY (I copied & pasted this info. from Search Results)

Hair with low porosity has a tightly bound cuticle layer with overlapping scales that lay flat. This type of hair is usually considered healthy, and is often very shiny, especially when it's dark in color. Low porosity hair repels moisture when you try to wet it and is hard to process since it resists penetration of chemicals.

Low porosity hair is also prone to build-up from protein-rich deep conditioning products, which can leave it feeling stiff and straw-like. Stick to protein-free, daily conditioners with humectants such as glycerin or honey. Use moderate heat with protein-free deep conditioning treatments to help open up the tightly bound cuticle.

Low porosity hair requires moisturizers rich in emollients such as shea butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil and mineral oil. It also benefits from humectant products, which attract and hold moisture to your hair. Choose lighter, liquid-based products such as hair milks that won't sit on your hair and leave it oily or greasy.

In hair with low porosity, the cuticle layer is more tightly closed. Hair is slower to absorb water and longer to release it, so low porosity hair holds moisture quite well. But with fewer surface openings for product to be absorbed into, build up on the hair’s surface can happen quickly. Too much conditioning and excessive stylers may coat the hair and rob it of its vitality and bounciness. Some styling products may even sit on your hair or create a white cast. And because there’s little margin for absorption on low porosity hair’s smooth surface, excessive or pure protein treatments may cause the crispy, straw-like feel of protein overload.
misbehave likes this.
3b/c, Coarse, Low Porosity, Desert Climate
CG since August 2011/Occasionally Modified since 2013
Favorites:KCKT/KCCC/CHS Curl Keeper/Camille Rose Curl Maker/
ORS Curls Unleased Second ChanceRefresher/
It's a 10 Leave-in/BRHG/
Jane Carter Nourish & Shine butter/
Ouidad Double-Detangler Comb

Last edited by gardencurls; 12-03-2012 at 03:21 PM.
Low porosity would certainly make sense. It would explain the obscenely long drying times, the crispiness, constant dryness and horrific tangles.
Plus it would explain my frustrations that I've never done anything "harmful" to my hair - never use driers, straighteners, mousses, dyes etc etc, yet it's still in terrible condition.

Going to experiment with avoiding protein. Should I give my hair a good wash beforehand to get rid of the previous build-up?
Going to experiment with avoiding protein. Should I give my hair a good wash beforehand to get rid of the previous build-up?
Originally Posted by Luise
I would - but don't use SLS or ALS cleansers. They'll just make things worse. My favorite shampoo for getting rid of build-up is Kinky Curly Come Clean. I also like Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat.
3b/c, Coarse, Low Porosity, Desert Climate
CG since August 2011/Occasionally Modified since 2013
Favorites:KCKT/KCCC/CHS Curl Keeper/Camille Rose Curl Maker/
ORS Curls Unleased Second ChanceRefresher/
It's a 10 Leave-in/BRHG/
Jane Carter Nourish & Shine butter/
Ouidad Double-Detangler Comb
I have low porosity hair. It's healthy and in perfect condition. I just stay away from protein (it's BAD) and I make a concoction of Shea butter, jojoba, coconut oil and a tad bit of castor oil. Use this concoction after I co-wash with AsIAm cowash. Oh it goes under my holy grail leave in mixed silk leave in. Im military so I usually wear ponytails. But on weekends miss Jessie's pillow soft curls work great with smooth n shine curl activator on top. I can use cheaper products and get moderately good results but takes work. Miss Jessie's PS and Curly Meringue work best with no work. But I always top it off with the curl activator. My hair loves glycerin!
Oh and If I shampoo, I use liquid black soap as a shampoo to rid the build up on scalp and hair.
I make a concoction of Shea butter, jojoba, coconut oil and a tad bit of castor oil.
Originally Posted by Luvmycurls3
That sounds like just the kind of thing I'd like to use. Do you use that as a daily, or a deep treatment? Roughly what kind of quantities/ratios of the ingredients do you use?
I use it daily. It goes on with or without my leave in and before my styler products. I start with 4 oz Shea butter, 2 oz jojoba and coconut oil and about one heaping tbs black castor oil. Mix all together until smooth and creamy. It influences hair growth too. Gave this concoction to two of my friends and their hair is really growing.

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