Hair porosity is fundamental to understanding your hair type. It may not get as much attention, but knowing your hair’s porosity will make caring for your tresses simpler and retaining moisture easier. With curly hair, moisture retention is top priority. Hair porosity is how well your hair will absorb and retain moisture, oils, or chemicals (like color) and is affected by the elasticity of one’s hair cuticle. The cuticle’s condition determines how easily moisture will pass in and out of your strands, and yes it does go both ways meaning your hair’s cuticle can receive moisture and it can lose it.
There are three types of hair porosity: low, medium, and high.
There are three types of hair porosity: low, medium, and high. Genetics is the biggest factor that will determine your hair’s porosity when at a healthy state. Other factors in hair porosity have less to do with genetics and more with external influences like exposure to chemical treatments, heat styling, and environmental elements. High porosity hair has holes and gaps in the cuticle layer, which allows moisture to be quickly absorbed and quickly released. Please do not make the mistake of thinking high porosity hair cannot retain adequate moisture without losing it all. It takes extra work and knowledge to find the right routine and techniques to keep your hair healthy during the colder months. Here are a few tips that will help.
1. LOC method
The L.O.C. method works best for tightly coiled naturals (Type 4) and high porous hair since both crave water. This method is perfect for getting the right amount of moisture in and keeping it in by layering the products in a specific order to receive maximum moisture retention. Liquid or leave-in conditioner will add the moisture, the oil will seal it, and the cream, butter, or even gel is just another layer of sealant. You may be wondering why sealing is necessary if your moisturizer is formulated with oil and Janelle elaborates on the importance of sealing.
2. Protein treatments
They are great for year-round, but if you have been slacking on them while frolicking in the sun this summer, then you really should incorporate them during this winter. High porosity hair is more vulnerable to dryness during the winter and protein treatments give your strands strength by temporarily patching up the holes in your hair’s cuticle layer. Monthly treatments are great during winter, but do not use protein treatments as a moisturizer or use them frequently like you would a moisturizer. Too much protein is just as bad as not using it at all and can make the hair brittle and cause it to break.
3. Gentle cleansers
Shampoos clean your tresses and the surfactants in them do the job effectively. The problems some (not all) surfactants is they (e.g. sodium lauryl sulfate) can strip the natural oils out and even make worsen the holes and gaps in high porosity hair. There are naturals who love shampoo and swear by gentle and moisturizing shampoos and forgo co-washing. With the dryer weather it just does not pay to use products that can potentially make your hair drier than need be, so the cooler months may be a good time to start reincorporating co-washing.
4. Heavier oils and butters
For effective sealing during winter, try heavier products like shea butter, olive oil, avocado oil, or castor oil. Use products that have them in the first five ingredients to ensure you are getting the full benefit of the heavier oils. They not only help with sealing your porous tresses, but they add that protective layer your strands may be lacking.
How do you care for your high porosity curls, coils, and waves in the colder months?