Image Source: @africanmelaninnn
Six months into my transition from heat-damaged, frizzy, straight-adjacent hair to the curls, waves, and defiant halo of fluff that currently lives on top of my head, I hit a roadblock. Almost every product I bought seemed to cause dryness and flyaways, and left me with little curl definition. I was following the Curly Girl Method, paying attention to product ingredients, and getting regular trims. Then one day, I found a video from YouTuber, MelissaQ, talking about her high porosity hair hating glycerin. While we have different curl patterns, what she was saying struck a chord with me. Based on this, I decided to swap out my products for glycerin-free alternatives, and it was a game-changer for me. Since that time, my damaged high porosity hair has become much healthier. It is mainly naturally high porosity, but I still have a bit of damage from highlights that were done over two years ago. If you are still struggling to find the right products for your high porosity hair, I hope this list helps you like that video helped me.
To be fair, I live in an arid climate. The humidity is often at 20% or less. This, coupled with dry indoor air from forced heating and air conditioning, can leave my hair feeling like straw, as the glycerin removes all the moisture from it.
2. Hair color
By this, I mean dyes, bleach, and even henna. My hair soaks up color quickly. Semi and demi-permanent dyes and henna coat the hair shaft completely and will not wash out. They look beautiful when they are first applied, but when my regrowth comes in, I end up with a line of demarcation right below the roots. Since henna cannot be dyed over, all I can do is keep getting trims until it is gone. With bleach my hair has two states: orange and breaking off. I avoid all hair color except for temporary products that can easily be washed away with water like hair color wax.
3. Protein treatments
I know this sounds strange because high porosity hair is supposed to love protein. When my hair was damaged in the past, particularly after a relaxer, it loved protein. I would go through jars of hair mayonnaise. Now that my hair is healthier, protein can make it feel dry and hard. I still do periodic protein treatments when my hair won’t hold its curl definition, but they are only on an as-needed basis. I do make sure my conditioners have some protein in them, but they have a larger percentage of moisturizing ingredients.
4. Silicones, including water-soluble ones
All silicones leave my hair parched and limp. I might be able to use them once and get away with it, but they will build up. Even something like dimethicone copolyol, a supposed “better silicone” will weld itself to my hair and be difficult to remove.
5. Coconut oil
For many curlies, this is a wonder-oil that is used to moisturize the scalp, treat itchiness, soften the hair, and detangle as part of a pre-poo step. Coconut oil makes my hair dry and limp, although it can tolerate it as an ingredient in other products like leave-ins.
Once my hair is styled and picked and fluffed out, that is how it must remain. If I want to put it into an updo, I cannot take it down and expect it to retain its curl definition. I have to refresh.
Even with a diffuser, if I set my hairdryer to anything higher than low heat, I am guaranteed that it will look fried. I have wasted good money at hair salons getting my hair diffuse-dried because what stylist has the whole morning to dry it on low?
8. Refreshing next-day hair that has been scrunched out
When I wake up in the morning, if I have not refreshed my hair the night before, all of the moisture will have left my hair. There might be a few curls at the nape of my neck, but the rest is a disaster. I am now able to successfully get second, third, and even fourth-day hair, and it took me a long time to figure out how to do it.
Here are the steps that I follow:
- At night about an hour before going to bed, I spritz my hair with a mixture of cream leave-in conditioner and water. I want a good mix of hydration and moisture so the product can penetrate my hair. I focus on the areas that are not fully defined, are frizzy, and where curls that seem to be reaching in the horizon for moisture.
- I finger detangle those saturated areas, using a wide-toothed comb only when necessary.
- I scrunch my hair, and shingle any pieces that need a little extra shaping, and then I allow my hair to dry.
- I pineapple only the area around my crown using a satin scrunchie. I avoid stretching any curls. I pineapple the crown section only because it tends to tangle the most.
- The next day, I remove the scrunchie, and then spritz a little more leave-in and water onto any curls that have lost their shape. I will often apply mousse using the praying hands technique.
- I then allow my hair to fully dry, and then fluff and pick out my roots.
9. Hot, dry days
Living in a desert climate can wreak havoc on my tresses. They will lose all life, body, and bounce quickly. I never leave the house without plenty of moisture in my hair.
Many a windy day has wrecked the curls I so carefully constructed in and after the shower. I know I could avoid this with lots of hard hold gel, but then it throws off my second-day refresh game.
What does your high porosity hair hate? Let us know in the comments. If you want to try some great products for high porosity hair, click here.