You’re looking forward to an easy wash day because you’re in a rush to go out. You turn the shower on, and patiently wait for your curls to get wet. However, you’ve been standing under the water for literally five minutes, and your curls *still* aren’t wet. Glancing in the mirror, you find that the water droplets are simply lying on top of your hair, without properly absorbing into it. A quick examination of your length leads to you finding that some areas are wet, while others are not. If this sounds familiar to you, then your hair is repelling water.
One very important thing to do before taking any actions is ask yourself why. Why is your hair repelling water? Is it because of the products you’re using, or because of your hair’s porosity?
Sometimes people are quick to diagnose their hair as “low porosity”, without realizing that product build-up is one of the main issues behind hair repelling water, according to curl stylist Alicia Torrens from Brandon Hair Salon in Florida. Silicone, oils, and even hard water cause build-up.
“When some of my clients use a lot of heavy products, I give them a detox in my salon. I use a mixture of Malibu C Crystal Gel with Malibu C Un-Do-Goo Shampoo. After this, I highly recommend switching to water-based products,” Torrens says. “Water-based products help to nourish the hair, and as the hair begins to absorb moisture, it becomes healthier. After detoxing, I recommend a non-lathering cleanser, and a water-based conditioner without silicones or heavy oils. Curly hair care is all about hydration.”
Alicia demonstrates this water repelling action perfectly in a video.
Her client was told that her hair repelled water due to having low porosity, but as it turned out, it was repelling water due to her choice of products.
Low Porosity Hair
If you’re using light-weight and silicone-free products, and your hair still seems to be repelling water, you could have hair that is low in porosity, or simply not porous.
You might wonder how you can determine your porosity; the best way is by simply observing your hair.
Porosity refers to the behavior of the cuticles in your hair. When the hair isn't porous, its cuticles lie flat, resembling shingles on a roof that overlap each other. The fact that the cuticles are tightly closed and overlapping each other means that water and product absorption can be difficult at times.
Hair that isn't porous is usually very shiny without products. Despite avoiding oils and heavy products, those with low-porosity hair may also notice that their products don't absorb as well as they should.
Hair that isn't porous is usually easy to maintain in a healthy condition.
There's no reason to try to make low porosity hair act more porous for product application. Low porosity hair is considered healthy hair, because brand-new hair that comes out of your scalp is low in porosity. Low porosity hair is hair that hasn't been damaged.
Three Simple Tips For Low Porosity Hair That Repels Water:
1. If your hair is repelling water from the moment you're trying to get it wet under the shower, use a cowash as a wetting agent.
Apply your cowash to all the areas of your hair while it's still dry.
Then, turn the shower on.
Allow the water to run through your hair.
As it runs through, squeeze the water into your hair strands by pushing them all throughout your length.
By doing this, you are pressing the water into your hair.
You should hear a squishing sound whenever you do this.
2. Avoid silicones, butters, and heavy oils in formulations. These ingredients will make the situation worse and your hair will repel water even more. You need to assist your hair when it comes to absorption, rather than coat it.
3. Choose products with film-forming humectants. Film-forming humectants are large, complex molecules that attract water, but also form an invisible, water-hugging film on your hair. They improve hydration, and water is hydration.
Some examples of film-forming humectants:
1. Flax seed gel (linseed)
2. Okra gel (made from okra seed pods)
3. Aloe vera
6. Xanthan gum
7. Guar gum
8. Marshmallow root
9. Slippery elm
10. Carrageenan (also known as Irish moss or seaweed extract, sea emollient, sea algae, sea vegetable)
11. Nettle leaf tea or nettle extract
13. Hydroxypropyltrimonium honey
14. Hydrolyzed proteins
When hair repels water, it is usually for two reasons: choice of products or porosity.
By avoiding heavily-coating products, or implementing these simple tips for low porosity, you will find that your life will become easier, and your wash days will become simpler over time.
Is your hair low porosity? Tell us your challenges and victories in the comments section below, and learn about products that work well for low porosity hair here.