There are three types of hair porosity. Low porosity hair is the least porous because it has a tightly bound cuticle. It requires a lot to open or raise the cuticle for moisture to penetrate. Normal or medium porosity requires the least amount of maintenance because the cuticle can be raised easier than with low porosity but it is not damaged or chipped so moisture penetrates easily in the hair shaft. High porosity is the most porous. It has gaps or chips on the cuticle, making it harder to retain moisture and allows for more frizz and friction.
Why is high porosity hair so damaged?
The best way to describe high porosity hair is to compare it to a sponge. A sponge quickly absorbs water and can release it by end of day; that’s the problem with high porosity hair. It can take in too much moisture but loses it just as quickly and ends up dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. Damaged cuticles quite often happen because of the poor or excessive styling practices, as they can be too harsh on the cuticle. Just like moisture can enter easily, so can chemicals like permanent color and straightening treatments.
I have high porosity hair, and while I rarely do any of the damaging things like heat, chemicals, or over-manipulation, I suffer just the same but have managed to work with my strands and maintain healthy hair. It is not the end of the world; it just means you need to steer clear of certain practices while adopting others.
Don’t skip protein treatments
No one says you have to use protein daily or even weekly, but proteins temporarily fill in the gaps along the chipped cuticle, making hair stronger, more elastic, and allows the moisture to stay in. Light protein conditions may also be helpful monthly just to keep those strands as strong as possible.
Read more: Top 8 Protein Treatments for Natural Hair
Don’t skip deep conditioning
If I feel I don’t’ have time for it, then I would rather delay wash day than skip this essential step. Deep conditionings help strengthen the hair after the stress of cleansing. It is the strong arm between protein treatments. When you have a damaged cuticle, deep conditioning ensures the cuticle is strong and hydrated with reduced frizz and tangles.
Read more: Top 20 Deep Conditioners for Curly Hair
Don’t skip sealing your hair
Sealing in moisture is key to keeping hair hydrated, moisturized, and elastic. The LOC or LCO methods are excellent ways to ensure your strands are maintaining the moisture, oils, and emollients they need to stay protected. I actually use a cocktail of leave-in conditioner and an oil elixir to condition and seal prior to applying a styler. My curls stay moist, sealed, and frizz-free. Heavy sealants like olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oils are great for sealing high porous strands.
Don’t use direct heat often
With a chipped or raised cuticle, direct heat (e.g. flat irons, blow-dryers, curling wands, etc.) can only worsen already dry or damaged strands. I have sworn off direct heat for a few years now and only I air-dry my hair. Direct heat may have even been the reason for your high porosity hair so steering clear of it is the best precaution.
Don’t manipulate the hair when wet
Hair is weaker when wet, and with a damaged or chipped cuticle it can worsen. Be gentle with your hair by finger detangling when wet or detangle when your hair is dry or damp.
Don’t use harsh cleansers
High porosity hair already has gaps in the cuticle and harsh shampoos with sulfates can worsen that by creating tangles and drier strands. Moisturizing shampoos, co-washes/cleansing conditioners, and sulfate-free shampoos are better choices to effectively clean your strands. If you consider all cleansers to be harsh then consider incorporating pre-poos in your regimen.
Like I said before, my hair is healthy despite having high porosity. It just takes a few extra steps that will allow for moisturized, sealed, and healthier strands.
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What are your don’ts for high porosity hair?