As a license cosmetologist and product developer who has toured 28 of these 50 states, I have received this one question the most from women of color. Why my hair is so dry? Even when I just apply a moisturizer to my hair it just soaks it all up and within minutes / hours it back dry again. Why? 9 times out of ten I answer their question with a question. What’s your porosity?
Think of your hair strand as a pine cone tree. It has cuticles that may be in three forms.
Low Porosity (closed cuticles)
Medium Porosity (raised cuticle)
High Porosity (rough cuticle)
How To Tell What Porosity Your Hair Is.
One common test is the float in water test. Take a strand of hair. Place it in a cup of clear water to see if it will float.
If it floats at the top for a while you have low porosity
If it just hangs out there in the middle of the water you have medium porosity
If it drop to the bottom like a dead beat boyfriend you have low porosity.
To see other ways to test your porosity you can check out this video below
Here is a quick explanation on what is the best way to retain moisture for longer if you have low porosity. For solutions on High porosity see (coming soon) and if your priority is medium / normal your solution can be found in the article title (coming soon)
Low porosity means that your cuticles are compact/ closed. As a result, your hair is less likely to retain moisture because your cuticles are closed and prevents it from reaching the root of the hair strand to keep it moisturized. To combat this challenge, I recommend the following
Keeping Low Porosity Moist
Deep conditioning (Pre – Poo)
Warm up your leave in conditioner
Use silk or satin coverings
Pre – Poo
Deep conditioning on wash days is a great way to help moisturize people with locks and low porosity hair. A best practice is to apply the Pre-Poo 30 min – 2 hrs. Use a shower cap or plastic bag (if you can find one any more) and place it on your hair to let the conditioner marinate in the hair. You also can use a heating cap on low heat if desired. With low porosity warmth is your friend it helps to loosen the cuticle slightly and help your cortex and medulla receive and retain that moisture. The pre poo will also help to combat some of the moister that is loss due to chlorine in water drying out your hair. We blend our pre- poo and shampoo with natural ingredients to help moisturize, balance your scalps ph, and promote blood flow to the scalp which helps promote healthy hair growth.
Warming Up Your Leave in Conditioner
As stated in Pre-pooing your hair. Warm products help the conditioner seep into the strands instead of sitting on top of the close cuticle. This equates to moist hair for a better period of time.
Ways to heat up the conditioner
Scoop out desired conditioner and put in a cup or small bowl. Place that bowl in a pot of hot/warm water high enough just to warm the cup thus warming up the conditioner inside the cup.
Place the desired amount of leave in conditioner in a small bowl or cup in the microwave for a few seconds. Remember your warming it not eating it. Plus if it is a natural product, heating it up too much can rob your hair of the natural nutrients it could have received due to over radiating it.
Use Silk or Satin Coverings
At sleep time and when abroad you your hair is rubbing against cotton and other fabrics which will dry your hair from the moisture it did obtain. Silk and statin absorbs little and acts as a barrier from other fabrics that would dry out your hair.
Washing once a week to every other week helps to clean the hair and scalp from buildup, debris and re opens the cuticles to take in new moisture. A sulfate free shampoo is best, as it cleans it does not strip your hair of moisture
Moisturizing the hair every 2-3 days is a healthy practice to commit to when desiring to have a well moist hair. A good conditioner will help to penetrate the hair shaft as well and keep it moist for a longer period of time. Your hair will let you know when you need to reapply by you feeling it to see if it’s moisture is dry. Our leave in conditioner contain items like, she butter, carrot seed oil, vitamin E, Sage to not only coat the strand but to reach the shaft and retain moister for a longer period.
The Take Away
Have low porosity hair can be a challenge but it is not impossible to manage. Follow this tips and you should see notable improvement. As Rachel Nall, MSN, CRNA mentioned on health line:
With low porosity hair, it’s not easy for moisture and oils to penetrate the hair shaft. It can take longer for your hair to become saturated when you wash it. It may also be more challenging to process and style your hair. However, there are certain ingredients that can make low porosity hair easier to care for. Knowing the types of products to use, and which ones to avoid, can make a difference in the manageability and health of your hair.