One of my worst experiences with being natural has been adding moisturizers and oils to my hair, only for it to look dry by the end of the day. Nobody likes a dry fro, twist out, wash and go, etc. I wondered why my hair did not seem to be retaining moisture no matter how much I added to it. After some research, I stumbled upon the term porosity.
Porosity is your hair's ability to absorb and hold on to moisture. Your hair can be high, low or normal porosity. How do you figure out your hair's porosity? It's simple:
1. Grab a glass and fill it with room temperature water
2. Find some of your shed hairs on a comb or brush, not a broken one (a shed hair will have a white bulb on the end)
3. Clean the hairs with a little shampoo
4. Drop the hairs into the water
Low Porosity-hairs will stay and float on the top
High Porosity-hairs will sink to the bottom
Normal Porosity-hairs will slowly and gradually sink to the bottom.
Now that you know your hair type you can get a better idea of what type of moisturizing regimen to use. High porosity hair requires heavier moisturizers. Moisturizing this type of hair involves the layering of liquid, heavy oils (Ex: coconut, olive), and finishing off with some type of butter emollient. This is necessary because high porosity hair has cuticles that are very porous. Moisture easily enters this type of hair, but it also easily exits. Moisturizing of this type of hair must be done more frequently.
On the other hand, my hair is low porosity. (If I left shed strands of it in a glass of water, it would probably STILL be floating lol). Low porosity hair does not easily allow moisture to enter or exit the strands. This makes this type of hair more difficult to moisturize. Products that you add to it will seem to just sit on the surface of the hair strand. Here are a few moisturizing tips for low porosity hair:
-Warm water is your friend!! It will open your cuticles up and allow product to better penetrate into your hair.
-Allow your hair to be damp or dry when adding conditioners or stylers to it. Damp or partially dried hair strands have already released some of the water and are more likely to absorb moisture.
-Use lighter oils (ex: jojoba oil, grape seed oil) versus olive oil or coconut oil
-Once moisturized, daily moisturizing is not necessary. This will cause product build up. Moisturize once midweek or in between washes.
-Deep Condition once a week.
-Mix some baking soda and water until it forms a paste. Add it to your damp hair. Allow to sit on hair for 15 mins. This alkaline mixture will open your cuticles temporarily. (Spray with aloe vera juice/water mix to balance the pH afterwards).
Knowing your hair type is the foundation for an effective moisturizing regimen. What are some of your moisturizing failures and triumphs?