Newbie Natural Monday : The Science of Natural Hair What is hair porosity you ask?
It simply means how well moisture and oil is absorbed through the cuticle of the hair shaft.From the left to the right: Normal hair (Normal to Medium Porosity), Resistant Hair (Low Porosity), Porous Hair (High Porosity).
- Normal Hair (Normal to Medium Porosity)- Naturals with normal to medium porosity have it made because it requires little maintenance. Medium porosity hair cuticle layer is loose which, allows just the right amount of moisture into the cuticle and allowing little to escape.
- Hairstyles last longer.
- Monthly protein treatments are enough.
- Clarify when needed
- Don't over do chemical treatments (Hair Bleaching).
- Resistant Hair (Low Porosity) - Naturals with low porosity have a tight bound on the hair's cuticle with flat scale that extends over the cuticle which makes it difficult to open. This means your hair's natural oils are not functioning properly when moisture is not allowed into the cuticle. For those of you who are in need of extra moisture here are a few things to try:
- Clarifying Shampoo - Aids with removing product buildup and helps low porosity hair with the chance to absorb moisture. This should not be done every wash but at least once or twice a month.
- Humectants - Try looking for products that have honey and vegetable glycerin. These humectants can aid in absorbing outside moisture into your strands. The more natural a product is the better.
- Heat - Yes, Heat! When heat is used in the form of stream it has great benefits when done with deep conditioning.The steam allows those stubborn cuticles to open when oil or conditioning treatments are applied. Steaming your hair when treating it is much more beneficial.
- Porous Hair (High Porosity) - Naturals who have high porosity hair are more prone to breakage because of the holes and gaps in the hair strains that allow in too much moisture which, causes the hair to frizz and tangle. Just as quick as your hair absorbs moisture from the environment or products it can quickly loose moisture because of the holes and gaps. Many naturals who process or handle their hair carelessly may have high porosity hair. Along with the diagram, here are some other things to try:
- Heavy Butters/Oils - are great for frizz, tangles, and dryness. They also work as a protective barrier.
- Apple Cider Vinegar - has a pH level that is very close to natural hair's pH level. What ACV does is restore and slightly closes the cuticle. This can be done weekly. Just simply mix with water in a spray bottle and rinse after ten minutes.
- Aloe Vera -can be added to your leave-in conditioner which also helps with closing cuticles and balancing the hair's pH level.
- Deep Conditioning- This is a KEY step that all naturals should be doing no matter what porosity you are. You can leave the conditioner in your hair over night or apply heat to your hair just don't skip this step. Oh yes, let's not forget the oil. That's to much work you say? No worries, just add your oil in when your deep conditioning.