Constant Dryness and Frizz? Maybe its your Porosity!

porosity-1

Hello ladies,

It’s been a while since I wrote an educative post and this one is certainly full of helpful information.

I remember prior to my hair journey, my hair was constantly dry probably because I wasn’t moisturising and sealing. I also noticed that my about half the length of my hair had a puffy frizzy rough look. I would use oil and heat to get my ends to look smoother, shiny and less puffy.
After I started my hair journey I noticed that my hair’s dryness improved significantly however the parts of my hair that were still rough and didn’t seem to retain moisture for long at all even though I sealed the moisture in with oils. I off course did some research about the possible causes and that was how I learnt about the term “hair porosity”.

In this post I will explain what porosity is, types of porosity and how to manage hair porosity.

 

What Is Porosity?

Hair porosity is about how well your hair is able to absorb and retain moisture. I.e. Is moisture easily absorbed by your hair and how long does your hair stay moisturised for after its been washed or after you have moisturised and sealed.

Types of Porosity

There are three types of porosity, high, normal and low porosity. Hairs porosity is determined by the state of the cuticle layer (the outermost layer of hair).  To prevent this post being too long I will only discuss high and low porosity as these are the types that can be problematic.

 

High Porosity

Hair has high porosity if it is easy for products to be absorbed by the hair but the hair does not retain moisture for long.  It begins to look and feel dry after a short period after it has been moisturised.

Hair has high porosity if the cuticle layer is cracked, chipped or has gaps and holes in it. The cuticles look lifted or raised under a microscope.
Hair with high porosity gets dry quickly, relaxers and hair colours work quickly on this hair type. This hair type also tends to feel rough and tangles easily. High porosity is usually caused by damage from use of chemicals and heat, i.e. relaxing, colouring, blow drying on high heat and using straighteners often.   The more processed your hair is, the more porous it will become.
Please note however that some ladies have hair that becomes porous easily from general wear and tear, i.e. from general hair care. It isn’t always caused by damage from chemicals and heat.

Tips for Managing High Porosity Hair

  • Use protein conditioners especially those that contain hydrolyzed proteins. Protein conditioners temporarily fill holes and gaps in our hairs structure. Conditioners that contain hydrolyzed proteins are better at binding with hair and filling in the gaps or wholes. If the hair fiber has less holes and gaps it will be able to retain moisture for longer. Please note that moisture conditioning must still be used regularly in your regimen. This is where trying to find out what your own protein/moisture balance levels are is important.
  • Use coconut oil for your pre-poo. As noted above, the porosity of hair is determined by how cracked, chipped or split the cuticle layer of hair is. On wash days, our hair fibers swell when wet and sometimes can swell to the extent that our cuticles can split or crack. This is known as hydral fatigue. Coconut oil has been shown to penetrate into the deeper levels of our hair fibers. This reduces the amount of water that hair will absorb when being washed and thereby reduce the risk of hydral fatigue.
  • Always seal after moisturising using slightly heavier oils like coconut and olive.

 

 

Low Porosity

Hair has low porosity if it is difficult for water and products to be absorbed by the hair. Hair with low porosity tends to remain moisturised for longer periods.

Hair will have low porosity if the cuticle layer is tightly compacted or closed, smooth and looks flat under a microscope. This state of the cuticles makes it difficult for moisture to penetrate the hair. Hair with low porosity dries slowly on wash days and is very resistant to chemical services like relaxers and hair colors. Low porosity hair tends to suffer from product build up because the products sit on the hair fibers rather than penetrate them. Low porosity hair can also suffer from dryness because it is difficult to replenish its moisture levels.   Low porosity hair tends to look healthy and smooth but can lack elasticity.

Tips for Managing Low Porosity Hair

  • Remove product build up on hair by using clarifying shampoos or shampoos that contains sulfates once a month.
  • Deep condition using moisturising conditioners with heat regularly. The heat tends to slightly liquefy the conditioner making it easier to penetrate the hair fibers. Heat also tends to open the cuticles to let the moisture in. Please note that protein conditioning should still be included in your hair regimen.
  • Use liquid sprays, mists or spritz, lotions and lighter products as these will be more easily absorbed than heavy creams. Further to this, lighter oils should be used because heavier oils will probably just sit on the hair making it greasy. Grapeseed and jojoba oils are examples of light weight oils.

 

Your hairs porosity can change over time, for example I used to have high porosity hair, especially at the ends of my hair. My hair is still slightly porous but certainly not as high as it used to be.
Please also note that different parts of your hair may have varying levels of porosity, for example your ends/tips are likely to be more porous than the roots/hair nearer to your scalp because the ends are much older and their cuticles would have gradually chipped, cracked and split over time.
If your hair has varying levels of porosity or if you are unsure of your porosity level, I would suggest that you use both protein and moisture conditioners regularly.  Alternate between heavier and lighter leave-in product UNTIL you find out what products works best with your hair.

I hope you have found this post helpful.  Do you know your hairs porosity? How do you manage it.
Coming up next is a bun of the month post.

x

Lade
Learn | Change | Grow

 

 

 

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10 Comments

  1. Jummy
    September 27, 2016 / 7:33 pm

    Hi lade.. been waiting impatiently for this post! As always you do an amazing job in simplifying information and making it easier to understand. Keep up the good work. Cheers

    • Lade
      October 15, 2016 / 8:03 pm

      Thank you very much Jummy
      :)

      X
      Lade

  2. Emelia
    November 10, 2016 / 2:43 pm

    Great post Lade! As usual you always explain things making them simple. I have been enduring dry relaxed hair since I started my hair journey. This has caused a lot of breakage especially in my front hair. I’m protein sensitive and coconut oil dries out my hair and it looks like every leave in conditioner or moisturizer I use is just not right and my hair remains dry. What else can i do?

    • Lade
      November 15, 2016 / 1:12 am

      Hello Emelia

      Thank you sooooo much. Hair that is very damaged may not respond well to many products. It may also be that your hair has high or low porosity which leaves it feeling dry.
      please reread the advice given in the post. You may simply have to moisturise and seal your hair more often and keep experimenting with products until you find the ones that work best on your hair.
      All the best
      x
      Lade

  3. Claudia
    November 19, 2016 / 1:36 pm

    Thank you very much for this truly educational information. Perhaps you can answer this personal question for me. My hair is natural and usually dry, but any kind of conditioners, moisurizers, or even water, causes instant breakage. Shedding and breakage is plentiful. What would you recommend l do besides oiling? Thank you in advance for your reply.

    • Lade
      November 28, 2016 / 6:35 pm

      Hello Claudia

      Thanks for reaching out and for liking Hairducation. Conditioners in themselves should not cause hair breakage if being used the correct way.
      If you are experiencing a lot of breakage (not shedding) then your hair may be in need of protein conditioning.
      There is much more to healthy hair care besides oiling.
      Please read all the contents of the section of the blog called How to Care For Black Hair. I am sure youll find it helpful.

      x
      Lade

  4. Olorunwa
    January 22, 2017 / 3:38 am

    Hi ladies….
    Thank you so much for educating us. I love and cherish your blog. I used to have a very lovely hair, long but it broke down due to neglect however I have decided to start my journey,thanks to you…My hair has a high porosity, I just textulaxed it and it came out with lots of tangles and really feels like I never even used a relaxer on it….I conditioned with a protein and moisture.. Wondering what went wrong it’s so huge .. Thanks again

    • Olorunwa
      January 22, 2017 / 3:42 am

      Hi lade,
      sowrie auto correction.
      Thanks

    • Lade
      January 25, 2017 / 9:12 pm

      Hello Olorunwa

      I am happy you have decided to start taking better care of your hair. I don’t have enough information to give you detailed advice but it may be that you didn’t leave the relaxer in your hair for long enough so your hair retained more texture than you wanted to.

      I suggest you keep up with deep conditioning regularly and keep your hair moistursed well between wash days. You may want to put your hair in along term protective style for a while to avoid combing and styling everyday. Then you can texlax it again after a while.

      wishing you better results next time.

      All the best

      Lade

  5. chinnoye
    March 14, 2017 / 9:30 am

    Fine morning to you Lade. Am indeed grateful for this imformative platform provided to help thousands of persons out there. its truely selfless of u. pls i do ve a question concerning haur porosity. What home method cud be used to test ones hair porosity without use of microscope that is…and assuming my hair is of low porosity which i suspect does it mean i shudnt wash it every week? cus u stated low porous hair shud bw washed once a month wit a sulphate containing shampoo. in addition is argon oil good for low porous hairs?

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