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Po- rooo siii-tiii this sounds very complicated to pronounce! Whether you are a new natural or a fully-fledged natural, you know about the porosity debate which leaves you confused anytime you hear the word. But what is hair porosity and what role does it play in how you take care of your hair? Porosity is the ability of your hair to absorb and hold moisture. The structure of the hair cuticle determines one’s hair porosity. In order to determine your hair porosity, you will need to do some tests such as the float test, the Slip and slide test and the spray bottle test. (you can read more about it here). are three types of porosity:

• Low porosity

• Medium porosity

• High porosity

Have you ever noticed that after washing your hair it stays wet for a long time or perhaps you wake up in the morning to style your hair only to find it half dry? Then you have low porosity hair.

Low porosity has a tightly bound cuticle layer which makes it difficult for moisture to penetrate into your hair. Knowing your hair porosity can help you go through your wash day like a breeze. As a low porosity naturalista, I have learnt from my mistakes when it comes to styling my hair. When you have low porosity hair, the products you use and the way you use them matters a lot.

Do’s and don’ts of low porosity hair

When you have low porosity hair, making sure your hair absorbs moisture and stays moisturized is key. Applying the LCO or LOC method will be beneficial to your hair. You should moisturize your hair using liquid leave-in conditioners or spray leave-in conditioners, hair milks and lighter styling curl creams. Oils such as jojoba, almond and coconut oil work best on low porosity hair because they are lighter and do not weigh the hair down. It is best to moisturize your hair when damp and not dripping wet when you have low porosity hair so that the products can work efficiently.

Deep conditioning your hair once a week is very important. Deep conditioners penetrate best into low porosity hair when heat is applied.

Use protein-free conditioners because low porosity hair can be sensitive to protein but make sure to do a protein treatment on your hair from time to time because your hair needs it. I will recommend a protein treatment every 4 to 6 weeks.

Wash and rinse your hair with warm water to open the cuticle up and allow moisture to penetrate into the hair shaft.

Using heavier products are a no no for low porosity hair because they will just end up sitting on top of your hair.

You don’t have to run away from shampoo. Because those who have low porosity hair tend to have product build-up, it is necessary to wash the hair once a week or every 10 days with a clarifying or gentle shampoo to give your hair a fresh start.

Medium porosity hair has a looser hair cuticle which makes it easier for moisture to penetrate into the hair. This type of porosity tolerates well heat styling, hair dyes, chemical treatment and requires less maintenance (say yeah!!). However, you may need an occasional protein treatment.

Have you ever noticed that your hair dries up quickly after you have washed it and no matter how many times you moisturize it, it is still dry? Then you have high porosity hair!

High porosity hair has gaps and holes in the cuticle layer making it difficult for the hair to absorbs moisture and stay moisturized leading to extreme dryness especially in dry weather.

Do’s and don’ts of high porosity hair

Pre-pooing or detangling your hair with an oil before shampoo will help keep your hair moisturized and frizz at bay.

You should moisturize your hair using creamy leave-in conditioners, heavier butters such as raw shea butter and heavier styling creams. Oils such as avocado oil, olive oil and castor oil work best on high porosity hair. You can also moisturize your hair with a mixture of aloe vera juice, water and vegetable glycerin.

Use protein products because protein helps strengthen your hair.

Rinsing your hair with Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) will close the cuticle and bring back the pH balance of your hair.

Manipulating your hair less to avoid dryness. Protective styles such as braids, cornrows and twists will save you time and give your hair a break from constant and daily manipulation.

Now that you know your hair porosity, I believe you are better prepared for your natural hair journey and remember that the most important is to have time to learn about your hair, take care of your hair, to be patient with your hair and to love your hair.

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