Is your hair dry, brittle or damaged? If you have tried every moisturizing treatment and deep conditioner product that you have seen on various natural hair boards and your hair is still as thirsty as the Sahara, then you could be suffering (yes, suffering) from issues of porosity.
What is porosity?
Porosity refers to the hair’s ability, or inability, to absorb water or chemicals deep into the cuticle layers and cortex. All hair is naturally porous and somewhat permeable to water. Hair is literally like a sponge, capable of absorbing water and other substances from the environment, and also susceptible to losing precious moisture and lipids to the environment. Maintaining an optimal balance of moisture in your hair preserves its suppleness, strength, and shine.
What causes your hair to have porosity issues?
Excessive abuse from combs, brushes, and heat styling tools, the sun, over processing from chemical relaxers [perms] and permanent colors, as well as the continued use of sulfate-rich shampoos and changes in hormone levels are all reasons that your hair could have issues of porosity.
Note: I would seriously invest in some ph strips to test the acidity of your hair care products. High pH shampoos lift the cuticle allowing moisture to evaporate, so make sure you are using shampoos that have ph levels under 6 (pure water has a ph of 7). Elasta QP Crème Conditioning Shampoo is good. You can also opt to eliminate shampooing every time you wash and just do conditioner only washes (co-wash).
How do I know if my hair is suffering from poor porosity?
There are a few ways to check for poor porosity, but I think that this is the easiest way (at least for me) to tell. Take a few strands of shed hair from your comb or other styling tool and place them in a bowl of water. If your hair sinks to the bottom quickly (less than a minute or so), then it’s porous. The sooner it sinks, the more porous your hair is. If only one part of the strand sinks, you have a spotty porosity problem. This is not uncommon.
You can also get a fair gauge of your hair’s porosity by paying attention to how quickly your hair dries. Porous hair dries very quickly, and hair that takes a long time to dry is typically less porous. If your hair is almost completely dry before you dry off after your shower, then your hair is likely porous!
What can I do to fix this?
The easiest way to fix the damaged cuticle layers of your hair is through protein conditioning. Protein fills in gaps, binds to damaged places, and mends individual exterior scales along the cuticle. Regular protein conditioning improves the hair’s porosity by reinforcing the cuticle layers and allowing the hair shaft to better hold on to the moisture it is given. Don’t overdo the protein treatments though. Too much protein will make your hair even drier.
Suggested Product: Mizani Kerafuse Intensive Protein Treatment
[Note: This is the only commercial product I have tried to correct porosity, so this is the only one I feel comfortable recommending. There are other protein treatments available on the market such as Aphogee & Roux Porosity Control so look at the suggested application methods, price, etc. to determine what’s best for you]
Tips for use:
- Shampoo, rinse & towel blot
- Separate hair into 4 sections for easier application
- Apply approx 2oz of product to the hair, making sure to cover the entire hair shaft
- Cover hair with plastic shower cap and use heat cap or sit under warm dryer for 10 minutes
- Rinse thoroughly with cool water to close the hair shaft [which keeps hair shiny]. Hair is now ready for deep conditioning treatment. It is ideal to use a plastic cap and condition for no less than 30 minutes.
You can also however opt for a natural alternative to porosity treatments. Apple Cider Vinegar rinses are great for hair that has raised cuticles because the acidic nature of the ACV helps tighten and close those raised cuticles which will help your hair to retain moisture. In my attempt to keep from spending so much money on hair products, I have made this my go to treatment and because I don’t have serious porosity issues, it honestly works just as well for me. If you can deal with the smell, then by all means go for it.
Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
1/3 cup ACV
3 cups of Distilled Water
How to use:
Combine both ingredients in a plastic cup and rinse hair with mixture after you have shampooed & deep conditioned. This should be used as a final rinse and should not be rinsed out. This is also a great clarifying rinse & can be done once per month.