Curly hair comes in a slew of different textures, each with different features and characteristics. But one universally important factor that determines how you should care for your curls is its porosity. Hair porosity is your hair's ability to retain moisture and it comes in three different categories: low, medium and high.
Now let's be honest, of all three on the spectrum, low porosity hair gets a bad rep for being hard to keep healthy and hydrated but the truth is most people are just doing the wrong things without realising it. So, to keep you from messing up while trying to care for your low porosity tresses, in this article, we'll reveal a few things you're probably doing to your low porosity strands that are a big no-no.
What Is Low Porosity Hair?
We've already explained that hair porosity is your hair's ability to absorb moisture but in order to really understand what makes one's hair low in porosity, it is important to know what that means in relation to the cuticles. See, the cuticles are the outermost layer of the shaft, and they are essentially made up of tiny individual cells overlapping on each. For moisture or anything to penetrate the hair, it will have to pass through spaces between the cuticles. However, with low porosity hair, the cuticles are very tightly packed together and that makes it very hard for anything to properly penetrate the hair shaft.
This structure is why low-porosity hair tends to display certain unique characteristics. So, if you're trying to determine if your hair is low-porosity, it's pretty easy to find out. Let's get into some tell signs
What Are The Characteristics Of Low Porosity Hair?
Your Hair Always Seems Dry
Do you ever feel like your hair stays dry no matter what you put on it? Chances are your strands are low porosity. Your cuticles are closed and tightly packed and that makes it extremely hard for your moisturisers to get in, which is why your hair feels dry despite the layers of product you apply.
Products Sit On Top On Your Hair
This one is closely tied to the first feature. Products don't get absorbed into your hair easily so there is of course nowhere else for them to go but to sit on your strands. You may apply a moisturiser and find that up to 30 minutes later your hair still looks white on the surface as a result of the product. You may even feel the product on your hands when you touch your hair long after application. In addition to this, you’ll probably notice you tend to get a lot of buildup. Don’t worry, you're not applying too much product, most of it is just not getting absorbed properly.
Your Hair Takes Time To Get Wet Or Dry
Ever styled your hair and noticed it takes almost a whole day for all the products you've applied to dry properly? Yeah, that's your low-porosity hair just doing its thing. Closed cuticles mean it's harder for moisture to leave your hair once it gets in which is why your hair takes forever to dry but it is also the same reason why you can stay under the shower for up to ten minutes before your hair gets fully soaked with water
You Get A Lot Of Breakage
We all know dry hair often leads to breakage since it lacks the elasticity to snap back when you tug and pull on it. So, if you have low porosity tresses that are not getting enough moisture, you will likely experience a lot of breakage.
6 Mistakes Derailing Your Low Porosity Curly Hair
1. Not Clarifying Enough
Clarifying your scalp is very important when you have low-porosity hair since you're more than likely going to get a lot of product buildup quite often. However, we know most people tend to avoid clarifying shampoos because they sometimes strip the hair of its natural oils. So you may make the mistake of only co-washing or never using a clarifying shampoo. This will mean your hair is not properly cleaned and when you pile on more products, they will not penetrate the hair at all and lead to even more buildup. You do not need to clarify all the time but using a hydrating shampoo like our Manuka Honey Shampoo at least once every two weeks will cleanse your scalp and remove any buildup without leaving your hair stripped and dry.
2. Not Using Heat In Your Deep Conditioning And Moisture Routine
As a low porosity curly, you probably know how annoying it can be to spend your time and money trying to make sure your hair is properly moisturised but to your dismay, it still somehow remains dry. Well, the lack of heat in your moisture routine is probably a major reason why.
After applying a moisturising product to your hair, adding some source of heat into the equation will help open up the cuticles and allow easy penetration of the product. Whether you are deep conditioning with our Manuka Honey Deep Conditioning Mask or applying your Sofn'free leave-in conditioner before styling, cover the hair up and sit under a hooded dryer or steamer to warm it up. If you're pressed for time, you only need to do it for about 10-15 minutes but to really maximise the moisture absorption, try to extend the time to about 30 minutes.
3. Using Heavy Oils And Moisturisers
Another common mistake you may be making is using really thick products on your hair. Given the nature of your cuticles, loading your hair with heavy oils or butters is probably not going to yield the best results. The thick consistency of these products means they will find it very hard to penetrate your hair shaft and as such you'll notice that the product just sits on your hair without doing what you expect it to do.
In extreme cases, this can mean your hair will remain dry no matter how often you apply your oils and moisturisers. If it is a styling product, it can also weigh your hair down and mess up the final look of your hairstyle. Stick with lightweight stylers like our Flaxseed Oil Curling Mousse or moisturise during the week with our Coconut & Jamaican Castor Oil Curl Refresher. Both will easily be absorbed into the hair, leaving it well moisturised and looking flawless. Additionally, instead of thick oils that make your hair greasy, opt for a fast-absorbing oil like Sofnfree's Scalp & Hair Oil.
4. Using Cold Water On Washday
You've probably heard the advice: rinse your hair with cold water on wash days to seal your cuticles. Well, if you have low porosity hair that is not a good idea. Your goal on wash day should be keeping your cuticles open as much as possible to allow proper absorption of every product you use from start to finish and using cold water can get in the way of that. As you shampoo, detangle, and condition, rinse with warm water to open up your cuticles and allow easy penetration when you apply a moisturiser like our Manuka Honey Leave-in Conditioner at the end of your wash day.
5. Not Using Water-Based Products
Water is one of the best moisturisers for hair no matter its porosity, but when your strands are low in porosity, it makes your life so much easier because of how easily it will soak into the hair. So, when choosing hair care products, you cannot afford to skip water-based products. Instead of super thick cream-based products that will take forever to get into your hair, go for products that have water as the first or second Ingredient. This applies to everything from moisturisers to conditioners and stylers. Our Flaxseed Oil Curl Elongating Gel and Moisture Rich Conditioner With Avocado & Manuka Honey are the perfect water-based duo for hydrating and defining your calls on washday.
6. Skipping Humectants
Since low-porosity hair has closed cuticles, it is harder for moisture to get it, but humectants can help lift the cuticles and pull in moisture from the atmosphere into the hair to keep your strands hydrated. So, if you are not using products with humectants, your low-porosity tresses are really missing out on some much-needed moisture that could save you from dry brittle strands. Opt for products rich in humectants like honey or glycerin. You can deep condition with our Manuka Honey & Avocado Deep Conditioning mask to soften and moisturise your hair after shampooing on washdays or make your curls pop with our glycerin-rich Curling Creme.
Low porosity hair may seem like a handful at first but once you understand its unique structure and different needs, it becomes easy to figure out how to keep it healthy and hydrated. Avoiding the common mistakes, we've highlighted in this article is a great starting point, so if you want your low porosity curl to flourish be sure to take note of which mistakes you may be making and start fixing them ASAP.