Her Curly Girls! We’ve found an awesome new resource for you! Nyasha Gowara, and her blog: BlissfulCurls.com. It’s stuffed full of useful info for growing and caring for natural hair. If you’ve been suffering from dry hair, her articles on hair porosity are sure to point you in the right direction. After you read this article, be sure to check out her second article here.
By Nyasha Gowara of BlissfulCurls.com:
When it comes to natural hair care, I have found that one of the most important things to figure out when it comes to your hair is understanding hair porosity.
Why, I am sure you are wondering. Well ladies and gents, porosity is how considered to be the measure as to how well your natural hair is able to absorb moisture and retain moisture.
Now this might not seem like a big deal, but over time I have found that knowing how porous my natural hair is, has helped me to moisturize it much better. So in this way it has more helpful than understanding my curl pattern.
Hair Porosity Explained In Detail
To better explain this, imagine that the layers of your natural hair are like shingles or roof tiles on a house. So remember that the shingles or roof tiles can expand and move due to changes in temperature like heat and cold.
With that in mind, when these shingles are completely flat it is difficult for water to enter or exit the roof aka your hair shaft. This ladies and gents is considered to be low porosity.
So if you have low porosity it means that your natural hair will retain moisture so, with that in mind your hair will not need large amounts of moisture for you to moisturize it. Now if this is your natural hair, then you will can use lighter more liquid based products that are more likely to be absorbed rather than just sitting on your hair making it oily or greasy.
Also if your natural hair is like this, then you can get away with not moisturizing your hair as much, compared to high porosity naturals.
So when it comes to high porosity naturals, the shingles or the roof tiles (remember those) are raised enough to allow moisture to enter easily and escape easily as well. So in this case, you need to layer your moisturizer as it may lose moisture easily.
I am sure you are wondering what this looks like. Well, you may apply a leave in-moisturizer, then a butter and then an oil. By layering your products this way, you are able to ensure that your natural hair remains more moisturized.
Mind you this is the way I moisturize my natural hair, and I have found that this has definitely helped my hair much more compared to before when I just used a leave in moisturizer.
And this ladies and gents is why hair porosity is more important than your curl type because your curl type is just how your natural hair falls while, hair porosity actually is how well your natural hair retains moisture.
So someone can have the same hair type as you, but completely different hair porosity. So whom ever you choose to be your natural hair inspiration, be sure that their hair has a similar porosity to yours.
And we have already covered what natural hair porosity is and, how it can affect how you moisturize your natural hair.
But what causes it and can you actually stop or prevent it.
The first thing is, we have to know is that porosity, applies to ALL hair textures and natural hair types. Meaning, that you can have it whether you have natural hair, or relaxed hair.
I know its kinda of a bum deal. But now I have to hit you with another one. Porosity is a form of hair damage. Yes ladies and gents, natural hair damage.
I am sure you are wondering what causes this damage.
Well, let’s go down the list shall we.
Hair Porosity Cause #1 – The Things You Do When Washing Your Natural Hair
The 3 things that can cause porosity when you handle your natural hair are:
shampooing your natural hair;
using a towel to dry your hair; and
combing your natural hair.
Now if you are doing any of the above things please stop, like NOW !! Mind you, when it comes to the first one which is shampooing your hair, I think its effect can be lessened if you use a moisturizing shampoo or even co-wash your natural hair.
By shampooing, using a towel to dry your natural hair and combing it, this can cause some serious damage to your hair, especially if you are aggressive when handling your hair.
So remember to be gentle.
Hair Porosity Cause #2 – Having Long Hair
I am going to share something with you guys my readers, which is, the longer your hair gets, the more likely you are going to expose it to that manual handling in “cause #1”.
Thus the longer your hair the more likely, it is going to have some form of damage and the more likely you are going to have some form of porosity in your natural hair.
I have even noticed it with my own hair, that the longer it has gotten the drier, the drier it has become and the faster moisture escapes from it.
So if you goal is to grow a long mane, remember that it may become more porous the longer it gets.
Hair Porosity Cause #3 – Big Ol’ Mr Sun
I looOOOvvvEEEee the Sun. I mean I really do. I grew up in Africa and when I was a kid it was warm all the time. We might not have liked to tan, but there was nothing better than enjoying the warmth of the Sun under a tree to provide some shade, and something cool to drink.
But, I have come to learn that the Sun can be one of the most damaging things for our natural hair. However, you need to expose your natural hair to over 200 hours of Sun exposure, for the damage to actually start occurring.
Mind you 200 hours is heck of a lot of time, so the most important thing is to be mindful of the time you spend with your natural hair exposed in the Sun.
Hair Porosity Cause #4 – Relaxing and Bleaching Your Natural Hair
If you love being able to colour your natural hair and relaxing it, then it is important to know that these two chemical processes are every demanding on your hair.
I remember hearing Kim Kimble, who is a very well know celebrity hair stylist, say that she tells her clients to pick only one of these processes. Meaning that they can either relax or colour their hair not both. Why, because by doing both of these it would cause some serious damage.
By doing both of these chemical processes on your natural hair, you will be throwing opening the door to porosity.
Hair Porosity Cause #5 – Then There Is the Environment & Other Stuff…
So the wind, humidity, using heating tools and dirt can all help cause porosity.
But remember, that all heads of hair are not the same and that the above causes we went over can affect more natural hair heads than others.
Hope this helps beauties…
Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemicals 1975
Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists 1976
Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists 1993
Journal of Cosmetic Science 2008
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