Ah it's autumn! One of my most beloved times of the year! It's also the time of year to try and get a handle on a pressing hair problem - how much moisture does your hair need at anytime of the year to make it look its best. Much of the hair puzzle can be solved when you examine how your hair absorbs moisture. Determining the moisture balance for YOUR HAIR is the key to nearly every hair conundrum.
"My hair is frizzy!" you exclaim, (too much humidity). "My hair is too dry!" you exclaim, (brittlely cold weather drying out everything in sight).
I don't know a single woman who doesn't say something like the above about her hair. I don't care how enviable the hank of hair.
With all that "noise" swirling in the ether, you stumble upon some fussy know-it-all, like yours truly , who wants to elaborate on the obscure topic of porosity? You can roll your eyes, it’s okay - but keep them open and read on.
The concept of porosity is quite simple. First, all hair is porous. If your hair shaft is more porous moisture will go straight in… and escape just as easily. If your hair isn’t as porous, (note I said isn’t as porous) moisture will have a harder time penetrating the shaft and in turn will not escape as quickly. Hope that makes sense.
Hair in it most natural state isn't as porous and may be classified as "low porosity". But please, do raise your hand if you have done NOTHING to your hair. Anyone?
I hear those crickets.
It's all about balance. Without the right amount of moisture retained by the hair you will take up residence in the township of Hot Messton.
In this post we are going to focus on low porosity hair. But first, we have to determine the porosity level of your hair (high/low), by conducting the “floating hair test.” (which I will sheepishly say I did while working because... it crossed my mind...?) Anyway:
1. Take a couple of strands of your hair and drop them into a full cup of water. (Don't rip them from your head in front of people. That's off putting. Just grab a few from your hair brush or comb after a sweep through/ fix up - before a meeting *cough*)
2. Let them sit in the cup of water for about two to four minutes.
3. Observe your hair. If you hair is floating in the water, you have lower porosity. If your hair is sinking, you have higher porosity.
I left my hair in the cup just to see how long it would take my hair to sink... as it didn't after 4 minutes. Well, a half hour later, I got sick of monitoring my test as my hair was still only partially submerged on the very top of the water and I came to the conclusion that my hair wasn't all that porous... yeah it took me that long to catch the hint.
Low porosity hair is typically resistant to moisture. This does not mean that the hair is unhealthy; it simply means that I need to help my hair retain moisture. With that knowledge, I am determined to help my hair out!
Recently, one of my favorite product lines, Shea Moisture released two brand new collections which I am pleased to say I got my mits on while in Atlanta recently.
I'm going to try the low porosity collection for the first time tomorrow! Churrah! I certainly will let you know how it turns out!
This collection includes a Protein-Free Shampoo, a Protein-Free Conditioner and a Protein-Free Leave-In Detangler. Are you catching that theme for low porosity hair. I didn't put together that my hair didn't like protein for well... some years. So there's a short cut for you!
The Shea Moisture low porosity collection has natural and certified organic ingredients which include: Baobab Oil: Extracted from the African “superfruit”, this deeply moisturizing oil is rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Tea Tree Oil (my dermis LOVES tea tree oil): Moisturizes and comforts scalp for healthy-looking hair. Spearmint Extract: Effectively revitalizes hair and scalp with a fresh stimulating fragrance. Sounds good and I'm excited!
I'll depart with a few quick tips on caring for low porosity hair:
1. Use a pre-poo treatment - Add a penetrating oils like coconut, sunflower, olive, avocado, or grapeseed oil (my favorite) to your conditioner, apply a couple of hours before rinsing it out and shampooing your hair.
2. Water down your conditioner - Water is the best moisturizer! I use about 2 ounces of conditioner to 6 ounces of water. I divide my hair into sections and then work this conditioner mixture throughout. Proceed to deep condition with heat.
3. Always deep condition - that's pretty much it.
4. Seal in moisture with an oil - Low porosity hair usually responds better to the L(liquid/leave-in), C(cream), O(oil) method rather than the famous LOC method. Always use your liquid/leave-in first, and your oil last.
5. Make satin your best friend - use a satin pillow case... "because you're worth it" but also because its ALSO good for your face! Cotton also sucks the moisture out of your face so using a satin pillow case will also help fend off the wrinkles! Double duty !!!!
Well that was a lot of information so I'll depart for now. We will revisit porosity on the other end of the spectrum soon!