I learnt pretty early on my journey that knowing your hair was a winning formula. Though our hair may look the same to the naked eye, so much of the unseen goes into making it what it is. Mostly it is a mixture of genetics, hair type and texture, porosity and density levels. All these are crucial in understanding how to treat your hair.
When I did my big chop in November 2016 I did my porosity test. Porosity (low in my case) and hair type (predominantly 4c in my case with bits of 4b) are of paramount importance in informing your hair care regimen.
Form the onset I had no doubt I could grow long dense hair. So that was not my concern. Because I cut my dreadlocks postpartum while pregnant with my daughter I was most concerned about the health of my hair and had to develop something that would keep my tresses alive through the hormonal changes.
Well I tried. In my trying I accumulated some knowledge from the internet and some personal research. This is what I found out about low porosity natural hair.
Warm water opens cuticles. The major problem with low porosity hair is that our cuticles are closed shut and cannot absorb product as much as high porosity hair. So we are prone to product build up, which at times can weigh our hair down and even break it. If we take care to open up our cuticles when cleansing, conditioning and moisturising we insure that our hair drinks up as much of the good stuff to help it thrive.
I know, I know. No sulfates, right? I use shampoos with sulfates on most wash days because they cleanse better. Yes they strip our hair of its natural oils which can be damaging, but I counter act that with the treatments, conditioning and moisturising methods that follow. Why do I do this you might ask. Well my low porosity hair will get no justice from sulfate-free shampoos or cowashing (I do use these at least once a month) because in order to feed my hair it has to be free of product. Low porosity hair piles on the product because we are usually placing it on hair strands whose cuticles are close. Waste of product might I add, until you grasp the warm water trick. Even then the way our hair is set up a thorough cleanse is mandatory for it to thrive.
LOC, LCO, LO OR LC
The L is for liquid/leave-in, the O is for Oil and the C is for Cream. Most natties use the LOC method on washday which means once their hair is clean they proceed to moisturise it with leave-in for moisture, oil to loc in the moisture and cream for added benefits. This is a lot of products for low porosity hair. Most natties with low porosity either use LO or LC but seldom all three. Personally my hair really struggles with absorbing the cream because usually by that point my cuticles have closed shut, so I always opt for the LO method on wash day and throughout my moisturising regimen leading up to the next wash day.
Another tip for the low porosity natties it to not close your cuticles with cold water after deep conditioning. You need that live-in to do the most so while your cuticles are still open proceed with the live-in conditioner on damp hair, then close your cuticles to seal in the moisture with a cold dryer or even let your hair cool down naturally. Only then follow up with an oil for added benefit.
Our hair, low porosity hair that is, thrives off light oils for reasons already mentioned. Oils such as castor oil, olive oil and any other oils with a thick and heavy consistency are extremely hard to absorb. So hard that they literally sit on our hair and we hardly reap their benefit. Our hair thrives off oils such as sunflower seed oil, grape seed oil, jojoba, sweet almond oil, argan oil, and if used in moderation coconut oil.
You can have a collection of the heavy oils, they are good for hot oil treatments and pre poos, however as a means to moisturise our hair, they are too heavy and will cause major build up. You can also use these heavy oils and butters to seal your ends, the oldest parts of your hair strands. These generally need more nourishment.
Use heat. Use heat when pre pooing. Warm that water. Warm that oil. Wrap your head to insulate the heat if you are pre pooing overnight. If not protect your hair and use a hooded dryer, heating cap, deep conditioning cap or a damp warm towel.
This is by no means an extensive ‘how to care of low porosity hair’ guide. However the purpose here was to get you sailing in the right direction. Understand that your hair is more prone to product build up and actually loves heat, that’s how you get it to open up for the nourishment you will lavish on it on wash day.
Until next time, please like, share and subscribe to this blog. I’d love nothing more than to continue the conversation with you in the comment section below, let me know what tricks you’ve come up with on your journey to understanding your hair better.
I hope you found value in this.