Dec 5, 2012

Discussion: Porosity Over Curl Pattern

For most of us, the weather outside is getting colder. That means that we have so many more reasons to worry about moisture.

First of all, it doesn't rain nearly as much in the winter. The air is dry and moisture in the hair is lost more quickly to the atmosphere. Also, we use artificial heaters much more often to stay warm. This dries out the air indoors just as much as outdoors. POOF! More moisture gone. And finally, fall/winter fashions are the best (in my opinion. I will happily discuss this in the comment section). But the fabrics are heavier. Therefore, the wool and super plush cotton and fleece are made closer to our hairlines to keep our necks warm. If you have the smallest bit of length, these fabrics will rub and siphon the rest of the moisture out of strands. With all of these obstacles, it makes sense that everyone is more moisture-conscious. How do you know the best way to keep your hair moisturized in these ultra-dry times? I have learned that advice based solely on your curl pattern is useless.

"I want you to suffer" ---the person who assigns hair care solely on texture.

When it comes to moisture, the idea is to get moisture to stay in your hair. Just like pores in your skin, pores in your hair are openings (in the cuticle) that allow things like water into and out of the hair shaft. If your hair dries out really quickly, it's probably highly porous. If it takes 1.5 days for your hair to dry, it has a low porosity. Or click here to read about the porosity test. And that's what you need to know to control moisture.

High porosity hair has many openings in the cuticle. These openings readily absorb water into the hair. That means in dry climates, these openings readily lose water to a dry environment. So you can be soft and lush at 8:00 a.m. and stiff and dry by 2:30 p.m. The best thing you can do to keep moisture in your hair is layer hydrated hair with cream and seal it with dense oils (see photo) to keep water from leaving.

Shea Butter works wonders for highly porous hair. This is an original, by the way.
Normal porosity hair has fewer openings, but still have enough to easily absorb water and nutrients and moisturizers. These can penetrate the hair and leave at a normal rate. So when the air is drier and colder, hair may need to be moisturized more often. Also, a nice, light oil to seal in moisture can only do good to normal strands (unless you have oily hair).

Low porosity hair has very few openings. This hair does not allow most things to penetrate the cuticle. Low porosity hair can be hard to color, hard to moisturize, and once saturated usually takes a long time to dry. The key to keeping moisture in this type of hair is gentle heat. Gentle heat lifts the cuticle layers and allows more hydration and moisture into the hair. Once the hair cools, the cuticles relax and since there aren't many openings, the moisture retention increases. Avoid heavy oils or greasy products. It will likely block the few openings on the hair, and cause a filmy buildup.

Results of my porosity test (from my instagram) 3 hours in. AND I cheated, lol.
I have low porosity.

That was a lot of information. But if you are reading this part, you made it through. And now you can make it through the winter with lush curls that aren't zapped by the dry air, or suffocated by products that it can't absorb. So... did I leave anything out?

What do you do to help retain moisture during the cold and dry winter season?
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