Hydration and moisture are very important to the proper functioning of most of the body’s organs and parts, our hair included.
For healthy hair, there has to be just the right level of hydration.
This means hair strands need to have and maintain the right structure so there won’t be too much or too little hydration and moisture in your hair.
Without this balance, if the scale tips to one end way too much than the other, then all kinds of hair problems might surface.
In this article, we’ll be looking at hair porosity, low porosity in particular, what it is it and how to increase hair porosity and get your hair to absorb and retain the moisture it needs.
What is Hair Porosity?
Hair porosity is the ability of hair to absorb and retain moisture.
It is determined by the structure of the hair shaft, for instance, the cuticle, or outer layer of the hair, that can be either opened or closed.
When the cuticle is open, the hair is said to be porous and when the cuticle is closed, the hair is non-porous.
Along with the number of cuticle layers. The more cuticle layers, the more difficult it is for moisture to enter the hair shaft.
Porosity is affected by several factors, including age, chemical treatments, heat styling, and genetics.
People with high porosity hair may find that their hair is dry and frizzy and that it breaks easily.
On the other side, low porosity hair may be oily and resistant to damage.
What Factors Affect Hair Porosity?
To deeply understand the solutions and tips I’ll share further down the line on how to increase hair porosity, it is important to understand the concept of hair porosity and the factors that are in play.
The structure of hair plays a very vital role in its porosity, whether it’ll be high or low. Hair consists of three layers;
Tough, protective outer layer of hair that overlaps each other like shingles on a roof.
This layer is made up of fibrous proteins and is the thickest layer. It also contains the pigment that gives our hair its color.
This is the central inner part of the hair shaft. It is soft, compared to the cuticle.
The amount of moisture that your hair shaft absorbs and retains depends on how easy or hard it is for the water, oils, and moisturizing products you apply to get past the cuticle to the cortex.
The main factor at play with hair porosity is genetics, but it isn’t the only contributing factor.
Hair styling techniques like straightening, bleaching, blow drying, and using harsh products and chemicals can cause damage to the hair over time.
What Is Low Porosity Hair?
Simply put, having low porosity means it’s hard for moisture and oils to penetrate your hair.
What causes this is the structure of the cuticles, they are laid down tightly on top of each other, imagine a shingled roof, making it difficult for moisture to penetrate the cortex.
Low porosity is most times caused by genetic factors. If low porosity runs in your family, you’ll likely get it too.
Damage caused by heat styling and using harsh chemicals and products usually leads to high porosity.
How To Increase Hair Porosity?
Having low porosity hair means you have to find ways to get your hair to take on more moisture than its structure would allow.
Since low porosity is mostly caused by genetic factors, there isn’t much you can do to change the structure of your hair, but there are practices and tips you can employ to help your hair absorb more moisture.
That being said, here are 7 tips on how to fix low porosity hair:
Clarify Your Hair
Low porosity hair is often caused by a build-up of products or oils on the scalp, which can block the hair shaft and prevent moisture from getting in.
One way to help increase hair porosity is by using a clarifying shampoo like this one.
This type of shampoo will remove any build-up on the scalp and strands that may be preventing moisture from being absorbed.
Be sure to use a clarifying shampoo only once or twice a week so as not to strip the scalp and strands of their natural oils.
Steam Your Hair
Steaming your hair is an effective and safe way to get the cuticles to open and allow moisture and hydration in.
Furthermore, steam doesn’t move the same way as water when it’s not heated.
Water molecules in vapor form move faster and can easily penetrate the cuticle and get to the core of your hair.
This method is effective because heat helps raise the cuticles, and water molecules in vapor form move faster than water molecules in liquid form. This way your hair can absorb more moisture to its core to keep it hydrated.
Because the heat from the steam raises the cuticles, applying hair products right after steaming your hair is a great way to get your hair strands to effectively soak up the products.
Use Lightweight Oils
When dealing with hair with low porosity, it is important to understand that you should avoid product buildup as that will make it even harder for your hair strands to absorb moisture.
When shopping for oils, make sure to choose lightweight oils that can easily get past your tight cuticles and that won’t cause a buildup that will further clog up your cuticles.
I recommend Argan oil a lightweight oil that can be used for most hair typers that suffer from low-porosity.
Deep Condition + Heat
The main purpose of conditioning is to moisturize your hair, but the nature of the cuticle of hair with low porosity can make this ineffective.
This means finding a way to prep your hair and get it ready to get all the goodness your conditioning process has to offer.
In, again, comes heat.
The simplest way to use heat to open up your cuticles before conditioning is to use warm water on your hair before starting your conditioning process.
Another way to do this is to use heat caps specifically designed to open the cuticles or use a simple shower cap that will retain your body heat.
Apply your deep conditioning treatment and then use the heat cap and let the magic begin.
Favour Water-Based Products
The nature of low porosity hair makes it so that only lightweight products have a higher chance of getting past the cuticle.
Water-based products tend to be lightweight and can easily penetrate the tightly packed cuticles of your hair.
This means when shopping for products to use on your hair, make sure to check the ingredients and make sure water is listed as the first or second ingredient.
The idea here is to opt for lightweight products that your hair can easily absorb.
Silicones are known to make hair strands smoother, they form a hydrophobic coating on hair strands.
This coating can make already low-porous hair even more resistant to moisture, making the situation worse.
A great way to avoid silicones is to go natural as much as you can.
When shopping for products, favor natural products over products with a lot of synthetic ingredients.
The fewer chemicals and unnatural substances you expose your low-porosity hair to the better.
Be Careful With Protein Treatments
Products designed to repair and strengthen the hair usually feature protein because of their potency in strengthening the hair cuticle.
This attribute of protein, a blessing for other hair types, can be a curse for hair with low porosity.
This is because low-porosity hair is already strong and tightly packed, the extra boost of protein can push it over the edge, making it stiff, fragile, and prone to breakage.
The name of the game for taking care of low porosity hair is moisture retention.
When dealing with low-porosity hair, the major goal is getting your hair to absorb and retain moisture effectively.
Put to good use the tips I’ve shared on how to increase hair porosity and your hair will thank you for it.
Want lustrous, shiny hair that turns heads wherever you go? Check out this 3-second hair ritual that brings back long, luscious hair fast!