5 Ways to Get Moisture into Low Porosity Natural Hair

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By Chinwe of Hair and Health

Porosity.  What is it?  It is a measure of how easily water and other substances can enter and exit the hair strand.  Depending on the condition of the hair’s cuticle layers, the porosity can rank from low (i.e., the result of flat, tightly bound cuticles) to high (i.e., the result of gaps or lifted cuticles).  Highly porous hair is more susceptible to moisture loss.  On the other hand, low porosity hair is more resistant to moisture loss … and also more resistant to moisture uptake.  If you have low porosity hair, check out these techniques for getting moisture into your strands:

1. Steam your hair

Some naturals with low porosity strands benefit from this routine.  The process is fairly simple and involves sitting under a hair steamer for 15-30 minutes.  Even if you do not own a steamer, you can still perform this step by being innovative (e.g., soak a towel in warm/hot water, wring slightly, wrap around your hair, then cover with a large plastic bag, and sit under a hooded dryer).  The purpose of this step is to lift the cuticle layers and infuse the hair strand with moisture.

2. Baggy your hair

This process involves applying a moisturizer to your hair, then covering with a plastic cap/bag until water vapor builds up in the cap/bag.  Some naturals prefer to do this process overnight while sleeping or during the day with a beanie or head wrap to disguise the plastic cap/bag.  Either way, the purpose of this method is to create a humid environment in which the hair has no choice but to absorb some moisture.

3. Lather twice while washing

Some of us prefer to lather once so as to not strip our strands of its natural oils, but those with low porosity hair may benefit from lathering twice. Why? Well, lathering twice can better remove product buildup and improve moisture uptake by the hair.  Additionally, some naturals who have low porosity claim to benefit from mixing a little baking soda with their shampoo.  (Take caution with doing this latter step as baking soda may or may not be harsh depending on your hair.)

4. Use a curl activator

Do you remember the “jheri curl” or “leisure curl”? Curl activators were used to replenish and retain moisture to these chemically treated looks in order to prevent dryness and breakage.  Though naturals obviously do not have these chemical treatments, many of those with low porosity have found the use of curl activators to be beneficial in moisturizing their strands.

5. Apply your moisturizer to damp not wet hair

Many naturals who have low porosity find that applying moisturizers (and even sealants) to soaking wet hair is not as effective as doing so to damp hair.  This is probably because as the hair dries, water droplets on and in the strand have evaporated a bit leaving room for your moisturizer to penetrate (and your sealant to coat your cuticle layers).  Obviously, you do not want to wait until your hair is completely dry; apply these products when your hair is damp.

Do you have low porosity?  Have you tried any of these methods?

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36 thoughts on “5 Ways to Get Moisture into Low Porosity Natural Hair

  1. I know for me after two years of dealing with low porosity hair I’m totally confused. I love Hawaiian silky but it contains mineral oil and I was told not to use glycerin in the winter. HOWEVER that is the only thing that moisturizes my hair. I have tried all of these methods and I have plans to do the cherry Lola treatment once I take out these twists. I pray to god it works I’m on the slippery slope if heat training or a texturizer GASP I’m trying to stay strong

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    • Hey Tamika

      Girl if it works for you, use it! Use that Hawaiian silky! lol products containing mineral oil, petrolatum etc. are so-called ‘no-no’s!’ because they are detrimental to some people’s natural hair, but if they are helpful for you, you shouldn’t exclude them just because someone said you should. Especially not when it’s the only thing that works! If you’re on the hunt for an alternative, in the meantime enjoy using Hawaiian silky, don’t stress yourself!

      Hope that encourages you!

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    • My hair loved Hawaiian silky when I tried it. Unfortunately I had to stop because the lanolin in it made my scalp itch – it was like wearing a wool sweater on my scalp (just too itchy too stand). I encourage you to hang on to products that seem to work for you. There is a lot of an advice out there that may work for certain hair types, but not all.

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  2. I’m a lo-po girl and I started to lather twice and baggy my hair more often. It does leave my hair softer, just not as long as I would like. I’ve just read somewhere recently that after the wash process on damp hair use the loc/lco method and then baggy my hair. Then after 30 min or an hr I should spritz my hair with cold aloe Vera juice or acv to close the hair cuticle up and it will help to retain all the moisture I just put in. Trying that today.

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