Well Hello There My Beautiful #RedCarpetCurlsRoyalty,
So you are looking for information on how to care for High Porosity Hair, well, let me just tell you, you’ve come to the right web page!
High Porosity hair is often looked at as undesirable and you often hear the myth that high porosity hair does not grow. That is a huge lie, and with these tips, you are going to go out there and show the world why it’s so important to know the science behind your haircare routine. If you’re serious about results, by the end of this article you will be a pro!
Let’s get into the basics…
High Porosity hair is defined as hair (often damaged) with gaps and cracks in the cuticle layer of your hair.
The cuticle layer (outermost layer) of the hair strand contains tiny scales (looks like roof shingles) if these scales are raised that means moisture like water and oil absorbs easily into the hair strand. That means when you wash your hair, the water immediately penetrates instead of rolling off like Low Porosity hair. The downside to this characteristic is that these gaps and cracks allow moisture to leak through the hair just as quickly. This can be a reason why your hair dries so quickly. At the beginning of my journey, my washdays were super quick because my hair would dry in less than two hours. That’s because my hair was very weak and damaged, and wasn’t able to hold on to the moisture I just placed in it. That’s why these tips were my absolute lifesavers!
Follow these seven tips (and subscribe for more) and have the hair of your dreams sooner than you think, and certainly sooner than me! Hey, it took years to cultivate these tips and science! My ignorance is your blessing! Use it wisely…
Deep conditioning regularly is a universal tip, but it’s especially essential for high porosity hair. High porosity hair, as we discussed has varying degrees of damage. If your hair is anything like how mine was when I first started the journey, then your hair desperately needs all the opportunities of repair it can get. That’s where your deep conditioning sessions come into play.
Deep conditioners are formulated as the most intensive conditioner on the market. This means it needs extra time to really work because it’s formulated with penetrating ingredients like aloe vera, glycerin, oil (penetrating oil like avocado, babassu, and grapeseed) that specifically work (in the extended time frame of 15-30 mins) to penetrate past the outermost layer of the hair strand known as the Cuticle.
Most rinse-out conditioners focus primarily on sealing the scales on this outermost layer, ensuring moisture retention and shine. Shine is great, but deep conditioners penetrate all the way to the deepest layer of the hair strand known as the Cortex. The Cortex is responsible for about 90% of the strands’ overall strength and structure. If you focus on strengthening and moisturizing this layer, you are creating healthier overall hair over time.
This is why it is so important to deep condition regularly. I say regularly because everyone’s hair needs are different. If you have wavy or fine density hair like me, then sometimes deep conditioning weekly can become too much, so you need to find a proper balance, like pushing deep conditioning back to every two weeks. If that is still too much you can try once a month, depending on the rest of your routine and of course how your hair responds. If you have thick/coarse/thirsty hair then you can benefit from deep conditioning more regularly like weekly or twice a week especially during the winter months. When it comes to high porosity hair, the more damage you have, the more you should focus on your deep conditioning sessions.
One very important tip to focus on when it comes to deep conditioning high porosity hair is always making sure there is some kind of gentle hydrolyzed protein to help repair your hair. Protein often gets a bad rep but it’s only out of ignorance. All hair regardless of texture needs protein, ALL textures. Some textures need more than others.
When it comes to utilizing protein in your deep conditioning sessions the only type of protein you should be reaching for is hydrolyzed protein, this means the protein building block has been broken down so much so, that it is now small enough and gentle enough to penetrate the hair strand all the way to the cortex. Hydrolyzed proteins like silk amino acids and hydrolyzed oat protein gently penetrate and repair the damage in the cuticle layer allowing for better moisture retention over time. Remember if your hair has holes in the cuticle, your strand cannot hold on to the moisture, leaving you with dry, brittle, and lackluster hair quickly after your washday. Protein helps moisture bind better to the hair strand giving you the results you are looking for. If your deep conditioner doesn’t contain hydrolyzed protein you can always add it yourself!
Check out how I add amino acids to my deep conditioner below:
Check out how I add hydrolyzed protein drops to my deep conditioners:
If you keep a nice protein/moisture balance in your deep conditioning routine, you will be on your way to healthy hair much faster than you anticipated!
Remember not to deep condition any longer than 30 minutes each session, and no more than twice a week. Otherwise, you can increase your chance of developing Hygral Fatigue (the cuticle is damaged due to excessive moisture entering and exiting the hair cuticle).
Deep Conditioning With Heat
Your deep conditioning sessions are going to be an essential step toward the road to recovery for your damaged (high porosity) strands. So, why not enhance the treatment to get the absolute most out of each and every session?
Yes! You can enhance your deep conditioning sessions. How? Simple, safe heat! No, I don’t mean break out those hair straighteners! I mean a safe form of heat like a microwavable cap from Thermal Haircare or Thermal Vibes! Have you ever wondered why the deep conditioning sessions in the salon come out so flawless? It’s the added heat during the treatment.
For example, most microwave caps contain pouches of heat-producing flaxseeds sown within the cap. So, once microwaved you have a safe level of external heat to heat up the deep conditioner ensuring you get all the nutrients and benefits promised by the conditioner.
This external heat will help lift the scales on the cuticle ensuring the product can easily penetrate the hair strand and improve health and elasticity. I started my journey with high porosity hair and this way by far the most helpful tip for fixing my hair, especially with protein-based deep conditioners.
If you want to get really fancy when it comes to investing in your hair care journey, you truly can’t go wrong with the Q-redew Hair Steamer.
The Q-Redew’s steam provides moisture and hydration to the hair by temporarily lifting the cuticle of the hair to allow moisture to penetrate the hair shaft.
This is particularly helpful with low porosity hair, which is often difficult to moisturize due to its closed cuticle.
Unlike a hooded steamer where you need to wait for the steam to penetrate all layers of your hair when using the Q-Redew, you are efficiently moving the steam across the surface of each section. You will immediately feel your hair warm and soften.
Steam is very hydrating for the hair since steam is simply water in vapor form. The extra hydration and heat allow the product to work wonders more quickly. If your conditioner contains protein that means your hair repairs itself more quickly, allowing for more moisture retention, hair growth, and length retention.
I am a huge fan of the Q-Redew hair steamer in general for high porosity hair, especially during the transitioning phase when your hair strands just cannot hold the moisture. This gives a great pick-me-up to the strands giving them extra moisture, But we will get into that in the next tip.
Check out how I deep condition using the Q-redew Hair Steamer:
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Steam is one of those universal tips for all hair types, its amazing for all hair, but immensely helpful and beneficial to the high porosity hair journey!
High porosity hair is often damaged by either chemical/heat treatment, normal wear, and tear, or your environment. There are countless factors really, steam is one of those much-needed extra boosts of hydration.
Damage causes gaps and cracks in the cuticle layer of the hair, making the strand incapable of sealing in moisture for long-term retention. When I was first starting my Curly Girl Method Journey, retaining moisture was my biggest struggle, by the time my hair finally dried (which was pretty quick – the more damage in the hair, the quicker the moisture slips out, and the quicker your hair dries/ dries out), my hair felt brittle and frizzy.
While your hair is recovering from the damage it has sustained (the older the hair the more wear and tear) you need to give your hair just a little bit extra TLC.
Steam is essentially water in warm vapor form. The moist heat helps penetrate and deliver extra hydration to your hair while simultaneously softening and moisturizing the hair strands. The moist heat also helps “open”/lift the hair follicles delivering more moisture, this will encourage faster and stronger hair growth. Not to mention helps keep the scalp moisturized keeping dandruff away.
Once I introduced steam into various parts of my washday, my overall hair health changed immensely. If you choose to start your washday with steam, it softens the hair and adds moisture helping release the tangles and prep your hair for the next step whether it be a pre-poo or straight into your shampoo.
When you apply steam to any conditioning treatment you help the product work more effectively and more quickly. For example, if your hair has some damage, and you’ve been religiously using a protein-based deep conditioner, the heat is going to help that protein penetrate and repair your hair more quickly. If it is a moisture-based deep conditioner (perfect for those winter months) then the steam helps that moisture penetrate effectively and quickly. You can check out how I deep condition with the Q-redew handheld hair steamer and deep conditioning masque below.
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When it comes to refreshing or restyling, Steam is one of the best tips for high porosity hair, using steam preps the hair to take any new product (like your leave-in conditioner, steaming your hair before you apply the leave-in or after you apply it allows the leave-in to work much more effectively) you will add or simply re-active the products you used the day prior. Steam gives a nice boost of moisture, paired with a conditioner it makes for an easy and effortless refresh.
You can check out an example of my 10-minute refresh sessions using the Q-redew below:
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The faster your hair repairs itself, the less maintenance it is going to be because it can now retain its moisture successfully. Until you have reached healthier hair goals, steam is an INVALUABLE tool to help assist your strands in the meantime! Not to mention, the shine and bounce are always an amazing bonus.
If you cannot fit the Q-redew into your budget right now (you can do a payment plan with afterpay!), then you cannot go wrong with the steam from your daily shower. You can also purchase a salon hair steamer.
I never recommend using a clothing steamer because it operates at high temperatures than the Q-redew hair steamer – which is designed specifically for naturally textured hair.
Aloe vera is considered a miracle plant and with very good reason! There’s really not much aloe vera can’t cure. Aloe vera consists of over 90% water, 99-99.5% water to be exact! This is why besides water, aloe vera is the next best hydrator for high porosity hair.
Aloe vera has a PH level of 6, which is considered a weak acid and very close to the natural PH level of our skin which is 5.
This characteristic allows for the penetration of nutrients from the aloe, which will revitalize the hair follicle and hair bulb. The nutrients and enzymes will strengthen and encourage new hair growth. (Basmatker)
Aloe vera contains 75 potentially active constituents: vitamins, enzymes, minerals, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids, and amino acids. Aloe contains something called Mucopolysaccharides, which help in binding moisture into the skin.
Aloe stimulates fibroblast which produces collagen and elastin fibers making the skin more elastic and less wrinkled. It also has cohesive effects on the superficial flaking epidermal cells by sticking them together, which softens the skin. The amino acids also soften hardened skin cells and zinc acts as an astringent to tighten pores. All of these nutrients are feeding the hair follicles strengthening them, hydrating them, and encourage new hair growth.
The amino acids present in the aloe vera help repair the hair and scalp to increase moisture retention. Aloe softens, repairs, and increases the shine and overall health of hair, all of these nutrients are greatly needed by high porosity hair.
If you start your healthy hair journey with aloe vera and steam paired together? You will see the shine and improvement in just a few uses!
Pure aloe vera makes an amazing pre-poo or deep conditioner for weekly use!
Aloe vera juice is also an amazing tool. Aloe is absorbed by the skin up to four times faster than water, so using aloe vera juice and water as a refresh spray or homemade leave-in conditioner is ideal especially when first starting out and are not sure about which products you want to invest your money in yet. Aloe has everything you need to start properly caring for and repairing your high porosity hair.
The main reason aloe vera is so amazing for high porosity hair besides all the nutrients and hydration is simply its hydrating & moisturizing effect. Not only does the aloe bombard your thirsty strands with all the water it needs, it actually works to properly seal (moisturizing effect) the scales on the cuticle layer of your hair allowing for longer moisture retention and shine.
Use Oil Wisely
Oil gets a bad reputation online and I want to clear all of that up now. When it comes to oil, you normally hear them separated into two main categories, known as Moisturizing and Sealing oil.
If you want to get really technical about oil, you should also know the difference between a carrier oil and essential oil. “The main difference between carrier oil and essential oil is that carrier oil can be directly used on the skin while essential oil cannot be directly used on the skin. Essential oils, which are natural oils extracted from plant parts, are highly concentrated and too potent to directly apply on the skin.” (Hasa)
But back to moisturizing vs sealing oil. One thing you need to understand from the beginning is no oil will actually hydrate the hair by any means, “moisturizing” is simply another word for penetrating.
These types of oils contain a good amount of lipids and fatty acids which are known to penetrate the hair making it softer and shinier.
Moisturizing (penetrating) oils like Grapeseed, avocado, and coconut oil contain small lipids allowing them to seep into the strand working their magic, these types of oils are fantastic to add to your deep conditioning sessions or simply for a pre-poo/hot oil treatment.
Sealing oils are the exact opposite, these oils don’t contain as many lipids and are meant to focus on sealing the scales on the cuticle layer of your hair. This ensures better moisture retention and shine, especially when first transitioning when these goals feel impossible.
Examples of sealing oils include Broccoli Seed Oil, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Jojoba Oil, and Rice Bran Oil.
These oils contain bigger-sized lipids that are unable to penetrate the strand, instead, it sits on top of the hair strand creating another invisible layer of moisture protection. Sealing oils are great to use when you are scrunching out the gel cast at the end of your washday, or using it as the oil in the LOC method.
If you are looking for an oil that is somewhere in the middle- meaning it is a sealing oil but contains some fatty acids that might work to penetrate a little bit as well, look into Olive Oil, Avocado, or Argan Oil.
Looking for some oil blend recommendations? Try some of my favorites:
- Thatsthatmagic (Discount code:redcarpetcurls)
- Alodia Haircare Nourish & Grow Healthy Hair & Oil
- Queen’s Magic Hair
- Alodia Haircare SOOTHE Hair & Scalp Herbal Infusion
- Tailored Beauty Lustrous Hair Remedy Serum
- Righteous Roots
- Inahsi Naturals Pamper My Curls Hair & Scalp Elixir (Discount Code: Redcarpetcurls)
Incorporate ACV Rinses
Apple Cider Vinegar is defined as a vinegar made from apple juices which passed through two fermentation processes, alcoholic (this where the sugars are turned into alcohol, ethanol alcohol being the main component) and acetification (exposing the newly made alcohol to bacteria, this further ferments the mixture and turns it into acetic acid).
This is all fancy wording to explain the sugar in the apple juice is converted into alcohol by the yeast of the Genus Saccharomyces (Greek word = Sugar Fungus).
Apples are naturally loaded with potassium, malic acid, calcium, amino acids, and pectin. The fermentation process fortifies the end product (the acv we use) with even more beneficial acids and enzymes. Raw apple cider vinegar also contains Vitamin B, C, Potassium, and Calcium just to name a few.
ACV is naturally slightly acidic, serving as the perfect alternative to restore the natural PH level of the Acid Mantle (a very fine, slightly acidic film on the surface of human skin. It acts as a barrier to bacteria, viruses, and other potential contaminants that might penetrate the skin). When the acid mantle is exposed to the acidity of the apple cider vinegar, the mantle hardens the outer layer of the hair strand. This ultimately leads to the scales (on the cuticle layer of the hair strand) “flattening,” allowing the hair to be more manageable and shiny. When the acid mantle is balanced will lay flat and reveal a natural shine, smooth appearance, and protection against moisture loss.
ACV has a PH balance (depending on the purity of the acv) between 2.9 and 4.5.
The Acid Mantle normally has an ideal PH level of 4.5-5.5. This means it is slightly acidic, when the balance in your hair is disrupted, the acid mantle becomes more alkaline. The hair then starts to swell up, the scales in the cuticle layer begin to “raise”/”open”. This leaves the hair very susceptible to breakage and split ends since moisture is lost through those little opens. This results in frizzy and brittle hair. This can also lead to a “dull” appearance because shine comes when all the scales on the cuticle layer are laying flat and sealed properly.
This is why ACV rinses are amazing to incorporate into your high porosity haircare routine! ACV rinses enhance shine and hair color.
While the Alpha-Hydroxy Acid gently exfoliates the scalp and hair, allowing for the removal of dead skin cells and build-up from products and sweat. This improves the overall appearance of the hair along with reducing itchiness.
For the first few years of my journey, the ACV rinse was a must about once or twice a month. What can I say I love that shine!
Check out how I do my acv rinses below:
Please DO NOT use ACV rinses as your SOLE source of hair clarification. Sulfate-Free Clarifying Shampoos such as the Inahsi Naturals Soothing Mint Sulfate Free Clarifying Shampoo(Discount Code: REDCARPETCURLS) and the Miche Beauty DETOX Clarifying and Detoxifying Shampoo exist for a reason!
These shampoos contain sulfate-free Anionic Surfactants that are able to thoroughly clarify the hair and scalp of all build-up.
Clarifying should be done at least once a month, an ACV Rinse is not effective enough for heavy build-up. Please use a shampoo and use this ACV trick as a tool for shine and in-between washes!
You can read more about the science of ACV Rinses as well as their benefits by clicking here.
Heavier products like butter and custards
Using heavier products might be your best protection against too much moisture loss while you transition from damaged hair to healthy hair.
I always say the foundation for a great hair routine is (you might be familiar with these concepts if you have seen my Bemycurl (Discount Code: REDCARPETCURLS) Tutorials on YouTube and Instagram.
This basically means you need a leave-in conditioner or moisture-based product to properly hydrate your hair. Any good moisturizing product should contain water as the first or second ingredient. The water and other ingredients like Aloe Vera are going to hydrate your hair while the aloe vera and other ingredients like oil and butter will work to seal in that newfound moisture. The next product you would need after your moisture-based product is a product that will give hold, which is the main function of a gel. This is why I always recommend starting your routine with a good leave-in and gel. This is the foundation, your hair needs moisture to become manageable and clump the way you want it to, while the gel offers a stiff hold to keep those curls in place.
This foundational combination works wonders, but extra challenges like winter months or high porosity hair behavior, in general, can make it seem like nothing is working. This is when you might need to switch your leave-in conditioner for a heavier product like a cream or custard. The great thing about styling is that there are soooo many options. But I found heavier moisture helped me get a few more days out of my wash-an-go than I normally would. It really helps if your styling products contain some kind of hydrolyzed protein because even during styling you are repairing your hair.
Look for heavier moisture like aloe vera, glycerin, oil, butter (Mango, Kokum, Shea, etc).
If you need more ideas on styling, check out my walk-through of the Inahsi Naturals product line. I walk you through tips, purposes, and my favorite combinations for different hair types!
You can also check out product lines designed specifically for High Porosity Hair, like one of my absolute favorites Elaine Beaute High Porosity Haircare Line.