Whether you're new to the natural hair space or have been taking care of your coily and curly strands for a minute, you've probably heard of the term "low porosity "before. But, did you know what it meant? Or how knowing your hair porosity and optimizing your routine to suit your low porosity (if you have it) can be such a game changer? Well, it definitely can, especially when it comes to moisturizing your hair and choosing the best oils for low porosity hair.
And that's why we're going to be sharing all of the deets about what porosity is, how to know if you have low porosity hair, the best oils for low porosity hair, and ideas on how to use them in your routine to reap the most benefits.
What is Hair Porosity?
To explain this, let's first talk about how the hair is structured. I promise I won't get too technical here. The outermost layer of your hair is called the cuticle. The hair cuticle is made up of many smaller layers that overlap each other similar to roofing tiles. This structure is what causes the cuticle to be able to protect the more delicate inner parts of your hair strands.
Now, depending on how tightly these layers of the cuticle are packed together, the rate at which your hair can absorb things and retain those things changes. This rate is what we call hair porosity.
There are three hair porosities that one can have: low porosity, normal or medium porosity, and high porosity.
What is Low Porosity Hair?
If you have low porosity hair, that means that your hair has a difficult time allowing fluids and products into the cuticle, but once those fluids and products penetrate the cuticle, it does a good job retaining them in the strand.
So if you have low porosity hair, you'll notice that when you wet your hair, it takes a while before it reverts to its natural curl or coil pattern and when your hair is wet, it takes a long time for your hair to dry.
Now, of course, this may be difficult to gauge in real-time, there are some tests that can allow you to check the porosity of your hair, including a few scientific tests. Due to the high cost of getting a scientific test done and the difficulty of finding a lab that offers these tests, most people prefer to use DIY tests that they can do at home.
There are two DIY tests that you can use for this: the strand/float test and the spray test.
For the strand test, fill a transparent cup with plain, room-temperature water. Then, you will take a couple of strands from different areas of your head and place each strand on the surface of the water and lightly push them in so they are submerged right below the surface of the water. If after 4-5 minutes, your hair strand still has not sunk or has sunk slightly (less than a third), then it's likely that you have low porosity hair.
For the spray test, you'll want to start off with clean, dry hair. Then, in a spray bottle, put in some plain, room-temperature water. Spray just enough water on your hair to get it damp, and watch to see how fast your hair absorbs the water. If your hair doesn't absorb the water quickly, you most likely have low-porosity hair.
Please note that you should always do these tests on freshly washed hair that has no products in it because having products like oils in your hair can skew your results. So, you would do them right after shampooing.
Does Low Porosity Hair Also Have a Hard Time Absorbing Oils?
Yes, low porosity hair also has a problem when it comes to absorbing oils. And because the cuticle on low porosity hair is so tightly packed, a lot of oils end up being sealing oils rather than penetrating the strands. So, for this reason, when you're a low porosity natural, it's a good idea to have a couple of oils in your arsenal that are penetrating oils.
What are Penetrating Oils vs Sealing Oils?
A penetrating oil is an oil whose molecules are small enough to be able to pass through the hair's cuticle and into the inner parts of the hair. A sealing oil, on the other hand, is an oil with larger molecules that will just coat the strand and will not be absorbed into the cuticle. Each of these has a place in a good coily or curly routine.
Sealing oils coat the hair so they are great at slowing down the rate at which moisture is lost from the hair strand overall. A drastic example of this is hair grease but many other sealing oils exist such as coconut oil. Then penetrating oils, on the other hand, are great for achieving deeper moisture, i.e. slowing down the rate at which moisture leaves the inner parts of your hair, and for helping to strengthen the hair strand.
Here Are 5 Best Oils That Penetrate Your Hair and are Great For Low Porosity Hair:
Grapeseed oil is an amazing moisturizer containing many vitamins minerals and antioxidants. Alongside its ability to deeply moisturize the hair, its minerals and antioxidants go a long way in helping prevent damage from exposure to the sun.
One of the most interesting benefits of its antioxidants is that they can also help prevent premature greying. Now, there are many factors that contribute to greying including oxidative stress. The antioxidants present in grapeseed oil, such as OCP, are able to counter oxidative stress, and therefore may be able to delay or slow the onset of greys.
Avocado oil is another powerhouse among the best oils for low porosity hair. Avocado oil is rich in many nutrients such as vitamins B, D & E that have many benefits for both the hair and skin.
One of the things it's best known for is its ability to help prevent and counteract the effects of sun damage. The nutrients and antioxidants present in avocado oil are responsible for giving it this SPF quality.
Granted, it's not as high as a traditional sunscreen would be, but it does help your strands not to be too beaten down by the sun.
Sweet Almond Oil
Sweet almond oil, or just almond oil, is made from the regular (sweet) almonds that we eat. Not to be confused with bitter almond oil which is derived from a separate variety of almonds.
Almond oil has tonnes of great benefits: it's an amazing moisturizer, very lightweight and non-greasy, and it helps to fade scarring. In ancient Indian and Chinese medicine, sweet almond oil was used to help reduce the appearance of scarring and even out complexion.
When it comes to its benefits for your hair, the biotin present in almond oil can help strengthen your hair strands with frequent use and is a great treatment for a dry, flakey scalp.
Argan oil is another crowd-favourite oil for low porosity hair and for good reason! Argan oil has many benefits, but one of its key benefits is its ability to protect the hair from heat damage.
Because argan oil has such a high smoking point, it is able to withstand heat, therefore reducing the chances of suffering heat damage during heat-intensive activities such as flat ironing, blow drying, or hair curling. Its lightweight nature also keeps it from weighing the hair down. This is why many heat protectants will also have argan oil included in their ingredients. It's also great when it comes to preventing your hair from sun damage.
Jojoba Seed Oil
Jojoba seed oil contains vitamins: A, C, and E as well as omega-6 fatty acids that can work wonders for your scalp. Jojoba seed oil is one of the most similar oils to sebum, an oil-like substance that our body naturally produces. Our scalp excretes sebum that helps to moisturize our hair naturally and keep our scalps from feeling dry.
Because this oil is so similar to sebum, when applied to the scalp, it may cause a scalp that is too oily to start to slow down oil production, similar to its effect on other areas of the skin. On the flip side, if the scalp is too dry, the scalp will readily absorb the jojoba oil with a very small chance of any reactions. In fact, jojoba oil is one of the best-tolerated oils out there, and it can work wonders to soothe a scalp inflamed from eczema or psoriasis.
Jojoba seed oil also has molecules small enough that it can be absorbed into the hair strands to help keep the strands moisturized.
How to Use the Prettykind Ultralight Hair Oil for Your Hair
How can you see all of that goodness and not want to create something that would have all of those wonderful benefits in a form that those with all porosities, especially low porosity, can easily benefit from? So the Prettykind Ultralight Hair Oil was born!
There are lots of different ways that you can use this oil for low porosity hair. Some of those include:
Prepoo, pre-poo, or pre-shampoo refers to treatments applied on the hair before being shampooed. Prepoo treatments help to make sure that the hair doesn't feel too stripped after shampooing in case your shampoo is a strong cleanser. It is also used to help minimize the wear and tear that happens to the hair in the process of it being washed. You can use Aloe Vera to prepoo or you can use an oil of choice. Hint: this is where your Prettykind Ultralight Hair Oil comes in. 😉
How to Prepoo:
- Starting on dry hair, apply your Prettykind Ultralight Hair Oil.
- Leave your prepoo to sit for a while. We like to stay within the 15 to 30 minutes range but a lot of people are able to get away with keeping it on the hair for even longer.
- Shampoo as usual.
Hot Oil Treatment
You can also use your Prettykind Ultralight Hair Oil as a hot oil treatment. Hot oil treatments help to replenish oils in your hair, therefore improving the condition of your scalp and hair.
How to do a Hot Oil Treatment:
- Heat up the oil by placing the oil in a bowl and warming it in the microwave or you can make a bain-marie and slowly heat your oil over some boiling water.
- Apply warm oil to freshly washed hair and cover with a cap for 15 to 30 minutes to allow the oil to penetrate your hair strands. To make this even more effective, sit under a dryer. If you choose to sit under the dryer, then you don't have to heat up your oil before applying it.
- When you're done, rinse off any excess oil.
You can shampoo if your hair is too oily for your liking.
Sealing Ends Before Bed and Styling
The ends are the most fragile parts of your hair because they're the oldest. So, they need more TLC if you want to retain length.
One of the best ways to protect your ends is to seal your ends with oil before bed and when styling. This helps the more fragile ends retain moisture and therefore be more flexible. It also helps keep split ends under control and reduce frizz.
We know that was a lot to learn at a go, but we hope that this helped you understand how to improve your moisturizing and scalp care routines just by using the right oils for low porosity hair.
If you've got any questions, leave us a comment down below. Always a joy hearing from you guys!
And to shop for Prettykind Ultralight Hair Oil, click here.
The Prettykind Team