Thanks to a couple of LHCFers, I realized two things:
1- I never wrote a post on my LP hair
2- Apparently, I know more about my LP than I thought
What is Porosity?
Porosity is the hair’s ability to absorb water, moisture and products.
So, What is Low Porosity Hair?
Low Porosity (Low Po or LP) Hair means that the cuticles are so tight that its hard to open them and therefore, its harder to get simple things such as moisture (including water) and other products in them. It is hard to get products to absorb in the hair, so often, products sit on top of hair and cause build-up. Low pH products are also a no-no because they close the cuticles even more. It is also advised to avoid protein as it is harder to remove protein once it penetrates and products loaded with heavy oils seal the cuticles, which are already hard to lift.
What Have I Learned?
Ive learned that LP hair is only as good as the regimen and styling you keep.
It is always recommended to avoid protein when one has LP hair, however, I have learned that protein is my best friend or frenemy depending on the hair style. When my hair is roller set, protein is its best friend, but air dried, protein becomes the frenemy and its use becomes severely limited to once every 4 weeks. Because Im a roller setter, I have to replenish protein bi weekly because of the heat. Direct or indirect, its still some kind of heat and it will still put a beating on the hair. The only difference between direct and indirect is the way heat hits the hair and its damage over time.
- Indirect heat has shown to be more effective of not damaging my hair over time while direct heat (flat ironing) has shown to tighten and seal my cuticles more than indirect heat.
- Proteins that benefit my hair are Silk, Keratin (including their Amino Acids) and milk protein when used with silk protein.
- Silk works best as a light protein treatment and as a heat protectant.
- Keratin works well as a medium protein treatment and is the only protein that does not cause breakage or chip my hair. Many hair sites can scare you on the use of keratin protein, but it is the protein your hair is made of. Since using keratin, I rarely deal with overload or heaviness problems attributed to protein.
- Milk protein is only good with silk protein in small amounts as I cannot use milk protein alone.
- Collagen is exceptional when dealing with moisture overload.
When it comes to deep conditioning, regardless to whether I use protein or not, I have to use heat. No arguments please. When I use silk, I have to use a heating cap, but with my other DC’s, I just use either my heating cap or steamer. Steamers are better for my hair for adding more moisture, no doubt, while I find heating caps to provide more sustaining with moisture levels. Huh? Well steamers add moisture in which I notice the effects during the first few days, but heating caps keeps my hair leveled between wash days. I moisturize less with a heating cap between wash days while steamers cause me to have to moisturize daily after the first few days, then I have to replenish moisture possibly every day after until the next wash day.
When it comes to products, I have to be very careful.
- Smoothing Shampoos are a big no-no.
- Smoothing products in general are a no-no
- Proteins in leave-in and moisturizers are a no-no
- Aloe products are a big no-no
- Water based moisturizers are a big oui-oui
- Avocado oil and butter is a gift and a curse
- Shea butter is very smoothing; a big no-no
- Sulphate shampoos are a big oui-oui
- Wheat Protein is a no-no
- Fruit acids in clarifiers are a big oui-oui
- Moisturizing shampoos are a gift and a curse
- ACV Rinse is a no-no
- Tea/Coffee rinse is a oui-oui
Clarifying is an important part of any regimen but it like the HG of LP hair. Its bad enough to have build-up but LP hair gets super build-up and with that comes breakage city if your not careful because nothing can penetrate.
Its easy to get moisture overload when your not careful. With LP hair, the focus is getting moisture in because its so hard. Like force feeding a child. I was that child actually. So because the focus is moisture, moisture, moisture, you kind of forget that you need to add some protein in that diet because protein is not recommend for LP hair. Ive found the best way to balance both is to just stick to a strict regimen.
When it comes to Oils:
Coconut oil is a no-no for me. It penetrates and leaves my hair hard.
Avocado oil, Apricot oil and Sweet Almond oil are the most moisturizing.
Sunflower oil is moisturizing.
Ceramide oils are best for sealing and holding in moisture over a longer period of time.
Wheat Germ Oil is HEAVY, but its the one oil I can use the really retains moisture and reduces weekly moisturizing re-ups and doesn’t effect dryness long term.
Tricks of the Trade
Some things I learned that made my life easier:
- Applying leave-in’s and oils on damp hair work far better that on wet or dry hair.
- Overnight DC’s are nice, but can provide too much moisture. Its a great alternative when you don’t have the time, energy or money to invest in heat appliances, but I avoid them when necessary.
- Always use heat with a DC. Heat is about lifting them cuticles.
- Baggying is good, but if it isn’t done on the entire head, I found it causes breakage.
- The LCO method worked better than LOC method.
- GHE required more protein usage because it does leave you with wet hair. LP hair take FOREVER to dry, to when you wake up with wet hair, that wet hair for however many hours it takes to dry.
- T-shirt drying works best along with a diffuser (for me, about 2 feet away) to reduce drying time and not affect moisture.
- Always track LP hair seasonally. If you live somewhere that has all 4 seasons like me, or there are differences in humidity, dew points, and climate (if not much temp change), always be mindful to that. My hair behaves and is easier to manage during extreme seasons like Winter and Summer. During these seasons, I can use the the same products for each season with the difference being I have to use more steam in the Winter while I can use less in the Summer. In the transitioning seasons, with changing humidity and dew points, I have to be mindful of steaming as it sometimes adds too much moisture and with using the heating cap, my hair can get limp fast.
- Avocado Oil and Avocado Butter I find to be smoothing, so while I love them, I have to be careful when I use them. I try to stay away from these ingredients after a relaxer and too far into a stretch in DC’s. As a leave-in or moisturizer, I find them pretty beneficial. I speculate the while the oil penetrates, the butter smoothes and that might be the issue.
- Rinses work good for me with they don’t have protein and I mix them with protein. I try not to bother too much with them because they don’t penetrate.
- Tea/coffee rinses I find allow better penetration for DC’s. I really notice a difference when I don’t use them
I hope this helps someone. Its finally out my brain, so I can help someone after I drove myself crazy. Ha-Ha
Low Porosity hair is definitely a gift and a curse. A gift because its not hard to maintain once you know it. A curse because its hard to maintain when you don’t know, hard to maintain up until the time you do, and has multiple personalities even after you do figure it out!.
One Day, It Will Happen