24 March, 2012

Rethinking Porosity - High or Low which are you?

In the above video, I talk about the porosity of my hair.


It will be my 6th week since I began doing the CG method and I ran into a road block. Whenever I leave conditioner in my hair like I see others doing, the conditioner just stays on top off my hair and instead of drying clear, there is white residue left over. I thought maybe it was the conditioner I was using (Tressemme Naturals) so I switched over to the AO White Camilla. And while, the AO is much much better....in fact, really really good, I still couldn't get away with leaving that much conditioner in my hair without experiencing residue.

It made me realize that hair was simply not absorbing the conditioner, it literally just sits on top of my hair. This got me thinking about porosity and the several articles I had read about it. All the time I've been natural, because my hair never seemed to stay moisturized, I thought I had high porosity hair. Not only that, when I run my fingers up my hair shaft, there were "bumps" along the way which according to this article on CN is a sign of high porosity (i.e. the cuticles were raised and not laying flat).

Well, it made sense, not only based on that test but also based on the fact that it seemed many naturals had high porosity hair.The only thing is that my hair was telling me something else and if only I will listen...Christabel listen smh. I should have listened to my hair that is. It was indeed not staying moisturized but not for the reason I thought. It was dry because products were not penetrating my hair strands. It just sat on top of my hair until I washed it off. Coupled with the fact that I was not getting my hair wet frequently...I was left with dry tresses.

After getting my hair cut and doing the CG method consistently, my hair is no longer dry but I still couldn't leave that much conditioner in my hair without dealing with residue as I stated earlier. Which is why last night, I decided to do another porosity test. This time, I plucked a couple of strands of hair and cleaned them with a shampoo and then put it in a glass of water to see if it float or sink. The theory is that if it floats, your hair is low porosity and if it sinks, it is high porosity.

Well, boy oh boy, did my hair float...in fact it is still on top that cup of water as I am speaking to you (24 or so hours later). That result coupled with the physical evidence I observe(d), I have reached the conclusion that I have low porosity hair.

What does this mean for my hair care practices you ask? Well, when I get in the shower, I let warm water from the shower stream run through my hair for a few minutes. This enables my cuticles to be somewhat raised in preparation for the conditioner. I go ahead and apply conditioner which I let sit for a few more minutes. I then do a final rinse with lukewarm water. I rinse enough of the conditioner out so my hair is clear but I also leave enough in to aid in curl definition and moisture. That's it, I shake, shake and shake my hair some more for all my coils to fall into place and that's it...viola beautifully defined curls.

So, if you've always thought that your hair is high porosity, but your hair doesn't seem to absorb products (or conditioner if you are doing the CG method), try doing the "water test" and you might be surprised.

So ladies, on which side of the porosity scale do you lie?

17 comments:

  1. hi!!(im french so sorry for my bad english!!)
    i have the same problem!!!
    low porosity and with the curly girl methode the conditioner who works for me it's the giovanni 50:50!!
    (i hope my english is good)
    have good day :)

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    1. Hi, your English is lovely. I wonder what the pH of the e50/50 is. I'm going to go check it out...will keep you posted. Thanks for stopping by and subscribing :)

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  2. hi me again!
    talk about porosity :
    http://www.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Flesgaleresduneafro.blogspot.fr%2F2012%2F03%2Fporosite-et-cheveux-crepus.html

    have good day :)

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    1. Thanks ma'am. I'm going to look into the baking soda thing and see what recipies I pull up and see if it works.

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  3. hey :) african via europe here. i just realized that i too have low porosity hair. i spent tons of money on products that all left residue. yesterday i tried adding baking soda to raise the ph level of tresemme naturals, and lo and behold, it didnt leave a residue. i am also gonna step up adding glycerin in my hair(products), as this is a humectant that will draw moisture to the hair strands. acidic ph works best for normal to high porosity. after years of being natural and not being able to retain length, i just learnt this....i hope this knowledge will make me able to retain lenght!

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    1. Yay, thanks for visiting. My hubby and I are planning a trip to europe this fall...maybe we can have you show us around? What country are you in?

      I'm thinking of trying glycerin too but I'm apprehensive that I might loose curl definition...I'll try it and see. How much baking soda do you add to your conditioner? I definitely think that it's hard to retain length when your hair is not truly moisturised so I'm sure that for you and for me, length retention will be easier.

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  4. Already posted abt this porosity . And happy to find out that I do have some fixing to do. So I do have low porosity . Thnks again

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    1. Isn't it amazing when you finally figure it out? You are welcome Moya. Keep me updated on how it goes.

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  5. I did the hair test today. I have low porosity. Now I have to reevaulate the products I purchase going forward so that my hair wins. Thanks for the post.

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    1. Awesome Tianna, please let me know how it goes :)

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  6. I think I'm high porosity my hair sunk like a rock. Even then my hair still has trouble absorbing conditioner so now I'm totally confused. Do you have any tips on what I can do or any ideas why my hair is not absorbing conditioner well?

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    1. I think you must be because my hair floated like for three days lol. I'm not sure why it's not absorbing conditioner even though it is high porosity.

      My suggestion will be to use a clarifying/chelating shampoo in case you have a lot of build up. That is only thing I can think of. Also, try to do ACV rinses and see if your products are pH balanced (4.5 to 5.5 or so).

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  7. Hello ChysCurlz,
    OMG! I am so frustrated with my hair. I just did the water test and it indicates that I have Low Porosity hair too. I also began the CG Method this past Sunday. Well the 1day my hair looked moisterized but I noticed the front looked a little dull. Well the next time I co-washed with Tressemme, I did a twist out and man I had soooo much residue left over, it looked like I had been eating powdered doughnuts ;)
    I know I have to find what works for me though and it's just a PROCESS...ugghh!
    Thanks for sharing your story.

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  8. Hi anon 5:52, I'm so sorry that you are frustrated but I know EXACTLY what you mean. Unfortunately it does take some trial and error but I promise you will figure it soon enough once you know the techniques to use and find a good conditioner.

    I know I cannot use the Tressemme Naturals as a leave in so maybe look around until you find something you like. Also, rinse off as much of the conditioner as you can and then use a light spritz like the Shea Moisture ones to seal in the moisture. That way you steal leave in some kinda product in your hair even if it's not a ton of conditioner. I will post a video soon to show you how I do it.

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  9. Hi all, I too have low porosity hair too and I found out that if I heat up the TN in the microwave or in a bottle warmer or however and I put in on my hair that is also been in warm to hot water to open the cuticles it has been working for me, the conditioner absorbs in my hair. I hope this can help someone else too because I know how frustrating it is to want to do the CG method but can't find a way for the conditioners to absorb.

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  10. Wow all this low porosity chat is excellent!! after 22 months natural, second time around, I now know that I have low porosity and will be trying the baking soda method. The CG method has not been working for me and now I see why. I recently bought a steamer so will be using it a lot more to help with absorbing my conditioners. Which are the best brands to use on low porosity strands??

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  11. Yeah I thought I would be high po too as did a lady on this thread because I was telling her how I would put something on my hair and then like five minutes later it was dry again. But when I did my test several times it came out low. Still, after doing so many low po regimens and changing my products, my hair remained dry, until finally I realized my hair is just refusing to absorb products at all. It will not take conditioner, period. So I have to move on to herbal stuff. I am however having good luck with just using coconut oil on my hair until I try a henna treatment. I think my hair strand is so tightly closed that it can only take water alone, so it might be getting plenty of moisture with warm water and I just need a little extra strength and sealing which coconut oil seems to provide. Not sure why but my hair really likes coconut oil for now though that might changed after I do a henna treatment.

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