Have you ever been to a store in search for hair products which were specifically made for your hair type?
Most stores do not have hair products specially made for black African hair. For years we have been using products that are not made for our hair. This is evident when you walk into any beauty products and cosmetics stores like Clicks, you will only see just a few products made by Africans for Africans. This is probably the reason why many people have started blogging or vlogging about hair products for black African hair. On Youtube, rice-water videos and aloe vera growth masks are trending as the best natural products for hair growth.
It’s quite tempting to see fellow black African women showing us how their hair grew from using these products, especially if you are experiencing real hair problems. I must confess, I am a victim of this and after watching a rice-water tutorial, there I was preparing my own and applying it to my hair. At first I felt like this might work because my hair felt smooth and strong. I tried it for a few weeks until I realized that I was loosing a lot of hair each time I rinsed the rice-water off. My hair was falling off even when I combed it, this was a clear sign that it was not working out right for me and I had to immediately stop using it. Little did I know that rice-water did not work best for my hair type. But what exactly is hair type and how do you find out what hair type you have? Testing your hair porosity can help you determine your hair type.
What is hair porosity?
Porosity refers to your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. Hair porosity determines how well your hair handles oils and moisture.
The porosity test
You can test your hair porosity by dropping your hair strand into a cup of water. Preferably do this with clean hair straight after you have washed your hair.
If the hair strand floats, you have a low porosity.
If the hair strand sinks to the middle, you have normal porosity.
If the hair strand immediately sinks to the bottom of the cup, you have a high porosity.
Why is this important?
People who wear their hair naturally often struggle to maintain, if you know your hair porosity you will know which products your hair needs.
The following are the three categories of hair porosity:
If your hair has a low porosity it means that it does not easily absorb and retain moisture. This is caused by the cuticle layers that tightly bonds and lays flat which makes it difficult for moisture or water to pass through your hair.
Important tips for low porosity hair
Deep condition with heat
The use of direct or indirect heat will help your deep conditioner to absorb or pass through your hair. In this way, your hair will absorb moisturizing nutrients.
Use a clarifying shampoo
Consider substituting your regular shampoo with a clarifying one at least once a month. This helps to get rid of all product build up which makes it difficult for your moisturizers to penetrate through your hair.
Use light oils
Light oils such as sweet almond oil, argan oil just to name a few, are perfect for hair with a low porosity, it also decreases the product build up in your hair.
The Baggy Method
Moisturize your hair, then wear a shower cap for at least 30 minutes to an hour,
do this once or twice a week. The Baggy method will help to soften and infuse moisture into your hair.
Use water-based moisturizers
These are ideal for low porosity hair, they penetrate as much moisturizer/ water through the hair as possible.
This hair is the easiest to maintain because moisture penetrates to the hair easily. Deep conditioning can help keep your hair healthy.
If your hair has a high porosity it means that your hair quickly absorbs moisture.
Important tips for high porous hair
Your hair will need proteins for strength and to fill gaps that resulted from either chemical or heat damages. Consider doing a light protein treatment once a month and a heavy one every two months.
Use heavier products
Use products labelled as creams, butter etch and seal them in with heavy oils which will ensure that your hair is moisturized, your hair will not loose moisture due to the heavy sealing.
From the information above, I found out exactly why the rice-water was not working out well for me and it also helped me to switch to a product that works best for me. I hope this information will bring an end to your hair struggle.