The Curl Episode 2: Porosity and The Chart!

An original web series for Carol’s Daughter’s Transitioning Movement



You’ve heard these words before, but what does porosity really mean, especially when it comes to your hair’s strength, health and ability to retain moisture? In this episode of The Curl, we break down the real meaning of the word while some of your favorite natural hair bloggers, including Fran of Hey Fran Hey, Cipriana of Urban Bush Babes, and Shanti & Antoinette of Around the Way Curls, share their candid and often hilarious hair stories. Also, you’ll hear tips on the best hair products for natural and all hair types. To repair your hair and end hair damage, you need to know your hair’s porosity.

 Have You Joined the Movement?

Porosity Check. Low Porosity Hair Treatments

around the way curls, natural hair, porosity, antoinette henry
The summer sun wreaks havoc on my hair color giving me red, orange and even sometimes purplish hues in my hair. So, I recently got my hair colored again at Aveda. The color was nothing drastic… just a nice chocolate brown for the winter. Anyway, I am always nervous about chemical damage when getting my hair dyed (even though Aveda uses mostly plant based products) so I decided to do a health check by doing the porosity test.
First, do you know what porosity is? If not, click the linkhere. In my opinion knowing your hair’s porosity level is by far more important and helpful than the hair typing chart and if you don’t know what the porosity test is it goes a little something like this:
  • 1. Fill a glass container with room temperature water.
  • 2. Pluck a strand of clean hair from your scalp. Be sure that the hair you are using is coming directly from the scalp and is not a strand that broke off from your hair shaft.
  • 3. Place the strand of hair in the water.
If your hair floats you have low porosity hair. Meaning, your cuticles are compact and somewhat closed. This makes it difficult for moisture to penetrate your hair shaft but once it does penetrate it is easily maintained
If your hair sinks to the bottom you have highly porous hair. Meaning, your cuticles are so far raised that they are wide open. Moisture easily penetrates your hair but also easily escapes it. So, you need to figure out your own best practices for sealing in moisture. (That post is to come).
If your hair chills somewhere in the middle congratulations you have normal porosity, none of this matters to you and life is easy! But keep in mind your hair’s porosity can and will change overtime so it’s a good idea to check back in every now and then.
around the way curls, porosity, natural hair, curly hair
Believe it or not I actually took this picture the following day and that ish was STILL floating.
The results of the test were that my curls floated on top of that water like oil. Ugh! So, my hair has very low porosity. Meaning, it’s resistant and water does not penetrate my hair easily because my cuticles are not raised but instead are compacted. What that essentially means is that my hair repels products/moisture instead of absorbing them which can lead to dryness, product buildup and wack ass curls. BUT, the results also led me to believe that dying my hair did not cause any damage because my cuticle structure is still strong and intact. (At least that’s what I’m going to tell myself).  So, there are pros and cons to this discovery.
Ways to Treat Low Porosity Hair
  • Steam is a gentle way to lift compact cuticles and send moisture inside your hair shaft. If you don’t have a hair steamer then turn the shower on and sit in the bathroom while it fogs up. Add a deep conditioner to your hair while you steam for added moisture.
  • Add some heat! I have sad this time and time again. My diffuser mixed with my leave-in conditioner are the best things that have ever happened to me. The heat much like the steamer, lifts my cuticles and allows moisture to penetrate my hair to penetrate. The diffuser also helps to protect my hair as it distributes heat and airflow more evenly than a regular hair dryer.
  • The use of baking soda is something that some people are still on the fence about while others profess their love for it. I’ll keep it simple baking soda is alkaline and because of that lifts the hair’s cuticle. Many low porosity naturals add it to their conditioner during co-washes and such. Be sure to rinse it out thoroughly and then use something acidic to reseal your cuticles like aloe vera juice or and ACV Rinse.
  • Don’t go HAM with protein treatments. You’re hair is already compact with protein so adding more will further seal your cuticles. Use protein only when you are noticing damage and need to rebuild some of the hair’s foundation.
So, it was time to get the good ol’ Huetiful Hair Steamer out, lift up these cuticles and pump some moisture into these dessert like curls.
huetiful hair steamer, low porosity, natural hair, curly hair, antoinette henry, around the way curls
Listening to that new Miguel Album & playing Adorn for the 1000th time
After the steamer.
huetiful hair steamer, low porosity, natural hair, curly hair, antoinette henry, around the way curls
huetiful hair steamer, low porosity, natural hair, curly hair, antoinette henry, around the way curls
My curl pattern is still on some irregular stuff but I’m sure with a couple of treatments I’ll be back to normal. I swear I’m going to one day try that baking soda trick but I can’t front. I’m hella nervous about adding ACV to my hair. Just the sound of it scares me.
What is your hair’s porosity and how are you treating it?

Porosity Testing – 1,2,3!

So I thought instead of boring “informational” posts (which I know ya’ll skim the hell through anyway), I thought it would be better to instead get you guys involved by testing how much you know about natural hair care techniques. Let’s see if you pass or fail…
Which of these three ingredients has a PH level closest to your hair’s natural PH level?
        a)Apple Cider Vinegar
    b)Aloe Vera Juice
c)Baking soda
 The Answer is B 
Hair has a PH level of 4.5-5.5. Aloe vera’s PH level is 4-4.5. Why is this important you ask? It is very important because the Ph level of your hair effects it’s moisture retention abilities aka porosity!. Our hair’s Ph level is effected by the practices and products that we apply to it. For example, for those that choose to perm their hair, the basic chemicals of the relaxer effect the Ph levels of the hair which effects the structure of the hair’s cuticle (you following me? Reread the sentence until you understand!) Ph levels range from very basic(refer to the PH scale 7-14) whichliftsthe
haircuticles to very acidic (1-7) whichcloses thehairscuticle.   Hair which is too basic results in the cuticles being raised. Water goes in and out with no retention which results in DRY, BRITTLE hair! Hair with a Ph level that is too acidic results in a closed cuticle therefore water can’t get in and products build up on the hair shaft resulting in DRY, DULL hair! Why does aloe vera juice matter in this rambling? It matters because it is Ph Balancing. It is closest to hair’s naturally intended Ph level and can assist in re-establishing healthy moisture retention.   Lesson Learned  Ph levels affect the moisture retention of your hair. Aloe vera juice is ph balancing and can restore your hair back to its intended ph. This results in healthy moisture retention which results in less dry, breaking hair strands.   Homework  If you are interested in reviving the moisture retention mojo back in your hair follow, this fabulous recipe created by the infamous KIMMAYTUBE. Check out this awesome video if you want to further research moisture retention/porosity. Because this recipe is fine tuned due to Ph levels you do not want to skimp or deviate from the Aloe Vera Juice. The leave in conditioner and oils can be substituted but not omitted for best results.
2 tablespoons of Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave in Conditioner
2 tablespoons of Aloe Vera Juice (Whole Leaf)
2 teaspoons of JoJoba Oil
2 teaspoons of Castor Oil  Mix well and Apply to clean hair.

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