An Introduction to Fine Low Porosity Natural Hair

Woman with fine low porosity natural hair hair

It’s the end of November at the time that I’m writing this post, and if you have fine low porosity natural hair, we’re entering a period of unrelenting deep conditioning. What do I consider unrelenting deep conditioning? My hair asking me to deep condition it twice a week instead of just once. And I’m avoiding doing it like the plague, because ain’t nobody got time for that.

Luckily for us folk with fine low porosity natural hair, those periods of extra deep conditioning only happen about twice a year, depending on where you live. I live in Los Angeles, so it’s a guaranteed twice a year: Summer and Winter. However, the summers in Los Angeles have been very humid in recent years (instead of the dry heat that’s common in the region), so stay tuned for updates.

#globalwarming anyone? 

That’s just to say that regional humidity matters. So, if you’re trying to figure out how the seasons affect your fine low porosity natural hair, where you live is an important factor.

Most of what I’m going to write about is based on a Los Angeles, CA, environment. That means it may not apply to a Southern, Midwestern, or East Coast atmosphere. So be aware of that. However, I have lived on the East Coast with natural hair and I’ll talk a little bit about the East Coast and hair care (like a tablespoon amount). My family is also from the South, so I can talk about a tiny amount fine low porosity hair care in very humid environments (maybe a teaspoon amount). 

But overall, I hope to be a resource for those still trying to figure out their fine low porosity hair in a world full of hair care routines not made for your hair type. I’ll tell you what I know and what I’m still trying to figure out. And maybe we can learn together. So, jumping into our first topic:

How can you tell if you have low porosity hair?

Well, there are a couple of ways. You can do a hair strand test, but the I think the easiest way is to think about how your hair reacts after it has been washed. Does your hair take a long time to dry on wash day? Is re-wetting your hair during styling not something you typically have to deal with? If you answered yes to these questions, you probably have low porosity hair. I'm not big on the morning shower/wash routines, so I plan my wash days around when I have time to let my hair mostly air dry. It takes about 4 hours for my hair to air dry to a point where I feel comfortable going to bed and not waking up with still wet hair. It might still be slightly damp, but it's not wet when I wake in the mornings. My hair isn't especially thick. It just takes a long time to dry. It's a hallmark of low porosity hair.

Another tell-tale sign? Do have problems with products that flake? If so, you might have low porosity hair. The thing is, low porosity hair can only absorb so much, and the excess just dries on top of your hair strands and flakes off. But flakes just isn't a good look. For anyone. But take note of the products you're using and how your hair reacts to those products. If flaking is a consistent problem with most of the products you use, you might have low porosity hair.

Determining if you have fine hair is a little trickier.

Again, there are tests you can do, but I think the easiest way is to think about how your hair responds to manipulation. When I first started my natural hair journey many years ago, I envied the folks on YouTube who could twist up their strands every night to rock a fresh twist out the next morning. If you know you have fine hair, then you know that nightly retwisting does not work for us. It’s too much manipulation on our fragile strands and leads to more breakage to achieve that bomb hair style. So think about your hair. Does it tend to respond better when left alone in a protective style or wash and go? Do you find breakage to be a problem when doing a twist out, braid out, or other natural style that requires a fair amount of manipulation? If the answer is yes, then you probably have fine hair. For those just starting their natural hair journey or who are unfamiliar with how their hair works, the whole point of thinking about these questions is to get you familiar with your hair, how it works, and what it likes and doesn’t like. This understanding is going to be the foundation of your hair care routine. Products that work for me may not your for you, but the methodology in how you care for your tresses will be more or less the same. So, let’s get that framework in place. Yeah?

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