Caring for natural hair can be a challenge for many. From styling to which products to use, achieving the perfect look can prove to be a daunting task, There is a never ending supply of "Natural Hair Care Products" available to the natural hair care consumer, still determining which products will work well for your hair will be an exercise in trial and error. Caring for your natural hair takes a great deal of patience and time initially. Once you've found a style or styles that are simple to create and long-lasting , caring for your natural hair will prove to be less time consuming and frustrating. Below will be a step-by-step approach to caring for most natural hair porosity types.
Determining Your Hair's Needs
If possible, try to determine your hairs needs. Is it in need of porosity control, moisture, shine or even a good trim to get it on the road to being the beautiful crown and glory you've always dreamed of. There are several steps you may need to take to lay the foundation for achieving a more beautiful, healthier head of natural hair.
STEP 1: Trimming Your Ends
For many this step may seem unnecessary, however trimming your ends may be the first step you will need to take to help make your hair more manageable. Of course, if you have recently had a big chop, especially if it was done professionally you can likely skip this step. However, beside to have your ends trimmed every 4-8 weeks thereafter. Once you have gotten an initial hair cut or complete trim, you will only need to have a micro or mini trim regularly. See video below for hair cutting tips.
STEP 2: Porosity Control
Many are not aware of the importance of porosity control or what it means. Porosity is the ability of the hair to take in water and other moisture or even oils, it also refers to how open the hair's cuticle layer is. Based on the definition having porous hair may seem like a good thing. While having porous hair does allow it to accept water, conditioners and oils easily, if the hair is extremely porous, it usually means the hair has been damaged in some way. Most hair is either low, medium or highly porous.
Low porosity hair is usually hair that is in it's virgin state. It's cuticle layer is completely close, which prevents water or moisture from entering into it easily. This can be good because it means the hair is in it's complete state, and still contains all of it's natural keratin or proteins, which means it will be stronger than porous hair.
Caring for low porosity hair can be challenging especially if the hair is naturally dry, as this means it will be harder for the hair to accept moisture within the cuticle layer of the hair. When hair has low porosity, to add moisture may require warming or steaming hair indirectly by using conditioner or oil on wet warm hair. Warming the hair will allow the cuticle to open and better accept moisturizing conditioners or lubricating oils. Warm the hair using a hair steamer, plastic cap on the hair with a towel wrapped around the head or under a warm hood dryer over night or for 30 minutes respectively. Products containing natural humectants such as honey and or natural butters are excellent for moisturizing low porosity hair. Olive and Jojoba oil are also good oils for moisturizing and lubricating low porosity hair. These oils will easily penetrate as well as lubricate the hair helping to make low porosity hair softer. Hot oil treatments are also good for this hair type since it will allow the oil to be deposited directly onto the hair shaft for hair that is especially resistant to accepting moisture.
Medium porosity is generally good because the cuticle layer is slightly open and easily accepts and retains water or moisture, making it easy to condition and soften. Medium porosity hair usually has little damage as the natural protein or keratin has been minimally affected. Medium porosity hair can therefore be easily moisturized, conditioned and lubricated by using the same techniques as for low porosity hair.
However, less product will be required since the hair easily accepts moisture. Using a mild hair cleanser that is pH balanced and or no more than a pH 4.0- 7.0 acidic is ideal. Warming the hair will conditioning is a good idea just to insure maximum conditioning especially if the hair tends to be very dry or is highly textured. Simple oils and conditioners can easily absorb into medium porous hair allowing it to be easily maintained and healthy.
While some may be born with high porosity hair, often the hair becomes highly porous due to permanent hair colors, especially hair lighteners or bleach. The constant use of direct heat styling implements such as blow dryers and flat irons and the use of chemical relaxers or perms can also remove some of the hair's cuticle layer, creating holes in the hair shaft causing it to become overly porous and damaged. Highly porous hair accepts water and moisture easily but releases it easily also making it hard to keep the hair moisturized and conditioned. Keeping highly porous hair moisturized can be achieved in a similar manner as low porosity hair. However, the hair may need to be deep condition longer and rinsed from the hair using cool water. Also using a no-rinse deep conditioner is highly effective. The idea is to force the cuticle layer of the hair to close while simultaneously locking in oil, moisture and conditioning agents to fill in and lubricate the hair shaft. Using a pH balanced cleansing product is also highly effective in preventing dryness and closing the hair's cuticle. Closing the cuticle helps to prevent breakage, since when the cuticle is open the hair tends to be rough and difficult to comb allowing it to break easily.
Excessively porous hair will lead to, hair strands with severely open cuticles, holes in the hair shaft, leading to split ends and ultimately hair breakage, thining and hair with stagnated growth. Eliminating excessive direct heat such as blow drying, and flat ironing, damaging chemicals and highly alkaline products can cause excessive porosity. Opting for using pH balanced styling and finishing products, roller setting and indirect heat, moisturizing, conditioning and lubricating the hair regularly will help to balance hair's porosity. Maintaining medium porosity and balanced pH will keep hair healthy, supple and soft.
By Step-By-Step Natural Hairstyling, Natural Oasis Products