As a natural with high porosity hair you may find that it is a bit of a challenge to retain length and reach your growth goals due to constant breakage. Having high porosity hair means that your hair strands have raised or damaged cuticles which can lead to chips and cracks along your hair strands. The damage incurred could have been the result of chemical processes like dying the hair, or it could have been the result of over-manipulation of the hair. Regardless of the cause, hair in such a state is rendered fragile and prone to excessive breakage, and is therefore in need of reinforcements in order to thrive. You may be tempted to give yourself a major haircut and start all over, but that might not be necessary. Depending on the degree of damage, you may still be able to treat your hair while growing out the compromised strands. So before you big chop consider these options:
1. Do hydrolyzed protein treatments Protein treatments will have to become a staple in your hair regimen. These treatments can help fill in the cracks in your hair strands, but you must make sure that the protein is hydrolyzed; you can do so by checking the ingredients list. Proteins that are hydrolyzed have been broken up into smaller sizes to better adhere to the hair's strands. It's suggested that you should do protein treatments at least once a month, but depending how damaged your hair is you may be able to get away with doing them more frequently. A great choice is ApHogee 2-Step Protein Treatment.
2. Use conditioners and leave-Ins with hydrolyzed proteins
If you choose to only do protein treatments once a month or even less frequently than that, you should incorporate weekly rinse out conditioners or leave in conditioners that have hydrolyzed proteins in them. This way you are able to maintain the results of the protein treatment and avoid feeling like your hair is in constant need of one. A great conditioner choice is OGX Thick & Full Biotin & Collagen conditioner. As a leave-in, you can use the ApHogee Green Tea Keratin & Reconstructurizer.
3. Use the LOC or LCO method The LOC or LCO methods are very popular methods that many naturals are using to keep their hair moisturized. The L stands for liquid or leave-in, the O stands for oil, and the C stands for cream. The way that it works is the liquid - which can be water - or a liquid leave-in is used to add moisture to the hair, the oil is meant to seal in the moisture, and the cream is used to deposit longer lasting conditioning agents to the strands. You can apply each product in any sequence you feel works best for your hair.
4. Use hair products with silicones Silicones are great ingredients for increasing tensile strength and lubrication of the hair. The way that silicones are able to do this is by leaving a layer of film on the hair that will prevent the damaged strands from entangling and sticking to each other at their weak points. This is especially important when trying to avoid snagging when styling or detangling your hair. Some silicones are non-soluble and are great for sealing moisture and protecting hair against heat styling, but they require frequent clarifying of the hair. Others are more water soluble and can be washed out using a moisturizing shampoo.
5. Clarify hair once or twice a month
As mentioned previously, you will need to clarify your hair frequently to remove build up. Although Sodium lauryl sulphate has received somewhat of a bad reputation in the natural hair care community due to its ability to strip hair of not only build up but also the scalp's natural oil, it still stands to be the most effective ingredient for cleansing the hair. To mitigate it's drying effect, only use shampoos with SLS once or twice a month and follow up with a moisturizing shampoo. A great low cost shampoo that gets the job done is the Suave Daily Clarifying shampoo.
6. Low maintenance/ protective hairstyles
What better way to ensure length retention than through protective styling. Instead of styling your hair every day or every other day, opt for a style that keeps your hands out of your hair. Styles like box braids, kinky twists or mini-twists and even wigs are great styles to choose from.
Trims are essential for gradually getting rid of damaged hair. How often you choose to trim your hair or how much hair you choose trim is up to you. My rule of thumb for getting rid of damage is to trim 1/4 of an inch every two months. On average hair grows about half an inch a month. So hypothetically, by month two you will have an inch of new growth, and after a trim, you will still 3/4 of an inch of left. This discrepancy is hardly noticeable on tightly coiled hair.
Dougherty (doh-WER-dee) is a life long natural with a passion for natural hair care and skin care. Her other interests include reading, bookkeeping, and eating delicious cuisine. When she is not writing blogs, you can find her jogging, binge-watching Law & Order: SVU or spending quality time with her family.