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 As winter approaches, the atmosphere of the world starts to change. The thought of snow, hot cocoa, boots, and sweaters make everyone excited. However, all the excitement can distract from the negative effects of winter. Ironically, this also includes seasonal allergies, continued fatigue, and dry air. Dry air causes dehydration throughout the whole body, specifically within curly and kinky hair. Naturally curly and kinky hair already has a hard time retaining moisture. Additional dry air only decreases the moisture in each strand. So, how can you retain moisture throughout the season? Knowing your porosity is the number one solution in retaining moisture.  

Porosity is the measurement on how much a surface can intake air or liquids. Therefore, your hair’s porosity is the measurement of the hair shaft’s ability to take in water and other ingredients. Knowing your porosity is key to understand what your hair needs to become healthy and stay healthy. Your hair can have high, normal, or low porosity. High porosity hair absorbs chemicals more than the other two. In addition, high porosity hair loves protein. Protein decreases the openings of the shaft, ultimately, bringing high porosity hair closer to normal. On the other hand, low porosity hair hates proteins and does not absorb chemicals well. The holes on low porosity hair are already small, so protein nearly shuts the openings completely. By knowing your porosity, you’ll be able to identify ingredients that may work better for your hair.  

When working with low porosity hair water-based products are essential. Since the shaft is so tightly compacted, water being the first ingredient in a product increases the chances of moisture retention. Furthermore, humectants attract moisture to the hair as well. Humectants are simply substances used to keep in moisture. The biggest humectant you may know of is honey. Honey is a good natural humectant that is easy to find. Another big step is buying the right oils. Low porosity hair absorbs lightweight oils the best. Personally, my hair has low porosity. My favorite oil to use is sweet almond oil. It is light and leaves a nice shine.  

Normal porosity hair is the easiest to maintain, however, it is the rarest of the three. Most people either have high or low porosity. Nonetheless, normal porosity absorbs the perfect amount of moisture. It is never too little or too much. In addition, you can use any type of moisturizer. Also, it is important to note that this porosity can often change. Whether you use too much heat or dye, both types of styling can increase the openings on the shaft. This will result in normal porosity hair becoming high porosity hair. 

The largest issue with high porosity is the retention of moisture. Since the openings on the shaft are big, moisture has easy access getting inside the stands. However, the openings also cause the moisture to escape easier. You may moisture your hair and a couple hours you can lose this moisture. Unlike low porosity hair, you must use anti-humectants with this hair type. This is why your hair may shrink whenever it is humid outside. Your hair is taking to much moisture in. The anti-humectant will keep moisture in, while not allowing the hair to absorb too much. Furthermore, utilize the leave in-oil-cream (LOC) method when moisturizing. By applying your cream last, you are sealing the moisture in.  

Now, how do you determine your porosity? The most common method is the float test. Basically, you take a strand of hair, maybe one from your brush, and put it in a glass of water for 3 to 5 minutes. If the hair stays at the top, you have low porosity hair and if it sinks, you have high porosity. Any hair that floats in the middle is normal porosity hair. The second method is the slide test. Simply grab onto a strand of hair and slide your fingers towards your scalp. Do you feel any little bumps? If yes, you have high porosity hair and if not, you have low porosity hair.

Keep this information in mind as your shop and reform your hair routine to adapt to seasonal changes, doing so will allow you to focus solely on the fun festivities. Happy hydrating!

Da'Zhane Johnson is a Junior at Clark Atlanta University. She often finds herself eagerly waiting in a Starbucks line, or happily looking for new coffee orders to add to her collection. Her major is Mass Media Arts with a hard concentration in journalism, so in her spare time, she's usually writing. To read more of her articles, check her out on Instagram @bydazh!
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