How do we maintain the delicate balance of protein and moisture in natural hair?
Now, before we get into this topic…I’m just going to take a moment to give you a crash course in hair composition 101. What is our hair even made of? Hair is made up of a strong, hard protein called keratin. This protein also forms the protective outer layer called the cuticle, containing the nourishing portion of the hair. This layer is essential to hair growth because it is composed of cells that are layered one over the other. This layer is also either tightly layered or loosely layered depending on the composition of your hair—which is what we call hair porosity.
Now, hair porosity plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy protein/moisture balance. You need to know if your hair is protein sensitive (typically low-porosity hair with tight cuticles) or moisture-sensitive (typically high-porosity with loose cuticles). If you have medium porosity hair, God bless you. Depending on what your hair type is, adjustments need to be made in your routine to keep the balance.
FOR LOW POROSITY HAIR:
Also known as protein sensitive: The cuticle layer is tight so most protein molecules are too large to pass through the layer. It is also moisture resistant because the cuticle layer does not readily open. This can eventually lead to damage and breakage of the hair because of scalp issues. This is my hair type, so I suggest monthly deep cleansing of the scalp with ACV rinses or clarifying shampoos, moisturizing with deep conditioners plus heat weekly, and alternating between a daily conditioner with moisturizing properties and a protein-heavy conditioner regularly. It is imperative to pay attention to what your hair needs and adjusting accordingly. If your hair feels dry and dull, it probably needs moisture. If your hair feels limp, tangled, spongy and the ends are suffering it probably needs a protein treatment.
FOR HIGH POROSITY HAIR:
Also known as moisture-sensitive: The cuticle layer remains raised and open so it has a higher chance of absorbing/losing too much moisture. Protein treatments and deep conditioning should be a normal part of the hair regimen. However, the important factor in maintaining the protein/moisture balance and locking it into the hair so that it doesn’t escape is to use thicker, heavier products with oils and practicing sealing! LOC/LCO method is vital for my high porosity hair sistas!
For those of you just starting your natural hair journey, this kind of information can seem daunting. However, I promise with time and a little bit of patience you will learn your hair and get down a routine that works best for you. Enjoy the process and best of luck!
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I’m Gabriella! I’m 26 years old and I currently live in a small town called Winchester in VA. I am a graduate of VCU with a B.S. in Psychology and I am currently working on getting into grad school in hopes of becoming a physician assistant. I am a natural hair enthusiast and I’ve been on my own personal hair journey for 6 months. My purpose of joining Kinky Hair Rocks is to be a source of information and motivation to others that are going natural!