Pittsburgh Curly

A Curly Girl in da ‘Burgh

Texture, Porosity, and Elasticity

Posted by pittsburghcurly on February 3, 2009

boingI wanted to cover these hair properties in some way, but, someone else just did it, and she did it better than I would.

Tiffany, of Live Curly Live Free , is a professional stylist who works wonders with curly hair. She recently blogged about how texture, porosity and elasticity often have more to do with what type of routine you need than your actual curl type. I’ll post her links and add some brief thoughts.

Hair texture. This falls under coarse vs fine. Not to be confused with thick vs thin. One can have baby fine individual hairs, but have many of them so that your hair looks thick. You can also have coarse, thick individual strands, but sparsely placed – or any combination in between. Most of my head is in the range between medium and coarse. The strands towards the back/nape area are quite coarse, and I have joked that I could use them for fishing line. The hairs near my temple are somewhat fine. For me, this helps with conditioning. If the hairs near my temple get too soft, floofy, and undefined, I know that I am using too much conditioner or too rich of a conditioner. If the hairs at my nape get scratchy like a wool sweater, I know they need more moisture. Using my texture and paying attention to it is quite helpful in gauging conditioner needs.

Being on the coarse side of things also helps to explain why I dislike products with protein. Coarse hair naturally has more protein than fine hair, so using more protein on coarse hair can build up and make your hair feel dry and brittle. More on protein later. I plan on a separate post for that.

Porosity. This is the one that I find to be the most difficult, and one I still can’t figure out quite yet. I’ll probably ask my hair guy the next time I go see him. Tiffany’s post is full of info on what to do, if you can figure out your hair. 🙂 The protein/moisture balance also comes into play here.

Elasticity. Please note Tiffany’s comments about hair that “forgot how to curl.” This is loss of elasticity in action. She has two categories. Low and normal elasticity. Low elasticity is when the hair breaks to easily or stretches too far. This can be determined by a strand test – directions on her post. For me, I use this to determine when I need a little protein. While I cannot tolerate it regularly, I do need a little now and then, and I can only seem to tolerate keratin. When my hair gets a little on the too stretchy side, I use a protein treatment, which usually returns my hair to a normal elasticity. I prefer GVP Hair Reconstructor that I purchase at Sally’s. It is the generic version of Joico’s K-Pak, but about 1/3 to 1/4 of the price.

If my hair snaps without stretching or after very little stretch, I know that need more moisture. Elasticity is a very helpful tool to me when it comes to keeping track of my moisture/protein balance in my product usage.

Along with the dew points, I use texture and elasticity a lot in determining what my hair needs. I hope to learn how to add porosity into the mix. Remember, hair isn’t static. The health and texture can change with weather, products, heat styling and chemical processes. For your best results, it pays to notice the changes in the texture, porosity, and elasticity of your hair.

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4 Responses to “Texture, Porosity, and Elasticity”

  1. I use what Halle Berry uses…Mixed Chicks (www.mixedchicks.net). They have a really easy system and it works. She talked about it in Shape Mag

  2. pittsburghcurly said

    Thank you Davida. I’ve read lots of good things about this line over at naturallycurly. Lots of the curlies there love it.

  3. newhampshirecurly said

    Thanks for this post. I think you’ve answered a question I’ve had about porosity/coarse texture and protein. I’ve been wondering if I should avoid protein in my daily products and just reconstruct periodically. In my zeal to go nc I wasn’t paying attention to protein, only cones and sulphates. Now, I see all of my conditioners have protein in them. Not so good for a coarse curly. How does your hair feel after the GVP reconstructor?

    I love your blog!

  4. pittsburghcurly said

    Thanks newhanmpshirecurly! If the protein you’re using now isn’t making your hair straw-like and brittle, I wouldn’t avoid it yet. I only avoid it daily because that’s what it does to my hair. After the GVP, my hair is quite smooth, and it cuts back on tangles for a week or so. I just can’t use it too often.

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