Cracking The Code: Why Is My Type 4 Hair So Dry?

Are you frustrated by the constant dryness of your type 4 natural hair? Despite your efforts to care for your beautiful Frolicious mane, does it seem like nothing can keep your hair moisturized?

The prevalence of dry hair in the Black hair community has led many to question their natural hair journey. No matter how many products you try, it may feel like your kinky coily hair is actively working against you, enjoying its role in your constant frustration.

It’s time to break free from the cycle of dryness and discover the true potential of your type 4 natural hair. But first, why is your type 4 hair so dry?


Q: Why Is My Type 4 Hair So Dry? A: It’s All About Porosity, Baby. 

When it comes to achieving optimal hair moisture, understanding your hair’s porosity is the key. Porosity refers to how your hair’s cuticle layer handles moisture. There are three types of porosity, balanced, high and low, and two of them are often culprits of dry hair: low porosity and high porosity. Low porosity occurs when the cuticle is not very porous, making it difficult for moisture to be absorbed into the hair strand. On the other hand, high porosity happens when the cuticle is too porous, causing moisture to easily penetrate but leading to weak, damaged hair. Achieving balance in porosity is essential for maintaining healthy and moisturized hair.

It’s important to remember that ‘porosity’ isn’t synonymous to ‘hair type’. For instance, all type 4 hair isn’t low porosity just like all type 1 hair isn’t a balanced porosity. The health of the hair cuticle is unique to the head of hair.


Low Porosity Facts and Foolproof Tips

You ever notice that water seems to ‘roll’ on your hair before it absorbs? Then you have low-porosity hair! With low porosity hair, your cuticles have a harder time absorbing moisture. The tightly closed cuticles create a barrier, preventing moisture from penetrating the hair shaft. Your cuticles are naturally higher in lipids, or natural oil/wax, which makes your hair water-repellant!

To moisturize low porosity hair, you need to use ingredients that can introduce water to lipophilic structures and promote absorption. Look for products that contain humectants like glycerin or honey, which attract and retain moisture. Additionally, using heat during deep conditioning treatments can help open up the cuticle and allow the moisture to penetrate more easily. Be consistent with your moisturizing routine and avoid heavy oils that can further inhibit water absorption.

And the most important tip for low porosity hair: Clarify your scalp regularly to remove any buildup that can hinder moisture absorption.


High Porosity Facts and Foolproof Tips

 If you have the kind of hair that gets wet quickly – but gets dry just as fast: You have high porosity hair. High porosity hair has cuticles that are more open, is highly porous and lacks protein, making it prone to damage (like heat damage) and breakage. These holes in the cuticle cause moisture to escape easily which leads to dryness, frizz, and, eventually, breakage.

To combat these issues, focus on repairing and strengthening your hair. Be mindful of heat styling and limit the use of high heat, as it can further damage and dry out your hair. It’s crucial to focus on reinforcing the protein bonds of the cuticle. Look for deep conditioners or protein treatments that can help fill in the holes and strengthen the hair strand. Opt for ingredients like hydrolyzed proteins or ceramides to fortify the cuticle. Regular protein treatments can improve the integrity of the hair and reduce breakage.

However, be cautious not to overdo it, as excessive protein can make the hair feel stiff and brittle. Maintain a balance between protein and moisture to keep your high porosity hair healthy and resilient.


Water Test Yourself

 If you read the above and still aren’t quite sure about your porosity, there’s an easy test you can do at home! It’s called a water test. Take some clean shed hair, maybe one or two strands, and drop it into a glass of water and wait about 30 seconds. If your strand lays on top of the water it is low porosity. If your strand sinks and remains at the bottom of the glass you have high porosity hair. But if your strand floats or stands in the middle of the glass almost like it sits on an invisible shelf or is being held upright by an invisible hand you have a balanced porosity – the healthiest hair porosity.

When you understand your hair’s porosity you can break free from the shackles of dryness and achieve the ultimate balance for your Type 4 hair! Say goodbye to the dry dull afro and hello to hydrated, vibrant Type 4 locks.