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Baking Soda and low porosity hair

artemis513artemis513 Posts: 666Registered Users
Hi all,
I have been reading around here and there and a response trend I've noticed is that posters are wanting to "fix" their low porosity hair and are recommended to do baking soda "treatments". Baking soda has a pH of 9-10, and wet hair has a pH of 4.5-6.5 (based on your texture and other factors). When baking soda mixes with water, the pH will be at around an 8. So, that is a huge jump in pH, which exacerbates cuticle swelling of wet hair, which then presents as chronic frizziness and tangling. And that doesn't even include the effects it could have on the scalp even days after the treatment.

Maybe my confusion is due to my protective nature of my fine strands, but I am just really curious. I have low porosity hair, and I deep condition (with protein/moisture) weekly with heat and my hair gets all the nutrients it needs while remaining smooth, minimal if any frizz, and is highly receptive to styling.

But even with low porosity hair that is medium or coarse, I don't see this having a benefit, especially when after these treatments, one could experience much more frizziness than they would normally if they just used acid-balanced care products from the jump. I feel like if you have to do a bunch of extra treatments to get your hair to look a desired way, it should make the hair look better, not worse, right? If that's the case, wouldn't a mild texturizer provide a better result?

TIA
4a/3c, fine strands, low porosity, medium density
Last relaxer: Jan 2010 - BC'd: 2/27/11
My Fotki
My Blog

Comments

  • tstawitztstawitz Posts: 13Registered Users
    You should always follow a baking soda cleanse with an ACV rinse or lemon juice rinse since that will close the cuticle back up and lower the pH level. There are a couple other threads on this. It is the same way you use hot water to open your cuticles and then cold to rinse out and close the cuticles back up.
  • artemis513artemis513 Posts: 666Registered Users
    tstawitz wrote: »
    You should always follow a baking soda cleanse with an ACV rinse or lemon juice rinse since that will close the cuticle back up and lower the pH level. There are a couple other threads on this. It is the same way you use hot water to open your cuticles and then cold to rinse out and close the cuticles back up.

    I have to disagree with you (the bold). As I said in my OP, they are not the same. Baking soda is 10-20x more basic than water (30-50x more basic than wet human hair), and ACV is 10-30x more acidic than wet human hair.

    Why use baking soda and ACV which are 2 products that need to be used together in order to "cancel each other out", when you can just use one properly acid-balanced conditioning product that will give better results and not damage the hair shaft over time? Two unnecessary steps are better than one more efficient step?

    thx
    4a/3c, fine strands, low porosity, medium density
    Last relaxer: Jan 2010 - BC'd: 2/27/11
    My Fotki
    My Blog
  • PRINCETONPRINCETON Posts: 872Registered Users
    What is porosity? Why does it matter and does knowing my porosity determine which ingredients work best for me?


    Princeton Brooke
    Chief Software Engineer
    /home/leaving?target=http%3A%2F%2Fapps.facebook.com%2Fprincetonbrooke" class="Popup
  • artemis513artemis513 Posts: 666Registered Users
    PRINCETON wrote: »
    What is porosity? Why does it matter and does knowing my porosity determine which ingredients work best for me?


    Princeton Brooke
    Chief Software Engineer
    Princeton Brooke on Facebook | Facebook

    Porosity is simply how well your hair receives and retains moisture. Knowing your porosity is not as important has hair texture (strand size) in terms of product selection, but it does play a part in maximizing moisture levels (which is related to curl formation and also frizz). Porosity is most relevant to the outcome and performance chemical services (haircolor, relaxer, etc).
    4a/3c, fine strands, low porosity, medium density
    Last relaxer: Jan 2010 - BC'd: 2/27/11
    My Fotki
    My Blog
  • PRINCETONPRINCETON Posts: 872Registered Users
    Oh....so is that to say you can determine how damaged or not your hair is based on the rate of moisture change over time??

    I honestly don't know how to tell if I'm at peak moisture level because I wouldn't dare go 48 hours without conditioning.

    Is there a porosity test?
    Also, there's mention of cold water rinsing to close the cuticle...does that really seal in moisture and if so....what type of moisture is sealed inside and is that enough than to put additional product on afterwards??

    Also, does that have to deal with cones???


    Princeton Brooke
    Chief Software Engineer
    /home/leaving?target=http%3A%2F%2Fapps.facebook.com%2Fprincetonbrooke" class="Popup
  • artemis513artemis513 Posts: 666Registered Users
    PRINCETON wrote: »
    Oh....so is that to say you can determine how damaged or not your hair is based on the rate of moisture change over time??

    I honestly don't know how to tell if I'm at peak moisture level because I wouldn't dare go 48 hours without conditioning.

    Is there a porosity test?
    Also, there's mention of cold water rinsing to close the cuticle...does that really seal in moisture and if so....what type of moisture is sealed inside and is that enough than to put additional product on afterwards??

    Also, does that have to deal with cones???


    Princeton Brooke
    Chief Software Engineer
    Princeton Brooke on Facebook | Facebook

    Yes, generally it's one factor in monitoring/determining damage. You wouldn't have to wait between washes. Just note how long it takes for your hair to air-dry. General rule of thumb: the longer it takes, the less porous the hair is.

    There a few other ways to test porosity (just guidelines!):
    *strand test, putting a clean dry strand in a glass of water and monitoring how long it takes to sink (if at all). Sinking quickly = high porosity.This isn't that accurate for all hair textures.
    *rubbing your forefinger and thumb up the hair shaft. If the shaft if bumpy it's porous; smooth it's nonporous (low porosity) somewhere in between it's normal. Again not really accurate for all hairs (esp tightly curled to kinky curl types). The tighter the curl the more ribbon- or helix-like shape the strand has, so you'd have to stretch the curl and then untwist it before testing.
    *wet to dry shower test. How long does the hair take to get fully wet in shower? If it's almost immediate, the hair is usually quite porous. If it takes a while and you feel like you have to wait for the water to penetrate, it's usu. nonporous.
    *if the person colors the hair, does the hair take a while to process the color? And how much color does the hair retain? If color takes well and then leeches out, it's really porous. If color doesn't take well at all, then nonporous. If it takes it fine and keeps it, it's normal.

    Cold water rinsing: yeah it closes the cuticle somewhat, but if your cuticles are jacked, it won't do much :). So for porous curlies, sealing is more important (oils and silicones act the same way in this instance). Moisture is basically water. Acidifying conditioners (have pH of 3.5-4.5) do the same thing, so you don't necessarily have to do a cold water rinse.
    4a/3c, fine strands, low porosity, medium density
    Last relaxer: Jan 2010 - BC'd: 2/27/11
    My Fotki
    My Blog
  • artemis513artemis513 Posts: 666Registered Users
    I typed all of that then remembered there's an NC article on the main page *face/palm*

    http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/curl-products/curlchemist-porosity-and-curly-hair
    4a/3c, fine strands, low porosity, medium density
    Last relaxer: Jan 2010 - BC'd: 2/27/11
    My Fotki
    My Blog
  • PRINCETONPRINCETON Posts: 872Registered Users
    Lots to take in. My hair takes hours to air dry. Like right now it's still wet and often wet after I wake up 8 hours later from sleeping.

    I hope that's not a bad thing. I guess I have high chance of low porosity?


    Princeton Brooke
    Chief Software Engineer
    /home/leaving?target=http%3A%2F%2Fapps.facebook.com%2Fprincetonbrooke" class="Popup
  • artemis513artemis513 Posts: 666Registered Users
    Yeah I'd say low porosity. Nah it's not bad, if only annoying to have wet hair :) That's why I was wondering why people are trying to change low porosity hair that retains all it's moisture levels naturally. Low porosity essentially equals super healthy hair.
    4a/3c, fine strands, low porosity, medium density
    Last relaxer: Jan 2010 - BC'd: 2/27/11
    My Fotki
    My Blog
  • PRINCETONPRINCETON Posts: 872Registered Users
    That was an awesome article. I was thinking OK if I can seal the water into my hair like a water balloon then I won't have to do anything to my hair for weeks but I guess that's not what learning about porosity is all about lol

    The key benefit of the knowledge is use ingredients that won't shut the cuticle and also that won't open the cuticle too much.

    Shutting the cuticle will prevent moisture from getting in whereas opening the cuticle is like peeling away the outer layer making hair weaker and prone to breakage.

    The big pointer is not to use harsh soaps when shampooing and that's where most people decide hey no cones means no need for soaps. Makes sense.

    I guess it boils down to knowing all ingredients that can be safely removed with just water as I'm sure cones are not the only ones but IDK


    Princeton Brooke
    Chief Software Engineer
    /home/leaving?target=http%3A%2F%2Fapps.facebook.com%2Fprincetonbrooke" class="Popup
  • artemis513artemis513 Posts: 666Registered Users
    Basically...using the knowledge can prevent a lot of issues if you just look at it objectively.

    Oh and some oils are a pain to remove but not impossible, like silicones (mineral oil being the main one)
    4a/3c, fine strands, low porosity, medium density
    Last relaxer: Jan 2010 - BC'd: 2/27/11
    My Fotki
    My Blog
  • kathymackkathymack Posts: 9,999Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    PRINCETON wrote: »
    The big pointer is not to use harsh soaps when shampooing and that's where most people decide hey no cones means no need for soaps. Makes sense.

    Princeton Brooke
    Chief Software Engineer
    Princeton Brooke on Facebook | Facebook

    Couldn't help myself. You need to be careful in your word selection. Detergent and soap are not interchangeable. Soap is essentially soap--made the cold process way of saponified oils (not sure that anything else is "technically" soap.) It's harsh detergents that you don't want to use on your hair. It's really mild. It's seems that it's the folks with low porosity hair who are the ones who like using the soap/shampoo bars for cleansing the most.
    3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity
    SE PA

    HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic; Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Aloe Fix
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • artemis513artemis513 Posts: 666Registered Users
    Soaps are drying (higher pH like baking soda), and traditional shampoos are drying (harsh surfactants and/or horrible pH levels), as well as some sulfate-free shampoos (that are also not well-formulated). So people should still avoid harsh cleansing agents that overly disrupt the hair's hydrolipidic layer (cmc + cuticle) and the scalp's acid mantle.
    4a/3c, fine strands, low porosity, medium density
    Last relaxer: Jan 2010 - BC'd: 2/27/11
    My Fotki
    My Blog
  • PRINCETONPRINCETON Posts: 872Registered Users
    With me being new to having long or just hair of any length I am making many mistakes but learning so much that it's hard to keep it all organized. The article does mention no soaps and no harsh shampoos that contain certain "surfactants" iDK but just in case new thread readers come along:

    How Does Porosity Effect the Health of Your Hair
    Tonya McKay Becker,
    Curl Chemist
    http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/author/tonyamckay/

    Shampooing with sulfates and soaps: In previous articles, we have discussed that the cuticle layer is comprised not only of keratinous scales, but also a layer of fatty acids on the top surface that protect the hair from moisture, as well as a layer beneath the scales called the cell membrane complex (CMC). The CMC acts as cushion and as a cement the keep the cuticle scales firmly attached to the hair. A large portion of this CMC is made up of a lipid layer of mixed fatty acids, including 18-methyleicosanioc acid (18-MEA), stearic acid, and palmitic acid.

    At normal formulation levels (15-20%), harsh surfactants in shampoos, such as SLS, SLES, ALS, and ALES, are capable of dissolving the lipid layer in the CMC and removing the 18-MEA from the surface of the cuticle. This creates irreparable gaps in the cuticle layer, increasing porosity of the hair. Also, by dissolving the protective fatty acid layer from the surface of the cuticle, the hair is rendered more hydrophilic (water-loving), which is a very dangerous state for hair as it becomes more susceptible to frizz, tangling, and damage to the cuticle scales. This information merely confirms what we have been told about the hazards of using these types of surfactants on our hair.

    Another very important ingredient to avoid for long, curly hair especially is soaps. In the past, I have written an article cautioning users of soap to be careful, but basically concluding that it was probably okay to use soaps with an acidic rinse and lots of moisturizing agents. Based on the following information obtained from the research of Dr. Ali Syed (a hair care researcher who specializes in African and curly hair), I cannot in good conscience advocate use of any soap products on curly hair.

    Soap molecules are salts of fatty acids found in plants and animal fats. They are somewhat alkaline and cause the hair to swell and the cuticle to raise up away from the surface of the hair shaft. These molecules are then able to penetrate through the cuticle and into the CMC where they neutralize the fatty acids in the lipid layer, rendering them water soluble. The fatty acids are then rinsed away in the shower and are gone forever. Use of soap to cleanse one’s hair, especially long curly hair, seems to be a really effective way of permanently destroying the cuticle layer and making the hair very highly porous. This is an example of why natural may not always be superior. It is no surprise that researchers have invested years and many millions (billions) of dollars to develop more gentle cleansers for our hair.





    Princeton Brooke
    Chief Software Engineer
    /home/leaving?target=http%3A%2F%2Fapps.facebook.com%2Fprincetonbrooke" class="Popup
  • PRINCETONPRINCETON Posts: 872Registered Users
    Right so I will check that out. I'm sure there's an article that focuses on porosity and the right ingredients to use. I think the posted a new one last night.

    I was just learning so much on this thread that it all seemed to tie together in my mind. lol
  • artemis513artemis513 Posts: 666Registered Users
    No offense, but this is starting to deviate even further from the topic/intent of the OP. Maybe you could check the NC articles on silicones and the CG method and find some helpful info to answer those kind of questions?

    http://www.naturallycurly.com/topics/view/curly-hair-care-methods

    Thx :)
    4a/3c, fine strands, low porosity, medium density
    Last relaxer: Jan 2010 - BC'd: 2/27/11
    My Fotki
    My Blog
  • kathymackkathymack Posts: 9,999Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Shampoo bars for cleansing were VERY popular about three years ago. Curl Chemist is very anti using them--as stated in the article you posted. Many of us have continued to use them all of that time with no negative effects. I know that there are a lot of others who feel the same way that I do. As I said before, they are probably those with low porosity hair.

    The bars that are made using cold process soap method are really mild and non stripping--in my experience. Much milder then any lowpoo I've ever used. I find Deva NoPoo drying (and some other cleansing conditioners for that matter.) But don't find the soap bars that way at all. I find that they are just enough to remove any residual ingredients from the richer type products that I use. I've used them since 9/1/08--and my hair is still low porosity. The information in that article reports research, it just hasn't been my experience. Unfortunately, I find that's true of a lot of what I read in those articles.
    3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity
    SE PA

    HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic; Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Aloe Fix
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • artemis513artemis513 Posts: 666Registered Users
    Kathymack, do you happen to know the pH of the bars you've used? Just curious. Thx
    4a/3c, fine strands, low porosity, medium density
    Last relaxer: Jan 2010 - BC'd: 2/27/11
    My Fotki
    My Blog
  • kathymackkathymack Posts: 9,999Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    artemis513 wrote: »
    Kathymack, do you happen to know the pH of the bars you've used? Just curious. Thx

    My pH strips aren't the best--they are less then 8. I used to always do an ACV rinse, but feel that if I'm using products that are formulated correctly for my rinse out and styling, that it should return the pH balance to the right level.

    I apologize for taking the thread away from your original post. I will add that my hair just HATES baking soda. Even a 1/4 t in a recipe that calls for a tablespoon makes it hard and straw like.

    I totally agree with your initial statement about folks who want to "fix" their low porosity hair. Once you learn what your hair likes and doesn't like, it's really not a problem.
    3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity
    SE PA

    HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic; Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Aloe Fix
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • artemis513artemis513 Posts: 666Registered Users
    kathymack wrote: »
    artemis513 wrote: »
    Kathymack, do you happen to know the pH of the bars you've used? Just curious. Thx

    My pH strips aren't the best--they are less then 8. I used to always do an ACV rinse, but feel that if I'm using products that are formulated correctly for my rinse out and styling, that it should return the pH balance to the right level.

    I apologize for taking the thread away from your original post. I will add that my hair just HATES baking soda. Even a 1/4 t in a recipe that calls for a tablespoon makes it hard and straw like.

    I totally agree with your initial statement about folks who want to "fix" their low porosity hair. Once you learn what your hair likes and doesn't like, it's really not a problem.

    Thanks. I find it refreshing that you actually tested them to see. In my experience as someone with low porosity, I've used cleansers that were pH 6-6.5 and my hair did not like them (though many factors play a role), but 4.5-5.5 and those were better. So indeed as we all know everyone's hair is different. I find it interesting that shampoo bars are preferred more by low porosity curlies than not. I would never use baking soda on my hair just b/c of the basics of chemistry (and principle lol) but I am not surprised at all that your hair does not like baking soda.

    I understand that sometimes we can get quite eager to learn about and try new products when dealing with hair, but it's very important (IMO) to learn the basics and what you're working with beforehand so that one when exploring you're not doing things that could damage the hair (and could've been prevented with a little research and critical thinking).

    Thanks again.
    4a/3c, fine strands, low porosity, medium density
    Last relaxer: Jan 2010 - BC'd: 2/27/11
    My Fotki
    My Blog
  • kathymackkathymack Posts: 9,999Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    About two years ago, there was a lot of interest in pH of certain products. Some of use were measuring and reporting. At that time, I made an observation, when a product called Dr. Bronner's Shikakai Rinse was being discussed. It ended up having a pH of 3! The folks who liked it had coarse, porous hair. The people who seem to prefer cleansing with soap bars are low porosity--maybe low porosity (and possibly fine/medium) can do the more alkaline products?? And the other end of the continuum can do the more acid products.

    It's speculation, but an interesting question to look into. Hair products are supposed to be in that 4.5-5.5 range, unfortunately all of them are not.
    3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity
    SE PA

    HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic; Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Aloe Fix
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • waviewavie Posts: 237Registered Users
    On the topic of baking soda, it might not actually be as damaging as people think. Of course each case is different, but I found this interesting.
    Hair type: 2C-3A, very dry, extremely low porosity, med elasticity, insanely thick kinky-wavy.
    HGs: Trader Joe's Nourish spa conditioner, Epsom salt rinse, Joico K-pak conditioner
  • artemis513artemis513 Posts: 666Registered Users
    wavie wrote: »
    On the topic of baking soda, it might not actually be as damaging as people think. Of course each case is different, but I found this interesting.

    Thanks for this, it was very interesting to read and consider.

    The idea of what is "damaging" is going to be subjective in terms of what a person is willing to deal with. So while baking soda may not as damaging as a chemical relaxing (on some people's hair), long term over-swelling of the hair shaft in any capacity can't be good, scalp included. If we are to treat our hair delicately in order to keep it in good condition, and one can achieve an increase in moisture using less taxing methods, why not do so, right? JMO really...
    4a/3c, fine strands, low porosity, medium density
    Last relaxer: Jan 2010 - BC'd: 2/27/11
    My Fotki
    My Blog
  • Cuban-curl-ECuban-curl-E Posts: 476Registered Users
    Artemis, I hope you are still around and willing to revisit this old thread! I've just come to learn that my hair has low porosity and I've been doing BS/ACV rinses about once a month but for different reasons. I have hard water, I also like heavy products which tend to build up due to my low porosity and the BS/ACV has really helped with the build up! My hair is instantly shinier and curlier but I am wonder is it the BS AND the ACV or is it just the ACV?

    I read the CG book early on and only followed Massey's recommendations regarding the BS/ACV rinses for build up but perhaps the baking soda is unnecessary and possible damaging?

    Have you done any further research into this?
    3a/b, fine texture, low porosity, normal elasticity, mod-CG 7/11/11

    Poo: KC Come Clean, SM Moisture Retention
    CO: CJ Curl Rehab, CJ Argan & Olive Oil, Renpure Argan Oil, YTCucumbers, Sevi Pumpkin
    Style: AIF, HESMU, Biolage gelee, KCCC
    LOOB for second day hair


    Like BS/ACV rinses, limit protein/humectants.
  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 19Registered Users
    Cuban-curl-E, that is an interesting idea. The one time I used BS, I really didn't like the way my hair felt - very dry. I did an ACV rinse after, but it still felt dry. And unlike other people, I didn't notice my hair being shinier or more curly.

    I have been hesitant about trying another ACV rinse (even without the BS), after I read that it can remove permanent color (I have red - which I have also heard is the easiest to come out/fade/remove).

    Have you tried doing an ACV rinse without the BS cleanse?
    2c-3b/fine-med/normal volume/low porosity
    *I think (still trying to figure out my hair)

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