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How To Determine Your Hairs Porosity

What Is Hair Porosity

Porosity is your hairs ability to absorb and maintain moisture. There are three different categories, this includes low, medium and high porosity. This is determined by the hair cuticle whether or not it is raised, tightly closed shut or somewhere in the middle.

The hair cuticle is an overlapping layer of cells protecting the strength of the hair shaft. By identifying your hairs porosity it will help you to find the right products to fit with your hairs needs.

Does this mean your hair porosity will remain the same ? Well... no... Hair porosity for most is genetics, although for some it is affects by environmental factors, heat damage, and/or chemical processing. If you are transitioning back to your natural hair you may notice once your hair has returned curl your porosity type may change, this is normal.

How Do You Determine Your Hairs Porosity

There are two methods of determine your hairs porosity:

The float test: This requires you to get a CLEAN strand of hair, after your have shampooed, and place it in a glass/bowl of water, leave it to sit for 2-4 minutes. If your hair floats you have low porosity hair, if it sinks you have high porosity hair and if it is in the middle you have medium porosity hair.

The Slip and Slide Test: Simple take a strand of clean hair and slide your fingers up the shaft (toward the scalp). If you can feel bumps, this means that your cuticle is lifted and that you have high porosity. If your fingers slip smoothly, then you have low porosity hair.

Why does your hair have yo be clean ? If you use a clean strand of hair you are more likely to gain clearer results, as products may disguise your hair true porosity by keeping it flat and smooth when actually without the product it maybe raised.

But what does that all mean ?.....

LOW POROSITY

If your hair strand floats to the top of the glass you have low porosity. This means your hair cuticle is tightly closed, preventing moisture passing through.

Signs:

  • You might notice that during your wash day routine your hair takes a while to dry.
  • You often get product build up throughout the week.
  • You may see water beads laying on top of the strands of your hair.
  • You might suffer from protein sensitivity when using different products making your hair stiff and straw in feeling.

TIPS for low porosity hair:

Wash your hair with warm water will help to open it up when shampooing, ending on a cool rinse to reseal.

Use lighter products to pass help moisture pass through your hair strands when styling.

If you feel you need extra moisture and/or of hold add a styler or gel, remember to be mindful as too much could cause build up. Balance is key ! ⠀

HIGH POROSITY

If your hair strand sinks to the bottom of the glass you have high porosity hair. This means that your hair cuticles are natural more open. In terms of your hair retaining moisture this means that moisture passes through easily but also comes out quickly. ⠀ ⠀

Some curlies may have high porosity hair due to heat damage, chemical damage and/or environmental factors making your hair cuticles struggle to close.

Signs:

  • Due to too much humidity gaining access in warmer months you may notice frizz and tangles.
  • Your hair may become dryer quick, as moisture enters quickly but leaves quickly also. 
  • Prone to breakage
  • It looks and feels dry.

TIPS for high porosity hair:

Using protein treatments are known to help to restore strength, frequency will depend on your curls needs, listen to your curls and adjust treatments accordingly. Read our blogs here more on caring for high porosity hair, including product recommendations, and our blog on protein sensitivity. 

Using heavier products maybe helpful such as butters and oils as they help to seal in the moisture preventing it from escaping as quickly. The use of butters and oils may also be affected by your hairs density. Hair density is the number of strands of hair growing out of each square-inch of your scalp.

Consider trying an apple cider vinegar rinse, and/or using aloe vera gel or juice can also help to flatten cuticle to balance the PH levels in your hair.⠀ ⠀

MEDIUM POROSITY 

If your hair remains somewhere in the middle you have a medium porosity. Your hair cuticle is raised enough to allow moisture to pass through and retain it at a moderate rate.

TIPS for all:

Deep condition often, wash this out on a cool rinse to help close your cuticles and lock in that moisture.

Signs:

  • Your hair is easier to style.
  • Your hair hold styles for a good length of time.
  • It takes colour well.
  • Hair tends to look healthy, shiny, and/ or glossy.
  • It doesn't take too long for your hair to air dry.

Hair products are often trial and error to find out what works best for your hair.

This is a guide and remember everyone is unique including your curls, what works for you might not work for others 😉