Are you curious about the porosity of your hair? Do you even know what that means? Hair porosity is your hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture. Not only is it necessary to know your hair's porosity to be able to better manage your curl type, but you will also get the most out of your curly hair routine. Continue reading and we’ll discuss the different porosity types, how to care for each type, and how to take a porosity test at home to determine what porosity level you have.
What is Hair Porosity and What Are The Characteristics?
In the first place, there are three different porosity types: low, normal or high. With that being said, here is everything you need to know about each porosity level:
Low porosity means that moisture has a difficult time penetrating into the shaft. Therefore, the cuticles are compact and tightly packed together making it difficult to manage. With this in mind, you may have the urge to saturate your hair because of its dull appearance. Consequently, it’s important to avoid heavy butters or oils. This is because these products create buildup which can further dehydrate your hair.
- Curls take a long time to dry.
- Natural oils tend to sit on your hair making it difficult to penetrate.
- Its harder for water to fully saturate your hair.
How to care for your hair if it is low porosity
Because low porosity strands have cuticles that are close together the goal is to slightly raise the cuticle to trap in moisture:
- Heat. Apply a deep conditioner using hooded drier, steamer, warm towel or shower cap. This will help moisture absorb into the hair.
- Light Weight Products: Use lighter, liquid-based products such as milks that won't sit on your hair.
- Shampoo: It’s best to use a shampoo that doesn’t leave residue on your hair. Wonder Curls Clarifying Charcoal Shampoo Bar will not only leave your hair residue-free, but it will also clarify and nourish your hair and scalp.
Normal porosity hair, also known as medium porosity, usually requires the least amount of maintenance. In fact, it’s the ideal hair type you are aiming for. This is because, the cuticles are slightly looser than low porosity. This allows the right amount of moisture to enter the hair shaft, preventing too much moisture from escaping.
- Strands are healthy and full of elasticity.
- Hair easily retains moisture inside the cuticle.
- Holds styles well and can be colored with good results.
- Avoid overusing styling products which could cause damage and make your hair more porous.
How to care for normal porosity curls:
Normal porosity hair requires deep nourishment to maintain the reinforcement of the hair's natural protective layer. Thus, here are a few tips to maintain your tresses.
- Keep Healthy: Focus on keeping your hair healthy and stay away from excess chemicals to preserve strands.
- Deep Condition: Regular deep conditioning will ensure product absorption.
- Styling: Focus on hydration and low heat to maintain the medium porosity level.
High Porosity Hair
With high porosity hair, cuticles are more widely spaced. Moisture and oils easily absorb into the hair, yet it isn’t able to retain moisture for very long. This is because the cuticles have spaces and gaps in them.
- Hair dries quickly.
- Strands tend to break easily.
- Hair is often frizzy and looks dry.
- Water and moisturizing products easily absorb into the hair, often requiring more product application.
How to care for high porosity hair:
Thirsty hair requires products that help retain moisture and hydration. Therefore, ultra-moisturizing products that contain no harsh chemicals or sulfates work best.
- Heat: Use minimal heat when drying your hair or use heat protectant products that protect your hair from heat damage.
- Protein Treatments: Protein binds molecules together. Certainly it helps reconnect the widely spaced cuticles resulting in strong hair.
- Deep Condition: Add regular deep conditioning treatments into your curly care routine.
- Cold water: Rinsing with cold or lukewarm water will seal the cuticle, trap moisture and add luster and shine to your hair. In contrast, hot water takes away essential oils and moisture and causes frizz.
How To Take a Hair Porosity Test
Finding a curly hair specialist is recommended, but there are ways you can determine you’re your porosity level by taking a hair porosity test at home.
The H20 Test: Shampoo and rinse hair to remove buildup. Fill a glass with water and drop a strand into the glass.
Low porosity: If the strand floats you most likely have low porosity hair.
Normal Porosity: If the strand floats somewhere in the middle, you most likely have normal porosity level
High Porosity: If the stand sinks to the bottom, then you most likely have high porosity hair.
Another way to check for porosity is by doing the strand test. Run your fingers down a strand of hair. Consequently, if you have low porosity it will feel smooth and if you have high porosity it will feel rough and bumpy.
In conclusion, texture, elasticity, and density are key factors in understanding your hair. Accordingly, knowing what type of porosity level you have by taking a hair porosity test will help you manage, style and care for your hair.