Your hair porosity and what it means

What is hair porosity?

Your hair porosity is essentially how well your hair absorbs and retains moisture through the other layer of the hair strand called the cuticle. Absorbing and retaining moisture is key for keeping your hair shiny, strong and of course moisturised so knowing your hairs porosity is vital if you want to get the most out of your hair. It can also let you in on what your hair might need or what you might be doing wrong. Your hairs porosity is mainly determined by genetics but can definitely be modified by external factors, for example chemical treatments or heat exposure, so to avoid damage to the outer layer its best to keep these to a minimum if you can’t completely avoid them.

Low porosity

Low porosity hair tends to be dryer as its harder to absorb and retain any moisture its given. This is because the cuticles tend to overlap each other and are might tighter, making it harder for oils, creams and even water to made through. This also means its harder treat with chemicals and process and it simply resists.

It can also be prone to protein build up which can leading it feeling rigid and even straw-like. It’s best to use protein-free conditioners with minimal heat!

Medium porosity

Hair with medium porosity offers a looser cuticle layer. It’s often know to let the right amount of moisture in whilst also stopping it from escaping. As it retains the right amount of moisture it can be coloured, chemically treated and heated with a more predictable outcome, it’s also often the easiest to maintain! As mentioned before these factors can change the hairs porosity with frequent use.

This hair type would benefit from a protein treatment once every 10 days but definitely shouldn’t be added to your daily routine.

High porosity

High porosity is often the hardest to style as its highly prone to frizz. The damage done to the hair cuticle can be due to overuse of chemical treatments, environmental damage or just ill treatment. It’s hair cuticle often has large gaps and holes resulting in it letting in too much moisture causing the hair to frizz in humidity. The bad news Is even the simplest of acts like shampooing or swimming can cause so much more damage due to the overwhelming amount of moisture it absorbs.  

It’s important to use anti-humectants when your hair will be exposed to high heat and humidity. This will help seal the cuticles and put a stop to it absorbing the excess moisture in the air.

How does one determine their hair porosity?

People have come up with many ways to test the hairs porosity, however there are two of the most affective ways.

  1. Take a few strands of hair (fairly fresh) from your brush or comb. Place them in a bowl of room temperature water and let them sit for about 5 minutes.

Note- its important not to use a clump of hair as its weight can then affect the results giving an inaccurate reading.

If your hair is floating them you have low porosity hair. If it sinks to the bottom of the bowl you have high porosity hair. If your hair is floating, not completely to the surface but not touching the bottom of the bowl then your hair porosity is medium.

2. Take a strand of hair and slide your fingers up the shaft (toward the scalp). If you feel little bumps along the way, this means that your cuticle is lifted and that you have high porosity. If your fingers slip smoothly, then you have low porosity hair. However using this method can only really help determine low porosity and high porosity.

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