What is Hair Porosity?
Buckle up curlies, and let’s go on a science voyage!
BUT fret not! We swear this won’t be too hard to understand.
If you’ve been following a curly routine for some time now, you have probably heard of the words “hair porosity.” If you’re a beginner, and you have no idea what this means, then this article is for you.
Before we explore this word, let’s start with some facts about hair:
The hair has an outermost layer called the cuticle. The cuticle is made of cells that are meant to protect the inside of your hair.
Because your cuticles are the outermost layer of the hair, it acts like a barrier or a "gate" so it determines how well moisture seeps into your hair.
For instance, if you have cuticles that are bound very close together, you have low porosity. If you have ones that are more spread out (and this is usually a sign of damage), you have high porosity.
So what? You may wonder. Why do I need to know all of these?
Okay, now we get there.
It is important to know your hair porosity because not only does it tell you how healthy or damaged your hair is, it also determines what kinds of products work best for you!
TYPES OF POROSITY
As we mentioned, if you have low porosity hair, that means your cuticles are very close together, so it means that they won’t easily allow moisture to be absorbed into your hair shaft.
(Think of it like a pack of guards blocking the entrance and not letting your friends enter!).
Low porosity hair makes it harder for water to saturate your hair when it's washed, so the curls are likely to repel moisture.
- Use Protein-free Conditioners, because low porosity hair is sensitive to proteins
- Try L-O-C Method:L stands for liquid, O for oil, and C for cream. It means that after washing your hair, you can apply a lightweight oil to seal in moisture, and then a curl cream to close it in even more.
- Wash hair regularly, because low porosity hair doesn’t easily absorb substances, it is prone to product build-up.
If you have this, you are a lucky one! This hair type is the most ideal and also healthiest.
Having normal hair porosity means your cuticles are neither too packed nor too wide, so your hair shaft’s ability to absorb moisture is at a balanced level.
The key is to maintain this type of porosity by avoiding damage (such as heat and chemicals) and to regulate your use of protein.
If having low porosity hair means your hair shaft doesn’t easily absorb moisture, the opposite is true with high porosity.
But this isn’t a good thing.
Because your cuticles are spread out, it absorbs moisture almost as quickly as it lets go of them.
This means that your shaft isn’t able to retain moisture. This is often a sign of damage from heat, colorants, and other chemicals.
Your curls will turn out frizzy and dry.
- Try L-C-O Method: L stands for liquid, C for Cream, and O for oil. It means that after washing your hair, apply a cream, and then oil. Applying oil as the last step is effective at locking in the moisture to your hair shaft.
- Use nutrient-rich products, because your cuticles are very fragile and need as much care it can have.
HOW TO KNOW YOUR HAIR POROSITY
There are different ways to know how porous your hair is! We compiled them in a quiz so it’s easy for you to know!
Take the quiz here:
In case you want to be more sure, you can also take the floating test. How?
Get a glass or bowl of water. Then, take a couple of strands of your hair and drop them onto the water. Let them sit for 2-4 minutes. If the strand floats, you have low porosity. If it sinks, you have high porosity. If it's suspended somewhere in the middle, then you have medium porosity.