What is hair porosity?
Hair porosity refers to your hair’s ability to absorb and hold moisture. The flexible outer hair layer, called the cuticle, affects your hair's porosity. Thus, also determining how easily oils and moisture pass in and out of your hair. In most cases, porosity is genetic. But external factors like hair treatments and exposure to heat and chemicals can also affect hair porosity.
Hair porosity can be broken down into three categories: Low, Medium and High
- Low porosity
Low porosity hair has a cuticle layer that is very tightly bound with overlapping scales that are flat, therefore the hair resists moisture when you wet it or add a moisturizing product to your hair. It also resists the penetration of chemicals, making it is hard to process. While low porosity hair looks healthy and shiny, it is prone to the build of protein and it resists moisturization which can cause dryness and breakage.
- How to treat low porosity
Use protein free conditioners with honey or glycerin which act as humectants/ moisturizers. Low heat with protein-free deep conditioning can help loosen up the tightly bound cuticle so it is easier to moisturize.
- Medium porosity
This type of hair is the easiest to maintain because the cuticle is just loose enough to allow the right amount of oils and moisture to pass through. It is easier to style hair with medium porosity but too much of perming, coloring or heat exposure can damage your hair causing you to have high porosity hair. You can maintain the health of medium porosity hair with occasional deep conditioning treatments and by not using too much protein conditioners.
- High porosity
Chemical or heat damage can increase the porosity of your hair. This means your cuticle have holes and gaps in it that lets too much moisture penetrate your hair, leaving it more prone to frizz and knotting in humidity due to the huge amount of moisture that high porosity hair can absorb. Simple acts like swimming and shampooing can cause breakage and damage with high porosity hair.
- How to treat high porosity
It is important to seal up your damaged cuticles, especially during the humid weather so that the excess moisture in the air is not easily absorbed, therefore you will need anti-humectants. However, high porosity hair can also lose moisture quickly so you will need to use leave-in moisturizers, conditioners and sealers so your hair can fully absorb the moisture you’re giving it.
Determining hair porosity
It is important to know your hair’s porosity so you can choose the right products that will keep your hair healthy and well- moisturized. There are two methods to determine your hair porosity:
The Slip'n'Slide Test: slide your fingers up a strand of hair towards your scalp. In high porosity hair, the cuticle is lifted which means you will feel bumps on the strand as your slide your fingers across it. If the strand feels totally smooth, then you have low porosity.
The Float Test: take a strand of hair from your brush and drop it into a glass of water. Let it sit for 2-4 minutes, if your hair sinks, it has high porosity. If it floats to the top, you have low porosity and if it floats in the middle you have medium porosity hair.
If you find that you have low or high porosity hair it can be easily fixed with the right products and proper care. You can start by using products that have aloe vera and pro-vitamin b like the Moisture Mist leave-in conditioner to help balance the hair's pH levels and sealing the cuticles making it easy to lock in the moisture. Moisture Mist also works great for maintaining your medium porosity hair too. Find out more about the natural hair care set and how you can achieve strong and healthy natural hair here.