What makes your hair to be easily frizzy, dry, or tangled? Are you fed up with trying every product under the sun and still not getting the desired results for your natural hair? Do you wish you had healthy, lustrous, and manageable hair? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should be aware of hair porosity.
Porosity may sound like a fancy scientific term, but it’s just a fancy term for describing how well your hair can hold on to moisture.
The structure and condition of your hair cuticles, which are the outermost layer of your hair strands, determine it. Hair porosity can be low, medium, or high, and each has its own set of characteristics and difficulties.
And, if you’re like me and constantly battle frizz, dryness, and breakage, knowing your hair’s porosity can be a game changer.
So get ready to become a porosity expert and say goodbye to bad hair days for good (okay, maybe not forever, but at least a little less often).
In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about hair porosity; the different porosity levels, how to test your hair porosity no matter your hair type, and much more.
Let’s get started, shall we?
In “Know Your Natural Hair 1: Hair Types”, we explained what hair types are and how to recognize your hair type. In this blog post, we will examine what hair porosity is, how it affects your hair, and how to test your hair’s porosity level. This is a continuation of the Know Your Natural Hair series.
What is Hair Porosity?
Hair porosity simply refers to how much your hair can absorb and retain moisture. According to Formulate Journal, human hair has three layers: cuticle, cortex, and medulla. The cuticle is the tough outer layer of hair. How open or closed the cuticles are will determine how much moisture gets through them to reach the cortex.
Your hair porosity level is mostly determined by genetics. But factors like environmental, chemical, or heat damage can change your hair porosity level.
Why Should You Know Your Hair Porosity Level?
Why is hair porosity important? Well, it influences how your hair behaves and reacts to various treatments and environments. For example, low porosity indicates that your cuticles are tightly packed and resistant to moisture. This can result in dull, dry hair that is prone to product buildup. High porosity, on the other hand, indicates that your cuticles are raised and damaged, allowing too much moisture to enter and exit your hair. This can cause frizz, brittleness, and breakage in your hair.
By knowing your hair porosity level, you know and understand your hair better. This helps you pick the right products and care regimen for your hair’s health.
The Three Hair Porosity Levels
Hair porosity can be low, medium, or high, and each one has its own characteristics and challenges.
1. Low Porosity Hair
In low porosity hair, the cuticles are close together and they lay flat. It is hard for moisture to penetrate this hair because the cuticles are too close.
Characteristics of Low Porosity Hair
- Products sit on the hair, making it prone to build-up.
- Water doesn’t saturate easily when washing.
- Takes a long time to air dry.
- Hard to treat chemically or dye.
Tips for Low Porosity Hair
- Use protein-free shampoo and conditioner.
- Use liquid-based products that won’t leave the hair greasy.
- Apply conditioner when the hair is wet. Use heat when conditioning e.g steamer or hooded dryer.
2. Medium Porosity Hair
Here, the cuticles are slightly loose. This type of hair absorbs and retains moisture just fine. This is the normal porosity level.
Characteristics of Medium Porosity Hair
- Doesn’t take too long or fast for water to saturate when washing.
- Not prone to frizz or product build-up.
- Doesn’t break often. Requires less maintenance.
Tips for Medium Porosity Hair
- Continue regular deep conditioning and moisturizing.
- Exposing hair to heat and chemicals can lead to high hair porosity.
3. High Porosity Hair
In high porosity hair, the cuticles are wide open and spread, making it easy for moisture to run in and out of the hair. High porosity hair absorbs moisture easily but finds it hard to hold moisture.
Characteristics of High Porosity Hair
- Doesn’t take long for water to saturate when washing.
- Prone to frizz and dryness.
- Hair breaks easily.
- Doesn’t take long to air dry.
Tips for High Porosity Hair
- Use shampoos and conditioners with ingredients like butter and oil.
- Use leave-in conditioners and sealers.
- Avoid heat. If you can’t, use a heat protectant.
- Avoid using hot water to wash your hair.
How to Take the Hair Porosity Test – 3 methods
There are several ways to test your hair porosity at home, using simple tools and materials.
Let’s look at three of the most common and easy methods: the float test, the spray bottle test, and the slip’n’slide test. We will explain how each one works, and what the result tells you about your hair porosity.
1. The Float Test
The float test is one of the most popular and easy ways to test your hair porosity. All you need is a glass of water and a strand of your hair. Here’s how to do it:
What the results say
2. The Spray Bottle Test
The spray bottle test is another simple and quick way to test your hair porosity. All you need is a spray bottle filled with water and a mirror. Here’s how to do it:
What the results say
3. The Slip’n’Slide Test
The slip’n’slide test is another easy and fun way to test your hair porosity. All you need is a strand of your hair and your fingers. Here’s how to do it:
What the results say
What are the signs of low porosity hair?
Some signs of low porosity hair are:
Hair takes a long time to get wet and dry
Hair repels water and forms beads on the surface
Hair feels smooth and slippery when sliding fingers up the strand
Hair has difficulty absorbing oils, conditioners, and styling products
Hair lacks shine and volume
Is low or high porosity hair better?
Neither low nor high porosity hair is better than the other, they are just different and require different care and attention. Low porosity hair means that your hair cuticles are tightly packed and resistant to moisture.
Low porosity hair can make your hair look dull, dry, and prone to product buildup. High porosity hair means that your hair cuticles are raised and damaged, allowing too much moisture to enter and exit your hair.
High porosity hair can make your hair look frizzy, brittle, and prone to breakage. The key is to embrace your hair porosity and learn how to work with it, not against it
What does high hair porosity look like?
High hair porosity means that your hair cuticles are raised and damaged, allowing too much moisture to enter and exit your hair. High hair porosity can make your hair look frizzy, brittle, and prone to breakage. The lack of moisture makes the texture of your hair dry and sometimes coarse
Is porosity in hair good?
Porosity in hair is not good or bad, it is just a characteristic that affects how your hair absorbs and retains moisture. Porosity in hair can be low, medium, or high, and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Knowing your hair porosity can help you choose the right products and treatments for your hair type and make your hair look and feel healthier and more beautiful
Finally, we hope you now have a better understanding of the porosity of your hair and what it means for your hair care routine. Remember that your hair, like your personality, is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another.
There is no right or wrong level of hair porosity. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The key is to accept your hair porosity and learn to work with it rather than against it. With the proper care and attention, you can have healthy and beautiful hair whether you have low, medium, or high porosity hair.
In terms of natural hair, do you know what your hair density is? Hair density is a measurement of how much hair is on your head. It has an impact on the volume and thickness of your hair. Want to find our what your hair density is?; Read “KNOW YOUR NATURAL HAIR 3: HAIR DENSITY” to learn more about your natural hair.
Accept, love, and treat your natural hair like the queen that it is. If all else fails, just throw on a cute hat and call it a day! Happy hair-care journey, my fellow humans (and bots, we don’t judge)!