Nov. 9, 2021 · Written by Rita Okechukwu
We are all a bit obsessed about our hair type/curl pattern. Is it a 4b? no, isnt that a 4c i see at the middle section? Lol. But even more important than curl pattern and definition, Hair porosity type is vital to the health of your hair.
What is Hair Porosity
Hair porosity is simply the ability of hair to absorb and/or retain moisture. For better understanding, it helps to know more about the structure of your hair strands, which is made up of 3 layers; Cuticle, Cortex, Medulla.
Cuticle: Protective and tough outer layer of your hair, made up of smaller cuticle cells overlapping each other like fish scales.
These cuticle cells allows the diffusion of moisture and oils in and out of the hair strands. Tightly packed cuticles with little openings allow very little moisture in and out while loosely stacked cuticles have bigger openings making passage of moisture easier.
Hair porosity is determined by how tightly the cuticles cells are arranged in overlap and glued on the hair surfaced.
There are three hair porosity types; Low Porosity, Medium Porosity and High Porosity hair types.
Discover Your Hair Porosity At Home
Hair porosity affects the effectiveness of hair products and practices and its a huge factor in the health of your hair. It is important to know your hair porosity and care for it appropriately. Find out your hair porosity through;
The Float Test:
- Wash hair of all build up and dry completely.
- Take out a few shed hair strands from comb or hair brush.
- Fill a cup or bowl with water.
- Drop the hair strands into the cup/bowl.
- Let it sit for 2 - 4 mins and then check for result
- Hair floats to the water top - Low porosity
- Hair floats around the glass and between the top and base - Medium porosity
- Hair strands sinks to the bottom - High porosity
The Strand Slide Test:
- Separate a few freshly washed curl strands from different section of your head; front hairline, crown and nape.
- With your fingers gently stretch the curl strands from any one of the three head sections.
- Holding the curls stretched out, place them between the thumb and fingers on the other hand and slide your fingers along the hair strands in an upward direction ( i.e from the ends towards the scalp). Repeat in the other 2 head sections.
- If the hair strands feel bumpy and rough or breaks off during the slide that means your cuticles are raised up - High Porosity.
- But if the curl strands feels smooth - Low Porosity.
The Spray Bottle Test:
Section off a part of freshly washed hair, spray with water from your continous mist spray bottle and observe the hair reaction.
- Water remains on the hair, forms beads and not absorbed - Low porosity
- Water absorbed quickly into hair strands - Hair Porosity
Hair Porosity Types
Now, you have found out what porosity type your curls are, what does mean for you? how can you care for and get the best results from your hair porosity type?
Low Porosity simply means that your hair cuticles are tightly overlapping each other with very liitle spaces inbetween making for very restricted passage in and out of the hair strands. So, hair does not absorb moisture easily but retains a very good amount of moisture.
High Porosity hair type has cuticles raised and very loosely packed with lots of spaces inbetween the cuticle cells making for very free passage in and out of hairs strands for moisture and other hair products. So, hair absorbs moisture easily and loses it just as easily ( cant retain moisture ).
Medium Porosity hair types have the both of best worlds with overlapping and evenly spaced cuticle cells, having a bit more gaps than the low porosity hair types. This hair type allows in and retains just the right amount of moisture.
Understanding your Hair Porosity Type More:
High Porosity Hair :Cuticles are raised and porous.
-Unhealthy and dull.
- Absorbtion easy, and retention difficult.
-Hair products penetrates curls easily.
-Excessive hair dryness.
-Very prone to frizz.
- Wet hair dry easily.
Medium Porosity Hair : Very Low Maintenace.
-Absorbs and retains easily
-Elastic and bouncy.
Low Porosity Hair : Cuticles lay flat and smooth.
- Absorption hard, and retention easy.
-Healthy and shiny hair
-Hair products sit on hair for a while before absorbtion.
- Hard to process because it resists chemical penetration such as Hair colouring.
-Prone to build up of hair products.
-Protein build up makes for stiff and straw-like hair texture.
-Takes long time for wet hair to dry.
Hair Care Tips for Your Porosity Type
-For Low Porosity types, Steaming is your best friend, use heat to raise your cuticles and increase absorbtion rate.
-Also Pre-poo before your washday is a life changing practice that prevents breakage and Hygral fatigue when hair cuticles are expanding and contracting during all your washday processes.
-Its essential during pre-poo, to use emollient oils, such as Avacado oil, Olive oil, castor oil all found in our deeply moisturizing Detangler. Emollient moisturizers which wont just sit on hair strands but rather sink into the hair and adds maximium moisture and shine.
For High Porosity types, - Seal up after moisturization in order help retain moisture. Use our 100% Vegan Oil serum to seal up those ends.
- Avoid HEAT!
- Always rinse with cold water to reduce frizz.
Medium Porosity types, - Keep up the good work curlies with regular deep conditioning and occassional protein treatments.
Spritz your curls with the good old water, Moisturize, Detangle and increase hair elasticity with our 100% Vegan Detangler, Seal in all up and reatin hair moisture with our powerful Growth Serum containig both essential and carrier oils necessary for growth and a healthy scalp.