September 06, 2021
If you spend any kind of time on blogs, social media, or in natural hair forums, you have, no doubt, seen or heard the term “hair porosity”. But you may not know much about it. So, in this post, we’re going to break down for you exactly what is meant by hair porosity and how your hair porosity affects your hair care routine.
Let’s start with the obvious question: what is hair porosity?
Hair porosity refers to the amount of moisture, and in some cases, product your hair is able to absorb.
Your hair has a unique structure and each strand has a sort of outer shell. These outer shells respond to different stimulants like heat and cold.
Your hair porosity determines how your cuticles react to outside stimuli - whether they open up in response to heat, or if they close up when cold water or product is introduced.
This is the kind of stuff you need to know because knowing your hair porosity will help you identify which hair products would be good for your hair type!
The porosity of your hair is often genetic, but it can also be influenced by other factors such as chemical processing. However, once you can accurately determine what your hair porosity is you can choose the products that will help your hair grow stronger and healthier.
And don't worry - we've included an accurate hair porosity test in this post, which you'll find later in this article.
We've already established that hair porosity is determined by how your cuticles react. Now, let’s take a look at what it means to have low, medium, and high porosity hair.
Having low porosity hair means that your cuticles are tightly bound together and often lay flat. It also means your hair is more likely to reject moisture because of how the cuticles are structured.
Even though it might sound like a bad thing, it's really not. Low porosity hair is actually considered healthy, and many people who have low porosity hair have more shine, especially in darker hair types.
Flipside, your hair cuticles are so strongly bound together they also reject most of the chemicals that work on other hair types. Having low porosity hair means having cuticles that are tough to penetrate. For this reason, it’s best to avoid the use of oils in your hair.
You’ve probably heard about the use of various oils to help give your hair a sheen. While pouring on the oil may spark a temporary glow-up, your hair won't absorb the oil, and you'll end up working against your goal of retaining moisture. Not to mention the oily mess.
This is mostly because oils work as a sealant to seal moisture in the hair, not to add moisture to the hair.
Some other low porosity hair characteristics include:
If you believe that you have low porosity hair you're probably always working to keep your hair hydrated. There are some methods that you can try though that could help you maintain a healthy head of hair.
You may be tempted to really soak your hair in hopes of fixing your dry hair and getting it to retain moisture, but that method won't work. When it comes to low porosity hair, less is more.
Distribute it evenly across your hair so that it will be absorbed gradually. Putting too much product on your hair will only result in lot of wasted product.
After a wash and while your hair is still damp, use a Pydana Collection thermal heat cap to help the cuticles open up and make your hair more readily able to absorb ingredients that will hydrate your natural hair.
#3 Work with your hair while it's damp
Apply products when your hair is damp, not wet, but damp.
#4 Use natural products on your natural hair.
Use a good shampoo that cleans your hair and does leave residue and contribute to build-up. Pydana Collection Gentle Cleanse Shampoo gently removes dirt and grease without stripping moisture from hair.
Medium porosity hair strikes a nice balance of absorbency and retention. This means that your cuticles have the ability to not just take in moisture but retain it as well. It’s because of this that people with this type of hair often don’t need to do too much other than properly take care of their hair by using the right products that do not contain strong chemicals that can destroy your cuticles.
Whereas low porosity hair is characterized by tightly bound cuticles, hair with medium porosity aids the introduction of moisture and because the cuticles aren't as close together. The structure of the hair allows for products to be better absorbed.
If you have medium porosity hair, conditioners and leave-in products tend to work really well on your hair without much preparation needed before adding products to your hair.
It’s best to avoid daily protein treatments if you have medium porosity hair. Even though your hair might respond well to protein, using too much can change the porosity of your hair over time if too much protein builds up and is retained.
That said, at least twice a month, you can deep condition your hair with a protein product. Also, try to ensure that your hair remains moisturized so that there is little chance for breakage from dry hair.
High porosity hair is often a byproduct of using harsh chemicals on your hair. For instance, the chemicals used to relax hair often leaves hair more porous.
If you have high porosity hair, your hair may absorb products and nutrients well but it won’t be able to retain them. What happens to hair that's been hydrated, but dries out as soon as the hair shaft dries? Frizz, right? so, high porosity hair will often end up looking and feeling frizzy.
There's good new though.
When it comes to restoring your hair to perfect health, it won't be difficult to strengthen your cuticles, seal up any holes left by harsh chemicals and get your hair to start retaining the moisture and nutrients you introduce. If the damage is not permanent, you can use products that contain cupuaçu butter (which absorbs 4x its weight in water), marula oil, and amla oil that can help you reverse the damage.
In some cases using acidic products like apple cider vinegar and protein treatments can help reverse the damage to high porosity hair.
When it comes to managing high porosity hair, make your main focus hydration, hydration, hydration!
Skip the heat. Instead, wash your hair in cool to cold water and air dry your hair whenever possible. Use deep conditioners to help your hair with moisture retention. Try our Moisture LOC Kit + Avocado & Babassu Deep Moisture Conditioner.
The deep conditioner is fortified with rich emollients and a moisture repair complex that nourishes and restores hydration thereby promoting lasting deep moisture and improved elasticity for healthy, strong and radiant hair.
And our Moisture LOC Kit will provide you with moisture-rich products specifically formulated to offer superb hydration and moisture for dry, frizzy and hard to manage natural hair.
So now that we have a better idea of what the different types of hair porosities mean one question remains. How do I know what my hair porosity is?
The best way to do this is by taking an accurate hair porosity test. They are not very complicated and you can use the results to begin living your best hair life.
Here are three methods you can use to help you determine what porosity your hair is. We always recommend doing this every few months because hair porosity can change.
Test 1: Fill a glass with some water and take a strand of your hair and drop it in. If your hair immediately sinks then it means you have high porosity hair, if it stays in the middle of the glass then it’s medium porosity and if it floats at the top then you have low porosity hair. You might want to repeat with a few more strands to confirm.
Test 2: Get a spray bottle and spritz a small section of your hair with water. If your hair absorbs the water readily then you more than likely have high porosity hair. If the water remains at the top you probably have low porosity hair. If it absorbs normally then you are working with medium-porosity hair.
Test 3: Use a hair moisturizing cream like our Pydana Collection Marula & Cupuacu Herbal Silk 3-in-1 Intensive Moisturizer and moisturize your entire head.
If the cream sits on your hair and doesn't absorb, you likely have low porosity hair - the cuticles are bundled too tightly to absorb the moisture from the cream.
If the cream seems to disappear from your hair and in just a little while it seems almost as if you never even moisturized your hair, you likely have high porosity - your hair absorbed the moisturizer but didn't retain the moisture.
If the cream absorbs and your hair retains its moisture for the rest of the day, you probably have medium porosity hair - your hair absorbs and retains moisture.
So much of your healthy hair routine depends on the porosity of your hair. It’s a lot like your skincare regimen, which hinges on your skin type. Depending on whether you have dry, oily, sensitive, or combination skin, your daily routines will vary in small ways and in pretty significant ways as well. It’s the same with your hair care routine. Your hair porosity plays a key role in how you choose to care for your hair.
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