What is hair porosity?

Afro Hair

Hello everyone! I hope you are well. Today, I’m going to talk about hair porosity. I already covered this topic briefly in my article “how to start your hair journey?” But this time, I’ll be more specific about it. I’ll explain to you why it is important to know your hair porosity level and what type of hair cares you need to do based on your hair porosity.

What’s hair porosity?

Hair porosity is the capacity of your hair to absorb and retain humidity. There are three levels of hair porosity: low, normal, and high.

How to find out your hair porosity level?

To find out your hair porosity, you have to do the hair porosity test. You’ll need a glass of water at room temperature and a clean, dry single hair strands with no product on it. Let your single hair strands inside the glass of water for one or two minutes:

  • If your hair stayed on the surface, this means that your hair cuticles are very compact or closed. You have low porosity hair.
  • If your hair floated in the middle, your hair cuticle is slightly open. Therefore, your hair porosity is normal.
  • If your hair sank at the bottom of the glass of water, your hair cuticles are (widely) open. You have high porosity hair.

Knowing your hair porosity is essential because it will help you to select the right products for your hair and adopt the necessary hair cares for you more easily. Your hair will benefit from better moisturising, which is most likely to boost your hair growth. It should also be said that your hair porosity level may change over time. Indeed, the way you treat your hair or even the external environment can have a positive or negative impact in your hair porosity. For that reason, I recommend you do the hair porosity test every year.

Hair Porosity
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Low porosity hair

Because your hair has closed hair cuticles, water or any other product has a hard time to penetrate your hair. Therefore, your hair is mostly dehydrated, dry, difficult to style, and favours breakage.

Recommendations for low porosity hair

Heat should become your ally. In fact, heat will help open your hair cuticles, which will improve your hair’s moisture. You can use a steamer, a heat cap, a hot towel, etc. Having myself low porosity hair, I always use my heat cap during my hair care. I bought it on Amazon, and I can feel that products penetrate my hair more easily.

Regarding your hair’s moisture, it is best to apply a lotion, which is not too heavy (or a leave-in conditioner) after washing your hair and sealing the moisture with light vegetal oil.

Try also to favour hair rinses with lukewarm/hot water because it will open your hair cuticles.

Things to avoid when you have low porosity hair

When you have low porosity hair, you shouldn’t use heavy products like natural hair butter or heavy oils to moisturise your hair. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use those products on your hair, but you need to avoid them for daily moisture. For example, I love castor oil, which is a heavy oil, but I avoid using it to moisturise my hair. I use it for my hair cares or to massage my edges. However, when I seal my hair’s moisture, I will opt for coconut oil, which is way much lighter than castor oil. If you use heavy products to moisturise your hair, the products will only sit on your hair instead of penetrating it.

Avoid also to frequently use products considered as “acid” like clarifying shampoo, lemon, apple cider vinegar, etc., because they tend to close hair cuticles. Try not to use clarifying shampoo more than once a month and always make sure to apply a deep conditioner afterwards.

High hair porosity

High hair porosity is generally considered as damaged hair. Your hair easily absorbs water, but doesn’t really retain it. So, your hair is dehydrated and becomes dry and cause hair breakage.

Recommendations for high porosity hair

When you have high hair porosity level, it is strongly recommended to often do protein hair treatments. The first month, try to do twice a month. Then try to do one every 3 weeks and finish by doing one per month. Protein hair treatments will help you repair your hair fibre and will, therefore, tighten your hair cuticles.

In contrast to low porosity hair, you can use acid products more often. You can use a clarifying shampoo once every three weeks. You can also opt for an apple cider vinegar rinsing from time to time, but please make some research before doing that. I haven’t used apple cider vinegar on my hair yet, so I can’t really give you an extra explanation about that at the moment.

Regarding the moisture of your hair, give preference to heavy oils for sealing your hair’s moisture. Natural hair butter or leave-in conditioners are also good for your hair’s moisture.

The last advice I can give you is to use lukewarm/cold water for your final rinse when you wash your hair. It will help tighten your hair cuticles.

Things to avoid when you have high porosity hair

Minimise the use of heat on your hair because, like I explained it earlier, heat opens hair cuticles and that’s not what you need.

Normal hair porosity

If you have normal hair porosity, it means that you are on the right path. Your hair correctly absorbs water and retains it for a good amount of time. This also means that the products that you use and the hair routine that you have, are both great for your hair.

If you want to do a hair treatment that is aggressive like a hair colouration, for example, please do a new hair porosity test and adapt your hair routine based on the result.

So, girls, what is your hair porosity level and what hair product do you use?

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