Hair porosity is a way to describe how well your hair can absorb and retain moisture. Hair porosity is one of the criteria that we can describe and classify our hair. It is extremely useful when choosing hair care products and making the most out of them. The easiest way to determine hair porosity would be checking your hair strand under a microscope. If we don’t have one handy, then we need to resort to other ways.
Low Hair Porosity
Hair with low porosity has hair cuticles tightly close to the hair cortex. Low porosity hair cuticles are arranged regularly and it is very difficult to move them. Such hair is resistant to damage, all hairdressing treatments, but also styling. Low porosity hair are naturally healthy, smooth and shiny (regardless of the cosmetics we use). They do not require an extensive hair care. We actually should try and limit the amount of products we use on our hair , because it can way down the hair and make it look dull.
It is suggested to stick to protein-free, daily conditioners with humectants such as glycerin or honey. Use protein free conditioner and low heat to open up cuticles and let conditioner ingredients to get deeper into your hair.
Low porosity hair requires moisturisers rich in emollients such as shea butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil and mineral oil. Humectant products, which attract and hold moisture to your hair can do wonders for your hair as well. Choose lighter, liquid-based products such as hair milks that will not build up on your hair and make it look greasy.
High Porosity Hair
As the name might suggest high porosity hair is completely opposite to low porosity hair. High porosity hair has gaps in between hair cuticles, which let too much moisture into your hair. It leaves your hair prone to frizz and tangling in humid weather.
The hair may have increased porosity due to damage caused by hairdressing procedures, insufficient protection or improper care, or might be just naturally highly porous. Curly hair is usually high porosity hair. A high porosity hair has an irregularly distributed cuticles that strongly protrudes from the hair cortex and react very easily to changes in temperature or humidity. Even if we can temporarily close the cuticles with proper treatment, it is never a lasting effect. High porosity hair is extremely sensitive and easily damaged, it is very susceptible both to styling, dyeing and other hairdressing treatments. High porous hair needs all the protection it can get when exposed to any styling and harsh weather conditions. High porosity hair, if we do not properly care for them, will be dull, rough and straw like. Fortunately, with proper care, we are able to slightly lower the porosity of the hair and make it look very good.
Even simple everyday things such as bathing, swimming and shampooing can create more damage and breakage due to the amount of moisture highly porous hair can absorb.
Be sure to use anti-frizz products in climates with high heat and humidity. This will help seal your damaged cuticles and prevent them from absorbing moisture from the air.
Because highly porous hair can not only absorb moisture from the air but also lose moisture easily, it’s important to use leave-in conditioners. You can even use a heavy hair butter to help fill the gaps in your damaged cuticles and protect your hair from losing too much moisture.
Normal porosity hair
Most hair has a porosity that can be described as average. Normal porosity hair cuticles are arranged rather regularly and slightly protrude from the hair’s cortex. Such hair is usually the easiest to care for because. If you can not determine the porosity yourself, then it is probably the average.
Check your hair porosity
The float test
- Fill a glass or bowl with room temperature water.
- Take a couple strands of your clean hair and put them in the water. Clean hair is important. If you have oils or products on your hair, it will alter your results.
- Watch it for 2-4 minutes.
- If your hair sinks immediately, it has high porosity. Your hair absorbed the water quickly and sank quickly.
- If your hair is still floating 4 minutes later, it has low porosity. I have low porosity hair (see my float test pic below).
- If your hair is slowly sinking, you have normal porosity.
This test showed for me that I have a low porosity hair, yet I am not convinced.
The Slide Test
- Grab a strand of hair on your head.
- Starting from the end of your hair, slide your fingers up the hair shaft towards your scalp.
- If you have a bumpy ride, you have high porosity hair. If your hair felt smooth, you have low porosity hair.
According to this test my hair seems highly porous.
The Spray Bottle Test
- Take a small section of your hair and pin the rest back.
- Spray that section with a little water, just enough to mist it.
- If the water sits on top of your hair or beads up, you have low porosity hair.
- If your hair absorbs the water quickly, you have high porosity hair.
- If the water sits on your hair for several minutes then is absorbed, you have normal porosity hair.
Here it seems I have low to normal porosity hair.
Can’t wait to get my hair tested under a microscope. I have a feeling I have a mix of all three hair types. My roots are normal to low porosity and the rest is more porous and damaged Is that even possible lol. Up until I started dying my hair lighter my hair was smooth and soft. I could go on for hours or even days without brushing my hair and it still looked nice. Now my hair tangles easily and it is very difficult to brush my hair in the morning. it actually takes me a good few minutes to gently brush it. My hair always get very frizzy after dying my hair and i have to condition it well days after to make it stonger.
What hair type do you think you have?