What Is Hair Porosity? And Why Does It Matter?
Hair porosity is an important part of hair care. Knowing what your hair porosity level is can help you determine the condition of your hair, whether it is damaged, the nutrients it may be lacking, and how to care for it. If you don’t know what hair porosity is and how you can test it, then keep reading to find out what your hair porosity level is and why it matters so much.
What Is Hair Porosity?
Hair porosity essentially refers to our hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. The level of our hair porosity is affected by several factors, such as our genetics, chemical processing, heat damage, and exposure to the sun. Each of these factors impact the way liquids and oils pass through our hair. Knowing what your porosity level is can help you figure out which hair products and chemicals you should or should not be using. Hair porosity also determines how elastic, shiny, hydrated, and strong our hair cuticles are. So, now that we have discussed what porosity is, what are the different types?
Types of Hair Porosity:
There are three types of hair porosity levels: Low, medium, and high. Each level differs based on the texture and condition of the hair cuticle, how the hair absorbs and retains moisture, as well as how the hair reacts with hair products.
Low porosity hair has cuticles that are too tightly closed, this means that the scales on the hair shaft are closely overlapped. The overlapping scales prevent moisture, oils, and chemicals from penetrating into the hair. Low porosity is typically considered healthy, so it is resistant to chemical processing and requires more moisture.
Some signs that indicate you have low porosity include:
- The tendency to get product build-up or oily hair quickly.
- Hair dries quickly when you get it wet, or your hair seems to repel moisture.
- Hair resists chemical treatments or doesn’t take colors well.
- Hair gets stiff or straw-like when you use treatments that contain protein.
This is the healthiest form as it absorbs and retains the perfect amount of moisture. The cuticles on medium porosity hair are looser than low porosity hair, allowing just enough moisture and products into and out of the hair. This type of hair is every girl’s dream, it requires very little maintenance, holds styles great, and takes color perfectly. Some signs you have medium porosity include:
- Hair absorbs and retains moisture and products well.
- Hair takes color perfectly and responds well to chemical processing.
- Hairstyles hold well.
- Hair does not get stiff after using protein treatments.
If you have rough, frizzy hair, it means your hair porosity is high. This occurs due to the excessive holding of moisture that ends up causing tangled and broken hair. The cuticles on high porosity hair tend to have holes or gaps between the scales, which allow excessive amounts of moisture into the hair shaft. Highly porous hair can be due to genetics or from damage due to heating tools or over-processing your hair. The gaps between the scales in high porosity hair not only allow too much moisture in, but they also allow too much moisture out. This means that your hair is constantly starving for moisture, which means it requires more work to keep it hydrated. Some signs that your hair has a high porosity level include:
- Hair strands feel rough or coarse.
- Hair gets frizzy and tangles easily.
- Hair gets more frizzy in humid weather.
- Hair takes a long time to dry when it’s wet.
- Hair has a tendency to break easily.
- Hair requires a lot of moisture and maintenance.
How to Determine Your Porosity Level?
If your still not sure which porosity level you have, there are two tests you can try to figure it out, the first is the float test and the second is the slip and slide test.
The Float Test:
Take a couple of pieces of hair that are free of any product residue, and place it in a clear glass of water. Then you wait for 2 – 4 minutes, if the hair remains on top, your hair has low porosity. If it sinks to the bottom, it has high porosity, and if it floats towards the center of the glass, it means your hair has medium porosity.
The Slip And Slide Test:
Slide your fingers from the ends towards the top of the hair strand. If your fingers glide smoothly up the hair shaft, then you have low porosity. If it slides normally, then its medium porosity, and if it feels bumpy, it means your cuticles are raised, which means your hair has high porosity.
Why Does Hair Porosity Matter?
By knowing your hair porosity, you can make informed decisions on which products are best for your hair based on the condition it is in. Knowing your hair porosity can help, you maintain the health of your hair and keep it properly moisturized. You can make better decisions when treating your hair and how it will handle chemical treatments. Also, knowing your hair porosity can help you determine how your hair will absorb products, moisture, and how often to cleanse as well as clarify your hair to prevent product buildup. To sum it up, it’s very important to know your hair porosity because it gives you an indication of the overall condition of your hair, how to care for it, and how to avoid causing any irreparable damage.