Hair is what most people consider as their pride and is a factor which makes you stand out above the rest. It’s only normal to want to have good hair. There are a lot of hair products available on the market. However, not all of those products are the right one for you. Knowing what product to use by knowing the basics is the first step to reaching your hair goals and walk with pride wearing your “crown”.
Hair porosity pertains to how well the hair absorbs and holds moisture. The cuticle or the flexible outer layer of the hair determines how easily moisture and oils passes in and out of the hair, which affects the porosity. External factors such as exposure, hair treatments, and chemical processing affect the porosity of the hair. However, for most, genetic plays a huge role. Knowing your hair porosity helps you in determining the right products that will keep your hair the way you want it to be: well-moisturized, shiny, strong, and supple.
Types and Characteristics
There are three hair porosity types: Low, Medium, and High.
Hair with low porosity is known for its cuticle layer with overlapping scales that are laid flat and tightly bound. Especially if dark in color, this type is often shiny and is considered as healthy. Having hair with low porosity gives you the challenge of absorbing moisture; however, once absorbed, moisture is easily retained.
Medium or Normal Porosity
The cuticle layer of hair with medium porosity is looser and only allows the right amount of moisture to enter, while also preventing too much from escaping. This type of hair porosity requires the least maintenance.
Hair with high porosity is characterized by holes and gaps in the cuticle layer, which lets too much moisture enter into your hair, leaving it tangled and frizzy in humid weather. This type of hair porosity could be the result of damage caused by chemical processing, rough treatment, or environmental damage. Hair with high porosity is the complete opposite of low porosity. Because of how high the cuticles are raised, moisture is easily absorbed. However unlike hair with low porosity wherein the moisture is easily retained, the moisture absorbed by the hair with high porosity quickly goes out.
Hair Porosity Screening Test
Hair porosity is determined using two methods: the Float Test and the Slip 'n' Slide Test.
The Float Test
1. Prepare a bowl of water
2. Take a few strands of your hair.
3. Drop those few strands of hair into the bowl of water.
4. Let it sit there for 2 to 4 minutes.
5. You have low porosity if your hair floats. The strands of hair stayed at the top because water couldn’t get inside it and make it sink. On the other hand, if it sinks, it means that you have high porosity. If it stays in the middle, you have normal porosity.
The Slip'n'Slide Test
1. Take a strand of hair and slide your fingers up towards your scalp.
2. If your cuticle is lifted or in other words, if you feel little bumps along the way, you have high porosity; however, if your fingers slip smoothly, this means that you have hair with low porosity.
Knowledge about hair porosity can help you in selecting your hair care products. Being able to determine which type of hair porosity your hair has using the two given methods allows you to select which products for hair porosity to use according to your type.
For those who have low hair porosity, the hair is prone to build-up caused by protein-rich deep conditioning products, leaving it in an unwanted condition. Thus, it's better to use moderate heat along with protein-free deep conditioners with humectants like glycerin or honey in order to open up the tightly bound cuticle and attract and hold moisture to your hair. With this type of hair porosity, you must choose lighter and liquid-based products that won't sit on your hair and leave it oily and greasy.
Suggested product for this type of hair porosity is Uncle Funky's Daughter Extra Butter Brilliant Shine Creme.
Medium or Normal Porosity
The medium or normal type of hair porosity has no issues concerning the absorption and retaining of moisture, and requires the least amount of maintenance. Occasional deep conditioning treatments with protein conditioners can be beneficial to people with medium hair porosity. However, such use should not be included in your daily regimen and should be limited. Products on the lighter side are suggested in order to avoid having product build-up and weighing down the hair.
For those with high hair porosity, moisture is easily absorbed and also easily lost. This happens when the cuticle is elevated that allows water to come in, making it challenging for moisture to be retained. Thus, activities such as bathing, swimming, and shampooing can bring about damage and breakage to the hair. Other reasons that can cause the cuticles to be raised and bring damage are heat styling, chemicals, from frequent hair manipulation, and in some instances, genetic.
Using anti-humectants in climates with high heat and humidity can help seal the damaged cuticles of your hair and prevent the absorption of excess moisture. Since hair with high porosity loses moisture easily, use conditioners, moisturizers, and sealers with heavy oils and butters, and leave them into your hair in order to create a protective barrier that prevents the loss of moisture. Protein treatments such as keratin treatments are recommended in order to fill in the gaps and holes that make it challenging to retain moisture.
Suggested product for this type of hair porosity is Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Heat and Humidity