In this article, I want to let you in on a little tip that changed my life: hair porosity.
What is hair porosity? In essence, it is your hair’s capacity to absorb water and its capacity to lock in that moisture. While it is interesting for everyone to know their porosity, it can be particularly useful for those with more delicate and stubborn hair. I have curly hair, and learning about my hair’s likes and dislikes has been a complete epiphany!
There are three categories of porosity: low, medium and high.
If you have low porosity hair your cuticles are tightly sealed and water struggles to penetrate the hair shaft. To facilitate water and moisturiser absorption use indirect heat when you deep condition your hair. Heat opens up your hair cuticles in the same way that steam opens up your skin pores, and this will allow the products to penetrate your hair. To do this, wear a shower cap and wrap a warm towel around your head for 30 minutes to 1 hour after applying your deep conditioner, or sit beneath a hooded dryer for 15 - 30 minutes. Afterwards, rinse your hair with lukewarm water to tighten your hair cuticles and keep your hair moisturised. As a general rule, products or recipes containing silicone are not ideal for this hair type as silicone is a sealant and could close your cuticles before they have had time to absorb any water.
If you have medium porosity hair you are one of the lucky ones, as your hair can easily absorb and retain water and doesn’t require much extra TLC. If you wish, you can wrap your head with a warm towel after deep conditioning for a treat, but it isn’t a necessary part of your hair care regime.
If you’re in the high porosity group your hair can absorb water easily, but it releases it just as quickly, meaning your challenge is to seal in that moisture for as long as possible. After deep conditioning and styling your hair make sure to use a sealing oil or serum to help your hair stay moisturised. Your hair may also benefit from some deep protein treatments to help strengthen it.
How do you determine your hair porosity ?
The easiest method is one that can easily be done at home, all you need is a half-full glass of water and a dry clean strand of hair. Simply pop the hair into the glass and let it sit for 10 minutes.
If the hair stays at the surface of the water, you more than likely have low porosity hair, as the hair is unable to absorb the water. If the hair settles somewhere in the middle of the glass, you have medium porosity hair, and if the hair has absorbed a lot of water and sinks to the bottom of the glass you have high porosity hair.
This simple test will help you figure out how to best care for your hair, and help you to find the right products and ingredients that suit your hair type.
Give it a go before you head out to buy a new stash of hair care; armed with this information you may find the wonder product of your dreams!