Our hair is an extremely personal thing, from the way we wash it to how we style it. Therefore, it makes sense that our hair would also have different ways of absorbing moisture, known as porosity. Beyond the terms curly, wavy, and straight, hair—much like skin—has a special way of maintaining moisture. Understanding how our hair interacts with and retains moisture is vital when it comes to properly caring for it. In this week’s article, learn all about hair porosity, how to discover yours, and ways to care for different kinds of hair.
What is Porosity?
Similarly to the way, our skin has pores through which it breathes and releases sebum to moisturise skin, hair has cuticles. Cuticles are commonly compared to shingles on a roof. When these “shingles” leave space between them, they create something like a pore which moisture can seep through. Essentially, your hair’s porosity is determined by how close together with your cuticles are, and the levels range from low to high. Once you know your hair’s porosity, you’ll be able to better care for and style your hair.
How to Find Out Your Hair’s Porosity
There are two ways to discover your hair’s porosity. The first is the most common, aptly deemed the “the water test” as it uses a glass of water. Basically, you need to fill up a clear glass with water and place a strand of clean, dry hair in it. If the strand floats, your hair has a low level of porosity, and if it sinks, your hair has a high level of porosity. Should the strand stay somewhere in the middle, then you have a medium level.
Of course, there is a quicker method that involves feeling a strand of hair for its texture. This method is helpful to give you an idea of your hair’s porosity; however, the water test is still recommended. Firstly, you’ll want to feel a clean, dry strand of hair between two fingers. Secondly, you’ll need to analyse the texture to see if it’s bumpy or smooth. Smooth would suggest that it has low porosity, whereas bumpy could suggest that the hair has a high porosity level as the cuticles are likely open.
Ways To Care for Hair
So, now that you’ve discovered your hair’s porosity, it’s time to learn how to best care for it.
Low Porosity Hair
Densely packed cuticles on your hair strands mean that they naturally retain moisture better, but can affect absorption. This applies to both products, as well as natural oils from your scalp and follicles. As your hair takes longer to dry, you most likely don’t struggle much with frizz but may have drier and more brittle ends than most, which you’ll need to trim regularly. Also, as your cuticles are very close together, it’s best to condition your hair in sections and use warm water to keep the cuticles open. Finally, we recommend you use steam and hot treatments (like hot oil treatments) to your advantage to open the cuticle and get moisture in.
Ah, the sweet spot! You are lucky enough to have hair that’s not high maintenance, meaning you need not fret about absorption of product or maintain moisture levels. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t worry about your hair, as you still need to protect it from damage. In order to keep your cuticles in great shape, avoid overprocessing or too much colouring, heating, or chemical treatments on your hair. Furthermore, avoid products that leave a filmy residue on strands, as that will lead to build up, which can be problematic in the future.
High Porosity Hair
Ever noticed how quickly your hair dries after you wash it? Then, you’re in the right place. Having high porosity hair isn’t a bad thing at all, but it is more vulnerable, so caring for it properly will help you keep it from getting dry and brittle. As your hair already dries rather quickly, we recommend only air drying or using very low heat on it. Also, be conscious of how often you comb, brush or style, as too much of these can damage the strand. Last but not least, be sure to moisturise regularly with hydrating products that protect the cuticle, as well as use pre-shampoo treatments.
Knowing your hair’s porosity will bring you one step closer to caring for it properly and enjoying healthier hair. Looking for more natural ways to care for your hair and skin? Be sure to take a look at the great discounts on our eBooks. Also, you can always sign up for lessons with WapoBeauty’s Complete Facial Skincare Online Course for Beginners and discover how to make professional, safe, and stable natural beauty products. Join the ranks of students who found this class valuable and rewarding!
About Our Blogger
Ashuni Pérez is an American writer based in Valencia, Spain. She has a passion for natural beauty and the environment. Ashuni loves to cycle and drink smoothies in the sun. Follow her on Instagram at @ashuuuuni.