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  5. What Is Hair Porosity & How To Determine Yours

Have you found yourself in a constant battle with dryness and frizz? Are your hair care routines yielding zero results? If yes, there's undoubtedly something amiss. The truth is, porous hair may be the cause of a number of your biggest concerns.

If you want to gain the maximum benefits of all your hair care products, the first step is to check your hair's porosity level. By determining this, you can invest in products that are better suited for your hair type and improve its overall quality.

Read on to get to the bottom of what hair porosity is and what it means for your hair concerns.

What Is Hair Porosity?

Hair porosity is the ability of your hair to absorb and preserve liquids or moisture in the cuticle. Your strands appear like a single, long, smooth strip, but it's actually composed of numerous layers known as cuticles.

To some extent, the cuticle is a protective layer, and it determines how much liquid can penetrate the hair.

If your cuticles are open and super raised, they will lose moisture faster, leaving your hair frizzy and dry. If your cuticles are close together, they hold off on absorbing liquids, making it difficult to hydrate and treat your locks.

In essence, hair's porosity determines what your hair needs and what it doesn't.

If you know your hair's porosity, you can easily pick out hair care treatments and products that are useful for your hair, saving you the hassle of trying and testing different regimes.

For the most part, porosity is genetic, but factors like environmental damage, chemicals, and heat can bear an influence.

Note:

Porosity affects certain hair types more than others, like curly hair due to the lack of moisture. It can impact other hair types differently.

The Different Types Of Hair Porosity

Hair porosity is typically divided into three broad categories:

  • High porosity - cuticles that are widely spaced
  • Medium porosity - cuticles that are less tightly bound
  • Low porosity - cuticles that are close together

1. High Porosity

Highly porous hair has raised cuticles that can absorb moisture but cannot hold on to it and loses it quickly. This leaves your hair frizzy and prone to breakage and damage. The lack of moisture makes the texture of your hair dry and sometimes coarse.

Characteristics Of High Porosity Hair

  • Hair quickly and easily absorbs water as it’s highly porous
  • It takes a long time for your hair to dry
  • Highly porous hair needs and loves protein
  • Most prone to breakage and split ends
  • Hair gets tangled easily

SkinKraft Tip:

Rinse your hair with cold water after shampooing as it helps seal the cuticle.

Note:

It’s best for those with high hair porosity to invest in a good leave-in conditioner, which helps lock in moisture.

2. Medium Porosity Hair

You’ve hit the jackpot if you find that you have medium porosity. With a slightly loose cuticle, the hair absorbs just the right amount of liquid and holds on to it.

This type of hair requires the least maintenance. It doesn’t get frizzy, isn’t prone to build up, doesn’t dry out easily, and holds hairstyles better. Your hair looks healthy, voluminous, and lustrous.

Characteristics Of Medium Porosity Hair

  • Medium porosity hair is in its most natural, healthy state
  • It requires less maintenance and effort
  • Hair doesn’t take too long to dry or to get wet
  • It can easily absorb and retain moisture inside the cuticle
  • It holds hairstyles well
  • Minimal breakage and split ends

3. Low Porosity Hair

With the cuticles firmly closed and clamped down, the hair doesn't absorb moisture easily. But when it does, it retains the moisture for long, which prevents the hair from looking damaged or dry.

As oils and other treatments aren't easily absorbed, you can notice product buildup on the scalp for those with low hair porosity. Overall, low porosity hair is shiny and often considered to be healthy but tends to fall flat.

Characteristics Of Low Porosity Hair

  • Because hair naturally holds off on water, it takes longer to get saturated and longer for it to dry
  • You can see a buildup of products
  • It's difficult to hydrate
  • It's difficult to treat low porosity hair chemically, and it doesn't take color well
  • It's less prone to breakage and split ends
  • The hair doesn't have much volume or elasticity

Now that you have a brief idea about the different hair porosity types, let's find out your hair's porosity. The tests below can help you determine yours.

What Causes Low Or High Hair Porosity?

Typically, porosity is genetic but external factors can affect and alter it too.

Chemical and color treatments, daily heat styling, overexposure to the sun, pH imbalances, and pool water can weaken the bonds between the cuticle cells and result in porosity.

How To Check Hair Porosity?

The journey to healthy hair is all about knowing your hair inside-out. Porosity is no different and can be the key to solving a lot of your hair problems.

Even if you don’t have a microscope or a medical degree, one of these hair porosity tests is a good indicator of what category your hair falls in.

1. The Float Test

Grab a few locks of clean hair, because any product residue can alter the results. Drop these strands into a bowl or glass of room temperature water and let it sit for a few minutes.

Results:

After some time, check whether your hair sinks or floats. If it floats your hair has low porosity and if it sinks it has high porosity. If it’s somewhere in between, you have medium porosity hair.

2. The Slip and Slide Test

Take a very tiny section of your hair and slide your fingers upwards towards the scalp.

Results:

If you feel it’s smooth, you have low porosity hair. If you feel bumps along the way, you have high hair porosity.

Other things you get to know from the strand test:

  • If your hair feels hard and rigid, it has excess protein
  • If your hair feels sticky, limp or stringy, it requires protein
  • Your hair has an overabundance of moisture if your hair is very soft but easily breaks and doesn’t hold a style
  • Your hair lacks moisture if your hair feels dry, brittle and looks tangled

3. The Spray Bottle Test

Take a small section of your hair and use a spray bottle to dampen it. Keep a close watch.

Results:

Your hair has normal porosity if the water sits on the hair’s surface for a bit before it’s soaked up. If the water droplets on the surface linger for longer, your hair is low in porosity. If your hair absorbs the water quickly, it’s high in porosity.

Now that you know how to measure hair porosity use these simple methods and get testing! Once you determine your type, you can read all about improving it below.

How To Improve Hair Porosity?

Are you wondering whether you can improve your hair’s porosity? The answer is yes, and no.

If the cause of your hair porosity is genetic, there’s nothing much you can do about it. If the reason is hair damage, your hair will take time to recover from it. For recovery, you need to stop abusing your hair and give it some extra TLC.

If low porosity is caused because of product buildup, you can bring it back to medium porosity with the help of a clarifying shampoo.

No matter your hair type or porosity, what truly matters is how you take care of it.

How Can You Keep Your Hair Moisturised?

1. Hair Care For High Porosity

High porosity hair needs extra care and loving as it is vulnerable to tangling, frizziness, dryness, damage, and breakage. Here’s what you can do to nourish and protect it:

  • Massage your scalp and hair often with oil for nourishment and moisturization. Use oils like avocado, coconut, jojoba, or olive oil.
  • Use a good leave-in conditioner every other day to preserve moisture and prevent the hair from drying out.
  • Steer clear from hairsprays, serums and heat styling tools.
  • Deep condition your hair weekly or biweekly.
  • Try protein treatments.
  • Lukewarm or cold water works best when you shampoo and condition your hair.

2. Hair Care For Low Porosity Hair

Low porosity hair does not retain moisture well and is almost water-resistant. Here are your solutions:

  • Use a clarifying shampoo once a week to get rid of product build-up from your scalp and hair.
  • Use conditioning hair masks to pamper your hair every other week.
  • Give your hair hot-oil treatment using oils like coconut, avocado, and olive.
  • Try protein-free conditioners. Your hair can easily absorb them, and they’re less likely to cause product build-up.
  • Choose lightweight hair care products.

3. Haircare For Medium Porosity Hair

Medium porosity hair retains adequate moisture. It also reacts well to chemical treatments such as coloring and styling. However, don’t overindulge in such procedures as they can cause hair fall and damage.

Wrapping Up

Finding the right way to nourish your hair can be quite the journey, especially if you can't get your hands on the right products to keep your hair in shape.

If you found that your hair suffers from breakage, frizz, and dryness despite adopting a variety of methods and using a range of products, you've missed out on a significant factor - hair porosity.

It is essential you know how porous your hair is so that you can find the best hair care regimen for yourself.

SkinKraft provides a customized hair care regimen that includes a shampoo and conditioner to match your hair's unique needs.

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