Have you ever used a product and your hair feels really heavy and weighed down afterwards? Or maybe you’ve had the opposite experience—your hair feels dry and brittle? Most of the time, we blame the product for not behaving the way it’s supposed to, but really, your hair’s porosity has a lot to do with it.
Porosity, you ask? That’s what I’m here to tell you all about today. Read on for the 411 about porosity.
So, What Is Hair Porosity?
According to Ouidad, your hair porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. Your hair can be high porosity, normal porosity, or low porosity. High porosity hair can be just what your hair’s texture is like, or it can be a result of heat, color, or styling damage.
If your hair is high porosity, your hair can absorb water very easily and it dries fast, but often looks frizzy and dry. You typically require a lot of products to make your hair look hydrated and less frizzy.
If your hair is high porosity, your hair can absorb water very easily and it dries fast, but often looks frizzy and dry.
If your hair is normal porosity—well, you’re lucky! Your hair is bouncy, shiny, and typically can be styled with heat or color with minimal damage. This type of hair requires the least amount of maintenance.
If your hair is low porosity, your hair literally repels water, since its cuticle is very tightly bound. Your hair will take forever to dry and oils and products don’t penetrate your hair easily. Low porosity hair is pretty healthy and has a lot of shine, but can be super prone to product build-up, leading to flat, dull hair.
How Do I Know What Porosity My Hair Is?
Glad you asked! You can determine your hair’s porosity with one of three very simple tests.
First, you have the water test. Take a small section of your hair and spritz it with water. Look at and feel it—do the water droplets instantly absorb into your hair? Or can you see the water just sitting on top. If the water absorbs quickly, surprise! You have high porosity hair. If it sits on top, low porosity.
Next, you can do the strand test. Take a strand of your hair and a glass of water. Put the hair in the glass of water and see how it reacts after a few minutes. Does it float? Sink right down to the bottom? Stay somewhere in the middle? If it floats, you have low porosity. If it sinks slowly, your hair is normal. If the strand books it to the bottom of the glass, well, you have high porosity.
For the last test, take a few strands of your hair and gently glide your fingers across the strands from the tip to the root of your hair. If it feels smooth and your fingers can glide easily, but it feels very thick, you have low porosity. If it feels even and smooth, normal porosity. If it feels very fragile or dry, your hair is high porosity.
Once you determine your hair’s porosity, you can start to make better decisions about what products and styling tools to use.
High porosity hair needs to retain all of the moisture it can get, so it’s best to avoid heat or coloring. I have high porosity hair, and I air dry it as much as possible before diffusing on low for volume. Weekly deep conditioning treatments are going to do wonders for your hair health, as well as lightweight leave-in conditioners that infuse your hair with hydration and moisture.
Low porosity hair benefits from the use of steaming and heat to open the hair shaft and allow moisture and hydration in. Think about incorporating a weekly steam with a hooded dryer or steamer and deep conditioning treatment to your hair care routine. To get rid of product build-up, use a clarifying treatment or shampoo once a week.
And if you’re one of the lucky people to have normal porosity, congratulations! Your hair care routine doesn’t require much maintenance. If you want to do a deep conditioning treatment every once in a while, you totally can!
So what’s your hair porosity? Let me know in the comments!