What’s Hair Porosity

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Our hair is porous and it can absord and preserve water – the hair’s capacity to do that is varied and related to our hair porosity which is low, high or medium. Once determined which level, you can easily pick right products for your hair.

Determine your hair porosity would help choose the ideal products – shampoos, oils, conditioners, proteins and moisturizers.

Using heat styling tools (hair straighteners, curling iron, hair dyers, etc.,) and hair products or undergoing color treatment can change your hair porosity for good for bad.

And your hair porosity are varied – even in the same hair strand, if not the different parts of hair. That’s when one part dries quicker than others.

How to determine your hair porosity – it’s quite easy but the measurement may not be reliable

Before doing the test your hair must be clean and dry completely

Method 1 – porosity varied on different parts of your hair

Spray all over your hair with water (you have a spray bottle and  fill the water in the bottle) you would see each hair section absorb water with different rates, which determine the hair porosity of hair section.

Method 2 – hair porosity

Take a few hair strands, dip them into a full glass of water, wait a few minutes. By observing the hair strand position in the water you would know its porosity. Low if it floats, high if it’s stuck in the middle and high if it sinks to the bottom.

This test is not really reliable – because oil on hair floats on water and if your hair stand is covered with any form of oil it will float no matter your hair porosity.

The surface tension of water is another factor that prevents hair from sinking and it’s not related to hair hair porosity. You can get rid of surface tension factor by dipping the hair under the surface.

The water temperature will be another decisive factor – the temperature can relax the hair structure and change the hair porosity.

Even though hair porosity is not high you hair may sink quickly because it’s heavy (by the product you applied).

Method 3 – Gas Sorption

This is expensive and you can’t do it at home. An article on NCBI introduces a novel method to measure hair porosity – by comparing the air volume in hair strands with hair strand total volume.

In order to make that comparision, a gas (air) will pass through the hair.

Well you just figured out your hair porosity.

Low Porosity Hair

 Definetion: If you have flat hair (often with low elasticity) it feels dry even after you apply conditioner. And because of low porosity it attracts product buildup and it can’t absorb products much as it would. The outermost part of the hair shaft, called cuticle is responsive for this, it is like nets overlapping on each other to create layers. These layers are situated so tight that leaves no room for moisture penetrate.
The outermost parts of hair define the hair porosity

Is low porosity hair a sign of hair damage? Not really, you will need to moisturize hair in a proper way. Deep condition hair using hair steamer or hooded bonnet hair dryers, you can also apply warm oil or conditioner. And you should do it frequently.

Protein treatments do help low porosity hair recover moisture, you can do it every four or six weeks.

I recommend using shampoo that doesn’t leave much buildup on your hair and they should contain ingriedients that your hair easily absorb.

If you color your hair, try natural dyes such as coffee, sage and henna.

Light oils that work great for low porosity hair like sunflower, argan, coconut, grape, almond or avocado oils they are easier to penetrate the hair shaft. You can also apply heavy oil but it’d be better to heat it up before use.

A lot of hair product may leave on your hair which prevent it from gaining moisture, and you can remove the buildup naturally by apple cider vinegar or by Dr. Bronner’s – Pure-Castile Liquid Soap.

 Medium Porosity Hair

Definition: You hair has a right balance of moisture and protein in it

Don’t abuse heat styling tools and relaxers, your hair can be UPGRADED to higher porosity.

High Porosity Hair

Definition: you may naturally have high porosity hair that the cuticles are widely opened so the moisture easily comes in. It is a good thing if hair shaft can retain the moisture, but in reality it quickly dries out, leaving hair frizzy

The high porosity hair is often considered as damaged hair.  

To lock the moisture my suggestion is apply heavy oils, protein or moisturizers.

Use mild Sulfate Free Shampoos And Conditioners

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