If you’re reading this, I’m sure you are familiar with “hair porosity.” Essentially, hair porosity is about your hair’s capacity to absorb and keep moisture.
Your hair’s porosity communicates how effectively oils and moisture travel through the outermost layer of your hair, known as the cuticle.
Hair porosity has three major categories:
- Low porosity: Cuticles that are close together.
- Medium porosity: Cuticles that are less firmly connected.
- High porosity: Cuticles that are more widely spread.
This article will take a deeper look at what impacts your hair’s porosity, how you may find out the type of porosity you have, and how best to treat your hair based on the hair porosity you have.
What does hair porosity mean?
To grasp the concept of hair porosity, everyone must know a little something about the hair structure, which consists of three layers. These layers include:
- The cuticle: The strong, protective outer layer of your hair comprises tiny cuticles that cover each other, like roof shingles.
- The cortex: The thickest layer of your hair includes fibrous proteins and the pigment that gives your hair its color.
- The medulla: This is the soft, core section of the hair shaft.
To maintain the health and hydration of your hair, water, oils, and other moisturizing ingredients must be able to penetrate the cuticle and reach the cortex.
However, water and oils have difficulty penetrating the hair if the cuticles are too close together, which will make it more difficult for your hair to obtain the necessary moisture.
Additionally, if the cuticles are too wide apart, your hair will have difficulty absorbing moisture.
What causes low or high porosity in hair?
Heredity plays a determinant factor in your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. Therefore, if low porosity hair runs in your family, there’s a significant chance you’ll have it as well. However, while genetics can influence porosity, it is not the primary determinant.
Over time, blow-drying, bleaching, straightening, over-washing, and harsh treatments harm the hair and cause the cuticles of your hair to become open, making it more difficult for your hair to retain moisture.
In addition to hair treatments, excessive UV exposure can also cause an increase in your hair’s porosity. So, when outdoors, wear a hat or head covering to protect your hair from the sun.
A simple method to determine the porosity of your hair?
Using a glass of water to determine your hair’s porosity is one of the simplest methods. Here are the steps:
- Cleanse your hair as you usually would.
- Then, fill a glass with water.
- Once your hair is in a clean and dry state, place one strand of hair in the water.
- Observe if the strand sinks to the bottom of the glass or floats to the top.
- If your hair strand floats, then your porosity is most likely low.
The properties of hair with low porosity
With hair that has low porosity, the cuticles are densely packed and close together—making it more difficult for water to enter the hair shaft.
You may have hair with low porosity if:
- Hair products tend to sit on the hair and are difficult to absorb.
- It is difficult for water to penetrate your hair when washing, and it takes a long time for your hair to dry naturally.
The properties of hair with medium porosity
The cuticles are neither too closed nor too open with medium or regular porosity hair and facilitate the penetration of moisture and water retention for a longer length of time.
You may have hair with medium porosity if:
- Your hair air dries reasonably quickly.
- As a result, your hair tends to seem healthy, shining, or glossy.
- Your hair is easy to style and retains styles for a considerable time.
- Your hair accepts color well.
Over time, heat damage and other chemical activities can alter the porosity of usually porous hair.
The properties of hair with a greater porosity
Whether owing to heredity or hair damage, hair with high porosity quickly absorbs moisture into the hair shaft. However, it cannot hold water for an extended period because the cuticle often has gaps.
You may have hair with a high porosity if:
- Your hair rapidly absorbs water and other moisturizing agents, and your hair is prone to breakage.
- Your hair is often dry and frizzy.
- It doesn’t take long for your hair to dry naturally.
Can the porosity of your hair be altered?
If your hair porosity is high or low owing to genetics, you may not be able to alter it. But, according to specialists in hair care, there are steps you can do to make your hair healthier, more manageable, and simpler to style.
For hair with low porosity:
- Use conditioners devoid of protein. These are often more easily absorbed by the hair and less prone to generate buildup.
- Apply conditioner to already-damp hair, making the conditioner more readily absorbed into the hair because of its damp state.
- Check shampoos and conditioners for substances such as glycerin and honey. Oil-based treatments are notoriously ineffective in penetrating the cuticle.
- Utilize heat when conditioning your hair. For example, utilize a steamer, a heat cap, or a hooded dryer; if you don’t have a steamer, heat cap, or hooded dryer, cover your hair with a plastic processing cap after applying the conditioner.
For hair with high porosity:
- Look for shampoos and conditioners with butter and oils as ingredients. These substances will assist in hydrating your hair.
- Utilize leave-in treatments and sealants. These products assist your hair in retaining moisture.
- Utilize a heat protectant on your hair. Apply this product before blow-drying or using other heat-based style products to prevent heat damage to your hair.
- Avoid shampooing and conditioning with hot water. Use lukewarm water instead.
The porosity of hair may or may not be a phrase you hear frequently. However, understanding the hair porosity will help you better manage, treat, and care for your hair. And this will result in stronger and healthier hair.
If you’re curious about your hair porosity, or if you’re struggling to find the right products for your hair type, be sure to check out Hairs My Experience. Dedicated to helping people of all hair types find the best information and products for their individual needs.