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Hair porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb and hold water which is done through the cuticle, the outer layer of the hair shaft. While hair porosity is genetic, exposure to heat and other chemical processes can influence the porosity of your hair. But why is this relevant?
Knowing your porosity helps you understand what products and ingredients work best for you. If you want to grow healthy, strong natural hair, start with identifying your porosity and learning to work with it.
There are 3 main porosity levels: low, medium, and high. Here’s a quick and easy method for discovering your porosity level:
Float Test: take a couple of strands of hair and drop them in a glass of water. Wait 2-4 minutes and if your strands quickly sink to the bottom, you have high porosity hair. If they stay afloat for a few seconds and then sink, you have low porosity hair. If your strands float near the middle of the glass, you likely have medium porosity hair.
Now that you know your hair’s porosity, let’s talk about what it means within haircare.
Low Porosity Hair
If you have this hair type, your cuticles are tightly packed which can make it challenging to penetrate the hair shaft when moisturizing. You may feel that products just sit on your hair when they should be absorbed. It may also feel like your hair takes a long time to dry after a wash day. Don’t be discouraged, low porosity hair is actually considered healthy, shiny, and more resistant to harsh chemicals (aka relaxers). When it comes to products, avoid protein-rich conditioners as these can leave low porosity hair feeling stiff. Instead, go for moisturizing conditioners that contain ingredients such as honey and glycerin. Lighter, liquid-based moisturizers such as hair milk can also be added to your daily moisture regimen since they won’t leave an oily residue.
Medium Porosity Hair
This hair type easily holds moisture as the cuticles are looser than low porosity hair. You may have this porosity if your hair holds color well or if your hair holds protective styles for a long length of time. When it comes to styling products, less is more with medium porosity hair so try not to overuse. DO use a daily leave-in to ensure your hair gets the moisture it needs; heavier oils such as shea butter aid in moisturizing the cuticles as well. Enjoy your low maintenance hair type, keep up those levels of moisture, and let your cuticles do the rest!
High Porosity Hair
While high porosity hair absorbs moisture easily, it struggles to retain it because the cuticles have gaps between them. You may have this hair type if you have a history of heat damage or hair breakage. To grow healthy high porosity hair, focus on moisture retention. You’ll want to choose shampoos and conditioners that contain natural oils and ingredients that work as sealants. Also, refrain from heat use especially if you have the damage to show. If you must use heat, always spray on a heat protectant. When it comes to wash days, don’t use hot water as that can dry out your hair; instead, switch to lukewarm water to help lock in moisture. Lastly, invest in deep conditioners, leave-in-conditioners, and hair milks. You can layer on these products by using the LOC method which helps fill in the gaps for those cuticles in need of protection!
While genetics plays a role in your hair porosity, it is possible to change your porosity by maintaining healthy hair practices and emphasizing moisture when needed. Nonetheless, it’s possible to grow strong and healthy hair with any hair type. All you need to do is find products that work with your hair rather than against it!
For products that suit all hair types, visit: https://shearadiance.com/collections/hair-care