Take some time to notice the different hair textures of the people around you. Some people’s hair tends to frizz and appear dry no matter how much product they put in it, other hair types on the other hand can appear much heavier and oilier, falling straight from root to tips without a single strand out of place. There are numerous factors that affect the behaviour of hair, but among the most important has to be hair porosity. Defined as hairs ability to absorb and retain moisture, hair porosity will often dictate how your hair reacts to certain circumstances throughout the day and will determine the steps you take during your daily hair care regimen.
What Determines Hair Porosity?
Your hair is made up of the same material as your nails, called cuticles, which come together in organized groups to form the strands of your hair. The more compact the cuticles are arranged, the less porous your hair will be. Cuticles that are fanned out and spaced wider apart cause hair to have a much higher porosity. Basically, this alignment of cuticles will tell you whether or not moisture has enough space to accumulate along the strands of your hair. Because raised cuticles have more space in between them, there’s more room for water to pocket and collect, thus making the hair more porous than its compact counterpart. It’s important to understand how porous your hair is as this will give you a better idea as to the products and practices that are best suited for you.
How to Find Out Your Hair Porosity
1. Float Test – For this test, it’s ideal that you ensure your hair is free from products and chemicals that could alter the results. Make sure your hair has just been washed and dried without any excess product all throughout. Take a small container of water and place a section of your hair on the water’s surface. Watch how fast your hair sinks to the bottom. If it sank immediately, you have highly porous hair. If it took over 4 minutes to sink, you have low porosity hair. If your hair slowly sank to the bottom over a minute or two, you have normal porosity.
2. Feel Test – With the idea that highly porous hair has cuticles that are fanned out, it’s only reasonable to assume that high porosity hair is rougher to the touch. To test with the feel test, take a strand of your hair and pinch it between two fingers. Pinch the end of the strand with your other hand and slide your fingers across the hair towards the root. If you felt lots of little bumps along the way, your hair is highly porous. If it was generally smooth, your has low porosity.
3. Spray Test – This test requires nothing more than a spray bottle and a small section of your hair. Holding your hair at a distance from the bottle, spray it with some water just enough to mist it. In the event that the water from the bottle forms beads on the surface of your hair, you have low porosity hair. If the water was absorbed immediately, you have high porosity hair.
Caring for Low Porosity Hair
Low porosity hair means your hair has difficulty absorbing and retaining moisture, and that stands true not only for water but for a lot of the products that you use every day. To care for low porosity hair, it’s ideal to use heat to open up the cuticles and allow moisture to get into your hair. Wash your hair with warm water to facilitate moisture absorption. Another way you can care for your low porosity hair is to minimize build up. When oils and other products accumulate on your hair, it can become even more difficult for moisture to get in.
Caring for Medium Porosity Hair
Normal, or medium porosity hair, is probably the easiest to care for. The amount of moisture absorbed and retained by this hair type is just right to keep hair healthy and vibrant. Even then, using natural and organic hair care products will help you achieve optimal health for your hair.
Caring for High Porosity Hair
They say that high porosity hair is the hardest to maintain because of its dry, dull nature. When hair is highly porous, it takes on a frizzy appearance which is attributed to the widely spaced cuticles that the hair possesses. The best way to care for high porosity hair is to use heavy, cream based products that can stay on hair throughout the day. Deep conditioning products are ideal for high porosity hair to help it retain moisture more effectively. Finally, making use of an egg wash at least twice a week will help repair damaged cuticles and will make high porosity hair healthier and shinier.