What is Porosity?

Porosity, a word that doesn’t register with A LOT of Curlies until we start transitioning or just learning to love our hair. Not sure about you but, to us it instantly sounds confusing. It’s not at all scary and actually very easy to get your head around. Once you work out which you are it will all make sense and your hair routine will become a lot easier. So here’s the science behind it.

Porosity refers to how well your hair is able to absorb and hold moisture. It is affected by the flexible outer hair layer called the cuticle, which determines how easily moisture and oils pass in and out of your hair. For most, porosity is genetic, but it can also be affected by external factors such as exposure, heat treatments and chemical processing. Knowing your hair's porosity can help you choose the right products to keep your hair well-moisturized, supple, strong and shiny.

DETERMINING HAIR POROSITY

The Float Test: Just like I showed you in the video. Take a couple of strands of hair from your comb or brush and drop them into a bowl of water. Let them sit for 2-4 minutes. If your hair floats, you have low porosity. If it sinks, you have high porosity. It’s literally that simple. Nothing to panic about it’s easy peasy.

LOW POROSITY

Hair with low porosity has a tightly bound cuticle layer with overlapping scales that lay flat. This type of hair is usually considered healthy, and is often very shiny, especially when it's dark in colour. Low porosity hair repels moisture when you try to wet it and is hard to process since it resists penetration of chemicals.

Low porosity hair is also prone to build-up from protein-rich deep conditioning products, which can leave it feeling stiff and straw-like. Stick to protein-free, daily conditioners with humectants such as glycerin or honey. Use moderate heat with protein-free deep conditioning treatments to help open up the tightly bound cuticle.

Low porosity hair requires moisturizers rich in emollients such as shea butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil and mineral oil. It also benefits from humectant products, which attract and hold moisture to your hair. Choose lighter, liquid-based products such as hair milks that won't sit on your hair and leave it oily or greasy.

HIGH POROSITY

High porosity can be either an inherent property of hair or the result of damage from chemical processing, rough treatment or environmental damage. High porosity hair has gaps and holes in the cuticle, which let too much moisture into your hair and leave it prone to frizz and tangling in humid weather. Even simple acts such as bathing, swimming and shampooing can create more damage and breakage due to the sheer amount of moisture highly porous hair can absorb.

Be sure to use anti-humectants in climates with high heat and humidity. This will help seal your damaged cuticles and prevent them from absorbing excess moisture in the air.

Because highly porous hair can also lose moisture easily, it's important to use leave-in conditioners, moisturizers and sealers. Layering these products will help your hair hold on to the moisture you're giving it. You can even follow up with a heavy hair butter to help fill the gaps in your damaged cuticles and further protect your hair from losing too much moisture.

So that information out of the way now what products should we be using. Here’s a few Curls Like Us – ‘Curls Best Friend’s.’

LOW POROSITY

 

HIGH POROSITY