Have you ever heard of hair porosity? If yes do you really understand why is it so important for the maintenance of your hair? If the answer is no let’s go straight to the point!
What is hair porosity?
According to NaturallyCurly.com porosity is the term used in the science of hair care to describe how easily water and other matter can diffuse back and forth through the hair cuticle layer and into or out of the cortex. Knowing this about your hair is much more important than your curl pattern followed by the width of your individual strands (deserves another post of its own) in order to keep it healthy and well nourished.Porosity focus on how open or closed is your cuticle or the outer layer of the hair shaft. The individual scales of the cuticle overlap one another much like the feathers of a bird or scales on a fish.
Low porosity hair
Hair in which the cuticle layer is tightly closed making very hard for moisture to get in or out and oils too. Ever noticed a film of grease after applying a thick butter on your hair strands that just sits there shining like the rising sun? Probably you do have low porosity hair (LPH), specially if it’s very hard to get your hair wet with a spray bottle and your hair is always super shiny! Light oils like grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, argan oil and almond oil are usually the best for low porosity hair. Due to the fact the cuticles scales are so tightly bound when LPH loses moisture is very hard to get it back in the hair shaft so hair might feel stiff and super dry to correct this try to deep condition your hair with the help of heat to lift cuticle scales and allow moisture and nutrients to enter in. LPH loves products that are rich in moisture and emollients; they also benefit most from products that contain humectants that attract and retain moisture to the hair such as glycerine and honey.
Medium porosity hair
Medium porosity hair allows moisture to pass in and out of the hair shaft as needed, but resists permitting too much water to penetrate. This hair type requires the least amount of maintenance to keep itself moisturised and nourished. Just make sure you eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water and deep condition your strands alternating with moisture versus protein. Most light to medium oils like olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil are great for this hair type.
High porosity hair
Most woolly haired men and women have high porosity hair (HPH) which is characterised by a very raised cuticle layer in which the scales are open. This hair type can take up a lot of water but also does not retain any moisture for long periods of time. Medium to heavy oils and butters such as shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter, cupuacu butter, castor oil, olive oil are great matches for this hair type. It usually loves protein treatments to patch the gaps in the hair shaft specially if hair was chemically processed in any way before or suffered heat damage. The key focus is to keep moisture in and protein balanced, so sealing the hair shaft is key ever heard of the LOC method? Also use pH balanced products towards the acidic side aloe vera in all its forms be it a gel or juice is a great companion of HPH, do apple cider vinegar rinses at the end of a wash and try to rinse your hair with cold water to keep cuticles scales closed.
How do I know my hair porosity?
You can do a very easy test at home when your hair is freshly washed with no product residue. Pass your hands through your hair and remove a shedded hair. Prepare a glass of water in a clear cup then drop carefully your hair strand on the surface of the water and observe. If the hair strand stays afloat your hair has low porosity, if it stays in the centre of the glass you have medium hair porosity and you guessed it, if it sinks you have high hair porosity!