Ever feel like you’re doing everything (moisturising, masking, conditioning) and yet your hair is still frizzy and dry? It might be time to think about your hair porosity. Simply put, hair porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. Your hair’s porosity affects how well moisture and oils pass through the cuticle – AKA the outermost layer of your hair. Genetics play a large role in determining the porosity of your hair, as well as other factors such as the weather and chemical treatments.
Knowing your hair porosity can help to determine what hair products should be part of your routine. It also may help to work out why your strands are still feeling dry and looking frizzy. It will help you to understand your hair and what it needs to maintain its health! It’s just as important as knowing your hair type.
Typically, hair porosity is divided into three categories: Low porosity, medium porosity, and high porosity. Those with low porosity have cuticles that are close together, blocking the moisture being absorbed, and often find that their hair takes longer to dry. Those with medium porosity have cuticles that are less tightly bound, allowing moisture to penetrate more easily. Those with high porosity have cuticles that are more widely spaced and can easily soak up product. However, it can also mean that there is damage to the cuticle, caused by heat styling, chemical treatments, or any number of other factors.
So, how do I determine my hair porosity?
Doing a hair porosity test is quite simple. Grab yourself a glass of water and a few strands of your hair – try using clean, dry hair for the best result. Put your strands in the glass of water. If they sink, it’s likely they have high porosity and are absorbing the water. If they float below the surface but don’t sink to the bottom, they likely have medium porosity. If they float above, this means they likely have low porosity and do not absorb moisture easily.
For low porosity hair, moisture is the key! Minimise hair washing to help those natural oils come through and focus on products that target dry hair. Also, using a once-per-week deep conditioning mask is great for those who need a little more hydration.
For those with high porosity hair, focus on products that target damage and consider cutting back on the heat styling or chemical treatments (if these are contributing factors). High porosity hair may not mean that your hair is retaining the moisture, only absorbing it. It’s still a good idea to incorporate hydrating products into your hair care routine.
While hair porosity is only one thing to consider when it comes to maintaining the health of your hair, it’s definitely an important one! Keep checking in on your hair porosity to ensure you’re using the right products and understand what your hair needs.