By now, you know about the different hair types and how to care for your scalp. However, your hair type isn’t the only thing to consider when it comes to caring for your hair properly. Every strand on your head has a certain type of porosity and hair porosity types can differ greatly from one person to the next. Your hair porosity type can and should determine how you create your hair care routine, including which ingredients make up the shampoo and conditioner you use. Knowing your hair porosity type can also help you choose the right hair care products to keep your hair well-moisturized, healthy and shiny.
Hair porosity is a fancy way to talk about your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. It is affected by the flexibility of the outer hair layer called the cuticle, which determines how easily moisture and oils pass in and out of your hair. For most people, porosity can be determined by genetics, but it can also be affected by external factors such as exposure, heat treatments, and chemical processing. Porosity can be discussed in three categories:
One of the ways to determine the category of your hair porosity is using your hair characteristics. This method is somewhat unconventional and requires that you understand your hair and keenly observe how it behaves.
How To Determine Hair Porosity Using Hair Characteristics.
Low Porosity Hair Characteristics.
Low porosity means that the cuticles are close together. This makes it hard for moisture to penetrate the cuticle and reach the cortex. However, on the other hand, this hair doesn’t lose moisture easily once you use the right hair products on it.
The Characteristics Of Low Porosity Hair Are:
- Takes a long time for low porosity hair to get wet.
- Products sit on the hair hence prone to product build-up.
- Heat is needed for better product absorption.
- Hair tends to be too oily.
- Hair takes time to dry up.
- Water beads up on hair.
- Higher probability to get dandruff.
- Hair resists colour treatments.
- The hair needs to be clarified for better moisture retention.
- Hair reacts better using humectants.
- The hair resists conditioners.
High Porosity Hair Characteristics.
High porosity means that the cuticles have a lot of space between them. This hair easily gets moisture from products but it loses moisture even quicker so this can lead to dry, brittle hair.
The Characteristics Of High Porosity Hair Are:
- Hair feels dry most of the time.
- Rapid moisture loss.
- Frizzy hair.
- Hair is prone to breakage.
- Hair gets wet very easily.
- Hair tangles easily.
- Rarely looks shiny.
- Absorbs products very easily.
- Hardly gets greasy.
- Hair lacks elasticity.
Medium Porosity Hair Characteristics.
Medium porosity means that the cuticles have a bit of space between them. This means that moisture easily penetrates the cuticle and reaches the cortex. However, your hair also loses moisture but less than high porosity hair.
The Characteristics Of Medium Porosity Hair Are:
- The hair is easy to style.
- Normal/Medium porosity hair can hold styles for a good length of time.
- Hair tends to look healthy.
- Hair takes in colour well.
- The hair doesn’t take too long to air dry.
To determine your hair porosity, there are also different hair porosity tests you can perform to know if your hair falls into one of these categories: low porosity, medium porosity, or high porosity.
The Most Common Hair Porosity Tests Include:
- Float Test
- Slip & Slide Test
- Dry Test
- Watershed Test
Float Hair Porosity Test
The Float Test is the most common and most recommended hair porosity test. This test is very simple and only requires a glass of water and 2-3 strands of hair from different parts of your head.
How To Discover Your Hair Porosity Using The Float Test.
- Fill a clear, clean glass with water.
- Take a few strands of your hair.
- Place your strand of hair in the glass of water and watch how it behaves.
- If your hair stays at the top of the glass, then it is low porosity. If your hair floats in the middle, it has normal/medium porosity. If your hair sinks at the bottom, it is high porosity.
- Repeat this process with hair from different parts of your head and record the results.
Slip & Slide Hair Porosity Test
The slip and slide test could be considered the most complicated. We advise that you should not rely on this test alone to determine your hair porosity. This should be used together with at least two other tests.
How To Test Your Hair Porosity Using The Slip and Slide Test.
- Take a strand of your hair between your fingertips.
- Slowly move up your fingertips towards the scalp as you feel your strand of hair.
- If it feels smooth then you have low porosity hair but if it feels bumpy, then, the raised cuticles mean that you have high porosity hair.
Dry Hair Porosity Test.
This is one of the easiest to perform and interpret but you must be patient. Again, don’t rely on this method alone.
How To Test Your Hair Porosity Using The Dry Test Method.
- Wash your hair with your regular shampoo and rinse but don’t dry it out.
- Don’t use any other hair product.
- Put water somewhere on your body, e.g. arms, and don’t dry it out.
- Observe if your hair or your body dries first.
- If your hair dries out before your body, then, it means that you have high porosity. However, if your body dries out before your hair, then, you have low porosity hair.
Watershed Hair Porosity Test.
This test is also referred to as the Absorption Test. This is one of the simplest ways to determine your hair porosity. It works by observing how your hair reacts when absorbing water and other hair products.
Low porosity hair takes time to absorb moisture and products because the cuticles in this hair type are tightly closed while high porosity hair absorbs moisture and products very quickly because of the open cuticles.
How To Test Your Hair Porosity Using The Watershed Test.
- Put water in a spray bottle.
- Take a section of your hair and spray it with water.
- Observe how long it takes for your hair to absorb the water.
- If your hair absorbs water quickly, then you have high porosity hair. If it absorbs slowly, then, you have low porosity hair.
Knowing what category of hair porosity you have can help you better understand how to manage, treat, and care for your hair. And that can lead to hair that’s stronger and healthier. However, to confirm your hair porosity with the tests explained above, we advise that you carry out the tests using more than one test method. If you have any questions or need consultation, Reina Haircare is happy to help!
Do you know your hair porosity? How did you find out? Tell us in the comments.
Written by Social Butterfly Haven for Reina HairCare