Ahh, hydration. We all know that drinking water is an essential part of keeping our insides and outsides hydrated and healthy. But have you ever washed your hair, and after all the conditioners and creams and oils, your hair is still…dry? Did you know that your hair, like your skin, has pores, and sometimes those pores barely let anything penetrate them? Yes, ladies and germs, your hair, like your skin, can be dry AF even after layering a ton of products to help moisturize it. Disappointing, I know, because hair care is expensive.
However, because we love you and we want all of you to live your best hair life, this week in Beauty School, we’re talking hair porosity–what the heck it means, how to know how porous your hair is, and the steps you can take to finding the right regimen and products for you.
OKAY, SO WHAT EXACTLY DOES HAIR POROSITY MEAN?
The porosity of your hair determines how well it absorbs and retains moisture. The hair cuticle (which is the outer layer) is what allows moisture to pass through your hair. Creams, oils, even water retention in your hair are all ways of determining how porous your hair is. Hair porosity is mostly passed down through genetics, but there are other factors (often detrimental ones) that affect how well your hair retains moisture, like sun exposure and heat and/or chemical damage. There are three levels of porosity (high, medium, and low) and there are two easy ways to test your hair’s porosity that are $Free.99!! Trust me, I know that having curly hair is a lot of work and it often takes on a life of its own. Curly hair usually does what it wants when it wants, but knowing the porosity of your hair could help you pick out the right products that are going to give your hair what it really needs.
TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE POROSITY LEVELS!
Medium/normal porosity hair is just that: normal. It’s not too dry or brittle. It doesn’t break easily and it retains moisture well. In curly hair, it’s most obvious when your curls are bouncy and have a good amount of elasticity.
High porosity hair usually looks and feels dry. It absorbs water well, but it needs more product in order for it to actually hold a curl or style. It breaks pretty easily and gets frizzy and puffy in the slightest humidity (lol me for most of my life). High porosity hair also dries excessively fast, which isn’t always a good thing.
Low porosity hair is often very dense and products tend to sit on the surface rather than fully absorb into the hair. Water kind of sits on top of it for a while before it really starts to feel wet, plus it takes super long for the hair to dry. Low porosity hair makes it difficult for moisture to pass through.
HOW CAN I TEST MY HAIR’S POROSITY??
There are a few ways to test your hair porosity, and the best part is you can do them all right now as you’re reading this!
THE SLIP AND SLIDE TEST
AKA the strand test. Start by taking one single strand of hair between your fingers and moving them up and down along the strand. If it feels bumpy or rough, or if it breaks between your fingers, you have high porosity hair. If it feels smooth with no bumps or breakage, it’s normal porosity. And if it feels thick and dense, it’s low porosity. You can do this with strands of hair from different parts of your head since sometimes different sections have different textures.
THE FLOAT TEST
Curly hair tends to shed pretty easily. This method is a good way to test the porosity of those fallen hair strands. Fill a cup or bowl with some water, enough that there’s a bit of depth. Drop a strand of hair into the water and wait at least five minutes to see if it floats or sinks. If the hair sinks to the bottom quickly, it’s high porosity. If it takes its sweet time falling to the bottom, its normal porosity. And if it doesn’t sink at all and just floats at the surface, it’s low porosity.
Once you’ve determined your hair’s porosity, you can move on to finding the right products for your hair type!
There are a ton of natural, non-toxic methods of improving your hair’s porosity. I’ll break them down in more detail as the week goes on, but here are a few ways just to give you an idea.
FOR LOW POROSITY HAIR
Adopt a no-poo method–AKA no shampoos with nasty sulfates and phthalates and parabens–since all of these synthetic ingredients strip your hair of its oils and that’s exactly what you don’t want. Doing oil pre-poos using your favorite natural oil, you can start to rebuild some moisture on the hair cuticle by applying a plastic cap and some low heat to really get it poppin. Also, deep conditioners are your friend. We have an amazing selection of them!
FOR HIGH POROSITY HAIR
Again, the no-poo/oil pre-poo method works for brittle, high porosity hair too! So do deep conditioners (they’re your friends!)! Doing apple cider vinegar soaks also gets rid of product buildup and can restore the pH on the scalp and of your hair–two things that could be holding the hair back from looking and feeling its best.
SAY YOU HAVE NORMAL POROSITY HAIR
Since hair with medium or normal porosity allows moisture to easily pass through the hair without over drying, building a hair regimen is easy peasy. You mostly want to find products that are going to give your curls bounce, moisture, and shine. If you have normal porosity hair, chances are the products you’re using are working just fine so keep doin’ what you’re doin’!
What it really comes down to for all porosity types is….hydration. It is essential to every part of your body. Moisturizing your hair can take a little bit more work, but finding the right method based on how porous your hair is can make a world of difference in improving your hair’s overall texture!