Many women who enter the natural hair world have to learn and understand terms that impact how their hair reacts to certain things and products. Porosity often comes up, so below it will be broken down so that you can learn how to make it work for you.
Porosity is used to describe how easily water and other matter can diffuse back and forth through the cuticle layer, and into or out of the cortex. Hair is much like a sponge, capable of absorbing water and other substances from the environment. Hair can also lose important moisture and lipids. A good balance leads to hair that is able to keep its strength and shine. This is very important to coily and curly hair.
Low porosity hair has a tightly bound cuticle layer, and is prone to product build up. It requires moisturizes rich in emollients. Coconut oil, for instance, would work well for this type of hair. Medium porosity hair usually doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. The cuticle also looser. Deep conditioners with protein are good for this type of hair. High porosity hair has gaps and holes in the cuticle, it is prone to frizz. Leave-in conditioners are a big help. Taliah Waajid has various conditioners and sealers to help with the different types of hair. Shop here.
Here’s one method to determine your hair’s porosity:
The Float Test
- Fill a glass or bowl with room temperature water.
- Take a couple strands of your clean hair and put them in the water. Clean hair is important. If you have oils or products on your hair, it will alter your results.
- Watch it for 2-4 minutes. If your hair sinks immediately, it has high porosity.