As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, there are certain characteristics about your hair that are important to know and understand. Those characteristics include your hair’s texture, density, strength, and porosity levels. I’ve talked texture before here. While hair density is the number of strands packed together on your head and hair strength is based on how resistant your hair is to breakage when force is applied to it (such as pulling or combing), porosity is particularly important to consider because it is all about your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. Your hair can possess low, normal or high porosity levels.
If your hair has low porosity then your strands typically take a longer time to become fully saturated with water and a longer time to dry. You’ll also notice that both natural oils and products tend to sit on top of your hair longer as opposed to being quickly absorbed into your hair cuticles.
Hair with normal porosity absorbs and retains moisture quite easily and has great elasticity.
High porosity hair is usually indicated by both easy absorption AND easy loss of water. This hair dries quickly and needs more products to avoid looking and feeling dry.
Naturally curly hair, no matter the curl pattern does experience shrinkage when exposed to moisture but shrinkage does not indicate porosity levels nor does it indicate the overall health of your hair. It should also be noted that when you add chemicals to your hair, it makes your hair more porous because you are breaking the natural bond of the hair strand.
How to Determine Hair Porosity
You can use the spray bottle test method to determine your hair’s porosity level. On clean hair, separate a small section of your hair and clip the rest away from that section. Using the spray bottle filled with water, mist the hair and wait for about five minutes. The water will either bead on top of your hair (low porosity), absorb quickly into your hair (high porosity), or sit on your hair for several minutes before being absorbed (normal porosity).
How to Moisturize Based on Porosity
For low porosity hair, it is important to first rid your hair of any buildup that may be on the surface of your hair. This buildup will act as a barrier and not allow proper moisturization. I recommend cleansing and clarifying the hair with my Thick And Full™ Bamboo And Coconut Milk Moisturizing Mint Shampoo.
While hair is still damp, the next step is to apply heat to open the hair’s cuticle while conditioning the hair. You’ll want to use a product like my Healthy Hair Under There™ Bamboo, Avocado And Peppermint Conditioning & Restoring Serum and then use a hair steamer or place a cap on the hair and sit beneath a dryer for 15-20 minutes. When styling, avoid heat styling products but do use a light styling product such as my Curly Curl Cream for tight curl patterns OR my Curl Sealer for loose curl patterns OR Curly Curl Gello for more flip with looser curl patterns.
For high porosity hair, it is important to deep condition regularly and often, but you will want to avoid heat and allow your hair to air dry instead. You will need to seal the moisture in with a product such as my Intense Moisture™ Bamboo And Coconut Milk Strengthening Leave-in Condition which is also good for your daily conditioning needs.
Because hair with normal porosity has the right balance of moisture absorption and retention, a regular but occasional deep conditioning treatment is good for the hair. No need to over condition or incorporate products with protein into your daily styling and maintenance habits.
As always, if you have any hair care questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.