You may be asking what is Porosity, to begin with. Porosity determines how well your hair takes on or absorbs water. It also refers to how open or close the cuticle layer of your hair is. Plus it’s very important to know especially when you’re creating your DIY products or purchasing products from other brands.
Reason being is your hair is like a flower, if it tends to every day and you know how to take care of it, then the hair will blossom & grow. However, if you don’t know how to tend to it or take care of it, then the hair will fall out or die in a sense. Porosity can be affected by a number of things such as:
- exposure to heat
- exposure to chemicals
- exposure to hair treatments, coloring or dyes, etc.
*Key Note: Too much of these items above will change the hair type to High Porosity as a result of over-processing, chemical damage, and heat damage.
People tend to perform the Strand Hair Porosity Test when determining which porosity category their hair texture falls into. If you haven’t heard of this test before, don’t worry about it we got you. The “Strand Hair Porosity Test” is basically when you take a bowl of water, put a strand of your hair within the bowl of water then watch it either rise, sit or fall. For Low Porosity Hair, your hair strand will sit on top of the water for reasons I’ll explain later.
*Please note if you are going to try this test, make sure your hair doesn’t have a lot of products in it. Also, we recommend thoroughly washing or rinsing out your hair prior to performing this test to get the most accurate results.
Since my sister has Low Porosity Hair , I understand the struggles of dealing with that hair type when you haven’t figured out how to manage it yet.
So What is Low Porosity Hair?
Remember when I mentioned how porosity also refers to the structure of the hair cuticles. When dealing with Low Porosity hair, the hair typically does not allow for moisture to be retained or absorbed within the hair shaft. So what does this mean? People with low porosity hair struggle with moisture under load which can essentially lead to hair breakage, stiffness, or that paper feeling texture type of hair. I guess you can say water runs away from hair because the hair strands are so tightly bound and coiled, it makes the texture layer difficult to absorb or become saturated with water as a whole.
If you’re still asking yourself the question how can you tell even with these characteristics, here’s another reason to believe what’s being said. Do you notice that when you add pounds of product to your hair that it still feels dry like straws or baked chips? How about when you realize your hands are absorbing the products more or better than your hair is. Well, that’s definitely a sign of Low Porosity hair.
What about when you’re drying your hair? Have you ever noticed that the time it takes for you to air dry your hair is like another 8-hour shift or better yet, you keep drying your hair with a t-shirt or a microfiber fabric towel and the water seems to never stop dripping because the hair still hasn’t dried yet? Well, congratulations because you definitely have low porosity hair!!
For those of you who are still skeptical and don’t believe me, I have another test for you. Try running your fingers through your hair. If your fingers get through without stopping or getting stuck, this means you’re definitely a part of the low porosity hair club.
Now That We Have Ways To Figure Out If You Have This Hair Type or Not. Here Are Some Tips On How You Can Take Care Of it and Style It.
Use hair milk like conditioning treatments because they are lighter and easier for the hair to absorb in comparison to other treatments. When making hair butters, hair creams, or DIY deep treatments, using ingredients such as the following will allow for the product to penetrate the hair without leaving it oily or greasy.
- Shea butter
- Avocado butter
- Apricot oil
- Coconut oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Safflower oil
- Mineral oil
- Baobab Oil
- Sunflower Oil
- Pomegranate Oil
- Sweet Almond Oil
- Argan Oil
- Murumru butter
On wash days people with this hair type should create or use hair treatments that are protein-free and have humectants such as glycerin, honey, coconut nectar, agave nectar, or syrup. Reason being is because humectants contain sugars that allow the hair shaft to retain and absorb water/moisture. Also because protein treatments tend to build up within this hair type, it will cause the hair to become susceptible to breakage & extreme dryness. So unless you’re trying to be as bald as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, I would stay clear of protein treatments because it is not your friend.
Plus using these ingredients will also help to change the feeling of your hair texture from paper to smooth velvet which is what we all want. Not only that if you do decide to make a conditioning treatment and apply it to your hair for 30min prior to shampooing. Using a heat cap or a conditioning cap then taking a blow dryer to apply heat to that conditioning cap for a few minutes during your conditioning treatment process will also help to open the hair cuticles.
Also doing hot oil treatment prior to conditioning your hair can help with moisture retention and preventing breakage with this hair type.
Lastly, if you are someone who likes to straighten your hair, do dyes or color treatments, trimming your ends regularly [every 3-4 months depending on how often you straighten, color, or dye your hair] will reduce excess shedding as a result of over-processing your hair. Reason being, excessive heat/ exposure can cause your ends to look thin & break easily. The hair tends to become weaker, leaving it more prone to splitting. This is why trimming your hair is a must for keeping this hair type healthy.
For quick tips on how to style it, twist-outs or braid outs work really well. Protective hairstyles like braiding, twisting, and/or adding faux locs are also beneficial when styling this hair type. Plus be on the lookout for our posts on protective hairstyle and hair woes of high porosity hair coming to you soon!!