Porosity testing was not something I previously considered doing. I’m not going to lie I was being lazy. But, after my hair anniversary I decided I was going to have to step up my game if I wanted to retain length. The first thing I did was do the test.
I was always slightly confused about doing this test, clearly that was just me being slow! It’s actually pretty simple. All you do is;
- Take a strand of your hair, preferably a shed hair, lets not be pulling out our hair people.
- Make sure your hair is relatively clean, product build up could affect results.
- Take a glass/cup of tap water at room temperature
- Place your hair strand into your cup/glass
- If it floats you have low porosity hair, if it sinks you have high porosity hair. It it sinks very very slowly, you have medium (normal) porosity hair
Now after I did the test on myself I got excited and I did it on my entire family. We all have low porosity hair except my brother who has high porosity hair. He asked me which one is the good one? I told him that each one comes with its own benefits and drawbacks and hair care needs.
So what is Porosity and why does it matter?
Porosity determines how well water and moisture can penetrate your hair shaft. This is important as it influences how you should care for your hair.
Low porosity Hair
This means that the sections of cuticle on the hair shaft are really tightly packed which makes it difficult for moisture to get in or out. So, each cuticle is like a scale on a fish, a feather on a bird or a tile on a roof just to get an image in your head. With it being so tightly packed, it is difficult to moisturise but once moisturised your hair will retain the moisture well. This hair usually has a smoother appearance which is due to how the hair shaft lays.
Turns out I come under this bracket, it explains why my hair takes so long to dry! What I discovered works well for my hair is spray bottle. In my bottle I have rose-water and glycerine. If I spray with this and then use almond oil (or recently I’ve been using Jojoba oil which also works wonders) and finish of with a nice cream based moisturiser my hair retains moisture well depending on my hairstyle.
So I worked this all out from trial and error, just seeing what worked well with my hair and what didn’t. But perhaps if i had done this test earlier I would have saved my self a lot of time and money. Oh well everything is a learning curve.
The reason this routine worked so well for me is that Low porosity hair benefits from using humectants (substances used to keep things moist) such as glycerin and emollients such a creams. If this hair does lose moisture, as you can see from the hair shaft it is very difficult to regain, this can be rectified by doing a deep condition with heat to help raise the cuticle.
Medium porosity Hair
This means that your hair absorbs moisture at a medium rate. This is the middle of the spectrum for Porosity. This type of hair often needs the least amount of maintenance. It allows just the right amount of moisture to enter while preventing too much from escaping as the cuticle us not as tightly bound.
This hair can become damaged over time if it becomes over processed. Moisturising conditioner is better than a protein conditioner. Natural oils on the ends as sealants are also good for this hair.
High porosity hair
The cuticle on this hair is raised, either naturally or due to damage. Because the cuticle is so raised it absorbs too much moisture. It also looses too much moisture as the cuticle is so raised. This hair is more prone to frizz and tangling in humid weather. This hair can also be damaged easily as it can absorb too much moisture and then lose loads of moisture.
When caring for this hair try to use leave in conditioners, moisturisers and sealers. It is better to use heavy oils and butters to seal in moisture instead of light oils. This makes sure moisture is looked in instead of lost through the raised cuticle. When shampooing avoid silicones, instead try an apple cider vino get rinse which helps to close your cuticles and lock in moisture.
Take the time to carry out this test, it’s so easy and straight forward. It is important to know the best way to look after your hair. As you can see above if you know your porosity you can target your hair care.
Do the test and let me know your porosity in the comment section below
Remember Love your hair, Love yourself.x