How to determine hair porosity in less than five minutes
As no two hair patterns are alike, it’s necessary to know the porosity level of your own to get the most out of your hair routine. In other words, understanding the porosity of your hair is the first step in managing your specific hair type with the proper product regimen, so you get beautiful styling results every time.
Hair porosity simply refers to your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture, and here are three ways to determine where yours falls on the porosity spectrum- low, normal or high.
The Slip And Slide Test Strand Test
Gently stretch a tiny section of strands from different areas of your head, front hairline, nape, crown and temple. Place the stretched curl between your thumb and finger and slide it up the hair strand from the tip towards the scalp. If your fingers move easily up the strand and it feels dense and hard, you have low porosity hair. If it feels smooth, you have normal porosity hair. And if the strand feels rough or dry or it breaks, you have high porosity hair.
The Product Application Test
This test is self-explanatory and you have probably done it without even knowing it. Simply apply a small amount of a water-based styling product like an intensive moisture sealant to a section of your hair and gently work the product into your curls. If the product sits on top of the hair and needs to be squished into the strands, you have low porosity hair. If the product absorbs instantaneously into the strands, you have high porosity hair. If the product does neither of these things and only needs a few finger strokes to get the product in easily, you’re definitely medium porosity.
The water test
To determine your hair porosity level using water, soak a small section of curls with water and watch how your hair reacts, does your hair absorb the water quickly (indicating high porosity) or does it remain on top (indicating a low porosity level)? If your hair is in liquid limbo, that is, literally floating in the middle of the glass, you more than likely have medium porosity hair.
While these three tests are good places to start in determining your hair porosity-level, there are other telltale signs you should look out for:
Characteristics of Low Porosity Curly Hair
• Curls take a long time to dry.
• Products tend to build up on curls rather than absorb.
• Natural oils don’t readily penetrate, but rather sit on your hair.
• Curls take much longer to get fully saturated when you wet them.
Normal Porosity Curly Hair
• Curls are full of bounce and elasticity.
• Requires very little maintenance.
• Easily accepts and retains moisture inside the cuticle.
• Holds styles well and can be coloured with good results.
High Porosity Curly Hair
• Curls easily absorb water, however, it requires more products.
• Curls often look and feel dry.
• Curls are often frizzy.
• Curls dry quickly.
Now that you’ve got the information on low, normal and high porosity hair, it’s time to get armed with the right care for your hair.
Low Porosity Curl Care: hair has very compact cuticles, so it’s hard to inject moisture into the hair shaft, although it does retain moisture once it absorbs. To raise the cuticle, follow these tips:
• Use deep treatment curl restoration therapy under a hooded drier, steamer or even a warm towel or shower cap, to help products better absorb and bind with the hair better.
• Always distribute products evenly throughout your hair making sure not to put too much on.
• Apply products to damp, not drenched hair.
• Use sulfate-free shampoo and rinses such as apple cider vinegar or baking soda treatments to rid your hair of product build-up.
Normal Porosity Curl Care: hair has compact cuticles that easily let moisture enter in.
• Continue to do regular deep conditioning treatments to maintain good product absorption.
High Porosity Curl Care: Parched, thirsty hair needs products that help it retain as much moisture as possible, so follow these tips to increase hydration:
• Use minimal heat. It’s best to air dry your hair, if possible.
• Incorporate regular deep conditioning treatments into your curl care routine. Use curl recovery repair masks and finish with a good conditioner to begin to repair porosity.
• Rinse with cold water to seal the cuticle and prevent frizz.
• Detangle gently with a wide-tooth comb to prevent hair loss and reduce hair breakage.
• Finally, combine leave-in-conditioner with hair butter to help seal in moisture and combat thirsty curl porosity.