Knowing your hair porosity level can help you figure out and resolve a lot of your hair woes. You may find yourself standing in the mirror struggling with why your hair won’t act right. It refuses to hold curls when you know for sure it was curling a few months ago. Or, it just decided to stop retaining moisture and feels really dry and brittle to the touch. Or, it seems like it’s weighed down with hair products for half of the day but then turns frizzy with lots of flyaways by the end of the day. What the heck!
Although hair types and textures are more likely to fall into particular porosity characteristics, that does not mean that your tresses have to stay there. For example, you may find that type 4 hair tends to have low porosity, type 3 hair is more prone to have medium porosity, type 2 and 1 tend to have higher porosity.
Generally speaking, medium porosity is closest to what you might desire. But just to note, hair type categories are NOT the same as porosity categories. Porosity refers mainly to how well your hair’s cuticle layers allow the right balance of moisture in and out. Although hair types and porosity levels are completely different, they can work together to achieve healthier hair…or cause hair problems.
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Low porosity hair repels moisture. The cuticle layers do not lift to allow moisture to penetrate. This means your hair will typically be drier. Keeping your tresses as soft as possible by using hair care products designed to support drier textures, implementing steam treatments, wearing protective styles, staying away from heat damage, using essential and penetrating oils, and preventing your hair from rubbing against cotton, like cotton pillowcases, will significantly help balance how your cuticle layers
react to moisture.
Medium porosity hair has more of a normal balance of moisture. The cuticle layers easily allow the right amount of moisture into the hair shaft and close when the hair has reached its limit. Medium porosity hair holds curls or styling well, it looks healthy, vibrant and feels soft to the touch. High porosity hair is the exact opposite of low porosity. HP hair absorbs too much moisture when moisture is first applied, but as the day goes along, you may start to see frizz or feel substantial dryness. The reason high porosity hair has these two very different extremes is because the cuticle layers are raised most of the time allowing an abundant amount of moisture into the shaft, giving a heavy appearance. But, because the cuticles don’t close as they should once enough moisture is received, this same moisture will eventually evaporate. High porosity can occur from aggressive manipulation including chemical over-processing, heat damage and rough brushing.
Now that you know a bit more about hair porosity, do your best to achieve healthy hair by giving your tresses a little tender care. Until the next time! Cheers!