What is hair porosity, and how do you determine yours?
Hair porosity. A ‘difficult’ term that you may have heard of. But once you have a good understanding of it, it can make your life as a Curlygirl a lot easier. It has to do with how well your hair can absorb moisture. And because many of us curlyheads struggle with dry or too greasy hair, it's oh so important.
What is porosity?
By the term hair porosity, we mean how well your hair is actually able to absorb and retain moisture. By moisture, we mean not only water but also the nutrition you give your hair through a mask or other hair products.
There are three degrees of porosity in the Curly Hair world: high, low, and medium. Your porosity depends on several factors. It can be genetically determined, but it can also change as a result of different hair treatments. It is even possible to have varying degrees of porosity in your hair. But what is the difference between these degrees?
This is often the case when the hair damaged by heat or chemicals, such as bleach and hair dye. With high porosity hair, the hair cuticles (outer layer of your hair) are wide open and have holes in them. This makes it easy for moisture to penetrate your hair. Unfortunately, these characteristics also cause the hair to lose moisture quickly, causing it to dry quickly. We call this high porosity hair.
Characteristics of high porosity hair:
- Very dry and immediately absorbs the products
- Often damaged by heat and chemicals
- Quickly gets a lot of tangles
Tips for high porosity
Regularly apply a nourishing hair mask. Then wash your hair with cold water to ‘shock’ it and close the hair cuticles. In this way, as much moisture as possible is retained in the hair. With this hair type, protein-rich products often work well because they temporarily counteract the damage in the hair. As a result, moisture is not only retained better, and you prevent dehydration, but the hair will also be less likely to break off.
With low porosity, the hair cuticles are nearly closed. This usually occurs in hair that has never or little been in contact with chemicals and extreme heat. You could say, generally healthy hair. The downside is that the closed cuticles make it difficult for this hair type to absorb moisture. Once low porosity hair has absorbed moisture, it is retained well and stays there for a long time. We call this low porosity hair.
Characteristics of low porosity hair:
- Suffers from product accumulation (build-up) or greasy hair
- It takes a long time for the hair to dry
- Has been exposed to little to no chemicals or heat
Tips for low porosity
Steam your hair in the shower. This way, you open the hair cuticles, and your conditioner or mask is absorbed much better. Do not use too much or too heavy products in your further hair routine. After your hair cuticles have closed again, the products often remain on top of your hair. Use our Curly Hair Towel to get the excess water and product out of your hair. This significantly shortens the time it takes for the hair to dry.
The golden mean. If you have medium porosity hair, you are in between high and low. The hair is often healthy and does not need much care. It can absorb and retain moisture without too much effort. The hair cuticles are therefore not too open nor too closed.
Characteristics of medium porosity hair:
- Easy to care for
- Often healthy hair
- Can handle both light and heavy products
Tips for medium porosity
With medium porosity hair, you're actually lucky enough to get away with anything. Not in the mood for an hair mask? No problem! Your hair still looks fantastic. But fantastic hair also needs the right care. So wash your hair weekly, use a mask when necessary, and do not use too heavy products in your hair.
Do you now know how porous your hair is and how to take care of your beautiful head of hair? Share it with us using the hashtag #CGMlook on Instagram! We’d like nothing more than to see your beautiful curls become healthier by the day.
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