Moisture In, Moisture Out
Porosity is how your hair absorbs and retains water molecules. This is determined by the outer layer of hair called the cuticle which is responsible for water absorption and retention and how hair responds to products and determines hair’s requirements in terms of care. Medium and Low porosity are typically genetic characteristics, high porosity can be genetic or a result of heat damage, improper styling or overexposure to chemicals such as dyes or relaxers/ texlaxers.
DEEPER INSIGHT HAIR POROSITY REGIMENS
High Porosity hair easily allows moisture in and just as easily loses it which is why it is imperative to moisturise with water and seal with a heavy and/or penetrative oil and/or a butter daily. It is recommended to use a penetrative oil to seal as it gets past the broken cuticle and holds the moisture in. Eyoko butter is ideal because it contains coconut oil which is a penetrative oil and shea butter which is heavy enough to bar water molecules from escaping the hair shaft at a fast rate.
Since high porosity hair absorbs moisture easily, humectants can be damaging because they can lead to moisture overload. Humectants are substances that draw in moisture, such as glycerine and honey. Therefore a natural with high porosity hair should be cautious of their use of humectants. High porosity hair has a raised cuticle. Because of this, it tangles easily. Therefore must be handled with care.
This type of hair requires strengthening treatments in high amounts to temporarily “repair” its cuticle; strengthening treatments such as protein treatments or treatments that bear a resemblance to protein treatments such as henna. High porosity hair is often naturally dry and therefore requires moisturising treatment on a regular basis.
An ideal regimen for a high porosity hair would contain six moisturising treatments and two strengthening treatments in a month. The strengthening treatments should be immediately followed up with a moisturising treatment because strengthening treatments, though beneficial for high porosity hair, can leave it feeling dry. Since heavy strengthening treatments such as henna or an avocado and egg mask need to be used at a minimum of once a month: the two protein treatments to be done monthly must consist of a light protein treatment and a heavy protein treatment. After conditioning, rinse out product with warm water to open the cuticle to allow moisture in but switch to cold water for the last rinse to close the cuticle so it retains the moisture. TIP: When applying sealing products, move in a downward motion to close the cuticle.
TESTING HAIR’S POROSITY
Porosity can be tested for by placing a freshly cleaned strand of hair in a container of water.
- High porosity hair will sink to the bottom
- Medium porosity hair will float in the water then sink
- Low porosity hair will float and never sink
These tests are not always accurate so in addition, matching how your hair behaves to how hair articles describe characteristics of different porosities is a more reliable way of knowing your porosity. Though rare, it is possible to have more than one porosity on the same head of hair.
PLANNING TO DO THE TEST?
If you have done the test or are planning to do so, comment below with your hair porosity and any tips or tricks you may have!