How to Determine if Your Hair's Porosity Level is Low, Normal, or High


            Porosity is your hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture. Your hair's porosity level is determined by how your cuticle layers are laid. Your porosity level can be rated as low, normal, or high. When your porosity level is normal, your hair has no problem absorbing moisture and keeping it in, a sign of smooth cuticles. But when the porosity level is high, moisture gets in and out of the hair easily, leaving it feeling dry and frizzy. Moisture can't easily get to the hair shaft when your hair's porosity level is low, which can lead to breakage.

How to Determine if Your Hair's Porosity Level is Low, Normal, or High



Normal Porosity: Cuticle layers are open enough to allow moisture to get into the hair. They also allow moisture to stay in for a longer period of time.

Low Porosity: Cuticle layers are closed (compact) and prevent moisture to get into the hair.

High Porosity: Cuticle layers are raised. Moisture gets into the hair as fast as it gets out.

          The best way to test your hair's porosity level is to spray it with plain water while it's clean.
  • If the water sits on top of the hair for a long time, beads up, or rolls down the hair strands, your porosity level is low. 
  • If  the water beads sit on the hair for a few seconds then disappears, your porosity level is normal. Congratulations, your cuticle is smooth! 
  • If the hair absorbs the water immediately after you spray it, your porosity level is high.
Dealing with low porosity hair
           The last thing you want is to have low porosity hair, especially if you have type four hair, which requires a lot of moisture to thrive. I have struggled with low porosity hair for a long time; even when my hair was relaxed. I could not understand why my roots would feel like straw every time I washed my hair. It is very important that you understand each porosity level, as it can affect the way your hair reacts to hair color, perms, or relaxers. I experienced first hand the reaction of a relaxer on my low porosity hair. The relaxer did not take, resulting in my scalp being burned and my processed hair being frizzy and dry after I washed the relaxer out.  The same is true for perming your your hair. If you have straight hair and want to have some bouncy curls, make sure you check your hair's porosity level before you proceed.
       
         Using heat (steaming the hair) is very effective when dealing with low porosity hair. I don't own a steamer because a plastic cap and a heated towel work well for me. But a steamer is a good tool to have if you struggle with low porosity hair.  Have you ever steamed freshly washed hair before adding your leave-ins? Try it! Even for 10 minutes. That will help your hair accept the leave-ins faster and keep the moisture in longer after you seal it in. Or you can add your leave-ins, steam the hair for a few minutes, then seal the moisture in. I started doing that after noticing that my leave-ins were sitting on top of my hair after each wash.
 
            Avoid acidic hair products like apple cider vinegar  and Aloe Vera juice because they can further close the cuticle layers. As much as I love my coffee rinse, I had to stop doing that too because the acidity in the coffee was making matters worse.  Wash your hair with warm water to keep the cuticles open. Watch your hair closely to see if a protein treatment is necessary. A protein conditioner containing amino acids can also close the cuticle layers.

Dealing with high porosity  hair 

         Can you imagine having to moisturize your hair eight times a day? It would be like feeding a newborn, right? That's what happens when your hair cannot retain moisture. You have to constantly moisturize it to keep it healthy. Or you can just cut the hair and start over, because a raised a cuticle is a sign of damaged hair. It happens when the hair is over-processed by a relaxer, other chemicals in the hair color you use, or  styling tools.
     
         When coloring your hair, it it very important that you pay close attention to how porous your hair is. Hair with high porosity will take a permanent color faster than hair with low or normal porosity. The same is true for perms and relaxers too.  For those of you who like to tex-lax your hair, you need to pay attention to these details because you might get a different result with your relaxer if you don't rinse it out fast enough. Temporary hair colors will fade faster if the hair is porous as well.

           The best way to deal with high porosity hair is to use acid balanced conditioners, deep conditioners, and leave-ins. You can also do an apple cider vinegar rinse to close your hair's cuticle layers until your porosity level is back to normal. Frequent protein treatments is required for chemically treated hair to add strength to the hair and help with elasticity.

References: Hairfinder.com - Wikipedia.com
        

CONVERSATION

34 comments:

  1. Great info, i need to share. Its important to know our hair porosity to access what it needs daily.

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  2. Very thorough. Well done Nerline! Best I've seen written on this topic and I've seen quite a few. Must repost.

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    1. Thank you so much love. I hope this information helps somebody.

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  3. Thanks for sharing this useful info! Now I know what to do after I find out my hair porosity.
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  4. I never knew this stuff before, I will have to check now :)) Thanks doll :) xx

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  5. That's really insightful and nice of you to share. Greetings to you!

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  6. Thanks for the tip with spraying the hair, I will have to try that. Great info and post Nerline, this is really helpful to find the right products to use.

    xoxo

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  7. Awesome information, I have a much better understanding of how to handle my hair! Thank you!
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  8. This has been so useful Nerline, have no idea about it but only reading I think mine are low, need to test it! xo

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  9. These are amazing tips now! I love every information that will help me understand my hair better xo
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  10. Thorough and informative. I always used a cup of water. Back when, my hair would float for days. Super duper low porosity. I haven't tested it lately though because things are going well.

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    1. I am happy things are going great, Jay! Thanks for stopping by.

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  11. I think I have normal porosity hair!!! Thanks for this informative post!!!
    Fashion Panache

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  12. Very useful post, I think I have high porosity hair.

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  13. Hmmm....we learn new things everyday. Thanks for the education, sister! :)

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  14. Very interesting. I'm washing my hair tomorrow so I'll test this out. Thanks for this post.

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  16. I have highly porous hair and let me tell you it's been a challenge all my life! You know my recent drama. I can't use certain things. Thanks for this post Nerline!
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  17. This is a really great and well written blog post. It was so informative and helpful in figuring out my hair's porosity - I'll need to give the steaming a try as well. Thank you!

    The Style Boro

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