Hair porosity is quite a confusing topic for most naturals around the globe. Most people with natural hair do not bother to find out what their porosity is before applying hair products. Hair experts advise naturals to first test the porosity of their hair before buying hair products because each porosity strives well with different products.
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. It is affected by the flexible outer hair layer called the cuticle, which determines how easily moisture and oils pass in and out of your hair. For most, porosity is genetic, but it can also be affected by external factors such as exposure, heat treatments and chemical processing. Knowing your hair’s porosity can help you choose the right products to keep your hair well-moisturized, supple, strong and shiny.
How to test your hair porosity
The water test
This is one of the easiest and cheapest ways of determining your hair’s porosity. Here is how you do it.
Take a couple of strands of hair from your comb or brush and drop them into a bowl/glass of water. Let them sit for 2-4 minutes. If your hair floats, you have low porosity. If it sinks, you have high porosity. For medium porosity, hair neither sinks nor floats.
The Slip’n’Slide Test: Take a strand of hair and slide your fingers up the shaft (toward the scalp). If you feel little bumps along the way, this means that your cuticle is lifted and that you have high porosity. If your fingers slip smoothly, then you have low porosity hair.
Characteristics of low porosity hair.
- Cuticles are closed, so moisture does not enter easily / resistant to moisture.
- Products sit on your hair. hence causing product build up in your hair
- Does not absorb hair color or treatments easily.
- Water beads up on hair. For instance small bubbles of water form on the hair and yet they are not penetrating the hair cuticles
- Hair takes a long time to dry.
- Looks healthy but doesn’t have much elasticity or volume.
If you have noticed one or two characteristics mentioned above in your hair, you are definitely a low porosity natural.
Characteristics of high porosity hair.
- Absorbs too much moisture, but is unable to retain it.
- Looks and feels dull and dry.
- Generally damaged and over processed with torn cuticles (but not always)
- Tangles easily because the cuticles get caught on each other.
- Hair dries quickly.
- Tends to be frizzy.
If your hair has the above characteristics, you are most likely a high porosity naturalCharacteristics of medium porosity hair.
- your hair is easy to style and can hold styles for a good length of time.
- your hair takes color well.
- your hair tends to look healthy, shiny, or glossy.
- it doesn’t take too long for your hair to air dry
- Medium porosity is the ideal porosity every natural wishes to have. This is because it is in between the two extremities, low and high. Hence this makes this kind of porosity easy to manage, style and comb.
- Look out for the products and how to manage each hair porosity mentioned above in the next article.