Back to Basics: Porosity

Back to Basics will be a series of quick posts detailing the subject matter - the basics of hair and hair care. I chose to do porosity first because it's such a crucial property in treating your hair and picking the right products.

Hair porosity is the strands' ability to absorb and retain moisture.

High porosity hair doesn't retain moisture well because the cuticle is open. It requires frequent moisturizing and sealing to lock the moisture in.

Medium/Normal porosity hair requires less maintenance and retains moisture well as the cuticle is a bit more closed than high porosity hair and more open than low porosity hair.

Low porosity has a flat/smooth cuticle that is hard to penetrate. Product builds up easily and chemical processes are difficult. Lighter moisturizers work better for low porosity hair.

My hair is in the medium to high porosity range - more so high than medium though. I moisturize and seal morning and night, deep condition overnight weekly, and also do occasional protein and henna treatments.

There are two easy ways to determine your own porosity:
  • The Float Test: place a clean strand in a glass of water. If the strand sinks, that indicates high porosity. If the strand floats, that indicates low porosity. 
  • The Slide Test: slide your index and thumb finger from the end to the root of a single strand of hair. A bumpy texture indicates high porosity. A smooth texture indicates low porosity. 
For more information on porosity, check out Naturally Curly and the hair forums. There's a wealth of information across the web.

Knowing your own hair will always be your best tool for maintaining it.

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Kinks ;-)


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