Hair Porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb moisture. Depending on how your hair cuticle lays, your hair’s porosity will range from high to low.
To determine your hair’s porosity try the float test. Place a clean strand of shed hair in a cup of warm water and wait for about 2-5 minutes. If the hair floats you have low porosity hair, if it sinks to the bottom you have high porosity, but if it is floating somewhere in the middle you have normal porosity.
Other ways to determine porosity:
Low porosity hair
takes a long time to dry
takes a long time to get fully saturated
tends to have products sit on the hair causing buildup
High porosity hair
absorbs water quickly
tends to moisturize easily yet tends to dry out just as quickly
Normal porosity hair
retains moisture easily
requires minimal maintenance
can handle chemical processes well
Let’s examine why your hair is a particular porosity and which products and techniques will work best for your type.
High porosity can be caused by rough hair practices or chemical and heat use and abuse. Since the cuticles on these strands are raised and filled with gaps and holes, moisture easily enters a leaves the strands. Use products that are thicker such as sealants to help fill in these gaps. Regular protein use is important to help fill in the gaps in the hair shaft as well as regular deep conditioning.
Normal Porosity has tight cuticles that readily accept and retain moisture. Keep up with regular maintenance of hair, deep condition and protein treatment as needed. Try to avoid heat styling and chemicals as these can increase hair porosity.
Low porosity hair cuticles are closed so tightly that it is difficult to moisturize hair. Use heat to help products penetrate hair shaft, this means; steaming, heated conditioners/ oils, hot water. Use lighter products and oils to prevent buildup. Product buildup makes it difficult to moisturize the hair again. Clay washes are a great way to remove buildup.