What is Hair Porosity?
Hair porosity is the hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. Hair porosity is determined by the shape and size of the cuticles in your hair and how well the hair strands penetrate the cuticle layer of the hair structure. Understanding your hair porosity can help you determine what products to use and how to take care of your hair properly. The 3 types of hair porosity are low, medium, and high. We will discuss more about on low and high, porosity since medium porosity doesn’t require as much maintenance. To help test for your hair porosity level read my blog, "Ways to Determine Your Hair's Porosity."
Low porosity is when your hair is water-resistant, making it harder for moisture to be absorbed into your strands. The cuticle is tightly overlapped and creates a barrier that blocks moisture or penetration. Low porosity hair is typically a result of your genetic makeup and cannot be caused by any chemical or heat damage. Here are some traits of low porosity hair:
- Products sit on the surface of the hair, taking longer to absorb.
- Hair is more susceptible to buildup due to slow penetration.
- Your hair is easily weighed down.
- It takes longer for your hair to get completely wet.
- It takes longer for your hair to dry, and the hair holds in water more that took longer to be obtained.
- Your hair is resistant to color or chemical treatments. Sometimes the hair will take longer to process color or needs to be formulated differently to penetrate.
The Best Products & Tips for Low Porosity
High porosity hair has a more open cuticle, creating a pathway for high absorption and resistance to moisture. High porosity has a love, hate relationship with water and can easily absorb water in the shower or when applying product, may not be able to last for long. This can result in damage and leave the hair feeling dull. Porous hair can happen if the hair is overprocessed with color or chemicals. The hair can naturally have a high porosity, but can also be caused by heat damage, overprocessed hair, or environmental damage. Tightly textured hair is naturally more porous. Here are some characteristics of high porosity hair:
- Looks or feels dry.
- Prone to frizz
- Prone to breakage
- Tangles easily
- Hair easily and quickly becomes wet.
- Absorbs product quickly.
- Air dries very quickly
The Best Products for Highly Porous Hair
Hydrating Shampoos & Conditioner
- Protein treatment: For high porosity caused by damage or overprocessing, protein treatment will help repair and rebuild the strength of your hair, improve elasticity, and prevent breakage. My recommendation for needed keratin is the K18 hair mask. Use every 3-4 shampoos for the best results to prevent overuse of protein.
- Hot oil treatment: Hot oil treatments increase the strength of your strands, reduce frizz and split ends. Common oils to use on natural hair include coconut, olive, argan, avocado, olive and jojoba oil. These treatments are primarily for curly or thicker hair, as fine hair will be weighed down tremendously.
- Hair Mask: A weekly deep mask is going to help lock in moisture and provide deep penetration to the hair structure. My favorite moisture hair mask is the Amika Soulfood Mask. This mask is filled with lots of nutrients and antioxidants to help keep hair super soft and hydrated,
Porosity Changes Over Time
Hair porosity is partly determined by DNA, but our age, hormone levels and our hair care can affect hair porosity. Chemically processing with relaxers or color treatments can open or close the cuticle of the hair, causing the porosity of our hair to alter. The environment also causes constant friction on our hair and heat damage can affect how hair retains moisture. As we age, our bodies and hair change with us and can change our hair's porosity over time. Experiencing the beauty of a pregnancy or the difficulty of a health complication, your hormone levels can impact your hair and its porosity, as well. Treating your hair with the proper care, products and techniques can help your hair stay healthy and hydrated.