Our hair type is characterized by a diversity of curls and textures that make it so beautiful. However, a key characteristic of our hair that can pose challenges is its porosity. Understanding and controlling hair porosity is essential to maintaining healthy, radiant hair. We'll dive into the phenomenon of hair porosity and share tips for successfully managing it.
Understanding Hair Porosity
Hair porosity is your hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture. It is determined by the structure of the cuticle, the outer layer of each hair strand. There are three levels of porosity:
Low porosity :
Cuticles are very tight, which limits moisture absorption. Hair generally stays moisturized longer, but may be difficult to penetrate with products. In this case, the scales are very smooth and closed. The hair is then too impermeable and hardly lets moisture in, and therefore, all moisturizing products. Hair that is not very porous takes longer to soak up water in the shower and dries very quickly.
Medium porosity :
The cuticle is slightly raised, allowing moderate moisture absorption and retention. Hair has a healthy balance between internal and external moisture. Here, the scales are smooth, closed, but allow the right amount of water to penetrate to properly hydrate the fibre. In the same way, hair conditioners, masks and oils can thus reach the inner layers of the hair and nourish it intensely. No doubt, this is the ideal level of porosity!
High porosity :
Cuticles are strongly raised, meaning hair absorbs moisture quickly, but has difficulty retaining it. Hair can appear dry and prone to breakage. It is often observed on damaged hair or worn by age (gray and white hair). Hair that is too porous certainly absorbs water, but rejects it immediately !
The first step in controlling capillary porosity is to determine your porosity level. You can do this with a simple test at home.
The Water Drop Test:
Take a small sample of clean, dry hair. Immerse it in a glass of water at room temperature. If the hair floats to the surface, you have low porosity. If it stays in the middle, you have medium porosity. If the hair sinks to the bottom, you have high porosity.
For Low Porosity :
Use emollient-rich moisturizers like butters and natural oils to seal in moisture. Avoid protein-based products, as they can overload hair.
For Medium Porosity:
Maintain a balance between moisture and protein by using products suited to your hair type. Use styling products to define and protect your curls.
For High Porosity:
Focus on light moisturizing products to help your hair retain moisture. Use regular deep conditioning treatments to strengthen your hair.
Hair porosity is not an insurmountable obstacle. By understanding your porosity level and adopting a suitable hair routine, you can maintain healthy, hydrated and shiny hair. Don't underestimate the importance of hydrating and protecting your curls. With the right care, you can proudly wear your hair every day.