The first major step to hair care is understanding your hair. A new mum understands her baby's cry with time because she has taken time to understand the newborn and know what she wants at a given point in time.
When you have a full understanding of your hair (i.e. your hair type, your hair structure, your hair porosity e.t.c) it’s easier for you to care for your hair the proper way, knowing what your hair needs per time. The right product to use on your hair, the right technique to apply these products, the right regimen to follow e.t.c.
What Is Hair Porosity?
In the simplest form, hair porosity is the ability of your hair to soak up (absorb) and hold on
(retain) moisture and products. Our hair shafts have cuticles that open and close up, and this is the major determining factor of our porosity type. The porosity of your hair can be determined by how open or closed the cuticles on our hair shafts are.
Types Of Hair Porosity.
- High Porosity: Your hair is highly porous when it easily absorbs moisture or products but in the same way loses the moisture absorbed. Highly porous hair can’t retain moisture for long, in fact moisture absorbed is lost almost immediately. Over time, the porosity of your hair can change. Few things that can make your hair highly porous include exposing your hair to some chemicals like dyes, or even some styling practices. These things leave your hair cuticles open and in a vulnerable state and make your hair feel and look dry.
- Low Porosity: With low porosity, you may notice that water or products just rest on the outer layer of your hair, your hair doesn’t soak it up or absorb moisture, this is because your hair cuticles are so tightly closed that it’s difficult for moisture or products to penetrate through. With steaming, you can open up the cuticles in your hair shaft to allow for moisture to be absorbed, once the products or moisture finally find their way in, they are well retained, leaving your hair properly moisturized for a long period of time.
- Normal Porosity: With normal porosity, moisture is able to penetrate easily into the hair shaft and doesn’t easily escape. This porosity type is the most ideal of all the porosity type.
How Do I Know My Hair Porosity?
To know your hair porosity, you simply have to do a hair porosity test.
Hair porosity is basically about moisture retention, so the first thing you want to do is get two or three glass cups of water.
Take out about two to three strands of hair from your head and put it in the cup of water. This is so because you can have different curl patterns on your head which in turn means different parts of your hair can have a different porosity type.
Wait to see where the hair lands. If the hair sinks immediately, it means the hair is highly porous and absorbs water easily. If the hair floats, it indicates low porosity. Normal porosity will take some time to sink slowly.
Now that we have helped you identify your hair porosity with this test, let’s put you through how best to care for your porosity type.
How To Care For High Porosity Hair.
While high porosity hair can easily absorb moisture, the inability of the hair to retain moisture most likely means the hair is damaged from excessive chemicals or too much use of heat products. What you want to do to rectify this is use heavy butters or oils to seal in moisture after moisture has been applied. Another thing you want to incorporate in your hair regimen will be a deep conditioning or protein based repair treatment.
In cases where a permanent damage has been done to the hair cuticle, the appropriate thing to do will be to chop off the damaged part of the hair.
How To Care For Low Porosity Hair.
Opening up a tightened up hair cuticle can seem like an herculean task, but following some certain hair principles, you can get to open it and get your hair soak that moisture in. One major thing you want to do is incorporate steaming in your hair care regimen. Steaming helps open up your hair cuticles and gives way for products or moisture to be well absorbed.
You also want to stay clear of heavy oils or butters (castor oil, coconut oil, shea butter) that are used to seal in moisture, highly acidic products like apple cider vinegar, and products with sulfate in them. You want to make sure to stick to products that are water based and moisturizing even to seal up after washing.
How To Care For Normal Porosity Hair.
With normal porosity hair, you don’t want to go overboard with products, instead you want to keep up with practices to maintain this porosity. You don't want to use hot styling tools too often, stay off chemical products that can compromise your hair porosity over time.
Knowing your hair porosity will help you care for your hair better and more appropriately. Hope you found this guide really helpful. If you did, don’t forget to share it with a friend, sister, mum or whoever you think might need it.