Friday, September 12, 2014

Hair Porosity: What is it and how will it help my hair?

Hey kurlies,

Do you feel like your hair never stays moisturized? Do you feel like products aren't working on your hair? Today's post is dedicated to identifying your hair porosity. I'll discuss why your hair porosity is important and how it can help you figure out the best products for your hair.

What is hair porosity?
The porosity of the hair encompasses how the hair absorbs and holds moisture. The cuticle of the hair, which is the outer hair layer, determines how easily moisturizers and oils are moved in and out of the hair. Now, hair porosity differs by the individual. An individual can have high, medium/ normal, or low porosity hair. Your hair porosity is determined by your genetics as well as some environmental factors, like chemical processing or heat exposure. 

How do you determine your hair porosity?
Medium or normal porosity hair has cuticles that are raised just enough to absorb moisture. This type of porous hair stays moisturized longer. Using a moisture rich conditioner is beneficial as well as sealing the ends with a natural oil. Protein based conditioners should not be included in this daily regimen, but it can be used occasionally in treatments.
Highly porous hair has cuticles that are raised the highest out of all three types. This hair quickly absorbs or "drinks" up moisture. The hair is likely to be high porous due to damage from chemicals and other environmental aspects. Apple cider vinegar rinses have been found to be very beneficial for closing the cuticle and retaining the moisture in the hair. Additionally, conditioners that are rich in moisture are very important for this hair type. Also, using a heavier hair butters, like shea and mango, and oils, such as castor and olive oil, will allow the hair to maintain those moisture levels. For this type, protein treatments can be used on a more daily, or more regular basis, with this porous type.

Well, I'm glad you asked. You can determine your hair porosity with these simple steps:

1. Take a strand of clean hair  directly from your scalp and place in a glass of water.
2. If it sinks in less than 2 minutes, you have high porosity hair. Your hair readily absorbed the water. If your hair stays at the top (after 2 minutes), you have low porosity hair. Your hair did not absorb the water in the glass. If your hair floats at the top but eventually sinks to to the middle, you have normal, or medium, porosity hair.

My strand of hair is floating at the top of the water on the right side of the glass.

So I found out I have low porosity hair. I felt like I received a bad grade on a report card. For whatever reason, hearing the word "low" made me feel bad, but there is much hope! Now that I know my porosity level, I can begin to align my hair products to meet my moisture needs and you can too!

What products should I use?
Low porosity means that your hair is compact and typically resists opening up to water and moisturizers. Baking soda has also been beneficial with low porous hair because it lifts (opens) the hair cuticle and allows the hair to absorb moisture. Your hair will benefit from water based liquid leave ins that are light in consistency. It also likes light oils like jojoba, grapeseed, and coconut oil. It can also benefit from humectant products, like honey or glycerin, that attract and hold on to moisture. You want to stay away from heavy oils and grease because they will likely "sit" on the hair. 

I personally prefer knowing my hair porosity over my hair type. My hair porosity  is easier to identify than my hair type, but that's just me! Checkout my post on updated hair regimen to see how I integrate the best hair products for my porosity level.  

Kurlies Weigh In: Are you ready to find out your hair porosity? If you know your hair porosity, what is it and what products do you use to help maintain your hair health?

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