What is porosity?
Porosity is the term for how porous your hair cuticle is. Think of the hair cuticle like a thatched roof and porosity like the shingles. The tighter the shingles on the roof, the less amount of water will be let into the house. The looser the shingles on the roof, the more water will be let into the house. In this article, we are talking about low-porosity hair. We will cover how to find out what your hair porosity is, what low-porosity is and the do’s and don’ts for low porosity hair. It is vitally important you know and understand what porosity your hair is to ensure you are using the correct products for you.
How to test…
Simply grab a glass of water and place one of your hair strands in the water. Leave it alone for five minutes, enough for the hair strand to absorb the water. After five minutes, if the hair strand is still floating on the top of the water, this indicates low porosity hair. If the hair strand has sunk to the bottom of the glass, this indicates high porosity hair. If the hair strand floats on the top of the water, this indicates low porosity (see image below for reference).
Low porosity hair:
Low porosity hair means tight shingles on that roof people! Usually cuticles on the hair strand are laid flat, tight and overlapping (see image below for reference). Product builds up easily on low-porosity hair because it is not easily absorbed into the cuticle. Water is not easily absorbed also. As the scalp normally produces sebum, it is unable to lubricate to the ends of your hair because of product build-up, which usually results in an oily scalp and dry ends.
(image sourced from Naturally Curly.com)
Dos and dont's:
- Don’t forget to use a clarifying shampoo. As low porosity hair is more prone to product build-up, cleansers and co-washes cannot be the only products you use to wash your hair. If your hair is appearing flat, dirty, oily and over saturated, chances are you need to use a clarifying shampoo.
- Don’t use leave-in conditioners daily. This may differ depending on what sort of leave-in conditioner you have. Play around with how your hair feels if you use a leave-in conditioner daily and if applying daily is weighing your hair down, try every second or third day! Ensure your leave-in conditioner also contains light-weight oils and humectants.
- Do use heat! Heat is your friend with low-porosity hair. If you are doing a leave-in treatment or deep conditioning, heat caps, hooded caps or drying hoods help products absorb into your hair.
- Don’t use heavy butters and oils on your hair. Again, this leads to product build-up on the hair strands and requires people with low-porosity hair to wash multiple times to get rid of the excess oil, leading to dryness and excess stress on the hair.
- Don’t use multiple products on low-porosity hair. Layering products on top of other products causes build up that low-porosity hair just can’t absorb.
We hope we have given you a bit more knowledge on low porosity hair and how to care for it. Remember, low porosity hair doesn’t like water and doesn’t absorb products very well. You need to ensure you are combating product build up by clarifying, using appropriate products and utilising methods that benefit low-po’s struggle with absorbing product and water.