Dry and frizzy hair together creates a bad hair day. If you are constantly trying several ways to nourish your hair but it seems nothing is working for you, then you are making a mistake somewhere.
The cause could be your porous hair. If you want to reap the benefits of market-available hair care products, first check your hair porosity level.
Human hair is characterized by various descriptors, which influence their behavior toward cosmetic products. The most common descriptors that define hair are texture, density, and diameter.
The most crucial descriptor that needs attention is porosity. It is advantageous for the hair care industry to focus on this aspect since customized hair care products are in demand. (1)
What Is Hair Porosity?
Porosity refers to how well your hair absorbs and retains moisture. It is determined by the flexible hair layer called the cuticle, which controls how water and oil pass through the hair strands. (2)
For most people, porosity is genetic and is influenced by exposure to sun rays, heat, and chemicals applied. Knowing your hair porosity allows you to select the right hair care product that can moisturize and nourish your hair.
How to Test Hair Porosity
Here are some ways to determine your hair porosity.
1. Float test
Take some clean hair strands and ensure they do not contain dirt. Put them into a bowl with water, and observe the strands for 2–4 minutes.
If the hair strands sink to the bottom, they are porous. If they sink slowly, they have average porosity. If they float on the surface or just below the water level, they have low porosity. (3)
2. Slip-and-slide test
Take a hair strand and glide it between your index finger and thumb, starting from the tip and down to the scalp.
If the glide has a lot of bumps, your hair porosity is high, and if it is smooth, you have low hair porosity. If there is a slight bump, your hair porosity is average. (3)
3. Spray bottle test
Spray water on a section of your hair. Observe if the water takes the form of a bead; if it does, your hair has low porosity.
If your hair absorbs the water swiftly, it is highly porous. If the water stays on the hair for some time before getting soaked up, your hair has medium porosity. (3)
4. Hair drying test
Wet your hair and see how much time is required to dry it. Highly porous hair dries off quickly, while low porous hair will take a long time to dry.
The porosity level is average if your hair dries slowly. The drying time of your hair also depends on thickness. Fine hair with low viscosity dries faster.
Different Kinds of Hair Porosity
Hair porosity is categorized into various categories.
1. Highly porous hair
High hair porosity signifies that the cuticles have large openings that let moisture enter the hair; however, it cannot retain it and let it enter the hair fiber.
In this type of hair, the hair cuticle, which is raised, loses moisture more quickly than it absorbs. This happens because of excessive use of harsh chemicals, dyes or bleach, heat products, and harsh shampoos, which take away the hair’s natural moisture.
Since the cuticles are raised, the strands catch onto each other and become tangled. (1)
2. Medium-porous hair
Medium hair porosity, also called normal porosity, has qualities of both high and low porosity. The moisture will pass through the hair quickly, and your hair will look shiny and healthy, except during the monsoon season.
Hair styling such hair is easy, and the style will stay intact for long durations. (1)
3. Low-porous hair
Low-porous hair has cuticles that are packed together; since there is no space, the moisture or water does not enter the hair shaft.
Also, hair fall is typical, especially when you oil your hair or use conditioner or hair masks, leading to a waxy layer on the top of the hair scalp. Without the coating, the hair would look shiny and lustrous. Otherwise, it looks oily and rubbery.
Since the moisture retention power of such hair strands is less, hair breakage is expected. (1)
General Queries Related to Hair Porosity
Can the hair’s porosity level be changed?
Yes and no. If the product buildup on the scalp is causing low porosity, washing it with a clarifying shampoo can bring the hair back to its normal condition.
But if the porosity is due to genetics or damage, you can’t change it. What matters the most is how you take care of your hair.
How do I improve my hair porosity?
You can bring back your hair porosity to normal. However, if it is due to genetics, you can’t do much.
If the reason is hair damage, it may take time for your hair to recover. So, for a speedy recovery, stop using harsh chemicals and give your hair the care it deserves. If the low porosity is due to buildup on the scalp, you can turn it to medium porosity by using a clarifying shampoo.
Whatever hair type you have, what ultimately matters is how you look after it.
Is low porosity better than high porosity?
Both have their own disadvantages. For example, low-porosity hair is prone to product buildup and takes more time to absorb moisture. Highly porous hair gets dry quickly and becomes brittle.
Hair porosity refers to the ability of the hair to absorb moisture. Porosity impacts different hair types in different ways.
The above points will help you understand the hair porosity of your hair and what you can do about it.
- James.email@example.com, James.firstname.lastname@example.org. An overview on hair porosity. NYSCC. https://nyscc.org/blog/an-overview-on-hair-porosity/. Published April 21, 2021.
- Gavazzoni Dias MFR. Hair cosmetics: An overview. International journal of trichology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4387693/. Published 2015.
- Noorani Z, Sharma GK, Devi AN. A review on cosmetic preparation of hair. International Journal of Trend in Scientific Research and Development. https://www.ijtsrd.com/papers/ijtsrd12933.pdf. Published May 6, 2018.