Here’s the best analogy for your hair cuticle and porosity:
The hair cuticle is like a wicker basket…
The tighter the weave the less water will get out.
The looser the weave the more water falls out.
People get confused all the time regarding health and integrity of your hair… One of the biggest elements of the integrity of your hair is your porosity level – and what that means is how well your hair can absorb moisture and and what you can do to fix it.
Porosity is broken down into three different categories: low, normal, high.
You’re thinking, “What does that mean and how does it affect me?”
Well, if you have low porosity that means your hair cuticle itself is squeezed very tightly so it almost repels water and prevents moisture from getting inside your hair.
CHARACTERISTICS OF LOW POROSITY:
- Does your hair take forever to dry, but your hair is shiny?
- Does product seem to build up on your hair rather than absorb?
- Does your hair take forever to actually get completely wet?
- Hair with low porosity usually is really resistant to chemical services due to the cuticle being so bound shut.
CHARACTERISTICS OF NORMAL POROSITY:
- Hair is bouncy and shiny
- Your cuticle isn’t bound as tightly so it allows products and moisture into the cortex (interior of the hair) very well.
- Hair likes to absorb moisture and products, and is pretty easy to take care of.
- Hair holds style well and has great results with getting color due to the cuticle allowing penetration.
CHARACTERISTICS OF HIGH POROSITY:
- High porosity means your cuticle has holes and gaps causing moisture to fall out, and keeps products from really doing their job.
- You have to be careful of chemical and environmental factors.
- Hair loves to absorb water, but it also DRINKS products like no other.
- Even after all the water and products your hair can still feel dry and be frizzy.
- Hair dries fairly quickly
Tips to combat porosity:
- Try doing a hair treatment with HEAT! Due to the hair cuticle being so compact and smashed we need to raise it a bit so moisture and products can reach the cortex. Applying heat will raise that cuticle and get the job done.
- Try not over using products, but definitely make sure you get the product distributed evenly.
- Since that cuticle is smashed when applying beneficial products, don’t dilute them by styling your hair super wet. So a hot tip would be to apply product when your hair is damp, but not wet.
- Skip the protein-heavy products, because that keratin will build up around the cuticle causing your hair to feel straw-like and brittle.
- Use lighter products that aren’t extremely heavy in butters or oils, but try using more humectant (water soluble) products.
- Your cuticle likes to cooperate, so if you continue doing conditioning treatments at least every month you should be good.
- However, don’t over do it on the protein-based treatments that can increase your porosity and cause you to have some struggles.
- The best thing to do with high porosity is to retain as much moisture as possible, by avoiding heat and stressing out that hair cuticle anymore than it already is.
- Continue doing conditioning treatments regularly. I highly recommend the Demi-Permanent B3 Treatment or an Olaplex Treatment to really maintain moisture and integrity. Do one every-time you see your stylists and listen to their recommendations for take home.
- Avoid oils while styling your hair because they will sit on top and suffocate the hair strand.
- Rinse your hair with cool water to keep that cuticle shut.
- Use products like leave-in conditioners or sealers and layer them on so it can really create a seal for your cuticle.
Porosity Tests you can do at home.
Take a few strands of hair and drop them into a bowl of water and let them sit for 2-5 minutes. If your hair floats your have low porosity; if it sinks you have high porosity.
- Grab your hair strand at the end of the shaft. Slide your fingers up the hair strand toward your scalp.
- If you feel little bumps that means you have high porosity; if you can’t feel them it means you have low porosity. What you’re feeling is the lifted parts of the cuticle. If you don’t feel it, that means the cuticle is laying down flat.