Posted on 07 June 2015
Porosity refers to how well your hair is able to absorb and hold moisture. It is affected by the flexible outer hair layer called the cuticle, which determines how easily moisture and oils pass in and out of your hair. For most, porosity is genetic, but it can also be affected by external factors such as exposure, heat treatments and chemical processing. Knowing your hair's porosity can help you choose the right products to keep your hair well-moisturized, supple, strong and shiny.
Low Porosity Hair
Hair with low porosity has a tightly bound cuticle layer with overlapping scales that lay flat. This type of hair is usually considered healthy, and is often very shiny, especially when it's dark in color. Low porosity hair repels moisture when you try to wet it and is hard to process since it resists penetration of chemicals. Low porosity hair is also prone to build-up from protein-rich deep conditioning products, which can leave it feeling stiff and straw-like. Stick to protein-free, daily conditioners with humectants such as glycerin or honey. Use moderate heat with protein-free deep conditioning treatments to help open up the tightly bound cuticle. Low porosity hair needs moisturizers that are rich with emollients and humectants products. Select light weight products that won’t just sit on your hair.
Medium Porosity Hair
Hair with medium porosity often requires the least amount of maintenance. The cuticle layer is looser, allowing just the right amount of moisture to enter while preventing too much from escaping. Hair with normal porosity tends to hold styles well, and can be permed and colored with predictable results. Over time, however, these processes can damage your hair and increase its porosity. Occasional deep conditioning treatments with protein conditioners can benefit medium porosity hair, but proteins should not be included in your daily regimen.
High Porosity Hair
High porosity can be either an inherent property of hair or the result of damage from chemical processing, rough treatment or environmental damage. High porosity hair has gaps and is prone to frizz and tangling in humid weather. Use anti-humectants in areas that have high humidity. It will help to temporarily seal the damaged cuticles. Because highly porous hair can also lose moisture easily, it's important to use leave-in conditioners, moisturizers and sealers. Layering products will be your best friend.