As you know, two curl patterns are not the same. For a more complete knowledge of your curls, it is important that you know your level of porosity to make the most out of your curl routine. In other words, understanding your hair's porosity is the first step in mastering your specific curl type, as this information helps us determine which product regimen is best for you and your hair care.
What is hair porosity?
Hair porosity simply refers to your hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture. Therefore, the porosity will depend on the arrangement of the cuticles. 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. Here are three ways to determine where yours is located in the porosity spectrum: Low, Medium or High.
Therefore, the porosity will depend on the arrangement of the cuticles. These not only have a genetic component, but can also be affected by products and processes such as perms (dyes) and coloring. ⠀
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.
Low porosity tends to repel moisture when you try to wet it and is hard to process since it resists penetration of chemicals. Low porosity hair is prone to build-up from protein-rich deep conditioning products, which can leave it feeling stiff and straw-like.
Styling tips for Low porosity hair:
Choose lighter, liquid-based products such as hair milks that won't sit on your hair and leave it oily or greasy. Use moderate heat with protein-free deep conditioning treatments to help open up the tightly bound cuticle.
Stick to protein-free, daily conditioners with humectants such as glycerin or honey. Low porosity hair requires moisturizers rich in emollients such as shea butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil and mineral oil. It also benefits from humectant products, which attract and hold moisture to your hair.
Low Porosity Characteristics
Curls take a long time to dry.
Products tend to accumulate on curls rather than absorb them.
Natural oils do not penetrate easily, but rather settle on your hair.
Curls take much longer to fully saturate when wet.
The 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.
Styling tips for medium porosity hair:
The medium porosity hair is called the best one because it’s in between of both spectrums. With this hair type you have the liberty to play around with lighter to medium consistency creams to style your hair, play around with the products that you incorporate in your routine to see what performs best in your hair routine.
Occasionally try deep conditioning treatments with protein can benefit medium porosity hair, but proteins should not be included in your daily regimen, try once a month.
Normal / Medium Porosity Characteristics
Curls are full of bounce and elasticity.
Requires very little maintenance.
Easily accepts and retains moisture within the cuticle.
Maintains styles well and can be colored with good results.
High porosity hair has gaps and holes in the cuticle, which let too much moisture into your hair and leave it prone to frizz and tangling in humid weather. High porosity can be either an inherent property of hair or the result of damage from chemical processing, rough treatment or environmental damage. Simple acts such as bathing, swimming and shampooing can create more damage and breakage due to the sheer amount of moisture highly porous hair can absorb.
Styling tips for high porosity hair:
Because highly porous hair can also lose moisture easily, it's important to use leave-in conditioners, moisturizers and sealers like gels. Be sure to use anti-humectants in climates with high heat and humidity. This will help seal your damaged cuticles and prevent them from absorbing excess moisture in the air.
Layering your products will help your hair hold on to the moisture you're giving it. You can even follow up with a heavy hair butter to help fill the gaps in your damaged cuticles and further protect your hair from losing too much moisture. Also try gels to avoid frizz.
Occasionally try deep conditioning treatments with protein this can benefit high porosity hair, try once or twice a month.
High Porosity Characteristics
Curls easily absorb water, however they require more products.
Curls often look and feel dry.
Curls tend to have more frizz
Curls dry quickly.
3 ways to perform the Porosity Test
1. From Touch - By Sections:
Divide your hair into three sections from front to back, choose different sections for your head. Eg: from the hairline, from the part behind the neck, in the area of the crown and the temple. Grab from the ends Placing the curl stretched out between your thumb and your finger. Swipe with the other hand in a motion from the bottom up and evaluate how your hair reacts.
If your fingers go up the lock easily, and it feels dense and hard, you have low porosity hair. If it feels soft, you have medium porosity hair and if the strand feels rough, dry, or breaks, you have high porosity hair.
2. The Base Test - For Hair Loss:
Another way to check the porosity of your hair is to drop hair that has come off or fallen out as a result of combing or handling. The first thing you should do is fill a clear glass glass with water. Insert the hair strand into the glass making sure the hair shaft and fiber are completely submerged under the water.
Low Porosity Test result:
If the hair remains floating on the surface, it means that no water has penetrated. So if this happens it would be a low porosity. The arrangement of the cuticles is very compact, which makes it difficult for hydration to enter, but once inside it remains. ⠀
Care to consider for Low porosity hair:
Hair with low porosity usually have a healthy and shiny appearance, but they also have their tricks to take care of it, since it tends to have more accumulation of products or build-up, for this try to avoid the use of oils when finishing your definition. Low porosity hair also tends to be more sensitive to protein use and tends to leave the appearance of hard, dry hair.
Choose products with a more water-based base and without proteins, always inquire in the list of ingredients to know if it is favorable for your hair.
Make regular use of a mild shampoo and clarify as many times as necessary so that you do not suffer from the accumulation of residues on your scalp.
Use thermal or heat caps for your commercial or homemade masks to work better.
Medium Porosity Test result:
If the hair sinks slowly or if some part remains floating and the rest sinks, your porosity is medium or normal.
This is said to be the ideal porosity, as the cuticle arrangement is more flexible, allowing hydration to penetrate and retain it more efficiently. ⠀
Care to consider Medium porosity:
Hair with medium porosity tends to be easier to hydrate and tend to be hair with greater definition. A basic routine that includes a weekly or fortnightly deep hydration treatment and a protein treatment per month can be more than enough to keep you healthy and fit.
High Porosity Test result:
If the hair sinks very quickly and stays at the bottom, it is because it absorbs water very easily. In this case, the porosity would be called high porosity, since it has a greater disposition to absorb hydration, but likewise allow its exit; that is, as it enters, it leaves.
In this case what happens is that the cuticles have few bonds. Example: it is as if we compare the low porosity with a mozzarella cheese, compact and without holes, to the high porosity as if it were
This type of hair looks like a Swiss cheese that has more holes inside. In other words, hair with high porosity has more holes inside the hair fiber.
Care to consider for High Porosity:
With a routine that includes a weekly deep hydration treatment and a protein treatment every 2 or 3 weeks can be more than enough to maintain healthy and fit curls. You can seal in hair hydration by applying a little vegetable oil or serum at the end of your styling routine.
3. The Water Spray Test
To determine the level of absorption of your hair with water, use a hair spray bottle, spray a small section of your curls with water. See how your hair reacts: If it absorbs water quickly (indicating high porosity). If it remains on the surface of the hair for more than a minute (which indicates that your level of porosity is low). If it remains on the surface, but is absorbed little by little (which indicates that your hair is medium porosity). For a more accurate result, try to have your hair clean, dry and without products.
Texture, elasticity, density and porosity are all indicators of the personality of your curls, and now that you understand what yours is, you can customize a routine of winning products, so that you always enjoy beautiful curls without frizz.
In addition to porosity there are other factors that help your hair to be as it is, below I share how you can identify the elasticity, density and thickness of your hair.
The elasticity of the hair is the measure of how much the hair will stretch and return to its normal state.
Healthy curly hair, when wet, can be stretched up to 60% of its original length and will return to its normal shape without breaking, while damaged hair will only stretch 20%.
How to identify what is your Elasticity?
The elasticity of the hair comes from the side links in the hair shaft. Elasticity is classified as low, normal, or high. Hair with normal and high elasticity can be styled with a brush and the hair can return to its original shape without problem, it can be subjected to combing and, when hydrated, shrink again. While hair with low elasticity can be difficult to curl and tends to lose its curl quickly.
To perform the elasticity test on your hair, you must select strands of hair from four different areas of the head. Make sure the hair is damp. Hold the strand securely and straighten the hair. If the hair stretches and returns to its original length when released, then it has good elasticity. If the hair breaks or does not return to its previous shape, you have little elasticity. Hair with low elasticity is very susceptible to breakage, will be difficult to curl, and will not have a good perm.
The Density of our Hair
Normally, when we classify our hair and how to treat it, we look at how thick or long it is. We also look at its texture and whether it is processed to determine how often we need a clipping. But another lesser known metric to consider is hair density.
The density of your hair refers to how many strands of hair grow per square inch of your scalp. Hair density is a factor that determines how best to style your hair.
After understanding the structure and texture of the hair, it is time to understand other factors that will determine your hair type, such as the thickness of the strand which is also important if you are looking to master your curly hair.
Hair thickness refers to the thickness of the individual strands of your hair rather than how much hair you have on your head. Knowing the thickness of your hair can help you understand its characteristics and can help you understand proper maintenance. There are three types of hair strand thickness that can be easily identified.
To find out the thickness of your hair, take a strand from your comb or brush and hold it close to the light. If the hair is very thick and visible against light, it may be thick. If you can't see it against the light, it's probably fine. If it looks neither fine nor thick, you have medium hair.
Thick hair tends to be the widest in girth appearance, this type of thickness tends to be much stronger. That makes it easy to maintain the length because the hair is more resistant to damage. This type of strand is ideal for creating amazing protective hairstyles.
Medium hair tends to be medium, it is strong but at the same time it is more elastic, Medium hair is more or less resistant to damage, This makes the maintenance intermediate, not too rough, but without the need to be very delicate when detangling with the comb. This type of hair can use protective hairstyles that do not need as much maintenance.
Fine hair has a very small circumference, it is very delicate, very easy to mistreat. As a result, it is more difficult to hold long. Try to limit manipulation of the hair to avoid breakage. Avoid the use of combs and brushes and avoid hairstyles that need high maintenance.