Understanding your hair is the first step in maintaining and achieving healthy hair. We all have our go-to hair routines and products we use, but do you ever question whether or not these products actually work?
That’s why getting to know your hair’s porosity is key to solving your hair frustrations.
Nicole Petty, Hair Care Expert over at Milk + Blush, explains how to identify your hair porosity and offers advice on which treatments are best for each hair type.
Essentially, porosity can help identify if your locks are damaged, in need of moisture, or if they’re healthy and how well your hair can retain and absorb moisture. It can be broken down into three categories, low, normal, and high.
While your hair porosity is predominately down to genetics, there are other factors that affect it, too. The overuse of heat styling tools, harsh products, and over-exposing your hair to the sun, can all result in your hair losing its ability to absorb and retain moisture.
A simple way you can find out your hair porosity at home is by dropping a strand of hair into a clear glass of water. Hair that is low porosity will float, hair that is ‘normal’ porosity will float and then begin to sink slowly. Hair that is high porosity, will sink immediately.
We recommend doing the test after washing and drying your hair for the most accurate results.
Another way to test your hair porosity is to run a finger down a strand of your hair. If it’s low porosity, it will feel smooth, but if it is high porosity it will feel rough and bumpy.
Low Hair Porosity
If your hair is of low porosity, you’ll most likely find your hair takes longer to dry naturally and feels heavy. Despite common myths, your hair is actually healthy but it’s not being moisturised correctly, so it becomes dry and tangled.
Before shampooing, apply an emollient oil that will penetrate your hair strands, like avocado oil. It will penetrate the strands and help to moisturise your hair from within.
Also, only condition your hair when wet or warm. Applying heat during the conditioning process by wearing a shower cap can lift the hair cuticles and allows oils and moisture to soak into the hair more easily. Look for ingredients such a glycerine and honey as they will help your hair retain moisture.
If your hair is of high porosity, your hair can easily absorb moisture, but can’t retain it for long, resulting in hair that is prone to breakage, frizz, or dryness.
Apply leave-in conditioners and sealers once or twice a week to lock in moisture if you’ve got high porosity hair. Minimise heat styling or apply a lower setting and use heat protector sprays to avoid further damage.
When washing your hair, only use lukewarm water and dry your hair with a cotton t-shirt to prevent breakage.
For this hair type, repair or bond maintenance shampoos are great for cleansing your hair without drying it out. Conditioners containing oils or butter are fantastic for moisturising your hair due to their moisture sealing properties which will help keep hair softer for longer.
The ideal porosity for nourished and healthy locks is medium. This is when the cuticles tend to be looser and because of that, moisture penetrates the hair with ease.
If you’re lucky enough to have medium porosity, you probably have no trouble styling, colouring, drying, or keeping your hair looking shiny and healthy.
To maintain your hair health, incorporate deep conditioners in your routine and avoid using too many heat products or excessive hair dying as over-exposure could cause your hair porosity to change over time.
Your hair strands are dead, so you really have to help them from getting damaged. Keep your routine consistent and simple; not only is it a great way to keep the hair moisturised, but your saving money on unnecessary products.
By Nicole Petty, Hair Care Expert at Milk + Blush