Know Your Hair Porosity
Get to know your hair porosity level
Ever wonder why some products work great for others, however don’t work for you? It is important to know your hair porosity level so you don’t waste time or money on products that just don’t work. Don’t know your hair porosity level? We are here to help!
The Basic Structure of a Hair Follicle
Before we start let’s take a quick look at the structure of a hair follicle. A hair follicle is generally made up of 3 layers: The Cuticle, the outer layer of the hair follicle in which the scales of the cuticle act like shingles on a roof, protecting the inner most layers of the strand. The middle layer is the Cortex which provides the follicle the pigment, strength, and elasticity. The Medula (Marrow), while it’s known for being the inner most layer of a hair follicle, is typically only found in thick and/or course strands. Now that we can understand the general anatomy of a hair follicle let’s dive into understanding hair porosity and what works for each level.
Hair Porosity Level
I like to get down to the basics of understanding, so I will start with the definition of Porosity so you can get a visual. Porosity is the measurement of the space between, in this case we are talking about the measurement of void in between the cuticle shingles. Hair porosity is a term to describe how well your strands are able to absorb and retain moisture through the void or openness of the cuticle wall. As a general rule there are 3 levels of hair porosity, low, medium and high porosity.
How To Test for Porosity
There are several test to determine hair porosity but we will just focus on the common method: The Float Test.
Take a couple of strands from your comb or brush.
Using a bowl or clear cup, drop the strands on top of the water.
Waiting about 2-4 minutes, you will be able to determine your porosity level.
If your strands float on top of the water before sinking, you most likely have low porosity hair. If you hair floats towards the middle of the glass or bowl then you have medium porosity. If your hair sinks quickly to the bottom of the glass you have high porosity.
Is when the cuticle (the outer layer) shingles lay flat and tightly overlap each other, the hair has low porosity because the cuticle shield is air tight, not allowing moisture in or out. For Low Porosity hair, caring for your hair could be seen as challenging but we are here to give you some helpful tips.
Use shampoos with humectant ingredients like honey and/or glycerin as this helps to open the cuticle allowing moisture into the cortex.
Clarify your strands with a clarifying shampoo once a week as this will breakup product buildup allowing you a fresh start. We suggest using products with aloe vera or rosemary as these ingredients help to clarifying while protecting your strands for over drying.
For daily conditioning, using products that have a thinner consistency like hair milks will allow for better absorption than the thicker counterpart which tends to just sitting on your hair strands creating a greasy look. TIP: Adding a bit of water to your thicker conditioners can help with absorption as well. Stay away from protein rich daily conditioners as this could lead to a protein influx, leaving your strands stiff and brittle.
If your hair is feeling dryer than normal then we suggest using a deep conditioner once a week to strengthen your strands. Adding a bit of heat can open up the cuticles allowing the conditioner to penetrate the follicle. Avoid using protein rich deep conditioners as this could have an adverse effect because proteins tend to pull moisture.
Deep Conditioning with a Wrap for Low Porosity Hair:
After your shower, gently pat your hair with your favorite Capillum wrap allowing the wrap to absorb excess water.
Apply your favorite deep conditioner then wrap your hair fully in your Capillum wrap.
Using a hooded or handheld dryer, apply heat to the wrap. The warmth will open the cuticle without applying direct heat to the cuticles and allowing the conditioner to work its way into the hair follicle.
In medium porosity hair, the cuticles give just enough slack to allow moisture in without allowing moisture to escape. Think Goldilocks & the Three Bears, go ahead and hug yourself for having the perfect porosity. Having the prefect porosity doesn’t mean you don’t have to take care of your strands though! It’s still important to maintain as damage caused to your strands can have an effect on porosity.
To maintain your hairs porosity here are some suggestions to keep in mind:
About once a week, deep condition your strands with protein rich conditioners. Using products rich in botanical ingredients, vitamins, and oils will help restore a balance to your tresses.
You do NOT want to use protein rich ingredients for daily conditioning as this could lead to a protein influx causing more damage to your hair.
Using a hair wrap instead of a hair towel will drastically help the texture of your hair; maintaining the porosity of your strands. These Capillum Hair Wraps are eco-friendly & Sustainable; with proper care they can last up to 10+ years.
The cuticles in high porosity hair have larger gaps and holes in between the shingles which means water, oil and products can be easily absorbed. The ugly side of high porosity hair is that moisture can escape just as easily as its absorbed! Like all levels of porosity, high porosity is most likely inherited but in some cases can be caused by damage done to the cuticles. To keep from any further damage, having a consistent hair regimen is imperative. Here are some of our recommendations:
Protein treatments need to be your best friend! Implementing protein treatments monthly into your hair regiment will help fill those gaps and holes in between the shingles. Think filling your waffle holes with your favorite syrup or in my case honey (I am obviously hungry, but you get the point!). There are light, medium and heavy protein treatments so keep that in mind when you are shopping! Protein treatments are different than deep conditioning and should always be used with caution. If you treat with protein too often you could end up with course, brittle hair.
Deep Conditioning needs to be your only form of conditioner! We recommend applying your favorite deep conditioner and using a shower cap/ wrap over your hair for about 15 min, letting the conditioner set, rinse with cold water to lock in moisture. Adding an oil like olive oil will also help with sealing your hair and keeping the moisture locked in!
Always use products that do not contain Sulphates, as these strip your hair of your natural oils which you will desperately want to keep.
We hope you found this helpful. Happy Testing, cheers!