Updated: Oct 8
Hair Porosity is your hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture. It's important for the hair to be able to do that. That's how the hair is protected and happily grows the way you wish. There are 5 levels of porosity but the average levels are: low, normal or high. It's important to know the porosity level of your hair so you can manage your curls better. We've been told to do a test strand in water to see if the hair floats or sink and i must say that its not accurate. Porosity depends on the molecular weight of your hair in water. It also depends of the texture of your hair and can change when you alter your natural hair with heat or chemicals. For example:
Color, relaxer, perm, karatin treatments etc
Heat damage from using flat irons or too much blow drying
The sun, pollutions, environment
Another way to determine the porosity levels are by checking it's grade: Grade 1: This type of hair is virgin and has never been treated with heat, has no sun damage nor treated with chemicals. The hair can be detangle with out conditioner. It's very healthy. This type of hair is very rare. It dosen't absorb anything because the cuticles are sealed. The only thing that can open the cuticles is warm water or any type of heat. All this hair needs to maintain it is just conditioning shampoo, a good leave-in conditioner and styling products. (low porosity) Grade 2: This type is most people that experience, sun damage, salt water dryness, environmental pollution, a little color and some heat. This hair can sometimes be detangled without using any conditioner. All it needs is a good light shampoo, a moisturizing conditioner, a leave in and then a good styling product. (low porosity)Low porosity
Your curls take longer to become completely wet.
Your curls take too long to dry.
Oils don't penetrate the strand but instead sits on the surface.
Products build up on the curls rather than absorbs into the curls.
How to maintain low Porosity hair? Low porosity hair has cuticles that are difficult to penetrate since its closely compacted. See the photo above: It's hard for moisture to be absorbed even though it retains (holds) moisture pretty well. To raise the cuticles, follow this tips: First, it needs heat to open the cuticles. Either use warm filtered water if your water is hard. Then a good deep penetrating conditioner or hair restoration conditioner. Cover the hair with a plastic cap or a warm towel and sit under a hooded dryer. If you don't have a dryer then your body heat will do. Heat is the key to allow the cuticles to open and the products to be absorbed and bound.
Make sure the hair is damp and not soaked.
make sure the product is evenly distributed throughout the hair and don't use too much.
Use gentle shampoos and also baking soda to strip product build up.
After the treatments, seal the hair with apple cider vinegar rinse.
Grade 3: This type is when the hair has been flat ironed , relaxed, light hair color, has done keratin treatments. This hair condition needs a good moisturizing treatments, sometimes protein treatments, deep conditioner treatments. (Normal porosity) Normal Porosity
The hair easily accepts and retain moisture inside the cuticle.
The curls are bouncy and full of elasticity and hold a style for a good amount of time.
The hair doesn't require maintenance.
The hair takes color pretty well.
How to maintain normal porosity hair? Normal Porosity has cuticles that are compact and absorbs moisture pretty well. Continue with the regimen using deep conditioners to maintain its health and condition. In this state, the hair is pretty healthy. Grade 4: This type is when the hair has been bleached, is frizzy from too much heat damage, or any extreme chemicals that are causing the hair to break when you comb or brush it. At this stage, the hair has began to loose its cuticles, which causes flakiness and breakage. It needs all sorts of treatments regularly and trimming. (High porosity) Grade 5: The hair is so damaged the only thing that can be done is to cut it off. Example: bleaching to the level of whiteness, or chemicals that are causing your hair to shed no matter what you do. The hair is stiff, it cant hold a curl. It looks really dry and just rough. At this point, It's unfixable. (High porosity) High Porosity
Curls absorb water quickly.
Water dries up very quickly from the hair
Curls looks and feels frizzy and dry.
Curls break easily when combed.
Hair doesn't maintain a style for too long.
How to maintain high porosity hair?
Use gentle moisturizing shampoos.
Use very little heat including blow dryer. It's best to air dry.
Incorporate conditioners regularly.
Use wide tooth coms when detangling your hair to avoid breakage.
Rinse your hair with cold water to help seal your ends after treatments.
Cover the head with a silk or satin bonnett for bed.