Understanding your hair porosity is key if your goal is to grow long, healthy hair. If you suspect you have high porosity hair, what signs should you look out for?
High porosity hair is very porous. It absorbs moisture very easily. This type of hair also loses moisture very fast because it has large open pores.
Below is a summary of high porosity hair characteristics to look out for if you are trying to determine your hair porosity:
High Porosity Hair Characteristics;
- Hair feels dry most of the times
- Rapid moisture loss
- Hair tends to be Frizzy
- More prone to breakage
- Gets wet very easily
- Hair tangles easily
- Rarely looks shiny
- Absorbs products very easily
- Hardly gets greasy
- Lacks elasticity
Hair porosity is categorized as either low, normal or high. The more porous your hair is the more moisture and oils it will absorb.
Your hair strands have three layers; the cuticle which is the outermost layer, the medulla, the innermost layer and the cortex which is the middle layer.(1) In high porosity hair, the cuticles are too far apart which means that moisture applied can get in very easily.
In the next section, we will analyze in detail the high porosity hair characteristics summarized above.
High Porosity Hair Characteristics
Rapid Moisture loss
One good indicator that you have high porosity hair is when your hair dries out quickly and constantly feels dull and dry.
In most cases, you will end up having to continuously reapply or add a large amount of product daily so that your hair remains moisturized.
Whereas high porosity hair absorbs moisture quickly and easily, it also loses it just as fast because of the lifted cuticles. By releasing the moisture easily, the hair is prone to breakage which has other effects to your hair.
Another characteristic of high porosity hair is irregular texture and pattern of the hair. If your hair is frizzy you will have a bumpy feeling when you run your fingers down a strand of hair.
Other than the aspect of inherent property and damage that causes frizzy hair, humidity highly contributes to frizzy hair as well.
Moisture penetrates the hair shaft and gets quickly absorbed into the cortex hence causing a swell. This means that you have lifted cuticles which is what makes the hair frizzy.
Hair is prone to breakage
This is something very common as hair breakage shows that your hair does not have the ability to bounce and stretch. Using a protein treatment will come in handy because it helps fill the gaps that are present in the cuticle hair as a result of high porosity.
If your hair loses moisture easily, it means it becomes dry fast and that makes it break. Dry hair is not healthy because it has no elasticity and so it strains every time any strain is inserted on the strands.
One of the major causes of hair breakage is humidity. Since high porosity hair loses moisture so fast, your hair will easily become brittle and ultimately will lead to breakage.
Hair gets wet very easily
One thing about high porosity hair is that it gets in moisture in your hair very fast and easily and hence your hair gets wet fast when you apply water. This will let you know you have this type of hair as other hair types struggle with getting hair moisture in as fast.
If you place a strand of hair from low porosity hair or medium porosity hair in water it will take more time to sink in as opposed to high porosity hair.
Hair tangles easily
Tangled hair is usually a challenge to maneuver and unfortunately people with high porosity hair experience this more.
The hair tangles easily because as the cuticles get lifted, the hair strands tangle around other strands and creates general tangles in hair as well as single strand knots.
Rarely looks shiny
People with high porosity hair mostly have hair that looks dull. The hair is hardly shiny and lacks luster because it lacks enough moisture. Hair that looks health is a reflection of what you have put in the hair and since this type of hair does not retain moisture or oils it constantly looks dull and no shiny.
Absorbs products very easily
High porosity hair absorbs and takes in products very easily and quickly. (3) This is because the cuticle layers of the hair are raised. The downside to this is that the hair can also get in the wrong chemicals easily.
Hardly gets greasy
High porosity hair takes in hair products/ oils very easily but does not retain them or absorb them as well. This makes your hair hardly get greasy and this can be very frustrating.
Hair lacks elasticity
Since high porosity hair loses moisture fast, any little strain to it leads to breakage as it lacks elasticity. When hair lacks elasticity, it shows that the hair does not have a good balance of moisture and hair within the strands. Dry hair ruins elasticity or a good balance of it and this could ultimately damage your hair.
Hair feels dry most of the time
High porosity hair has hair cuticle layer that is raised which is not the case for the low porosity hair and the medium porosity hair. Because of this, hair feels quite dry when you touch it and bumpy as well. Moisture retention is very difficult for high prosperity hair.
This type of hair absorbs moisture as fast as it loses it and hence makes it feel constantly dry and dull. You will always feel a constant need to keep moisturizing it every so often.
If your hair has these characteristics, then there is a high probability it’s high porosity. In addition to knowing the high porosity hair characteristics, you can also use these hair porosity tests to determine your hair porosity.
Testing if you have high porosity hair
Aside from the signs we have discussed above you can take a test to know your hair porosity type. There are three tests you can use:
You will need a strand of your hair and water in a clear glass to execute this test. If you place the strand of hair in the water and it quickly sinks to the bottom, then that should tell you that you have high porosity hair
Slip & Slide Test
You can also take a strand of your hair, gently stretch it and place it between your thumb and finger. Slide the hair strands and if using your fingers, you feel the strands are dry or they break then you have the high porosity hair.
You can also test it with water. Use a small section of your hair and insert it in water or pour water on it. If it absorbs very fast, then you have high porosity hair
How to care for high porosity hair
Once you establish that you have high porosity hair, it will help you know how to manage it well.
You will be able to know what products are suitable for your hair and what products to avoid as they will damage your hair or not work as efficiently.
Find the right products;
You will need to find hair products for this type and these products have to have the right formulation and have more oil or butter ingredients. They should also reduce and reverse the damage that is usually on the cuticle.
When maintaining high porosity hair, use shampoos that do not dry out your hair. You should also use conditioners and sealers that help seal the spaces in the cuticle.
These are conditioners that have plenty of oils and butter to enable the layer be protected and fill in your damaged cuticles. By layering these products your hair will definitely retain the moisture you are giving it.
Lastly, use anti-humectants in environments that have high humidity and heat. This is crucial because it will seal your damaged cuticles and prevent them from absorbing excess moisture in the air.
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