As curlies, we all know how important it is to choose hair products for the right hair types. But there are two other factors just as important that will help our hair get the best care it can: hair porosity and density. Before we get into how to do the at-home analysis, let’s talk about what hair porosity and density mean, as well as the different characteristics of curly and wavy hair.
How to Determine Hair Density
The density of your hair is simply how thin or thick it is. The number of hair follicles in a specific area of your hair, say a 1-inch area, determines your hair’s density.
The only way to truly determine density is to have someone literally examine a 1-inch square section of your scalp and count the number of hair follicles, or the number of hairs, in that 1-inch section. However, you can also do a simple hair density test with just two of your senses — vision and touch.
Kinky hair is hair that is very tightly curled. When you pull it straight out from the scalp, it immediately springs back as tight as it was before.
What's your hair texture?
- Right now, you may have dense, porous hair, but that won't necessarily last! Find out why hair texture changes throughout your life.
- Make sure your hair is completely dry. Wet hair can feel and look thinner than it actually is.
- Be sure that your hair has not been picked out, combed, or styled in any way.
- Look closely at your hair from all angles, and see if you can see your scalp through the hair strands. If you can, your hair has very low density.
Curly and Wavy Hair
Curly hair is looser than kinky hair, but may still have quite a bit of tightness in it. Wavy hair is exactly what it sounds like. It has large or small waves, but little, if any, curliness or kinkiness.
- Make sure your hair is hanging loosely. Do not part it; rather, let it fall into its natural shape.
- Look at your hair from all angles. Can you see any scalp showing anywhere? If it very easily seen, your hair has low density.
- Take your hair and gather it up as if you were going to put it in a ponytail. You may want to go ahead and secure it in a ponytail so that you won’t have to hold it. Brush it as smooth as you possibly can so that hair will not be “bunched up."
- Examine your hair again from all angles. This time, if you see more scalp than when it was down, you can determine that your hair is of medium density. No scalp showing at all means your hair is of high density.
How to Determine Hair Porosity
The simple definition of hair porosity is the ability of your hair to absorb and retain any type of moisture.
If your hair is not very porous at all, the cuticle layers, the scales of the hair shaft that overlap one another, are very close together and are tightly closed. They allow little, if any, moisture to get in or out. If your hair is like this, it is considered to have low porosity.
The further apart the cuticle layers are, and the more open they are, the more porous your hair will be. If the space between them is exactly as it should be, and they are open just as much as they should be, you have normal hair porosity. On the other hand, if you could drive a semi truck between the spaces as well as through them, your hair is considered to be overly porous.
For hair porosity, you want to feel your hair while it is wet, and the technique is the same for all hair types.
- Squeeze or blot excess moisture from your hair so that it is not dripping, but leave it as wet as possible.
- If it feels rough or has a “straw-like” texture, your hair is not very porous.
- If your hair simply feels wet, you have normal hair porosity.
- If your hair has high porosity, it will feel sticky, almost as if you had not washed all product out of your hair.
Have fine hair? Stay away from heavy products, and try these tips for working with fine hair.
Once you have determined your hair porosity and density, you can start using products specifically made for your type of curls. No single race or hair type has pre-determined porosity and density, so the only way to find out is to perform an at-home test on your curls.
It is just another aspect of your curls that makes them completely unique to you!