Texture, Porosity, and other Hair Type Madness

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We have bits and pieces of our hair type discussion scattered throughout the forums and I thought it warranted its own place in the world

Here are some links to other pertinent threads. If you have others, post 'em!

Hair Texture
Hair Porosity
Texture = Best Products
Really Porous Hair

I'm going to start by saying I propose we try to limit our discussion here to just the pure hair properties as defined by state cosmetology boards: texture, porosity, elasticity and density. Otherwise, I think we are going to drown ourselves in information and lose focus (and guess who would be the biggest offender, lol).

As we progress to talking about weather (humidity, dewpoint, ambient air temperature, wind chill, heat index), matching appropriate products to type, etc., we can then create separate threads for those discussions.

The reason I believe this discussion is critically important -- and I know my girl, jillipoo, has my back on this one -- is this:

YOUR "CURL TYPE" DOES NOT MATTER.

It drives me absolutely bonkers to see so many lovely curly girls stressing out over whether they are 2a or 3c or 4b, or if they have "Botticelli" or "Corkscrew" curls, thinking they need to self-identify their "type" in order to take care of their curls to the best of their ability.

VISUAL IDENTIFICATION METHODS DO NOT MATTER WHEN YOU ARE LOOKING TO ESTABLISH A GOOD CURL MAINTENANCE ROUTINE FOR YOURSELF.

Those curl classification systems help you to describe how your curls look from a visual perspective; however, in order to establish an effective routine, you MUST know your hair's texture and porosity (elasticity and density are not as critical, but they contribute important information as well).

Once you know your hair properties, you can then begin to understand and anticipate how weather and product play a role in how your curls will fall on a particular day.

/end rant

I'll be back to address some questions I received over my recent blog on porosity. Let the discussion begin!
germanbella likes this.
- Tiffany
Hair Stylist and Curly Hair Specialist - St. Petersburg, FL (Tampa Bay)

Blog: Live Curly, Live Free
Facebook fan page: Live Curly Live Free

Sulfate- and non-water soluble silicone-free since 04/22/2002
3B, brunette: medium texture, low porosity, high density

Strutt'sWife, thank you so much for this thread. I think many curlies will pay attention to it because you are a professional.

I'm am so in agreement with this. I have similar looking hair to some curlies who have great success with Twist & Curls using similar products, yet 4 times out of 5, I cannot get a smooth one. I don't know why and it's frustrating, because our hair LOOKS alike. My porous, fine-medium textured, cottony hair becomes frizzy and flyaway when the natural texture is changed via twists and probably roller setting too. I need to learn more about this.

I also roll my eyes whenever I see another thread on "what hair type am I?"

I've seen a major increase in more "3's" using traditionally "4"-type products like buttery stuff, moisturizing creams, etc. And it's not because of curl type.
My blog - http://suburbanbushbabe.wordpress.com/
My FOTKI - http://whatsnew.fotki.com/suburbanbushbabe/


Playing with my hair is a hobby. Fluffy, fine natural 4a. Goal= Healthy, beautiful hair that retains its length.
Quote:
Hear that crash? It's me falling off the CG wagon.
Yes yes yes! Oh thank you so much, StruttsWife. As SBB said, people will pay attention now that this information is coming from you, the professional.

I have many questions for you, but at the moment (it's early in the morning. (Plus, I feel like I've been granted an audience with a rock star. All kinda fluttery...)

What's up with the hair-in-the-water glass test? Does this indicate porosity, and if so, what is the correct way to conduct this test?
3a and strictly CG since August 2007. Porous and on the fine side. No to magnesium sulfate and glycerin. Yes to protein! Favorites:
CO-WASHES: Suave Coconut
CONDITIONERS and LEAVE-INS: Mop Top Daily Conditioner, KBB Nectar, Aubrey GPB or Island Naturals, Robert Craig, Any Jessicurl
CURL ENHANCERS/CREMES/MOUSSES: KCCC, JoiWhip
GELS: Fuzzy Duck, B5 Design, MGA Scultping, BRHG


Fotki password: chuckle
Blog: http://jillipoo.blogspot.com/
Twitter: nopoojillipoo
I agree that type does not matter. I range from 2c-3b depending on length of hair and dew point.

But, I took my routine from a 4a and read th3 4a boards regularly for product hints.

I'm reposting another post here because I'm confused by porosity, and maybe mixing it up with coarse vs fine. I need help with that part.


OK, I'm going to have a thinking out loud post to try to guess my porosity.

My guess is somewhere between medium and low for most of my hair shaft (or maybe just medium), with high porosity on the ends.

I tend to run dry by nature, but my hair feels soft when well conditioned. There is always a smidge of coarseness, but it's only rough when I need to condition. It's not coarse the way I see with Asian hair stands, but it seems a little more coarse them medium textured hair.

On the strand test, I can't say it feels ruffled, but I do feel the parts in the straightened heir where it should bend. I can feel the straightened kinks, and I don't know if that is the same as ruffled.

I can suck up a moderate amount of conditoner, but I don't need half the bottle. With the exception of the last 4 inches, I do not like straight oils on my hair. It does nothing but sit there and feel hard and crunchy. On the ends, when applied over conditioner, oils can help my ends feel softer.

I hate protein, and I hate panthenol, regardless of season. Both build up and sit on my hair shaft, making it too thick and frizzy. I can take an occasional hit of keratin when my strand test tells me I need some protein, but all other proteins make me straw like and brittle. I can't take panthenol at all.

Color: I get a chemcial color done. It's red. It fades, and I'm not sure if it's my hair or just because reds do fade. WHile I feel the fade is a lot, my colorist usually comments that the fade isn't bad for a red.

Air drying. My ends dry quickly. The rest takes a few hours.
Kiva! Microfinance works.

Med/Coarse, porous curly.
Strutt'sWife, thank you so much for this thread. I think many curlies will pay attention to it because you are a professional.

I'm am so in agreement with this. I have similar looking hair to some curlies who have great success with Twist & Curls using similar products, yet 4 times out of 5, I cannot get a smooth one. I don't know why and it's frustrating, because our hair LOOKS alike. My porous, fine-medium textured, cottony hair becomes frizzy and flyaway when the natural texture is changed via twists and probably roller setting too. I need to learn more about this.

I also roll my eyes whenever I see another thread on "what hair type am I?"

I've seen a major increase in more "3's" using traditionally "4"-type products like buttery stuff, moisturizing creams, etc. And it's not because of curl type.
Originally Posted by Suburbanbushbabe
You know, I wouldn't mind so much if people didn't argue with the answers. No, I can't be a 2c, I'm really a 3b/c combo! Um, yeah, ok. I think curl type is good to know, but not all that relavent for products and routine.
Kiva! Microfinance works.

Med/Coarse, porous curly.
Thanks for posting this but I am still at a loss as to what kind of texture/porosity I have. Very confusing!
ETA--
OK, I think I have really really porous hair although I don't know how it got that way, I diffuse only once in awhile on Low for 5 minutes, I GLAZE my hair every 6 months my natural color, and never straighten.

But I suppose frizziness, rough ends despite trims, hair breakage when combing out, and being able to use 6 cups on various condishes at one time would say that I'm porous.

I may be banished for saying this, but maybe this is why I cones work well for me on a limited basis. Cause they fill in the holes a bit, seal in the oils? (I stay away from anything ending in -xane, and I won't use a cowash/lowpoo that has them, but used sparingly I get good results.)
Wavy, curly on the ends, 2C.
Coarse to medium textured, porous, dry, and lots of it.
Shampoo--HSH Pumpkin, Abba Pure Moisture
LVPNG, HSH Pumpkin, Walgreen's Knockoffs--Condish/Cowash
AOHR, Nexxus, EO--LI
CK & ReCoil--Activator
Suave Max Hold, Alagio Curl-Gel
For inquiring minds who want to know:
http://www.public.fotki.com/TillyErnissee
Although I've never found my hair to be paticularly sensitive to anything, humectants, proteins, oils, cones, etc it seems to take it all in stride, although because we have yet to see temps over 20 degrees for the last months I have reduced but not eliminated stuff with humectants. Maybe the comb of being coarse, thick, and porous and going grey contributes to this?

Maybe everyone's hair just has a mind of it's own.
Wavy, curly on the ends, 2C.
Coarse to medium textured, porous, dry, and lots of it.
Shampoo--HSH Pumpkin, Abba Pure Moisture
LVPNG, HSH Pumpkin, Walgreen's Knockoffs--Condish/Cowash
AOHR, Nexxus, EO--LI
CK & ReCoil--Activator
Suave Max Hold, Alagio Curl-Gel
For inquiring minds who want to know:
http://www.public.fotki.com/TillyErnissee
Thanks for the post.
I've learnt that my hair is a mixture or normal to course in some places (I always assumed it was course) and my hair is between porous and very porous I think I'm a little confused. My hair has been permanently coloured so this could only be a temporary evaluation and my or may not differ when my hair grows out am I right in thinking?

This is an interesting forum! My hair is very dry (porous)-I call it EDH (extra dry hair). I know this because after I towel dry: winter-two hours to dry; summer-30 minutes; humid summer-one hour. That's all without twisting.

As far as ingredients, it depends on the ingredients and the order they're in on the label. For example, when it comes to conditioning (and deep conditioning) my hair, the first five ingredients need to be these:Cetyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulphate, Stearly alcohol, and Cetrimonium Chloride. Now, with Aubrey Organics products, I'm not sure about their label. I use their conditioners with wonderful results. Their ingredients' label is: Coconut Fatty acid Cream Base, Organice Aloe vera, Wheat Germ Oil, then it varies from there.

As far as styling products, the ingredients can vary.

The question I have is: why do these ingredients work for my hair, and not just herbs or oils? I would love to know the reason!
Struttswife -- after trying to understand porosity a little better, I found this 2-part article. I'm still a little confused by it all and would love to hear your input about what they're saying here. Since my hair is highlighted, I just assumed that my hair was highly porous, but after reading this, I'm still confused. It does help explain a little, though, why my hair seems to love protein:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/art...ed.html?cat=69

http://www.associatedcontent.com/art...ed.html?cat=69
http://public.fotki.com/msgiblet/ - pw: gibber -- Pics Added 7/10/11
Fine, Thick, Normal Porosity, Normal Elasticity

Countess Balashi of Divi Beach in the Order of the Curly Crusaders

If I'm Going To Have A Bad Hair Day, It Might As Well Be In Aruba!

This is an interesting forum! My hair is very dry (porous)-I call it EDH (extra dry hair). I know this because after I towel dry: winter-two hours to dry; summer-30 minutes; humid summer-one hour. That's all without twisting.

As far as ingredients, it depends on the ingredients and the order they're in on the label. For example, when it comes to conditioning (and deep conditioning) my hair, the first five ingredients need to be these:Cetyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulphate, Stearly alcohol, and Cetrimonium Chloride. Now, with Aubrey Organics products, I'm not sure about their label. I use their conditioners with wonderful results. Their ingredients' label is: Coconut Fatty acid Cream Base, Organice Aloe vera, Wheat Germ Oil, then it varies from there.

As far as styling products, the ingredients can vary.

The question I have is: why do these ingredients work for my hair, and not just herbs or oils? I would love to know the reason!
Originally Posted by Greatcurls
Coconut Fatty Acid Cream base is often cetearyl alcohol. I think Aubrey is a bit intentionally deceptive in this because the former looks a lot more "organic: than the latter.
Kiva! Microfinance works.

Med/Coarse, porous curly.
I thought coarse texture was the problem with my hair. Now, I am sure that porosity is the main thing I struggle with. I think it is naturally porous with a combo of medium and coarse texture. However, the porosity issue has worsened with coloring (especially highlights), gray hair and heat damage.

I'm trying to avoid damage as much as possible. No more highlights or heat straightening. I'm not ready to give up permanent color though.

I did notice my hair was shinier and smoother after my stylist refreshed the ends with Colorance by Goldwell. Is anyone familiar with Colorance who can explain why?
cg Dec 08
fine to med texture w/ some coarse / high porosity 2c to 3a






struttswife -- THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!
i cannot wait for the information. instinctively i've always felt that products work different due to texture, etc., rather than the type of curl, but i did not know the basis for it.
i am looking forward to all your input.
[FONT="Arial Narrow"]
3a, some 2c & 3b, medium texture, porosity normal, low elasticity
washing/cowashing, conditioning, protein tx: curl junkie products
leave in:cj conditioners and treatments as leave in
styling: cj pattern pusha, cj honey butta leave in, cj cccc, cj ciab, lalsg. cj aloe fix gel is my high dews/summer HG!!
sealants - spiral solutions emollience butter, jane carter nourish & shine
OK.... so....
I hate to think that most of the suggestions I've gotten from fellow 3C/4A curlies need to go out the window.

(Most people take one look at my hair and say... "Black hair! Use oils!" I'm actually a Puerto Rican "Heinz 57" ethnic mix. A small amount of 'cones usually seems to work better than the oils.)

This is an excellent thread. I say we all go down to Florida and have StruttsWife examine our hair!

"Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, 'Where have I gone wrong?' Then a voice says to me, 'This is going to take more than one night.' "
- Charlie Brown
HEY!!! Follow me at http://www.twitter.com/kurleeedna
I've seen a major increase in more "3's" using traditionally "4"-type products like buttery stuff, moisturizing creams, etc. And it's not because of curl type.
Not just 3's but a lot of 2's as well! Hence, MAJOR confusion for me right now....cuz I also have to be careful with how much of this type of product I use or will get weighed down very easily. I use puddings and such on my little girl's 2B/3A type hair but she doesn't get weighed down her hair just drinks it up! She can't be porous if she's never used chemicals or heat styling??? I'm apparently porous and use heat styling but no chemicals..makes my head go WEEEEEEEEEEEE?!

NOPE not highly porous according to the strand float test, it's floating happily 5mins later so I'm either LOW or Normal but I can't know for certain unless I do chemical processing?? There is no other way to test this?? I never have problems with tangles either. My little one on the other hand HIGHLY tangles but her hair is FINE so I attributed it to that.
Discovered CG 2007

2C Fia BSL/Thick/Med-Coarse/Low(crown)-Normal Porosity Protein and Oil Sensitive

Link-Spritz & Condish Washing

I'm aCurlJunkieJunky

My hair LOVES Coconut DESPISES Soap Bars


CJRehab or H&B Fix, Deva NO POO, EO Rose & Cham POO & Condish, CJ CurlFix, CJ Pattern Pusha, CJ CIAB, SS FHG, KCCC, BRHG, AG Mousse Gel, ACV Rinses,Shikakai Conditioning Hair Rinse.
I believe that hair can also be naturally porous. Maybe SW can correct me if I'm wrong. It doesn't have to be chemically treated to be porous and soak up products.

Hypothetically, would the right products for your hair and the right "frequency" of use be important? If your high porosity curl looses product as fast as it absorbs it, then would more frequent DTs help your hair or be a waste of product?
3b spirals, fine texture, normal porosity, dense
Picasa:
Link
Deva Low Poo
Suave Naturals Coconut for detangling
Renpure Organics conditioner/leave-in
Homemade FSG
KCCC
Curl Junkie Stuff
BRHG


Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.
-wabi-sabi

I can't WAIT to get to the good stuff like what products work best for certain textures/porosity levels!!
Discovered CG 2007

2C Fia BSL/Thick/Med-Coarse/Low(crown)-Normal Porosity Protein and Oil Sensitive

Link-Spritz & Condish Washing

I'm aCurlJunkieJunky

My hair LOVES Coconut DESPISES Soap Bars


CJRehab or H&B Fix, Deva NO POO, EO Rose & Cham POO & Condish, CJ CurlFix, CJ Pattern Pusha, CJ CIAB, SS FHG, KCCC, BRHG, AG Mousse Gel, ACV Rinses,Shikakai Conditioning Hair Rinse.
Okay, I'm going to try to "think out loud" to address some questions so far.

If you feel anything catching or "lifting" as you move your fingers up the hair strand, you have porous or overly porous hair. How much the cuticles lift will depend on how porous you are (and hearing a "squeak" sometimes isn't good news ... it often means your hair is suffering from lack of moisture).

Finishing products can sometimes be helpful in helping to keep moisture retained within the hair shaft on a temporary basis, but your best bet is to fill in those gaps if possible with a reconstructor. Some sources advocate protein-based semi/demi-permanent or temporary color rinses (such as Sebastian Colourshines, Clairol Jazzings or Goldwell Colorance). Despite the fancy marketing, however, you are simply reconstructing your hair with a slight color boost and shine glaze.

I hate to say this, but you cannot have porous hair unless you have some type of damage, no matter how healthy you think it may look and feel. Porous means damaged to some degree. You may not be OVERLY porous, but in normal, damage-free hair, the cuticles lie down flat like roof tiles. If they are lifted, it means something has disturbed them, be it chemicals, sun, overprocessing, mineral deposits, etc. That is not to confuse the very, very, VERY slight lift of the cuticle layer on curly hair caused by the way our hair spirals and bends with hair that is actually porous. That isn't going to make you suck up gallons of conditioner or give your hair strands a puffy, bloated appearance.

Technically, the float test says if your hair will float on a glass of water for more than two minutes, the cuticle layer is healthy. If the hair sinks, the cuticles are raised and you are porous to some extent. This is fabulous in theory, but ... Because our cuticles naturally are ever-so-slightly raised, we are often going to sink a lot despite our relative porosity. My hair sinks before the two-minute mark and I have some of the lowest porosity known to mankind.

Color can cause porosity depending on how well your hair has taken the processing. I have permanently colored for years, but my porosity remains quite low -- probably because I am a freak about potential chemical overprocessing and how I take care of my hair between colorings. If you are being overprocessed, even with salon color, it can cause damage and, subsequently, higher porosity.

If you use bleach, your hair's porosity immediately increases just by nature of the processing. Bleaching, in effect, blows "potholes" into your cortex and you must be filled with a protein reconstructor to rebuild the damaged hair shaft. If you are not properly reconstructed, your hair will automatically test as overly porous because of all those potholes.
- Tiffany
Hair Stylist and Curly Hair Specialist - St. Petersburg, FL (Tampa Bay)

Blog: Live Curly, Live Free
Facebook fan page: Live Curly Live Free

Sulfate- and non-water soluble silicone-free since 04/22/2002
3B, brunette: medium texture, low porosity, high density

I wouldn't get my hopes up too high. It still does not seem to be an exact science... If this was all easy we wouldn't need this board.
3b spirals, fine texture, normal porosity, dense
Picasa:
Link
Deva Low Poo
Suave Naturals Coconut for detangling
Renpure Organics conditioner/leave-in
Homemade FSG
KCCC
Curl Junkie Stuff
BRHG


Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.
-wabi-sabi

I've seen a major increase in more "3's" using traditionally "4"-type products like buttery stuff, moisturizing creams, etc. And it's not because of curl type.
Not just 3's but a lot of 2's as well! Hence, MAJOR confusion for me right now....cuz I also have to be careful with how much of this type of product I use or will get weighed down very easily. I use puddings and such on my little girl's 2B/3A type hair but she doesn't get weighed down her hair just drinks it up! She can't be porous if she's never used chemicals or heat styling??? I'm apparently porous and use heat styling but no chemicals..makes my head go WEEEEEEEEEEEE?!

NOPE not highly porous according to the strand float test, it's floating happily 5mins later so I'm either LOW or Normal but I can't know for certain unless I do chemical processing?? There is no other way to test this?? I never have problems with tangles either. My little one on the other hand HIGHLY tangles but her hair is FINE so I attributed it to that.
Originally Posted by DEL2C
I've wondered how you can be coarse, yet get weighed down? It's such an odd combo. I wonder if porosity plays a role in that.
Kiva! Microfinance works.

Med/Coarse, porous curly.

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