Porosity is moving to the forefront of the hair typing conversation, and rightfully so. With the focus of healthy hair being moisture, understanding your hair’s porosity and the products that will cater to its needs are important. There are three porosity levels: low, medium (normal), and high. Low porosity hair has a cuticle that is tightly bound, making it challenging for moisture and chemicals to effectively penetrate and be released. High porosity has gaps and holes in the cuticle, which allow it to quickly absorb moisture and chemicals while also quickly releasing them. High porosity hair can be a result of genetics, over manipulation, heat usage, or chemical processing. Medium porosity is the easiest to manage and is the happy medium. There are multiple ways to check your hair’s porosity.
3 Ways to find out your porosity
The water cup test
Some suggest placing a clean strand of hair into a cup of water and if it floats, then it has low porosity. If the strand sinks, then it has high porosity. This test can be challenging as the products you use can be the variable that make your results inconsistent. See what The Natural Haven has to say about the cup test. Another great means to learning your hair’s porosity is while washing.
How quickly do you absorb water?
If your hair takes a while fully saturate with water before you start washing, then you probably have low porosity hair. It takes my hair 2-3 min. to be fully saturated with water before I wash it so that was an indication that I have low porosity hair. If your hair immediately absorbs the water, then you probably have high porosity hair. Still confused? Here’s another way to observe your hair’s porosity.
How long does it take to dry?
If your hair takes hours or days to dry after washing it, then you probably have low porosity hair. If your hair dries in a matter of minutes, then you may have high porosity hair. Do butters leave your hair oily? You probably have low porosity hair. Are lotions and milks not sufficient for maintaining moisture? You probably have high porosity curls and coils.
Don't forget density
With the washing and drying test, it is important to consider your hair’s density. If you have very dense hair, then it will naturally take longer to dry, as it is more compact in comparison to low density hair. Also, fine strands tend to not respond well to thicker products in comparison to coarse strands.
If you'd like to see porosity in action, Sister Scientist recently performed a porosity experiment using household items that you already have. Check it out below.