Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus never did an episode on curly hair. No worries — buckle up and hop on the NaturallyCurly Bus! Today we discuss the science behind why your wet hair is still frizzy. The good news is that there is nothing wrong with your hair. While the frizz may be annoying, it is easily fixed and explained. So why is it frizzy? The best way to figure out what your hair needs to finesse the frizz is to determine the porosity of your hair.
Porosity: a word you may not have studied since high school. As defined by NaturallyCurly, porosity “refers to how well your hair is able to absorb and hold moisture. It is affected by the flexible outer hair layer called the cuticle, which determines how easily moisture and oils pass in and out of your hair.” There are three levels of porosity — low, medium, and high. One is not better than the other. But it does determine which products you can use to minimize the frizz on wet or dry hair.
How do you know how porous your hair is? Well, there’s a simple science to all of this. Does your hair sink or float? Take a few strands of left-behind hair from a comb or brush. Put them in a bowl of water and let it sit for no more than 5 minutes. If your hair sinks you have high porosity and moisture passes through it easily. If you have low porosity, that means your hair is still floating in the bowl. Your hair is very protective of itself and what goes in and out. Medium porosity is a blend of both and may take a little bit more figuring out.
Why should you know the porosity of your hair to manage frizz?
Simply put, frizz is a lack of moisture, and knowing the porosity of your hair means you can know what products your hair will absorb and which ones are not helpful. Determining your porosity is not the end of the NaturallyCurly Bus trip! Tackling frizz — especially when wet — may require you to try different science projects in your hair.
All the different porosities can have frizz. But how you approach them should be different. For all the porosities, applying products when your hair is wet will be essential for keeping the fray and frizzy hairs to a minimum. Low porosity hair will need penetrating moisture with alkaline sealants. Jojoba oil and coconut oil are great for locking in the hair cuticles. Hair with high porosity needs a slightly more acidic treatment like an apple cider vinegar rinse. Medium porosity can be a mixed bag but will most likely require mixing different products with alkaline and acidic properties to balance the hair.
Ms. Frizzle seemed appropriately named to teach us about how to handle curly hair that is frizzy when wet. But on the NaturallyCurly Bus, we understand science can be a key to unlocking the mysteries of your hair. Learn more about hair porosity and how everyday styles can affect yours here.