Hi there, I'm new to this site, just found it, and looking to classify my hair so that I can get some help getting it healthier. My current number one hair health obstacle is my VERY hard water; my previous residences have not had this problem and I feel that my hair has been steadily declining the last 3 years, lots of gross hair/scalp problems, but that is for another post. On with my classification woes.

Porosity: When I do the backwards slide test, I find it difficult to slide smoothly up the hair shaft - highly porous, right? HOWEVER, "low porosity hair repels moisture when you try to wet it", my hair seems to NEVER get wet when I'm in the shower. I have to practically squeeze the water into it. Then, it never dries. Hours go by after my shower and it's still dripping. Also my hair floats on the water. Which one am I?

Density: This one I'm sure of. High density. My ponytail is approx. 4" circumference.

Width: Some strands appear very coarse, the majority seem medium, and a few fine strands around all edges of hairline.

Length: currently lots of long layers, longest hair is waist length, shortest (other than bangs) about BSL.

Curl pattern: I feel depends largely on how long my hair is. I've donated it three times now, going from around BSL to chin. Shorter hair gives me around 3A, where now my hair is waist length and it's so heavy...maybe 2b? Sometimes when I shampoo, on day one my hair can be 3A but by day three it can be 2A! In addition, I feel like the "inside" always holds curl better because it is protected from the elements; that is: not the top, bottom, or front hair, but only the back of my head hair that is surrounded by hair on all sides! This part is also the thickest and the most difficult for me to get wet and to get clean when washing. This area seems to loc up on its own into thick clumps of curls and s waves with no coaxing from me.

For reference on my haircare routine: I wash my hair about once a week (between 5-7 days) to cut down on drying out/damaging ends. I mean I literally only wet my hair once weekly, I don't even get it wet in the shower unless I'm using shampoo. I use Clear shampoo & conditioner. Almost never put any other products in unless I'm trying to achieve a particular style for a special event, which is rare. I let my hair air dry. I usually try to braid or pineapple at night to prevent tangling. I fully comb my hair out about once monthly, starting with fingers if that doesn't work then comb then brush, but I gently pull apart large tangles with my fingers as needed, usually every few days. Not color or chemically treated. I use a straightening iron once every month or two for special occasions, Wet2Straight. No blowdrying unless I'm getting a haircut which I think I've gotten 2 times in the last year and a half.

I've tried several products, but never found anything that has made me want to use regularly (and I'm not made of money to keep buying new stuff!) I am currently using the Clear shampoo on a recommendation I read for oily hair/scalp plus dandruff to clear up that problem, it seems to have only cured the oiliness and not the dandruff, but that's better than anything else I've tried. I am not against lowpoo/nopoo but I think I'd want to get a showerhead filter first.

My first problem here is that I feel like either none of the hair classifications describe me OR they all describe me at once! I can't figure out what I have. My other problem is when I try to compare what I've got to other people I can't find ANYTHING similar. Most of the time when I'm watching hair videos the people look like they're bald to me when I go to get a haircut, the stylist (without fail) kind of laughs and says "wow you have a lot of hair!" and by the end of the appointment they are a hot mess and look like they've had the worst day of their life. I do love my hair but for the first time I am attempting to keep it long rather than chop it off and it is becoming too much of a chore to keep healthy. I need help with the basics so that I can purchase products that will actually work on my hair.
Originally Posted by boredrandazzo
Welcome to NC!

For the hard water use a chelating product regularly - ION swimmers shampoo, Malibu C sachets from Sallys are both sulphate free - and/ or rinse in bottled or boiled water and/ or add a little white vinegar to your rinse water. Product build up including silicones may make your hair behave very strangely on porosity tests, chelating products will usually also clarify off product build up. I suspect if you get your hard water and scalp issues under control you will better see your true curl pattern and properties.
THE NATURAL HAVEN: Junk Science - Hair Porosity Tests / Float or Sink
Is Water Damaging My Hair?

For the scalp issues do you have a formal diagnosis? If not see your family doctor: once you have that we can recommend ingredients or products to work with your scalp and hair. You can easily worsen dermatological issues by self treating. One possibility is your own sebum is contributing to the irritation, in which case your doctor may advise you to cleanse the scalp more frequently than once a week.

Oily scalp can be worsened by sulphate surfactants found in most commercial shampoos, just 1% can thin, dehydrate eve healthy skin sometimes causing it to pump out more oil to protect itself. Shampoos can contain as much as 20%. Other common surfactants can also be highly irritant.
Aqueous Cream : National Eczema Society
THE NATURAL HAVEN: Sulfate Free Shampoos : Least and Most Gentle

An anti inflammatory, nutrient dense diet can benefit many common scalp complaints: it reduces the amount and alters the composition of your sebum, strengthen the skin barrier, calm inappropriate immune responses, reduce irritation/ inflammation.

Heat styling wet hair is pretty damaging, you might investigate heat free methods like wet wrapping. Tangles can also be very damaging because the hairs rub on one another, you might detangle more often than once a month, ideally every time you wash when your hair is slathered in conditioner.
THE NATURAL HAVEN: Heat on Wet Hair = Bubble Hair
THE NATURAL HAVEN: Straightening Facts :How hot is too hot?

2a-2c, medium texture, porous/ colour treated. Three years CG. Past bra strap length heading for waist.

CO-wash: Inecto coconut/ Elvive Volume Collagen
Treatments: Komaza Care Matani, coconut/ sweet almond/ fractionated coconut oils, Hairveda Sitrinillah
Leave in: Fructis Sleek & Shine (old), Gliss Ultimate Volume, various Elvive
Styler: Umberto Giannini jelly, Au Naturale styling gelee
Flour sack towel, pixie diffuse or air dry.
Experimenting with: benign neglect