Today I will talk about something I should have spoken on a long time ago! Do you ever have those moments with your hair where you just don’t understand what on earth is going on??? You can swear on anything that you moisturize and seal daily and you deep condition on a regular but somehow you hair always seems dry :-l gasp (oh the frustration!)
Well if you know what I’m talking about please scream yes! Just kidding but I know if there wasn’t a room full of people I would love to because that’s how frustrating it is. Now what is this animal that is terrorizing us! Its name is POROSITY!!!! Sounds so technical doesn’t it? And the last time you heard that word was probably in geography class. So what is it and how does it apply to hair??
Basically it’s refers to the penetration of moisture into our shaft through the cuticle layer. When cuticle layer comes in contact with liquids the cutilcles slightly open to absorb it. How much they do so then determines porosity levels of the hair. Please read my post on hair structure if you have no idea what I am talking about. Lol. You can have low, normal or high porosity hair. Low porosity hair has very compact flat lying cuticles where as high porosity hair has open and raised cuticles. Normal porosity hair is right in between and it’s the one we would all love to have!
Ok, so now to give you a bit of a visual let’s imagine a sieve since we are ladies and know our way around the kitchen right…
Low porosity: Tight sieve will not let things penetrate it. Rather stuff just sits on top. So moisture will be repelled by the cuticle layer and very little moisture will penetrate the hair shaft. It is hard to moisturise the hair and it often is very dry no matter how much you try to moisturise it. The best approach would be to moisturise and seal when hair is slightly wet. If you think of relaxer days or dyes, those with low porosity hair will need more time to process their hair.
Normal porosity: Moderately tight sieve will let some things go through slowly, but not everything, some particles left over. Cuticles are moderately raised. Enough to allow the penetration of moisture, but not too much. Some is absorbed and the rest is repelled. This is the optimal hair to have.
High porosity: A loose sieve with large holes will let things in and out just as fast. Very little to no residue left on the sieve depending on the particle size. Moisture will be absorbed and escape the cuticle layer at an almost equal rate which gives the impression that nothing was even done to the hair. Lol you can moisturise your hair one day and it looks dry the next. People with this type of porosity need to use heavier oils to seal in moisture in the hair.
NOW….Can you identify what type of hair you have???? If you are not quite sure there’s a simple test you can do:
1) Take a few strands of hair from your brush or gently pull out a strand or two of hair
2) Place it in a bowl of water and let it sit for a few minutes
3) Watch it to see if it sinks to the bottom or not
If it floats you have low porosity hair and if it sinks you have high porosity hair!! Haven’t done this test in a while but I think mine didn’t sink? Any way give it a try and lets see how it goes 🙂
Remember hair porosity is genetic so there’s nothing we can do the structure of our hair to change it. We just adopt methods that help us manage what we have. HOWEVER….. we can make our hair porous by damaging the cuticle layer. This is done through over processing of hair as the structure is gradually weakened over time. Relaxed and dyed hair therefore is a lot more prone to moisture loss and therefore breakage. You will need to give your hair a lot more TLC to keep it healthy.
Now I know this is a lot to take in so I will stop here…. But I hope you have had an “ah ha” moment and some things about your hair now make sense Next post will focus on how to take care of our porous hair…Until then …