I have “struggled” with my hair all my life. Just a few days of a busy life and the hair looked dull and lifeless! Yet the thick curls came back to life with a little bit of care! Along my journey down the natural path, I have understood the real reason for this. Here I share my experience with you, so you understand what your hair type is and how to care for it.
The secret behind care for your hair, is to know your HAIR POROSITY i.e. your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture, oils, or chemicals like colour. This feature has not received as much recognition and attention as other hair characteristics like length or type (straight or curly) or curl pattern. But it is hair’s porosity that is the most essential part of caring for your hair. Due to damaging habits such as mechanical manipulation and colour treatment, many naturals deal with high porosity hair.
Hair porosity is typically divided into three broad categories:
To understand the concept of hair porosity, it helps to know a bit about the structure of your hair, which consists of three layers. These layers include:
For your hair to stay healthy and hydrated, water, oils, and other moisturizing products need to be able to pass through the cuticle to get to the cortex.
But, if the cuticles are too close together, it’s not easy for water and oils to penetrate the hair. This can make it harder for your hair to get the moisture it needs.
Also, if the cuticles are too widely spaced, your hair will have a harder time retaining moisture and staying hydrated.
Genetic Factors: How your hair absorbs and retains moisture is largely due to genetics. So, if low porosity hair runs in your family, there’s a good chance you’ll have low porosity hair, too.
Styling Habits: Blow drying, bleaching, straightening, over washing, and using harsh products can all damage your hair over time. This can cause your hair cuticles to become raised and open, which may make it harder for your hair to retain moisture.
Environmental Factors: In addition to hair treatments, too much ultraviolet exposure can also increase the porosity of your hair. To protect your hair from the sun, wear a hat or some type of head covering when you’re outdoors.
One of the easiest ways to test your hair porosity is by using a glass of water. Here’s how to do it:
Normal porosity: If the strand floats somewhere in the middle of the glass, you probably have medium or normal porosity hair.
High porosity: If the strand quickly sinks to the bottom of the glass, you likely have high porosity hair.
You can also test your porosity level by running a finger down a strand of your hair. Low porosity hair will feel smooth, whereas high porosity hair will feel rough and bumpy because the cuticles are open.
Low porosity hair
You may have low porosity hair if:
Medium porosity hair
You may have medium porosity hair if:
Heat damage and other chemical processes can cause normal porosity hair to change over time.
High porosity hair
You may have high porosity hair if:
If you have high or low hair porosity due to genetics, you may not be able to change it. But changes due to styling habits and environmental factors can be reversed. Simple changes to the way you manage your hair can make it healthier, more manageable, and easier to style.
For low porosity hair:
For high porosity hair:
Hair porosity may not be a term you hear often. But knowing what type of hair porosity you have can help you better understand how to manage, treat, and care for your hair. And that can lead to hair that’s stronger and healthier.
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