Quick Guide to Porosity

What is porosity?    

Porosity is about how tightly the hair cuticle adheres to the surface of the hair shaft. Looser cuticle scales mean more gaps and holes in the surface and the hair will absorb more water and other substances from the environment. Wavy, curly and coily hair will tend to be more porous than straight hair. The spirals, curls and coils mean the surface of the hair has more breaks and the hair will be more porous. The excessive weight of the water and other substances absorbed by high porosity hair can destroy elasticity and cause breakage.

What is YOUR porosity?

Many will do the oft promoted test of placing a piece of their hair in a cup of water to determine its porosity (floats = low porosity; sinks = high porosity). Its a simple test, but the results can be imprecise. This is why we opted to give you more of the common signs of low, medium and high porosity in our quick guide. This will help you to better determine the porosity of your hair from your long term observations of your hair and its behaviour rather than from the imprecise results from a quick test.

Why is porosity important?

For the curly haired, porosity is incredibly important. The beauty of curls is all about their elasticity and definition. And knowing the porosity of your hair is so important to buying the right products of your hair and doing the reparative work and maintenance needed for your hair.

What does your porosity hair need?

Protein sensitive low porosity hair can feel dry and straw-like if product build-up occurs. Use protein-free products like Shea Moisture’s Baobab & Tea Tree Oils Low Porosity Protein-Free Collection. Those with high porosity hair should use lots of protein moisturisers and an slightly acidic rinse to help flatten and seal the cuticle. Shea Moisture’s Mongongo & Hemp Seed Oil High Porosity Moisture Seal Collection is fortified with Baobab Protein and Apple Cider Vinegar to achieve just this end. As noted in the quick guide, medium porosity hair is the easiest to maintain with the widest choice of product. In addition to your daily regimen, medium porosity hair benefits from an occasional deep conditioning with a protein-containing product. Just look at our deep conditioners for some products that may suit.

If you need some more help as you find your perfect hair “cocktail”, contact us and we will do our best to help you along the way in your hair journey.