You read about it here, there and everywhere; hair porosity. But do you know what it is?
Hair porosity means the cuticle’s ability to absorb moisture and oil. The cuticle is the very outermost layer of a hair, and it's kind of like a series of tiny overlapping scales.
Our level of hair porosity is something that we are born with, and it will also be affected by how badly our hair has been treated over the years. Chemical treatments, environmental factors and more can affect how well your hair can absorb, or repel, moisture.
The porosity, or not, of your hair has a big effect on how your hair looks and feels, and the kinds of products that you should be choosing to make the very best of your crowning glory.
How Can You Find Out How Porous You Hair Is?
There are two ways that you can check for yourself.
The first way is to cut a few strands of your hair and float them in a bowl of water. If your hair has low porosity it’s going to float, bit if it sinks to the bottom, your hair’s porosity is high. If it kind of suspends in the middle, well, it’s somewhere in between.
The second way is by feel. Between washes, take a few strands of hair between your finger-tips, and slide up to the roots. Can you feel bumps? If you can, then it means that the outside coating of your hair, known as the cuticle, has lifted up a bit, and your hair is porous. If it feels smooth and sleek, then your hair has low porosity. Feels a cross between the two? Then your hair has medium porosity.
So What Does All this Mean?
It actually means quite a lot when it comes to choosing hair products. Why? Because the porosity level of your hair means that it absorbs and retains smoothing moisturizers, treatments, and conditioners very differently.
The Happy Medium
You might find that you are somewhere in between; we can call this medium porosity. Lucky you! Hair with medium porosity retains moisture in just the right amounts – like Goldilocks’ porridge, neither too much nor too little. Hair like this generally holds a style really well, can be colored and treated without disastrous long term effects, and on the whole, only requires the occasional deep protein treatment occasionally.
For this, we love our trendy Organic Fenugreek Deep conditioner, which really loves up this kind of easy to manage hair, making it behave itself even better than usual. Choose any of our lovely conditioners to complete your regular hair treatment - African Black Soap 2-in-1 Shampoo and conditioner is a popular choice for all round hair health and beauty.
It’s also possible to have mixed porosity hair. Maybe the ends are porous but the roots are not. This kind of mixed hair is often the result if you are growing your hair out for some reason. So we’d suggest that in this case, you use two kinds of conditioner – a high porosity conditioner on the high porosity section, and a low porosity conditioner on the low porosity section.
How To Care For High Porosity Hair
High porosity hair typically frizzes and tangles. It’s the kind of hair that makes you hate mist, fog and rain. As for taking a swim, well, forgedaboudit!
It doesn’t need to be like this if you care for your hair properly. We suggest two important strategies. First, apply a regular hair masque, once a week or even more. Our delicious Cocoa and Mango Butter Mask is full of beautifully moisturizing ingredients which you hair will just slurp up. Importantly, it actually seals in the moisture to your hair, helping it withstand the slings and arrows of outrageous damp and wet weather!
You need to use a moisturizing shampoo of course, and we have several to choose from. Probably our favorite for highly porous hair is our Moisturizing 2-in-1 Shampoo And Conditioner. This shampoo gently cleans your hair and scalp, moisturizing your hair as it cleans, and leaves your hair fresh and lovely. We want you to take a second step here, and add in a leave in conditioner, to keep your hair soft and swinging. Our Herbal Leave-In Conditioner is perfect for this.
Your high porosity hair needs to be towel dried very gently, and either dried naturally or on a very low heat setting.
And How About Low Porosity Hair?
On the face of it, low porosity hair sounds OK. Nice and healthy, probably glossy. But it’s not all plain sailing for the low porosity brigade. This kind of hair can be very hard to style, and it easily goes lank and greasy looking. It is also susceptible to product build up, and can end up looking stiff and even sticky.
The answer is to use light, protein free daily conditioners, like our Herbal Moisture Milk, with its lovely countryside fragrance. It gives intense moisture without that obnoxious build up.
Natural products with ingredients like coconut oil and jojoba are the perfect partners for low porosity hair, nourishing rather than making the hair sag with heavy plastics and greases.
Whatever kind of hair you have, we have the right natural organic product for you. Do a little research, and choose the right treatments to make your hair look its beautiful best.