Since we started this DāO journey, we've been getting a lot of questions about hair porosity and I must admit, in the beginning, I was stumped. After digging into my own research on the topic, I began to understand why this technical definition is so important to mastering your own hair care experience. Determining your hair porosity can certainly seem daunting, however, with these simple tests and tips, you can unlock the code to understanding how your hair retains moisture.
What does porosity really mean?
Porosity describes how easily water and other matter can diffuse through the hair cuticle layer and into or out of the hair cortex.
With the above visual, it makes it a bit easier to comprehend exactly how the hair shaft is structured, much like the scales on a fish. This system of overlapping cuticles allows the diffusion of oils and moisture into and out of the hair. Porosity, thus, is determined by how tightly the cuticle scales adhere to the surface of the hair shaft and how closely the scales overlap each other.
Now that we better understand the definition of porosity, it's now important to determine where YOUR hair porosity is on the spectrum of low, normal and high.
The Water Test
Drop a strand of clean hair in a glass of water. If the strand immediately sinks to the bottom, you have high porosity hair. If it lingers about midway in the glass, you have normal porosity hair. If the strand floats towards the top and it takes a while for it to sink, your strands have low porosity.
The Strand Test
Gently stretch a tiny section of hair strands from different areas of your head – front hairline, nape, crown and temple. Place the stretched hair between your thumb and finger and slide it up the hair strand from the tip towards the scalp. If your fingers move easily up the strand and it feels dense and hard, you have low porosity hair. If it feels smooth, you have normal porosity hair. And if the strand feels rough or dry or it breaks, you have high porosity hair.
Once you've figured out what type of porosity your hair is, you can better understand its characteristics and best ways to care for your hair.
Low porosity hair has tight cuticles where each scale lies flat and on top of each other and it's hard to inject moisture into the hair shaft.
This porosity is considered to be healthy. If your hair takes a while to get wet, then its a good indicator that it has low porosity. Also, it is prone to excessive product build up on hair, and feels stiff and straw-like.
To raise those tight hair cuticles and retain that moisture, follow these tips:
Normal porosity hair has cuticles that easily let moisture in and generally requires the least amount of maintenance.
Normal porosity hair allows moisture to pass into the cortex as needed, but resists permitting too much water to penetrate. Also, it has a tendency to hold styles well.
To maintain good product absorption:
High porosity hair is a result of damage to the hair that creates gaps and holes in the surface of the shaft.
Parched, thirsty hair damaged by chemical processes, harsh treatment and environmental exposure needs products that help it retain as much moisture as possible in order to seal their cuticle against excessive absorption of moisture from the air. Try these tips:
Now that we've gotten through the tough part, I hope you feel at ease about your hair porosity and how to better care for those strands. Porosity is nothing more than an indicator of your hair personality, and now that you understand what yours is, DāO can customize a transformational product routine, so you always enjoy gorgeous, frizz-free hair.