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Hair Porosity: What Does It Mean?

Hair porosity is a pretty simple subject; it is the ability of the hair to absorb and retain moisture.

Managing your hair’s porosity is a huge factor in keeping your hair healthy, strong and retaining length as well; African hair thrives on moisture. The way your hair cuticle is determines your hair’s porosity level. This flexible outer hair layer determines how easily water and oil enter and leave the hair. Although hair porosity level is genetic, different factors such as heat use, chemical processing can also affect it. When you know your hair porosity, you then can know the products to use to help your hair.



The three types of hair porosity are

Normal or Medium porosity

This is the perfect balance really. This means that the cuticle layer is looser, which allows the right amount of moisture to enter and prevent too much from escaping. It is the easiest to maintain as it can also hold styles well. It can also take to chemicals easily, e.g hair dyes

Low porosity

The cuticles of hair with low porosity are tightly bound with overlapping scales that lie flat. It doesn’t allow moisture pass in easily and can be hard to process using chemicals. Due to its nature, it can be prone to build-up of products as they may just sit on the hair without penetrating the strands. The best way to get low porosity hair moisturized is to use heat when deep conditioning or doing protein treatments as it will help open the cuticles. Also, the use of warm water when washing the hair can help open the cuticles too. Also, humectants (products that attract and bind moisture from the air to the hair or skin) such as honey or glycerin are beneficial. Shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil are good for this hair type. Light liquid based products are good as they won’t sit on the hair and make it greasy.


High porosity

The cuticles of this hair are open due to gaps and holes. These gaps allow too much moisture to enter and leave the hair. This makes the hair prone to tangling. High porosity hair could either be genetic or as a result of damage from the environment, rough treatment or chemical processing.

Because of the nature of this hair, layering your hair products is a vital step in helping the hair hold moisture. Thus, the use of leave-in conditioners or water and sealing the liquid in with oils and butters help. Butters can help fill the gaps in the cuticles to hold the moisture in for longer.

Next time, we will examine the few things you can do to know your hair porosity level. Also, because these things are not always black and white, you can have more than one level of porosity on one head. Sounds overwhelming I know right? But for best results, take strands from different parts of your head for better result.


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