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All About Hair Porosity Part I

Updated: Sep 30, 2020

Welcome back, Family!

Today we will be digging into Hair porosity.

So many everyday hair struggles like frizziness, persistantly dry hair and some breakage can be solved with knowing more about your hairs porosity and the right products to care for your hair!

So let's jump in!

Let's start with what porosity is.

Porosity is a measurement of your hair's ability to absorb and hold moisture.

You can also think of it as indicating how easily moisture can penetrate your hair. Porosity

is determined by the structure of your cuticle- the outer layer of your hair.

This is important because knowing your porosity will help you determine the best ways to maintain, style, hydrate, deep condition, and keep your hair healthy.

Hair Porosity is broken down into three categories:

  • Low

  • Medium (or normal)

  • and High.

The Above Diagram gives you an example of a magnified low porosity hair strand.

What is Low porosity hair?

Your hair is basically a collection of dead cells that are arranged in a distinct, three-layer pattern:

  • The cuticle is the outermost layer of your hair. It comprises individual cuticles that overlap each other, like the tiles on a roof.

  • The cortex is the middle and thickest layer. It contains fibrous proteins and pigments that give your hair its color.

  • The medulla is the central, innermost layer of the hair shaft.

With low porosity hair, the cuticles tend to overlap each other and are tightly packed together. Because there are no spaces between the cuticles, it makes it harder for water, as well as products like oils and conditioners, to deliver moisture to the hair shaft.

Usually, if you have low porosity hair, it’s due to genetic factors. Using chemicals and heat on your hair typically doesn’t cause low hair porosity. When heat or styling does damage to the cuticle layer, it’s more likely to result in high porosity hair. That means the cuticles are raised and have spaces between them. This can make it hard for the hair shaft to retain moisture.

Characteristics of Low Porosity hair

Products sit on your hair

If you have low porosity hair, you may find that certain hair products tend to sit on your hair instead of being absorbed.

For instance, you may apply an oil or moisturizer to the ends of your hair. Half an hour later, you may notice that the product is still on the surface of your hair. It may even come off on your fingers if you touch it. Your hair probably absorbed very little, if any, of the product.

Shampooing and drying takes longer

With low porosity hair, shampooing and drying can take longer than you’d expect. Because water isn’t easily absorbed, you may find it can be difficult to get your hair really wet and for the water to fully penetrate your hair.

Then, once your hair is wet, it can take a long time to air-dry. Even using a blow dryer may take longer than it does for others who have hair that’s the same length and thickness as yours.

Medium / Normal Porosity

With medium or normal porosity hair, the cuticle layer is looser, allowing just the right amount of moisture to enter while preventing too much from escaping. Hair with normal porosity tends to hold styles well and can withstand more chemical processing with a lower damage rate.

Normal porosity hair tends to hold moisture, shine, and absorb color and chemicals better than low or high porosity strands. Hair with medium porosity often requires the least amount of maintenance.

The Above Diagram gives you an example of a magnified High porosity hair strand.

What is High Porosity?

High porosity can be either an inherent (genetic) property of hair or the result of damage from chemical processing, rough treatment or environmental damage.

High porosity hair has gaps and holes in the cuticle, which let too much moisture into your hair and leave it prone to frizz and tangling in humid weather. Even simple acts such as bathing, swimming, and shampooing can create more damage and breakage due to the sheer amount of moisture highly porous hair can absorb.

Characteristics of high porosity hair

You may have high porosity hair if your hair:

  • looks and feels dry

  • tends to be frizzy

  • tangles easily

  • is prone to breakage

  • air dries very quickly

  • absorbs products quickly

  • rarely looks shiny

Now that you have a bit of base knowledge on hair porosity for part 2 we will go into how to test for your hairs porosity and the correct products to use and ingredients to stay away from in order to keep your hair healthy.

Lastly, whatever your hair porosity is, using this knowledge will help you to care for your hair by understanding why it acts and responds to products and environments a certain way. This is the time to evaluate your hair struggles and to see where you might fit in to find a solution.

Thanks for stopping by again, and as always hair tips will be here to help you keep your locks luscious until our hair products are available. Until Next time!



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