Is your hair always dry? Does it have trouble reacting or responding to products? Does it frizz easily? Its porosity could be at the root of the problem. When it comes to curly hair, knowing your specific porosity is vital because it will help you better understand your hair and help determine what ingredients and products are best.
What is porosity? Porosity is the hair's ability or inability to absorb water or chemicals into the hair shaft. All hair is porous, but the level of porosity will vary based on genetics, and the amount of damage to the cuticle layer. Hair porosity is categorized into three levels; Low – Normal – High
Low porosity. This level can be on the stubborn side- the hair strands have a tightly bound cuticle layer that lays flat and tends to repel water, which makes it challenging to absorb moisture. Products tend to sit on the hair, which makes it more prone to buildup, so using only cleansing conditioners may not be the best cleanser for low porosity hair. We suggest using our clarifying shampoo to help remove that buildup.
Tips for Low Porosity Hair:
- Use indirect heat when deep conditioning. Try using a thermal heat cap or hooded dryer to help the penetrating ingredients absorb into the hair shaft and nourish your curls. Don’t layer on too many products, as your cuticles can only absorb so much.
- Don’t use heavy butters or oils too often. These ingredients can accumulate quickly, causing buildup up, which can then lead to dryness, especially with multiple applications between wash days.
- Protein use. Some low porosity hair responds well to specific proteins, or only in specific amounts. Our leave-in conditioner and clump and define cream are both protein-free and is perfect for low porosity hair.
Medium porosity. This level easily absorbs and retains moisture. It can hold curls and styles well and can hold lots of moisture and shine for an extended period of time.
Tips for Medium Porosity Hair:
- Focus more on maintaining an already balanced proportion of moisture/protein
- Alternate weekly; one week do a 20-30 minute deep conditioning treatment after shampooing, then the next week, do a protein treatment after you shampoo. Depending on your styling needs, any of the Bouncecurl products should work.
Note: Always remember this will vary from person to person.
High porosity. This level absorbs moisture quickly but also releases it just as fast. If you have high porosity hair, that doesn’t mean necessarily your hair is damaged. There is a difference between high porosity and highly porous hair. Highly porous hair means the cuticle layer is damaged or compromised, which means your curls will not be able to absorb and maintain moisture properly and may lead to dryness and brittleness. High porosity hair is prone to damage and breakage. It can also look frazzled and feel dry and coarse. It can tangle easily because the raised hair cuticles get caught within one another.
Tips for High Porosity Hair:
- Use products with protein and moisture. High porosity hair can get away with layering more products. Try our Bouncecurl’s medium moisture shampoo and conditioner for cleansing and conditioning. For styling, try our leave-in conditioner, clump and define cream, and gel.
- Add protein treatments to reinforce the cuticles, as needed.
- Rinse your hair with cold water to help cuticles lay flat.
- Incorporate deep-conditioning treatments
- Because the hair is more fragile, it is crucial to be gentle when detangling hair
What causes hair to become porous? Porosity is genetic, but elements like environmental stressors, hard water, heat-styling, chemical treatments, daily wear and tear, UV damage (prolonged exposure to the sun) can also affect where your hair is on the porosity scale.
In conclusion, don't determine your hair’s porosity based on someone else’s hair. Just because you have the same curl pattern doesn’t mean you have the same porosity. In the case of product usage, you should test out, evaluate, and adjust as needed. It's a learning process, but now you're armed with the information to give your hair a head start toward a great, healthy finish.