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Hair porosity is a characteristic feature of the hair and is based on the amount of moisture your hair can hold. It is an essential aspect of hair health because it lets you understand what type of hair products you should invest in and use.
Read on to take a deeper look at low-porosity hair and how to take care of such a hair type, particularly how to wash it.
What Is Low-Porosity Hair?
The defining characteristic of low-porosity hair is that the cuticles are very tightly bound or woven together. For this reason, low-porosity hair is somewhat resistant to water and any type of hair treatment.
If your hair fits into these points, you may have low-porosity hair: (1)
- Hair products do not get absorbed smoothly or readily by your hair and are left on the surface.
- Your hair requires a lot of time to both get dry or get wet.
- When you wash your hair, you need a lot of water to get the hair wet.
- Any type of hair treatment such as chemical treatments is not very effective on your hair.
Washing Low-Porosity Hair
Usually, low-porosity hair suffers from product buildup because products do not easily get absorbed in the hair or penetrate the hair shaft.
Thus, if you have low-porosity hair, you may need to rinse your hair more often than if you have medium- or high-porosity hair.
Here are some tips shared by hair care experts on how to wash low-porosity hair.
1. Steam your hair before washing or oiling it
The key to properly taking care of low-porosity hair is keeping the hair hydrated.
This can be achieved with the usage of a steamer, which opens the tightly woven cuticles with heat and helps the infusion of water vapor into the hair. The steamer can be employed to assist product penetration during oiling or hair styling as well. (2)
Hair steaming is a method to open up the follicles, allowing moisture to penetrate into the hair. The addition of steaming to your hair care regimen can be very impactful, according to cosmetic chemists.
2. Deeply condition your hair via oiling before washing it
Experts explain that the main care technique for low-porosity hair is making sure the hair is hydrated. So, before washing your hair, give your hair a good oil treatment by applying an oil that is great for hair hydration with good penetration into the hair shaft.
According to one study, coconut oil helps hair with moisture retention by lessening hygral fatigue, which is damaging to the hair because of the repeated swelling and deswelling of the hair cuticles.
Coconut oil is a triglyceride of lauric acid and has a good affinity for hair proteins and a low molecular weight. Thus, it is competent enough to penetrate the hair shaft nicely. Mineral oil, on the other hand, has minimal affinity for proteins and hence is not able to infiltrate the shaft as nicely.
Hair oiling helps low-porosity hair to maintain its moisture content and prevent driving out moisture from your hair after shampooing. (3)
3. Wash your hair with warm water
Hair experts recommend using warm water to wash low-porosity hair because it helps to open up the tightly packed cuticles.
When you wash your hair with hot water, it opens up the cuticle layer and exposes the hydrolipid emulsion layer. This layer helps your hair absorb external water and keeps it from losing internal water. (4)
Moreover, the steam from warm water can make it easier for hair care products to penetrate the hair.
4. Use the right hair products that are lightweight
Water-based hair products that are lightweight are good for low-porosity hair. These can include leave-in conditioners and hydrating mists.
Try to use a gentle or mild cleansing shampoo to nicely wash your head and get rid of any dirt, buildup, or extra oil. Make sure the shampoo you use does not leave a lot of buildup, which is already an issue with low-porosity hair.
According to cosmetic chemists, for low-porosity hair, do not use hair products that are less likely to penetrate the hair as they will only cause unnecessary buildup. These include products with some proteins or butter.
Instead, try to find products that contain humectants such as glycerin.
How Do I Test My Hair Porosity at Home?
Here are some simple ways of testing your hair porosity at home.
The simplest way to check your hair porosity is by doing the float test. Here’s how to do it: (1)
- Make sure your hair is clean by washing it nicely with a shampoo that suits you.
- Dry your hair completely.
- Fill a glass with water and put a strand of your hair in the water.
- See if your hair strand sinks or floats. If the strand floats, you most probably have low-porosity hair. If the strand sinks rapidly, then you’re likely to have high-porosity hair.
The magnitude of water absorption by your hair is a characteristic feature in deciding your hair porosity. Here’s how to do the spray test:
- Spray water on your hair.
- Observe how fast your hair absorbs the water. High-porosity hair absorbs water faster than low-porosity hair. (5)
What Tests Are Performed by Professionals to Evaluate Hair Porosity
There are additional methods of testing hair porosity but you can’t perform them at home. These are performed by research experts for scientific purposes. They include: (1)
- Dynamic vapor sorption
- Fiber swelling
- Gas adsorption
What Are Medium- and High-Porosity Hair?
Here is what you need to know about medium- and high-porosity hair.
Medium-porosity hair is deemed normal-porosity hair. The unique trait of this hair type is that the hair cuticles are less closely bound together than those in low-porosity hair. This means your hair will absorb water in a much better way.
Medium-porosity hair is satisfactorily responsive to hair treatments.
You can say you have medium-porosity hair if: (1)
- Your hair is extremely manageable and easy to style.
- Your hairdo remains in place for an extended duration.
- Your hair has a nourished and shiny look.
- Your hair dries fast in the air.
The hair cuticles are not woven closely but are greatly spaced out in high-porosity hair. This can be because of mechanical or chemical stress. (6)
You can say you have high-porosity hair if: (7)(8)
- Water is absorbed quickly by your hair.
- Your hair breaks easily.
- You have dry hair and experience dizziness excessively.
- You experience accelerated effects of chemical treatments and hair products.
- Textured, wavy, curly, or coily hair is likely more porous than straight hair.
Most-Asked Questions About Hair Porosity
What happens if I don’t wash my low-porosity hair correctly?
If you don’t wash your low-porosity hair correctly the hair care products and even water will not be able to pass through the hair cuticles. This can make your hair dehydrated, and your hair will appear very dry and frizzy.
Which hair porosity type is considered healthy?
Out of the three porosity types (high, medium, and low porosity), hair with medium porosity is generally considered the standard or normal level of porosity and is healthy. (1)
What factors affect my hair porosity?
The various aspects that affect your hair porosity include genetics, hair damage, UV exposure, and bleaching. (9)(10)
Hair porosity is not a very common concept, but it is an important aspect of establishing the right hair care regimen. If your hair porosity is determined by your genetics, you may not be able to change much.
Nonetheless, good hair care is a must, regardless of hair porosity, to achieve healthy hair.
With low-porosity hair, water and hair care products do not easily penetrate the hair shaft. It can, therefore, take more time for your hair to become wet when washing it.
However, the good news is that there are hair care ingredients that can make caring for low-porosity hair a breeze. You can make a difference in the manageability and health of your hair by knowing the types of products to use and which ones to avoid.
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