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By Cipri­ana of Urbanbushbabes.com

Nat­u­ral hair can be a chal­lenge to deal with (depend­ing on thick­ness, length and the time you have avail­able), but add high poros­i­ty lev­els to the mix and you have a whole new game. Stay with me as I break down the three hair poros­i­ty lev­els and offer three help­ful tips that will ensure some suc­cess­ful results in main­tain­ing your hair!

Poros­i­ty sim­ply refers to the con­di­tion of the cuti­cle lay­er. There are three lev­els of poros­i­ty… low, nor­mal and high.

Low poros­i­ty hair is when the cuti­cle of the hair shaft is very com­pact and does not allow mois­ture to eas­i­ly enter or leave. The over­lap­ping scales (in the pho­to above) make up the out­er lay­er of the strand, with the cor­tex lay­er inside. Hair with a low poros­i­ty lev­el is more resis­tant to chem­i­cals and tends to reject pro­duct rather than absorb it. This explains why some indi­vid­u­als have to wash their hair more fre­quent­ly because they expe­ri­ence much more buildup from prod­ucts that will just sit on top of the strands rather than being absorbed by it.

Nor­mal poros­i­ty hair per­mits mois­ture to pass through the shaft into the cor­tex as nec­es­sary, but not too much.

Now High poros­i­ty strands typ­i­cal­ly results from irrepara­ble dam­age to the cuti­cles caused by chem­i­cals, heat and harsh treat­ment. The dam­age cre­ates holes and spaces along the hair shaft. High poros­i­ty strands are capa­ble of soak­ing up dras­ti­cal­ly high­er amounts of water. This can spell dis­as­ter for the strands when wet because the weight of the water absorbed by the hair caus­es it to lose elas­tic­i­ty which leads to break­age.

 Strand Water Glass Test

To find out the poros­i­ty of hair I found a help­ful test on KisforKinky.com. You take a strand of your hair (make sure your hair is clean of any pro­duct to ensure accu­rate results) and place it in a glass full of water (cold water is fine). Nor­mal to low poros­i­ty strands will float, but if your hair is of high poros­i­ty it will sink to the bot­tom of the glass from increas­ing its weight and becom­ing too heavy to float. (Leave the strand in for about 5–8 min­utes to see if it’s float­ing or not.)

If you test your hair for the first time and find out your strands are high poros­i­ty, fear not. Here are three tips to help you deal with high poros­i­ty strands.

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27 Comments on "How to Deal with High Porosity Hair"

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OBJECTIVELYyours
Either I did the test wrong or I inherit­ed some weird hair! Accord­ing to the test, I should have high poros­i­ty hair, how­ev­er, some of my hair strands took a min­ute to sink while the oth­ers sunked instant­ly. Over­all, my hair takes a while to dry which is the total oppo­site of high poros­i­ty. There­fore, I’m not so cer­tain about how accu­rate this test is, but I know my edges/napes are high poros­i­ty because they dry faster than the rest of my hair, how­ev­er, they don’t break eas­i­ly while dry, lol. It may be because they don’t clump togeth­er like… Read more »
ThinkDeep7

I think for those of us with high poros­i­ty should use more pro­tein and keep a healthy bal­ance of mositure/protein. And its also real impor­tant not to over con­di­tion or mois­tur­ize. Seems like its all about bal­ance; and seal­ing shaft wont hurt either.

Ki

I hate the neg­a­tive under­tones of this arti­cle. Be hap­py with what grows out of your head and stop com­plain­ing. Learn­ing how to man­age your hair is apart of get­ting to know your­self. I have high­ly porous hair and I man­age just fine. It ain’t that bad, sheesh

hshsh

you legit just got on my nerves so bad. im not com­plain­ing im try­ing to fig­ure out how to han­dle it.

Tyiesha

Lol right! She real­ly annoyed me with that com­ment.

Ella

My hairs all weird! It half sinks, half floats! I’m debat­ing whether I chop it off or not…

Ify

No dot chop it all of that means u have nor­mal poros­i­ty hair which is fine

Brenda

Some of us just have nat­u­ral­ly porous hair. Mine is curly and fine and porous all at the same time my whole life. To com­pound my trou­bles my hair doesn’t have the same lev­el of curl through­out. I am 43 and tried every­thing on the mar­ket. I love Ker­at­in, but I’m aller­gic. About the only thing that helps my nat­u­ral curl is Olive Oil. It adds weight and man­age­abil­i­ty.

Nikki

I’m so frus­trat­ed with my high poros­i­ty hair. I have SO many holes up my hair strands. I thought may­be I was wash­ing too much so I cut back to one time per mon­th and ONLY fin­ger detan­gle.

trackback

[…] Hair that isn’t porous has a hard­er time allow­ing pro­duct into through the cuti­cles because they lay flat as opposed to being raised. Pro­duct applied to non-porous hair will sit on the out­side of the strand, lead­ing to buildup. Try steam­ing your hair (in the show­er or with a hair steam­er) before apply­ing mois­tur­iz­ing and con­di­tion­ing prod­ucts. The steam will help lift the cuti­cles, allow­ing mois­tur­iz­ing pro­duct to get inside. Click here to deter­mine your hair’s poros­i­ty lev­el. […]

trackback

[…] heat usage, and gen­tler han­dling. (For more details on the­se steps, read this ear­lier BGLH post on “How to Deal with High […]

Tiesha Starr

OMG…This arti­cle is def­i­nite­ly what I need­ed to read. My hair soaks up as soon as I add water on it. So basi­cal­ly once my hair dries, I would need to detan­gle it and add my essen­tial oils right?

Nina Sowah

So how would you rec­om­mend blow dry­ing a straight­en­ing high­ly porous hair? When­ev­er I blow dried mine myself it always felt very dry after­wards, and I didn’t want to use grease because appar­ent­ly it’s not good to flat iron with grease. Should I use like a heat pro­tect­ing straight­en­ing grease?

Halisi

So if your hair floats, you have either low or nor­mal poros­i­ty. But how are you able to tell which is which? You said that peo­ple with low poros­i­ty hair need to wash their “more fre­quent­ly” due to pro­duct buildup. More fre­quent­ly than what? Are there oth­er signs that peo­ple can use to deter­mine their poros­i­ty?

trackback

[…] Hair that isn’t porous has a hard­er time allow­ing pro­duct into through the cuti­cles because they lay flat as opposed to being raised. Pro­duct applied to non-porous hair will sit on the out­side of the strand, lead­ing to buildup. Try steam­ing your hair (in the show­er of with a hair steam­er) before apply­ing mois­tur­iz­ing and con­di­tion­ing prod­ucts. The steam will help lift the cuti­cles, allow­ing mois­tur­iz­ing pro­duct to get inside. Click here to deter­mine your hair’s poros­i­ty lev­el. […]

Layah

Just did the test & my hair floats but it is STILL real­ly prone to dry­ness so I mois­ture & seal ALL the time, deep con­di­tion & do the bag­gy method for extra mois­ture .. that helps.

Em
I have low poros­i­ty hair too. I final­ly decid­ed to detox my hair (I used Ter­ressen­tials Mud Wash) & now I put very lit­tle pro­duct in my hair so that its eas­ier to get mois­ture in. Because with low poros­i­ty, if I seal(with alot of pro­duct), then I cant add any extra water to my hair for the entire week till I wash it, since my hair absorbs very lit­tle pro­duct. So far, my new reg­i­men seams to be work­ing well. i use 30% of the amount of pro­duct I used to use before cleans­ing my hair and my hair… Read more »
Martini

I did the test and my hair float­ed but it’s always dry. Since my hair is low poros­i­ty how do I keep it moi­tur­ized?

Bella

My hair start­ed sink­ing is less than 30 sec­onds of being in the water. I’ve been con­sid­er­ing cut­ting it all off because I’ve so des­per­ate and noth­ing seems to help. At least now I know specif­i­cal­ly why I’m cut­ting it all off.

Cipriana

Thank you so much every­one. I am so glad you found this arti­cle so infor­ma­tive and use­ful :DDD

Jahtik54

Just did the test — my hair sank to the bot­tom in less than a min­ute. Thanks for the arti­cle! This helps.

Nelly

Just did the test, and the ver­dict is my hair is high­ly porous! Thanks for some use­ful steps on what to do next…

Iraolyn

Great infor­ma­tion. This is a bless­ing to know! My hair is like this and Juicy Leave In Con­di­tion­er by Nat­u­ral­is­ta Cos­met­ics real­ly does the trick for keep­ing my hair moist and strong.

ttemfash

Infor­ma­tive post. I have imple­ment­ed dry/damp detan­gling, fin­ger combing,washing in sec­tions, reg­u­lar cas­sia and light pro­tein treat­ments with great result. My fine, high porosity,medium den­si­ty is final­ly retain­ing length.

Chyscurlz

Yup, I’m def­i­nite­ly high poros­i­ty just based on how quick my hair gets wet and then dry min­utes lat­er. But I will do the strand test for good mea­sure.

jazzy jaz

I learned that I have high poros­i­ty hair and so, I have increased my pro­tein tx, how often I moisturize(every oth­er day) & I do a two step seal­ing the mois­ture process…all worth it bc I have already seen improve­ment in my hair.

nelle

than you thank you thank you, every­time some­one talked about the poros­i­ty of their hair, I gave the blank stare b/c I hadn’t a clue what they were talk­ing about and I wasn’t sure if they ful­ly knew either.

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