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.