Porosity type trumps curl type as the most effective way of developing an appropriate regimen for your natural hair ‡
Testing your hair’s porosity is simple and serves to tell you how porous your hair strands are. Why is this important? Knowing your hair’s porosity can save you time and money by enabling you to choose appropriate products and regimen for your natural hair.
Pluck a strand of freshly washed and dried hair (pull strand from root), place in a clear jar filled with room temperature water. Take note of what happens next.
- Hair strands that sinks quickly to the bottom of the water-filled jar is considered to be highly porous (high porosity).
- If the strands float atop the water (doesn’t sink even after one full day), these strands are not very porous (low porosity)
- Strands that sinks at a moderate speed – lingering in the middle of the water before slowly sinking towards the bottom of the jar – are moderately porous ( medium porosity).
Application of results:
- Highly porous hair can absorb products of a thick consistency (including oils & butters); success can be found using a product-layering method (e.g. the LOC method) to effectively moisturise this porosity type. Protein treatments are required on a regular basis ( to fill the gaps in the cuticle layers) for the purpose of retaining moisture and providing structure to curls.
- Hair of medium porosity thrive on a wider range of products, using products of varied consistencies will lead to great results; product-layering also moisturises this porosity type effectively. Fairly regular protein treatments are necessary for moisture retention.
- Low porosity hair cannot absorb too much of any one product and is better off using products of a light watery consistency, product-layering is risky as are heavy oils & butters. This porosity type is considered ‘protein sensitive’; no protein is needed as the cuticle layers are intact and tightly bound (few or no gaps), regular protein treatments will backfire and ‘lock out’ moisture.
* It may be necessary to experiment with different products and regimens before finding the most effective one for your hair type.