Pore you! Pore me!
So I am a recovering PJ (product junkie) and ever since I cut my relaxed ends and exposed to totally natural strands three years ago I have been HUNTING for products that make my hair happy.
I know, it sounds weird. But your hair will tell you when it’s not happy!
When first starting my journey I thought that all my product decisions should be based on the hair typing system. No, I don’t mean your mom’s good hair/bad hair stipulations. But after many fruitless product purchases and failed styling attempts I finally learned, curl pattern classification does NOT determine what products will work for you, hair porosity does!
*Cue melodic choir and gleaming light of glory*
After learning this, my life was SO much easier and my styles improved dramatically! What am I talking about? Simply put, hair porosity describes how open, or “porous” your strand is, which determines what your hair’s cuticle layer allows in.
Hair with high porosity has raised shingles along the hair cuticle layer that allow moisture out easily. They tend to look dry and lack shine if not properly moisturized and sealed. They are also very sensitive to humidity and frizz in high moisture situations. They do accept moisture well but can often break or damage from too much of a good ting.
On the contrary, hair with low porosity tends to have thick, tightly wound cuticle layers that are hard to let things in. Hair with low porosity takes a long a time to dry and set in a style but it also tends to appear healthier due to its luster. It can become heavy from product settling on top instead of actually absorbing into the cuticle.
So now you’re probably wondering which applies to you, well that’s what the porosity test is for.
The easiest way to determine your hair’s porosity levels is to take a few shed strands from different places on your head (preferably right after you shampoo), and drop them into a cup of water. Don’t press them into the cup. Just sit the strands right on top. Then leave. Yeah girl! Walk away, pop a bag of popcorn, watch a TV commercial, do something, anything, for about two minutes, then come back.
If your hair sinks to the bottom, it has a high porosity. If it’s still sitting at the top then it has a low porosity.
Still confused? Think of it like a sponge. If your hair absorbs a lot like a sponge would then it’s highly porous due to gaps and holes in the cuticle, it’s a little more fragile. If your hair is low in porosity then it’s the opposite. Capisce?