A good hair day, however rare, makes the sun shine a little brighter. But what about those days when, no matter what you do, the frizz cannot be controlled? To be free of this constant battle, you need a good haircare routine and not just try products at random. An accurate hair porosity test is the best way to determine your hair type. And that, in turn, will help you find your ideal products.
Hair porosity is a difficult-to-determine aspect of our hair. There can be strands of different levels throughout the head. However, doing a test will give you an idea of the majority of your strands.
By attempting the easy tests given in this article, you will be able to judge the needs of your hair yourself.
What is Hair Porosity?
Hair porosity is defined by the stand’s capacity to absorb and hold moisture in the cuticles. At first glance, hair may appear to be one long strand, but upon closer inspection, you will find layers.
These are called the cuticles and are, to some extent, a protective layer. The cuticle determines how much liquid gets passed through.
If your cuticles are opened, your hair is sure to lose whatever moisture it retains. But close-packed cuticles also mean less products are absorbed. It is also important to remember that cuticles are genetic, but sometimes, poor care can raise one further.
It is important to have an accurate hair porosity test done to ensure healthy hair. The porosity will determine how you treat your hair, as each type needs different care. The different hair care products you use will also vary on different porosity types. And a simple test saves you the hassle of trying out methods to make your hair healthy.
Grades of Hair Porosity
Contrary to popular belief, hair porosity is not universally divided into three categories. According to the American Board of Certified Hair Colorists, there are 5 levels where grades 1 and 2 are low. Grade 3 is considered medium porous, but grades 4 and 5 are high porosity hair. The higher the level of porosity, the more it needs protein to retain the original structure.
Low Porosity Hair
Among the three broad spectrums of hair porosity, low-porous hair has the smoothest strands. The topmost layer of the cuticle is packed together very closely in this kind, so they lay flat. Thus, moisture cannot penetrate fully into the cortex. Along with water, the cosmetic yet beneficial products do not enter the inner layers, leaving hair devoid of external nutrients.
Another way around is to see if your hair takes a long time to dry. Since the cuticles are densely packed, once the moisture enters, it has a hard time leaving. Along with this, chemical treatments also have less effect on the strands since they cannot reach the core easily.
Among other characteristics to look out for in low porous hair is breakage. The hair strands often get matted and tangle with each other, causing knots and breakage. You will also see plenty of buildup throughout since not all of the chemicals are absorbed. Low-porous hair also looks much different colored, not to mention the greasiness that occurs.
Hair Care for Low Porosity Hair
With low-porosity hair, the primary problem is keeping the strands hydrated. When water beads just slide off the cuticle, they are not absorbed. To help with this, you can open up your cuticles with steam. This will relax the strands and open the cuticles for the vapor to enter. Steaming for 5 to minutes is enough to help low-porosity hair.
One product to always use on low-porosity hair would be clarifying shampoo, as it clears away all the buildup. Warm water with lightweight oils and diluted conditioners yields the best results.
Medium Porosity Hair
Medium porosity hair is usually deemed to be normal and common. The cuticles in this hair form are not as closely packed as low-porous hair. When looked under a microscope, you will see the packing to be a little looser but not as open as high-porous.
Moisture content is the first and foremost aspect that differentiates medium porous hair. It offers a huge improvement over low-porous, as the products have a chance of getting absorbed. Research reveals that medium-porous hair can absorb 75% of water in only 4 minutes. But because of its nature, the moisture tends to remain inside longer, making the hair hard to dry.
People with medium porous hair are truly blessed, as this kind is easily manageable. The strands also make the hair look healthy and glossy. Medium-porous hair also requires less time to dry than low-porous, but the strands need good care. You will also find that chemical treatments and dyes have a better hold of the strands, making them shine. This hair can also be styled in gorgeous curls.
Hair Care for Medium Porosity Hair
Medium porosity hair is ideal and needs the least care among the three. But with little effort, you can keep your hair in its most beautiful state all the time. Always remember that medium porosity can easily become highly porous if you keep using heat products. So taking good care of the strands is a must.
For medium porosity, a mild sulfate-free shampoo works perfectly at removing dust and buildup. You also need to use light oils and condition moderately to keep the strands shining. Condition deeply every two weeks to make sure it remains well hydrated.
High Porosity Hair
In high-porosity hair, we see that the cuticles are set too wide apart. On one hand, this makes the products penetrate deep into the cortex to provide maximum nutrients. But there is also the aspect of oil and water leaving the strands too fast. The larger gaps bleed out moisture fast, leaving the strands dehydrated and malnourished easily.
It is often seen that people with curly or kinky hair usually have high-porosity hair. The twists and curls leave the gap in the cuticle, where they lift, exposing the cortex to damage. The hair also gets wet quickly because of the gaps, despite which your hair will feel dry. While quickly absorbed products may feel like healthy hair, the same strands lack elasticity.
You will find that the strands rarely look shiny. Hair also turns frizzy with high porosity, giving a disheveled look. Doing chemical treatments can also make matters worse as they get absorbed too fast, giving a more intense look. Taking bad care of your low-porosity/medium-porosity hair is sure to make it highly porous over time.
Hair Care for High Porosity Hair
Highly porous hair has big gaps in the cuticle, so it requires extra care. You can easily find highly moisturizing haircare products in the market. But keeping the hydration locked in becomes a problem. To seal the cuticles, you can always do a pre-shampoo treatment with heavy cream products.
Shampoo needs to be mild for high-porosity hair. And the focus should be on conditioning as often as possible. Make sure the strands get plenty of protein with the help of masks and treatments. Leave-in conditioners are also a boon, along with elements like aloe vera and apple cider vinegar.
Natural and Accurate Hair Porosity Test
Taking some accurate hair porosity tests can easily help you determine what products to get. They are easy, do not take much effort, and will give you a general idea of how healthy the hair is. But remember, according to cosmetic professionals, a single fiber can have different porosity. So, it is most likely that your hair is a mixture of low, medium, and high-porosity hair.
1. Floating Hair Test
The first test to determine hair porosity without labwork is fairly simple. The floating hair test is also very common and fairly conclusive in its result. It is also the most recommended test that you can perform in a second. The first thing to do is take a few stands of your hair, along with a bowl and a glass of water.
The bowl should be made of clear glass as it helps you determine the results. The hair strands should also be taken from different parts of your hair just after a wash. Porosity can be deduced by observing how the strands perform in the water.
The floating hair test reveals that low-porosity hair would always float. With medium porous hair, the strands will sink to the middle, where they remain suspended halfway. And high porosity hair always sinks to the bottom of the bowl.
Taking a couple of strands is advised to make sure the whole head can be assessed. You can also perform the test a few times to have a comprehensive idea of your hair. Just make sure your hair is devoid of ail and products that interfere with their water absorption capability.
2. Slip and Slide Test
The second most popular yet accurate hair porosity test is the slip and slide. However, this test should not be the sole one you perform to determine your hair’s porosity. Perform a whole bunch of them to get an idea of how the majority of your hair is. Another good thing about this test is you can do it without any kind of materials.
You just have to take a strand of hair and see how it feels between your fingertips. Make a sliding motion towards your scalp. You will see that high porosity hair feels rough against the skin. But if you have low porosity hair, the slide will feel smooth.
It is very easy to judge how smooth or rough the hair feels. But that’s a broad classification and will not help you figure out the nuances of medium porosity. Medium hair often feels both rough and smooth at the same time. So use this method and combine it with other like floating tests.
3. Hair Porosity Water Test
Another way to test the porosity of your hair is the water test. This method tests out the absorption capacity of your hair and is therefore also called the absorption test. All you need for this is a spray bottle of water. And instead of a single strand, you have to perform this test on a section of your hair.
Different types of hair react to water in different ways. So, all you have to do is observe the section to find out your hair porosity. If you have low-porosity hair, the water will just bead on the surface or slide off entirely. Therefore, it will take a long time to get the section wet. On the other hand, high and even medium porosity hair gets saturated quickly.
The water test is one of the easiest and most accurate hair porosity tests you can perform at home. However, this test is a bit problematic as there is no time frame for observation. You just have to guess if your hair is taking more or less time to saturate.
Taking care of your hair and acting on how porous it is will save you a world of trouble. It will also help you make sure it doesn’t get any more porous than it is by using the right products. You can easily determine your hair porosity by taking some accurate hair porosity tests at home. These will give you a fair idea if your hair has low, medium, or high porosity.
The best way to test would be the floating hair test, which makes a clear distinction among the three levels. However, the slip and slide and water test also work well.
Let us know your hair porosity and which test you used to find that out in the comments below!