Way more important than knowing your hair type is knowing your hair porosity. However, many people are so focused on finding out what their curl pattern is, that they skip one of the most important lessons they could learn in their natural hair education. Having high porosity hair will affect how products work on your hair or how your hair feels to the touch, for instance. This knowledge is vital for your hair journey as it can be the difference between struggling, and possibly failing, to achieve your hair goals and knowing how to care for your hair.
But, wait! Do you know what hair porosity is? You can read all about it here, but for the sake of time-saving, hair porosity refers to your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. It’s much similar to what a sponge does when you put it under a running tap. If you have a sponge with big/visible holes in it, water will run through it almost immediately. On the other hand, if the sponge is very compact it will take a while to soak in the water before it reaches its full capacity and the water runs through it.
Your hair is very similar, if its cuticles layers are open, it won’t be able to hold water in for long, but if the cuticles layers are tightly closed water will have a hard time getting through it. Ideally, we all wish we could be somewhere in the middle but that’s not the case. If you don’t know where you stand here are 5 tips to let you know if you have high porosity hair.
1| Always Craving Water/Moisture
You feel your hair is as thirsty as the desert and as drunk as the sea, never staying too long in each state. Under a shower, on your wash day, your hair “drinks” water very rapidly, but shortly after you finish it can just as quickly dry up. This sucks because often times you need to rewet your hair to start styling it or you have to keep it under a cap until you do.
2| Feels Dry
The appearance of dry hair is a given if you don’t moisturise it frequently during the week. Although your hair takes moisture in pretty well it can rapidly feel dry, it needs constant moisture to not look and feel dry. If you’re not vigilant on your moisture level you can easily end up having dull and brittle hair.
3| Lacks Flexibility/Elasticity
Yes, your hair doesn’t seem to have the bounce and movement as other heads of hair you have a crush on. Chances are you are not moisturising your hair properly or enough. Dry hair is dull hair, hair that lacks shine because it has little or no moisture. Consequently, hair that is dry and lacks moisture is hair that lacks movement and elasticity and can easily snap.
4| Breaks Easily
Everything is connected. Because high porosity hair is thirsty, if you don’t supply its needs it will start to feel dry and dull. With continued disregard or knowledge of your hair’s needs, it will become dry, lifeless and eventually, it will break easily.
5| Accepts Chemical Treatments Very Quickly
Now, this may actually feel like a good thing. Just as easily as it takes water in, high porosity hair can as easily take any chemical treatment you submit it to. Since the cuticle layers of the hair are open they offer no resistance to this type of intervention. Getting a relaxer, dying your hair or doing some highlights is easy, and your results are probably great.
These are some of the signs of high porosity hair. If you are still not sure if you have it you can do a simple water test. Place a few clean hair strands in a glass of water and observe them for a couple of minutes. If they remain on the top you have low porosity hair, if they stay somewhere in the middle your hair has is of normal. However, if they sink you have high porosity. Of course, a more precise test would be to have your hair strand analysed under a microscope. But, hey, this is the best next thing.
Don’t stress over the outcome, the important thing is that now you know how to cater for your hair’s needs. Having low or high porosity is not a “death sentence”, there are things you can do to improve hair porosity.