What is Porosity when it relates to our curls?
And how oh how do we determine what
porosity our curls are?
Porosity is defined as "a measure of the void (i.e. "empty") spaces in a material". How our hair accepts moisture and retains it is a crucial element in our curly hair health.
It doesn't really matter what "Curl Type" you have. In fact, to be totally honest, it doesn't even matter if your hair is straight or wavy, curly or coily, the best way to determine how to look after your locks and what products to use on them is really based on your hair's porosity.
Now, we may have different porosities on our head, depending on how we have treated our hair, what processes we have undertaken and where we are at in our Curl Journey, and thats OK! Our porosities may even change our time AND it really is a sliding scale, but if you can get a grasp on the basics of hair structure and an understanding of how to determine your hairs porosity, then you will be better educated to determine what YOUR CURLS need.
Things like doing the "float" test, do not determine your porosity accurately, as other factors including density and thickness will interfere. The very first thing that I want you to do is:
Take a spray bottle with nothing but water and spray your hair.
If you are a high porosity curly - you hair will wet almost instantly.
If you are a medium porosity curly - you will see the water sit on the hair for a few seconds maybe even a minute but it will eventually soak in.
If you are a low porosity curly - that water is going to bead on your hair and just sit there forever!
Now as i mentioned earlier, this isn't a one size fits all, but you will get general idea from this little experiment. Another way is noticing the water on your hair in the shower, does your hair wet down really easy (high porosity), does your hair take a bit of encouraging to get wet (medium porosity) or does it act like a full on raincoat? (low porosity).
How your hair reacts to product is also an important element, if your hair seems constantly thirsty no matter how much you load your hair wth product ( you are on the higher side), if product sits on the outside of your hair and just builds and builds ( your on the lower side) and medium, well your hair is pretty easy to handle to be honest!
Again, you could on the higher side of medium, on the lower side of medium and everywhere in-between, but now that you have the understanding of how your hair access water or repels it, how it drinks in products or they sit on top of your hair, you should be able to have a better idea of your porosity type.
High Porosity - we hydrate easily but often soak up too much water to the point of swelling, our hair has a lot of trouble holding onto the moisture, if fact it goes beyond dry once it finally drys. With the right products we can rebuild strength and help our hair to retain that moisture.
Medium - we have pretty healthy hair, our hair accepts moisture and seals it in, we simply need to nourish and enhance what our hair is already doing. Making sure to look after both moisture and protein to have well balanced hair.
Low - we need to get that cuticle to open up and accept the moisture because once it does, it will hold onto it tightly! Low typically has a tighter curl pattern if it is naturally low, however we can also have damaged low porosity due to build up and this is where you may find your porosity changes over time with the correct care.
Well hope that information has enlightened you so some extent in understanding your curls porosity. Check out our online quiz to help your determine what porosity your curls are!
Thanks for reading,