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3 Signs of High Porosity Hair
July 24, 2022 4 min read
By Toia Barry
If your hair dries extremely quickly, can handle a lot of product, and/or tends to be frizzy, there’s a chance you could have high porosity hair. Now, there’s nothing wrong with having this hair type, you just have to use the appropriate high porosity hair products to help it look its best. To determine your hair type and select the right natural hair products for its porosity level, we’re sharing the signs of high porosity hair.
High Porosity vs. Low Porosity
First, you might be wondering, “What is hair porosity?” The porosity of hair is how porous it is. The more porous hair is, or the higher porosity, the more it will absorb moisture. The less porous hair is, or the lower porosity, the less it will absorb moisture.
If you looked at your hair under a microscope, you would see your hair cuticle, which is the hair’s outermost layer that protects the hair shaft. In high porosity hair, the cuticles appear open and spread apart. In low porosity hair, the cuticles look closed and tight together. This explains why moisture can easily penetrate high porosity hair but not low porosity hair. However, because the cuticles of highly porous hair are far apart, moisture can also easily escape.
Each hair type comes with its own potential pitfalls. While those with low porosity hair may struggle with how to retain low porosity hair, those with high porosity hair may be wondering how to fix high porosity hair that has been damaged. Luckily, understanding your hair type will help you learn how to best care for it.
You don’t have to look under a microscope typically, though, to determine if you have high or low porosity hair. There are signs of high porosity hair visible to the naked eye too.
What Does High Porosity Hair Look Like
It is essential to know your hair’s porosity because proper high porosity and low porosity hair care differ. In many cases, you can tell if your hair is highly porous just from a look. Here are a few signs of high porosity hair to help you determine what your hair’s porosity level is:
1. Prone to Frizz
The cuticle layer of high porosity hair is open or lifted, which exposes the hair shaft. When the hair shaft is exposed, it attracts water molecules or moisture from the air and as it binds to these molecules, it expands. The result is frizz.
If your hair is extremely prone to frizz, the chances you have high porosity hair are good. In order to prevent frizz, the hair has to be extremely moisturized and the cuticle layer has to be sealed shut, both of which are difficult to do with high porosity hair.
Because the cuticles of high porosity hair are open, moisture can easily escape. High porosity hair’s ability to retain moisture is low, so it is constantly thirsting for hydration. This can make hair look and feel dry. It also causes hair to dry extremely quickly after getting wet, because it absorbs all of the water almost instantly.
If you are constantly conditioning your hair and applying thick products such as creams and butter like the L.O.C. Hair Method calls for and it still looks and feels dry, you may have high porosity hair.
When hair cuticles are lifted, such as they are on highly porous hair, they can easily snag on one another, causing tangles. This is exacerbated by the fact that strands of high porosity hair are often moving in multiple directions. If your hair easily tangles or catches when you run your fingers through it, you could have high porosity hair.
How to Tell if You Have High Porosity Hair
From the visual signs of high porosity hair, you probably already know your hair’s porosity. After all, you know your hair best. However, the easiest way to confirm your hair porosity is to test it. Here are a few simple ways to discover if you have high porosity hair:
- When you get out of the shower, how long does it take your hair to dry? Is air drying a quick process or does it seem to take forever? If it is the former, you most likely have hair with high porosity.
- Take a piece of freshly washed and dry hair and drop it in a glass of water. Does it sink? If it does, you probably have highly porous hair.
- Finally, section your hair and run your fingers along a few strands from each section. Does the hair strand feel rough and uneven or thick and smooth? If it feels rough and uneven, you’re feeling the open cuticles, which means you probably have high porosity hair.
Recognizing the signs of high porosity hair and performing these simple tests will help you determine if you have high porosity hair so you can care for it properly. While frizzy, tangled, and dry hair are the unfortunate side-effects of high porosity hair, there are specific high-porosity hair products you can use to combat them and make your hair look and feel its best.
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