All About Porosity

Are your curls high-, low-, or medium-porosity? As no two curl patterns are alike, it’s necessary to know the porosity level of your own to get the most out of your curl routine. In other words, understanding the porosity of your hair is the first step in managing your specific curl type with the proper product regimen, so you get beautiful styling results every time.

What is hair porosity? Hair porosity simply refers to your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture, and here are three ways to determine where yours falls on the porosity spectrum: low, normal or high.

#1 - THE STRAND TEST Gently stretch a tiny section of curl strands from different areas of your head – front hairline, nape, crown and temple. Place the stretched curl between your thumb and finger and slide it up the hair strand from the tip towards the scalp. If your fingers move easily up the strand and it feels dense and hard, you have low porosity hair. If it feels smooth, you have normal porosity hair. And if the strand feels rough or dry or it breaks, you have high porosity hair.

#2 - THE SHEDDING HAIR TEST Another way to check your hair porosity is to drop hair that’s been shed as a result of combing into a glass of water. If it floats, your hair is low porosity. If your hair sinks slowly, it has normal porosity, and if it sinks immediately, your hair is high porosity.

#3 - THE H20 TEST To determine your hair porosity level using water, spritz a small section of curls with water and watch how your hair reacts – does your hair absorb the water quickly (indicating high porosity) or does it remain on top (indicating a low porosity level)?

While these three tests are good places to start in determining your hair porosity-level, there are other tell-tale signs you should look out for:

Characteristics of Low Porosity Curly Hair • Curls take a long time to dry. • Products tend to build up on curls rather than absorb. • Natural oils don’t readily penetrate, but rather sit on your hair. • Curls take much longer to get fully saturated when you wet them.

Characteristics of Normal Porosity Curly Hair • Curls are full of bounce and elasticity. • Requires very little maintenance. • Easily accepts and retains moisture inside the cuticle. • Holds styles well and can be colored with good results.

Characteristics of High Porosity Curly Hair • Curls easily absorb water, however, it requires more products. • Curls often look and feel dry. • Curls are often frizzy. • Curls dry quickly.

Now that you’ve got the 411 on low, normal and high porosity hair, it’s time to get armed with the right care for your hair.

Low Porosity Curl Care Low porosity hair has very compact cuticles, so it’s hard to inject moisture into the hair shaft, although it does retain moisture once it absorbs. To raise the cuticle, follow these tips:

• Use heat. Use Deep Treatment Curl Restoration Therapy under a hooded drier, steamer or even a warm towel or shower cap, to help products better absorb and bind with the hair better. • Always distribute products evenly throughout your hair making sure not to put too much on. • Apply products to damp, not drenched hair. • Use sulfate-free shampoo and rinses such as apple cider vinegar or baking soda treatments to rid your hair of product build-up.

Normal Porosity Curl Care Normal porosity hair has compact cuticles that easily let moisture enter in. • Continue to do regular deep conditioning treatments to maintain good product absorption.

High Porosity Curl Care Parched, thirsty hair needs products that help it retain as much moisture as possible, so follow these tips to increase hydration: • Use minimal heat. It’s best to air dry your hair, if possible. • Incorporate regular deep conditioning treatments into your curl care routine. Use Curl Recovery Melt-Down Extreme Repair Mask, and finish with Whipped Curls Daily Conditioner & Styling Primer to begin to repair porosity. • Rinse with cold water to seal the cuticle and prevent frizz. • Detangle gently with a wide-tooth comb to prevent hair loss and reduce hair breakage. • Finally, combine Moisture Lock Leave-In Conditioner with Advanced Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel to help seal in moisture and combat thirsty curl porosity.

Repairing Damaged Curls Worry not over curl damage, because this too shall pass. As your hair grows, follow the above steps for your curl porosity to temporarily fix the raised cuticles with deep conditioning treatments to seal in moisture. It’s also important to schedule regular trims, so make an appointment with a Ouidad Certified Stylist to discuss your curl cutting plan to regain healthy, bouncy curls, without losing too much length.

Texture, elasticity, density and porosity are all indicators of your curl personality, and now that you understand what yours is, Ouidad can tailor-make a winning product routine, so you always enjoy gorgeous, frizz-free curls.

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