Low vs High Porosity: Understanding Your Curls and How to Care for It

Low vs High Porosity: Understanding Your Curls and How to Care for It

Hair Porosity 101

If you have curly hair, you’ve probably heard the terms “porosity” or “hair porosity” before. But what does it really mean?

Hair porosity refers to how easily your hair can absorb and retain moisture, which is an important factor in determining how to care for your curls. In this blog, we’ll explore the differences between low and high hair porosity, how to test your hair porosity, and provide tips and ingredient recommendations for each.

What is Low and High Hair Porosity?

Low porosity hair has a tightly packed cuticle layer that resists moisture absorption. Water tends to bead up on the surface of low porosity hair, making it difficult to fully saturate the hair with water or hair products. This can result in product buildup and difficulty in getting nutrients and moisture into the hair shaft.

High porosity hair, on the other hand, has a cuticle layer that is more open, allowing moisture to easily penetrate the hair shaft. While this may sound like a good thing, high porosity hair can also lose moisture quickly, leading to dryness, breakage, and frizz.

It's also important to note that there is also Medium porosity hair. Medium porosity hair is considered the ideal. It can retain moisture without becoming weighed down or overly dry. This hair type can be easily styled, and products are absorbed at a moderate rate. 

Hair Porosity


How Can You Test Your Hair Porosity?

There are several ways to test your hair porosity, including the float test, the slip and slide test, and the spray test.

  1. The float test involves placing a few strands of clean hair in a glass of water. If the hair sinks to the bottom, it has high porosity. If it floats on the surface, it has low porosity.
  2. The slip and slide test involves sliding your fingers up a single strand of hair from the ends to the root. If your fingers slide smoothly, your hair has low porosity. If your fingers catch or feel rough, your hair has high porosity.
  3. The spray test involves separating a small section of your hair and mist it with water using a spray bottle. If it absorbs quickly, you have high porosity hair. If it doesn't absorb at all or takes a long time to absorb, it's low porosity. 

Debunking Some Myths About Hair Porosity

There are some myths about hair porosity that we’d like to debunk:

  • Myth #1: Hair porosity is determined by hair type (e.g., curly, wavy, straight). Hair porosity is actually determined by the structure of the hair shaft and cuticle, not by hair type. However it's true that straight hair is more likely to be lower in porosity than curly hair due to the natural structure of the hair shaft.
  • Myth #2: High porosity hair is always damaged. While high porosity hair can be a sign of damage, some people are simply born with naturally high porosity hair.
  • Myth #3: Low porosity hair doesn’t need as much moisture. All hair types need moisture, but low porosity hair may require different methods of moisture application.

Tips for Low & High Hair Porosity

Low Porosity Hair Tips:

  1. Use heat during deep conditioning to help open up the cuticle layer and allow moisture to penetrate.
  2. Avoid heavy products that can create buildup on the hair, making it even harder to absorb moisture. Use lighter products, like sprays or mists, to help penetrate the hair shaft, like this lightweight gel.
  3. Use products with humectants in them such as: honey, glycerin & aloe vera which are ingredients found in our Honey & Babassu Oil Curl Moisturizing Gel. Pro Tip: choose film forming humectants if you live somewhere with low dew points aka cold. It will help your curls to retain the water/moisture in the cuticles instead of doing the contrary. E.g of film forming humectants are: aloe vera, pectin, xanthan gum)
  4. Lighter Oils such as: Babassu oil, sweet almond oil  and avocado oil. This product has all these ingredients which makes it ideal for low porosity hair.
  5. Use clarifying shampoos to remove product buildup and allow moisture to penetrate the hair shaft.
  6. Use a shower cap or steamer during deep conditioning to help create a humid environment that will open up the cuticle layer.

High Porosity Hair Tips:

  1. Use heavy products to help seal in moisture and prevent loss.
  2. Avoid heat styling, as it can further damage the hair and lead to more moisture loss.
  3. Use products with plant gels / film forming humectants such as pectin, aloe vera, and xanthan gum can help create a barrier on the hair surface, reducing moisture loss and improving hydration. Find products that have one of these ingredients high in their list, such as this one.
  4. Use products with emollients (oils that act as anti-humectants) such as: Coconut oil & avocado oil that are found in our lightweight moisturizing gel. 
  5. Use AVC rinse to tighten your cuticles. AVC naturally has more of an acidic pH which will help your cuticles to close by adjusting your hair's pH. 
  6. Avoid products above pH 6 as this will only make your hair more porous. Our Honey & Babassu Oil Curl Moisturizing Gel has a pH 5 which will keep high porosity pH balanced.
  7. Use protein treatments to help strengthen the hair and reduce breakage.
  8. Use oils and butters to help seal in moisture and protect the hair from further damage. Heavier oils such as castor oil, are great options for high porosity hair. We recommend doing the LGO method which is using a leave-in conditioner, a gel and then coating your strands with a sealant oil. 

In conclusion, understanding your hair porosity can make a big difference in how you care for your curls. By knowing whether you have low, medium, or high porosity hair, you can choose the right products and techniques to help your curls thrive. Remember to test your hair porosity and try different methods and ingredients to find what works best for you. 

✨If you'd like to try our Honey & Babassu Oil Curl Moisturizing Gel, we have an amazing deal: Buy 2 and get 20% off use code "ALCHEMY20"

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