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Hair Porosity: Something else to know about your hair

By Phemelo Segoe

Nod twice if you thought to know your hair type or curl pattern was enough knowledge to have in your bag of hair-care tricks to successfully grow and nurture your hair. If you’re a normal person, you should’ve nodded because what in the world is hair porosity?

We have spent so much time trying to understand how to care for different curl patterns only to find out that, knowing our hair type is not enough. Yes, that’s right, there’s more you need to know about your hair.

It turns out that people with the exact same curl pattern may have hair that behaves differently. Thankfully we’ve got you covered and will be explaining what hair porosity is and how it impacts how we care for our hair.

So what is hair porosity? Simply put, hair porosity refers to how well your hair absorbs and retains moisture. Porosity is determined by the structure of your cuticle, which is the outer layer of your hair.

Low porosity hair has a tightly bound cuticle layer, making it difficult for moisture to penetrate. Very tight curls are an indication of low porosity hair. Because moisture has so much difficulty entering the hair, it also has the same trouble exiting.

High porosity hair on the other hand has gaps in the cuticle, allowing moisture to easily flow in and out of it.

While medium porosity hair absorbs and stores moisture well so medium in this case means, ‘just right’.

Now you must be thinking, how do I determine my hair porosity? Below is a quick and easy test you can do at home.

Directions to conduct “The Float Test”

  1. Take some strands of hair from your brush or comb. Make sure you use clean hair for more accurate results.

  2. Drop them in a bowl of water.

  3. Let them sit for a few minutes.

If your hair floats after the time is up, you have low porosity. If it sinks, you have high porosity and if it floats somewhere in the middle, you have medium porosity hair!

Now as you can imagine, the treatment of all three porosity types is quite different but we have a few guidelines for you.

Caring for low porosity hair

The best product combination for low porosity hair is:

Leave-in Conditioner ( liquid ) → Cream → Oil – So you’re moisturizing your hair as much as possible, and sealing it at the end.

Pro-Tip: Use Moisture-rich products such as jojoba oil, Shea butter, coconut oil or mineral oil.

Caring for medium porosity hair

The best product combination for low porosity hair is:

Deep Condition ( liquid ) → Cream → Oil – So you’re locking in that moisture but giving your hair enough breathing room.

Pro Tip: Avoid protein in your daily regimen.

Caring for high porosity hair

The best product combination for low porosity hair is:

Leave-in Conditioner ( liquid ) → Oil → Cream – So you’re locking in that moisture just in case it slips out easily.

Pro Tip: Leave-in conditioners and moisturizers will provide your hair with moisture through the day, but use a sealer such as Avocado Oil to retain moisture and prevent dryness.

Hair porosity is an important but less visible characteristic of our hair but understanding how your hair absorbs and stores moisture can be a game-changer for your hair regime. We hope this will improve your hair journey.

To more good hair days! Love MPL

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