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How Open Are You? Let's Talk Hair Porosity!

This is a typical question that you might get in one of my coaching sessions. But this time, I’m not talking about being open to change but the openness of your hair follicles. One of the most frequent questions that we’ve been getting since we launched RootedBeauti surrounds hair dryness and moisture: "What do you recommend for my hair as it’s always so dry?"

Before we get into product recommendations, let’s talk about your hair porosity. Understanding the porosity of your hair is one of the key elements to understanding how your hair operates and which products would work best for your hair. Porosity is how much your hair retains moisture. The higher the porosity, the more your hair absorbs. The lower the porosity, the less your hair absorbs.

Black woman high medium low porosity hair

High porosity hair means that the hair is sucking up the water and moisture into the hair follicle because its outer most layer is open because of gaps and holes. But easy ‘in’ also can mean easy ‘out’ for water too. Products don’t get a chance to stay in the hair. Products and hair oils will build up on top of the hair and will make it feel heavy. Think about it like water going through a strainer.

* Air dries quickly
* Often looks dull
* Looks and feels dry. Breaks easily.
* Can be prone to frizz and tangles in humid weather
* Hair can appear flat or matted

Recommended Products
Using lukewarm water, try a good shampoo cleanser that won’t dry your hair out. I like the Camille Rose Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse and tgin Miracle RepaiRx Strengthening Shampoo. Then you can follow it up with a deep conditioner that will bring the moisture back into your hair like tgin Miracle RepaiRx Strengthening Conditioner or Bobos Remi Tea Tree Deep Conditioner Treatment. Ingredients like argan and avocado oil are good because they moisturize. A daily leave-in conditioner spray or sealer will also be your friend. Try Bobos Remi Moroccan Natural Argan Leave-In Conditioner Spray.   

Medium (or normal) porosity means that your hair is not too tightly closed up or not too loosey goosey. It’s juuust right.The moisture gets into the hair follicles and stays there.  It just chills right out. If your hair is in this state, you are likely seeing longer lasting hair styles  

* Styling your hair comes easy because you can easily manage it.
* Your hair is poppin’! It’s shining, Got color? it’s glossin’, it’s ready, honey!
* Doesn’t take long to air dry
* Hair wets easily. It’ll bead and then soak into the hair cuticle.   

Recommended Products
Avoid product buildup with a clarifying shampoo like EDEN BodyWorks Peppermint Tea Tree Clarifying Shampoo.
You can play around with products that balance your protein moisture needs.Try a good cowash (like Oyin Handmade Ginger Mint Co-Wash Invigorating Cleansing Cream or tgin Quench 3-In-1 Co-Wash Conditioner And Detangler) every few days and lightweight products like Urbanella’s No. 9 Hair Shine Butter and No. 34 Tamu Curls® for curls that are defined and bouncing as you step.

Low porosity hair is when the hair cuticles are tightly packed and very close together, which makes it super hard for water to get inside and retain. It’s like pouring water over a cake glazed in fondant…that water isn’t getting inside that cake!

* Takes forever for water to get through your hair when washing it.
* Products are not absorbed into your hair but just sitting there and sliding off.
* Air drying your hair is like watching paint dry… It takes FOREVER!

Recommended Products
Stay away from products with keratin and oils because it’ll be harder to be absorbed. (If you must with oil, try something light like with argan oil). Look for ingredients like glycerin and honey in shampoos and conditioners. Try Mielle Organics Pomegranate & Honey Moisturizing And Detangling Shampoo or Urbanella No. 7 Non Lather Cleanser. Mielle Organics Pomegranate & Honey Leave-In Conditioner is a good partner conditioner too. 

So are you open or not? Do the Porosity Test to find out.
Now you are wondering how to determine if you have low, medium or highly porous hair.  The ‘hair in water’ test is the most common method of self-testing.

1. Shampoo and rinse your hair to remove any product buildup. (Hair with conditioner and/or styling products on it will most likely cause your hair to sink). 
2. Fill a glass with water. 
3. Once your hair is clean and dry, drop a few strands of your hair into the glass of water. 
4. Gently push the hair juuust beneath the water surface to break the tension. (Surface tension can cause hair to stay at the surface for a bit). 
5. Watch the strands to see if they sink to the bottom of the glass or float at the top. 

* Porosity can be influenced by environmental factors test strands of hair from different parts of your hair, as you may have different porosities throughout your hair.
* Instead of testing a single strand of hair, try a group of hair.
* Heat and processing can influence hair porosity.

Knowing your hair porosity is important to determine how often you should wash/clarify your hair, how you should moisturize, if oils are good for your hair, the right balance of protein and moisture, if you should add heat or not to your deep conditioning treatment, etc, etc.  It’s going to help you choose the best products for YOUR hair and get you started on a healthy hair routine!

Ciao for now!