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What is Hair Porosity and Why is it Important?

Most people have heard of hair porosity. However, a lot of people do not totally understand what it is or why it is important. Whether you have high or low hair porosity, it’s good to choose products and treatments accordingly. Read on to learn more.

Hair Porosity Defined

Porosity is the measurement of your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture and products. Hair needs to be able to absorb moisture to stay healthy and hydrated. In order to do that, products and healthy oils must pass through the cuticle to the cortex. Hair is made up of the following three layers:

  • Cuticle: The outer layer of the hair is made of smaller cuticles which overlap one another.
  • Cortex: The thickest layer of your hair, the cortex contains fibrous proteins and pigment.
  • Medulla: The medulla is the center section of the hair shaft.

If your hair cuticles are too close together, or if your hair has low porosity, this can make it difficult for your hair to get the hydration it needs. If your cuticles are too widely spaced, or high porosity, it will also be difficult to absorb moisture. Knowing if you are dealing with high or low hair porosity can help you choose better, more effective products for your needs.

What Impacts Hair Porosity?

The way your hair absorbs and retains moisture is influenced largely by genetics. It can also be impacted by heat styling, chemical processing, harsh products, and washing too frequently over time. That’s because these things cause the hair cuticles to raise and open, making it difficult to retain hydration.

Determining Your Hair Porosity

It’s easy to find out whether you have high or low hair porosity. Consider how it feels to the touch. How long does it take to dry? How dry or hydrated does it feel on average? You can also conduct some quick, easy tests:

  • Float Test: Take a few strands of hair from your brush and place them in a glass or bowl of water. Let them sit for a few minutes. If the strands are still floating, your hair is low porosity. If they have sunk, it is high porosity. If it lingers in the middle, it is probably medium porosity.
  • Strand Test: Take a strand of your hair and run your fingers up the strand to your scalp. If your hair feels bumpy, it is probably high porosity. If it feels smooth, your hair cuticle is likely tightly bound, and your hair porosity is probably low.

Caring for Your Hair

Low Porosity

If your hair is low porosity, it is moisture resistant. However, one you are able to penetrate deep into your strands and get them the hydration they need, you do not need to worry as much about it drying out fast.

Low porosity hair is prone to buildup, so you will want to be light-handed and avoid using heavier, more oil-rich products. You will want to use a sulfate-free and/or clarifying shampoo to prevent products from weighing hair down. This will also help open your hair cuticle and allow moisture to penetrate.

Medium Porosity

Hair with a loose cuticle layer allows for a moderate amount of moisture to pass into the hair shaft. Medium porosity hair is usually especially easy to manage and style and has little to no difficulty holding onto the hydration it needs. You can use slightly heavier products and focus more on balance rather than aggressive moisture. Deep condition regularly, and use a cleanser to keep your scalp and hair healthy.

High Porosity

If your hair is high porosity, the strands have gaps in the cuticle layer. These gaps let moisture pass easily. While this may seem like an entirely good thing, this can make your hair more susceptible to frizz and dryness. That’s because high porosity hair also has trouble retaining that moisture that it absorbs. This makes it easier to damage your hair with chemical treatments and heat styling. You will want to use products that seal the hair cuticle and prevent it from absorbing too much moisture. Invest in a good leave-in conditioner, and use protein-rich treatments to encourage your strands to hold onto the healthy nutrients they needs.

Contact a Baltimore Hair Replacement Service

If you are unsatisfied with the look and feel of your hair, contact Eldorado. Our licensed and experienced hair loss experts and can determine the right solution for your specific needs and goals. Call (410) 931-3399 to speak with a representative, or schedule your free hair analysis at our Baltimore hair replacement center today.