Have you ever heard the term “hair porosity” and wondered what it meant? The porosity is the ability of the strand to absorb and hold moisture. Why is this important to know? You want healthy hair. If the strand is too porous, or not porous enough, you will have difficulty with the management of your hair. This is why hair products are important too.
For the best understanding of porosity, this is the break down of the hair strand:
- Cuticle- the protective layer consisting of overlapping cells
- Cortex- the thickest layer of the hair strand, containing important proteins and is responsible for the pigmentation
- Medulla- The soft, inner layer of the strand containing transparent cells and air spaces
The Measurement of Hair Porosity
Healthy hair depends on the hydration of water and oils. Water, oils, and moisturizing products need to be able to pass through the cuticle of the strand, and into the cortex. Porosity consists of three categories. High porosity means the cuticles are more widely spaced. Low porosity means the cuticles are closer together. Medium porosity means the cuticles are less tightly bound together. For the best interest of your hair, the strand should have medium porosity.
High porosity makes it hard to retain moisture and stay hydrated, as the cuticles are too widely spaced. Low porosity strands will also share this difficulty. The cuticles are so closely bound that it is harder for moisture to reach the cortex. Medium porosity allows the cortex to receive and retain moisture and nutrients, giving your hair a healthy balance.
Causes of High and Low Porosity
Many different factors can affect the porosity of your hair. Overprocessing with chemical treatments, such as coloring or perms, can play a big factor in the change of porosity. Other factors include overheating, sun exposure, and even genetics. While you can’t control your genetics, you can limit the amount of heat, processing, and sun exposure to your hair. Salon products can help with these factors and control porosity.
How to Test Your Hair Porosity
If you don’t know how porous your hair is, there is a simple test you can do. Put a strand of hair in a clear bowl or cup of water. If the strand has low porosity, it will float to the top of the water. If the strand has high porosity, it will fall to the bottom of the cup or bowl. A strand with medium porosity will linger somewhere in the middle.
The knowledge of porosity and how porous your own hair is will help you find products and remedies for better management. Porosity affects the way your hair reacts to coloring, styling, and any other treatment you decide to do.
If you are having trouble managing your hair, try the hair porosity test. This will give you a better understanding of why you are having trouble, and what you can do to fix the problem. Ask your stylist about what salon products you can use to help change the porosity of your hair if needed.