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High, Normal, Low- What’s your porosity and why does it matter?

When you first return to natural, one of the main aims in the beginning tends to be trying to figure out your curl type.

Are you type 3, type 4? Is your head full of curls, coils, kinks-or all 3?

A lot of women think that once they know their hair type, they’ll know what products to use. But that isn’t necessarily the case. Mainly because there doesn’t seem to be a universal idea of what each curl type looks like. One girl will say she has 3c curls whilst others may say she actually has 4a curls.

Another issue is that a majority of women have different curl patterns on their head so if they were to base their products on their various curl types, they’d have to use different products on different areas of their one head #AintNobodyGotTimeForThat.

A better way to identify your hair type is to determine the porosity of your hair. Hair porosity refers to your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture, and there are three ways to determine where yours falls on the porosity spectrum: low, normal or high. Why is knowing your porosity important? Well, it will help you figure out the kinds of products that work for your hair. For example, low porosity hair works well with light styling products such as hair milks whereas high porosity hair requires heavier products like butters.

How can you figure out your hair porosity? There’s a simple test which just requires a clean strand of your hair and a glass of water. Grab a clean strand of hair from your comb or brush and drop it into the glass of water then wait to see how the hair strand responds to the water. If the hair strand sinks it means that your hair is high porosity.

High porosity hair strands have loads of gaps, openings and tears that allow moisture to flow in easily. Sounds perfect right? Sadly, as easily as moisture gets into the strand, it leaves. Hence the need for heavy products that seal in moisture like butters and thicker oils like Jamaican Black Castor Oil.

If your hair strand stays at the top of the glass it means that your hair is low porosity.

Low porosity hair strands have tight cuticles which are resistant to receiving moisture. The hair strand floats because it doesn’t allow water to enter and weigh it down. If you have low porosity hair you probably find that you have to wet your hair for quite a while on wash day before it feels wet. A good way to get around the issue of not being able to easily accept moisture is by opening the hair cuticles using heat. For example, using a steamer when deep conditioning. A steamer will lift the cuticles to ensure the conditioner can enter the hair strands and do its magic. The great thing about low porosity hair is that once the moisture enters, it’s really hard for it to leave.

If your hair strand sinks a little and then floats around the middle of the glass, your hair is normal porosity.

Normal porosity hair is the ideal porosity as it means that it’s pretty easy for your hair strands to absorb and retain moisture. If you have normal porosity hair it’s still important for you to stick to a healthy hair care routine as the porosity of your hair can change if you use heat often or chemically process your hair.

Don’t get me wrong sis, knowing your hair type/curl pattern can be useful when it comes to finding styles that will work for you etc. But when it comes to figuring out the best natural hair routine and products to use, consider your porosity over your curl type.

Have you done the glass of water test? What’s your porosity? Let us know sis!


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