Use this simple at-home test to learn what your hair porosity is, and read on to find what to do next.
If you’ve ever spent an obscene amount on hair care products only to be deflated by the results, it may be time to take a look at your hair’s porosity.
‘Hair porosity’ refers to how easily moisture is absorbed into the hair. Properly-moisturised hair is glossy or shiny; it reflects light. It bounces, has movement and holds styles. The state of the cuticle – the outer layer of hair – contributes to this.
Hair porosity is categorised into three levels: high, medium and low, each with its own set of characteristics and care instructions.
Everyone’s hair porosity is different with influencers innumerable – season, genetics, lifestyle, environment, styling – but what you should know about hair porosity is:
- Each of these affects the amount of moisture or nourishment your strands can absorb, and retain.
- Anything that damages the cuticle – for example, colouring or spending too much time in the sun, saltwater or chlorine – can leave you with high porosity hair.
- Knowing your hair porosity could provide answers to a bunch of unanswered questions, like “we’re using the same hair masque, why does their hair look different?”
- Your hair porosity should inform the products you use and what your routine looks like. Just like a personal training regimen, only when you personalise your hair routine to your needs, will you achieve what you want.
How to Test Your Hair Porosity at Home
- a (clear) glass of water
- a strand of hair. For the most accurate reading, we suggest using a dry, freshly-washed strand, free from product and build-up.
Comb your hair to release shedding strands, and drop those strands into a glass of water.
You have Low Porosity Hair. Now what?
If you have low porosity hair, your hair is still considered to be healthy. The cuticle layer is intact, it’s just not being moisturised effectively. Moisture is not easily absorbed due to tightly shut hair cuticles and without the moisture or nutrients it needs, it can become dehydrated and feel dry. Because this hair type is prone to repelling oils and moisture, product buildup can become problematic because the product just sits on the strands without being absorbed.
If we go back to ancient times – think ‘Cleopatra’s glossy black mane’ – various cultures would tend oil to their hair before cleansing. This remains a pro tip for low porosity hair to this day.
Moderate heat and oils are the keys to deep-penetrating moisture. Steam your hair to open up your hair cuticles (basically, wash your hair in a hot shower), apply your treatment conditioner and seal the hydration with a light oil like avocado or jojoba. Heated deep conditioners, hot oil treatments, and humectants, like honey, are great add-ons to your routine.
- Find and use an oil that can actually penetrate your hair strands before you shampoo. Ensure it won’t sit on top of the hair.
- Wash and condition it once a week (twice a week tops).
- A daily dose of a scalp and hair hydration supplement like Apotecari’s Crowning Glory will serve the perfect balance of nourishing sebum to your particular hair and scalp type. Formulated by Naturopaths and Trichologists, this inner support repairs and enriches the scalp and hair with hydrating plant-based omega oils and vitamins. Basically, a feast for your hair.
The Test Showed You Have “Normal” or Medium Porosity Hair
Normal porosity equals the easiest maintenance. Hair cuticles tend to be looser, and because of that, moisture penetrates the hair with ease. If you’re lucky enough to have medium porosity hair, a deep conditioning mask will maintain your hair health, and increase product absorption, which is key to achieving the best styling results. We recommend Original & Mineral’s The Power Base Masque with rice protein to strengthen and apricot kernel oil to moisturise and nourishe the hair’s exterior.
Your Results Indicated A High Porosity Hair Type
If your hair sunk quickly to the bottom during the test, and you also experience excessive dryness, frizz, and breakage, it’s likely that you have high porosity hair. This hair type has a raised and porous cuticle and has a tendency to take in water, but not retain it; the cuticle layer is damaged from colouring, relaxing, styling, and you can’t hold and trap that much-needed moisture.
For those with high porosity hair, skip the harsh treatments and go easy on the hot tools. Use low heat or air dry where possible. Use gentle or colour-protecting shampoos and conditioners and stick to creamy, thick products when it comes to deeply conditioning your strands. Regularly coating the hair with hydrating products and oils can help reinforce that outer cuticle.
No matter the porosity of your hair, here are five pro tips for all hair types:
- If you’re not already taking a daily supplement like Apotecari’s Crowning Glory, may we suggest you do. This hydrating, frizz-fighting formulation works from within to repair and reinvigorate the strands and scalp. 90 days of use will bring balance to oily or overly-dry scalps and hair. Plus, ongoing use nourishes strands for added gloss, movement and reflection. Crowning Glory also serves to support the scalp’s ageing process. Liquid gold.
- Use an oil before you shampoo
- Opt for non-sulfate shampoos which are gentler on the cuticles
- Use a deep conditioner with equal amounts of protein and moisture to balance out your hair strands
- Follow up with a water-based leave-in moisturiser such as Christophe Robin’s Regenerating serum with prickly pear oil
Its good to remember that your hair strands are not “living”, so they need support, moisture and nourishment to prevent them from getting damaged and splitting as they age. Keeping your routine consistent and simple, and in line your hair type is key to keeping your hair nurtured, hydrated and looking its best.