I have created this easy guide for people with high porosity hair. In this guide you will find the best products for high porosity hair, hair care tips, home remedies and other information that helps you care for your hair better.
If you thought that tailoring your hair care routine to your hair texture and scalp type is enough, guess what? It’s not!
Sure you might use the right products in the right order depending on whether you have straight hair or curly hair, but have you considered your hair’s porosity?
Yes, your hair is an organic substance, which means it’s porous and contains tiny openings through which the strands can absorb moisture.
The degree to which your hair is porous (or has the ability to absorb and disperse moisture) classifies it into either low, medium or high porosity levels.
In this article, I’ve detailed the strengths and weaknesses of high porosity hair and some hair care tips to help you take care of it the right way. Check it out!
High Porosity Hair
Hair porosity all depends on the structure of your hair cuticles which form the outermost layer of your strands.
In low porosity hair, these cuticles are all well-packed together and do not have openings between them, making it harder for moisture to either flow inside or escape out.
However, in case of high porosity hair, the cuticles do not lie flat and smooth but are raised and even damaged in some cases. This provided wide gaps in between the outermost layer of the strands, allowing moisture to flow in easily and flow out with just as much ease.
This makes high porosity hair highly susceptible to frizz.
But it can often get difficult to identify if you have high porosity hair or not, especially type 1, 2 or 3 hair as 4c hair is majorly low porosity.
So here’s how I suggest you check your hair’s porosity first.
Signs Of High Porosity Hair: How Do I Check My Hair Type?
I) The Float Test
If you do not know your hair porosity you can do a simple test to find out:
- Pluck a strand from your freshly cleansed hair
- Drop it gently into a glass of fresh water
- Observe if the strands sinks to the bottom of the glass immediately or floats above
There are 3 outcomes and inferences we can make from these outcomes. These are:
- The Hair Floats – You have low porosity hair
- The Hair Sinks Immediately – You have high porosity hair
- The Hair Sinks to the Bottom Slowly – You have medium hair porosity (or even low porosity, damaged hair)
But if this test isn’t enough to prove that you have high porosity hair, here are some characteristics of high porosity hair that you need to watch out for!
II) Identifiable Characteristics Of High Porosity Hair
- If you pluck a strand of high porosity hair and slide your fingers on top of it, it feels crooked and uneven and not smooth. This is because of the raised cuticles
- The open cuticles allow for very easy loss and influx of moisture, this can make hair frizzy all the time
- The conditioners and hair products you use on high porosity hair work instantly as they get absorbed quicker.
- Your hair gets saturated with water quite quickly. So a few seconds under the shower is enough to get your hair wet.
- High porosity hair feels very moisturized when you apply a product but quickly loses the moisture and gets dry.
- It can absorb heavy oils/butters/hair creams easily due to its porous nature
- Hair dye doesn’t last long on high porosity hair as the open cuticle structure allows dye pigments to get washed away easily
Is High Porosity Hair Bad?
Some people have high porosity hair due to hair damage. Even if they start off with low porosity hair, regular hairstyling using heat, chemical treatments, bleaching, coloring, etc. can damage hair cuticles making them open up.
So in this case, yes high porosity hair can be a bad thing as it is an indicator of hair damage.
However, some people are born with hair that is more porous than usual. This can also be dependent on your hair type. So if you have fine, wavy hair, you’re more likely to have a high porosity.
Here, the strands’ natural genetic predisposition is to have raised cuticles and wide gaps between cuticles. So all you can do here is take care of your hair to prevent frizz and other side effects that come along with having this type of hair porosity.
High porosity hair also has its own advantages and disadvantages, on one hand high porosity hair enables hair products, moisture, dyes, etc. to get easily absorbed into your strands.
But on the other hand, the open cuticles allow strands to lose moisture just as easily causing them to dry out fast.
The uneven texture caused by the chipped, raised cuticles can also reduce shine on hair and cause it to appear poofy.
Hair Care Tips For High Porosity Hair
If you have high porosity hair, I suggest you keep the following tips in mind while caring for and styling your hair.
- Cut down on heat styling tools and chemical treatments. Basically anything that damages your hair cuticles has got to go!
- Shampoos with harsh surfactants such as SLS or SLES further damage cuticles, causing hair porosity to increase. These should be avoided.
- Use a protein hair mask often to help seal in the gaps between your cuticles
- Keep your hair moisturized using a deep conditioning treatment followed by leave-in conditioners.
- I’d suggest using heavier oils or butters such as coconut oil, castor oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, etc. for the deep conditioning.
- If you have natural or type 4 high porosity hair, you can use the LOC routine as suggested by the Curly Girl Method. Here you first use a liquid conditioner, followed by an oil, and then topped off with a nourishing hair cream.
- It’s very important to protect high porosity hair while sleeping as this is when cuticles suffer most mechanical damage.
- Tie up your hair in a loose braid or other protective hairstyle and use a silk bonnet or pillowcase to prevent the fibers of the bedspread damaging your hair.
FAQs about High Porosity Hair
Is rice water good for high porosity hair?
Yes absolutely! Rice water helps add proteins to high porosity hair which help fill in the gaps between hair cuticles, making high porosity hair less inclined to moisture loss.
Does high porosity mean damaged hair?
Some people can naturally have high porosity hair due to their genetic predisposition, however in a lot of cases the raised cuticles is caused by damage to the strands. And yes, in that case high porosity hair can indicate hair damage.
How often should high porosity hair be washed?
High porosity hair absorbs oil very quickly so any hair products you use won’t sit atop your strands as in the case with low porosity hair. So there is a lesser chance of product buildup on high porosity hair. Furthermore, it loses moisture quickly too because of the open cuticles, this can make it susceptible to dryness.
So keeping all this in mind, I’d say you should wash high porosity hair about 2-3 times a week. Make sure you use a dry shampoo in between washes if your scalp gets too oily.
Does high porosity hair like coconut oil?
Yes! Coconut oil is one of the best moisturizers for high porosity hair. The oil is rich in nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E among others and its high density helps it prevent high porosity hair from either losing or absorbing moisture too quickly. This, in turn, prevents frizz to a considerable extent.
Is 4c hair high or low porosity?
Generally, 4c hair has low porosity and this is the entire reason why it forms the cloud-like, poofy afro on your head. The hair is very slow to intake moisture of any kind and doesn’t respond well to products unless heat is involved.
But in some cases, when you regularly chemically straighten 4c hair, bleach it, color it, or damage it in any way, there is a chance of the hair cuticles being raised and 4c hair becoming highly porous.
Final Thoughts About High Porosity Hair
High porosity hair comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
While this hair type can allow easy absorption of hair products, it also needs extra moisturization as the strands tend to lose hydration quickly.
It also dries very quickly after you step out of the shower, but at the same time, it might get too dry and become frizzy.
So if you take the right precautions, it becomes easy to care for high porosity hair.
A gentle approach to washing and styling hair is a must as you cannot under any circumstances damage hair cuticles further.
Also using a lot of moisturizers, oils, and creams can supplement the moisture loss from high porosity hair, keeping it hydrated.