Do you know your Hair Porosity? Learn how knowing this help with Prodcut Choice.

Do you know your Hair Porosity? Learn how knowing this help with Prodcut Choice.

What is hair porosity and why should you care?

 

In our last blog we briefly touched on the hair structure and its three parts, the cuticle, cortex and the medulla as seen below. In this week’s blog we are going to talk about the cuticle in a bit more detail. 


The hair sturcture - cuticle, cortex and medula  

Most of us have heard the story of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf huffing and puffing to blow their houses down. One house made of straw, the other made of sticks and the last made of brick. In the end the house left standing was the one made of bricks. Stay with me, on this analogy…We want our hair to be like that brick, to give it a strong foundation so that we can protect from any element that it may be exposed to. To give it a strong foundation, we need to make sure we use the right products to support and maximize hydration and moisture retention.

 

The cuticle layer as seen below, looks like tiles overlayed on each other. Healthy cuticle is smooth and flat and gives the appearance of shiny healthy hair, protecting the inner layers from damage. Healthy cuticle balances hydration and moisture.

 Hair cutilce - Smooth cuticle looks like tile and overlapps

Healthy Cuticle Above. Damaged Cuticle Below.

We often expose our hair, to heat, cold, chemicals which all changes that balance and also the way that our cuticles overlap. These changes will change that balance of hydration and moisture leading to dry and brittle appearing hair. To minimize these effects and to trend back to an optimal balance, you must know your hair porosity so that you can choose the best products for your hair.

 Cher-Mere Blog on Hair Porosity

 

In its most basic explanation, porosity refers to how well your hair is able to absorb and hold the moisture. The higher the  porosity of your hair, the wider the gap between the overlap of the tiles of your hair. This means that there are more spaces for moisture to easily pass through. The lower the porosity of your hair, the tighter the tiles overlap together, and therefore it is more difficult for moisture to pass through.

 

Herein, lies, the important part. If you recall, you want your hair cuticles that allows a BALANCE of hydration and moisture to keep hair well moisturized, supple, strong and shiny. With  low porosity hair, you need products to help draw moisture into the hair shaft and keep away from  products that will just build up on the surface and prevent moisture from getting in. The table below details the dos and don’ts for low porosity hair.

 Cher-Mere products for low porostiy hair includes moisture hair therapy and hair refresher

Do’s and Don’ts for LOW POROSITY HAIR

 

Do’s

Don’t

Do use protein-free products. Protein rich products may lay on the surface and prevent moisture from penetrating and reduce the pathway for moisture to get in.

Don’t co-wash your hair. You need to use a clarifying shampoo to prevent product buildup.

Do use products with  humectants such as honey or glycerin. They draw moisture in. Depending on the season you may have to alter the level of humectants that you use.

Don’t forget to add heat when conditioning your hair. You can do so with a steam cap, hooded cap, or just a plastic cap. This will help to open up the cuticle and allow the product in to reap all the conditioning and moisturizing benefits.

Do add hair moisturizers rich in emollients  like shea butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil and mineral oil that attract moisture and HOLD moisture into hair

Don’t forget to make sure that your leave in conditioner is water based and does not have protein products in to prevent products build up. Use a conditioner with humectants in it.

Do use hair milks and lighter liquid based products that won’t sit on the hair but will penetrate into the hair.

Don’t use heavy butters frequently. If you are using a Liquid, oil, cream (LOC) method to try to seal in moisture, using a lighter milk product.

Do use products that are close to the ideal pH range of hair which is between 4 to 5.5. Varying too high or too low causes shifts in how open or closed your cuticle is and will cause damage. High pH cause the cuticles to become open, swelling and lifting the har and low pH constricts the cuticle caused them to lie flat and tight against each other. In this state, flat and tight, the inner strands are protected, and your hair better reflects light which creates shine and sheen. So make sure that your shampoo and conditioners are pH balanced to your hair!

Don’t forget everyone’s hair journey is different and you have to find what works for you. Don’t be discouraged and love the hair you have!

 

With high porosity hair, the moisture is like being on a straight part. The challenge with this is just as easily as hair goes in, it can easily come out. Thus, those with high porosity need to ensure that you don’t have too much moisture, remember it is all about BALANCE. The table below details the do’s and don’t for those who may have high porosity hair.

Cher-Mere Products for High Porosity Hair include Inatural Curling Butter

Do’s and Don’ts for HIGH POROSITY HAIR

 

Do’s

Don’t

Do use anti-humectants products. Depending on your temperament for them, products with silicones fit this bill, they are not water soluble so prevents water from penetrating into the hair. Other options include products with beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil, avocado and olive oil.  Products that do NOT bring more moisture to the hair but rather form a barrier so to reduce excess moisture.

Don’t use products with humectants. Stay away from products with glycerine and honey for example that will bring more moisture to your hair. 

Do use protein rich products. You want products that will block the part of the moisture and trap it, the hydrogen bonds in protein products, bind to the keratin protein and will trap moisture and slow the flow through the cuticle.

Don’t use cream based conditioners that will bind and trap moisture into your hair.

Do layer and use methods such as LOC that we spoke about in our previous blog. Do use curling butters with shea butter to seal in moisture.

Don’t forget everyone’s hair journey is different and you have to find what works for you. Don’t be discouraged and love the hair you have!

 

 

How do you know what your hair porosity is?

 

There are some tests, such as the FLOAT TEST, in which you put a couple of strands of hair in a bowl of water for a few minutes and wait to see whether it floats or sinks. If it floats, low porosity, if it sinks – high porosity.

 

However,  being as acquainted with your hair as I think you may be. If when you go to have a shower and you wet your hair it takes a long time for the water to fully soak through or if after you wash your hair and you are like me and it’s day 2 and your hair is still wet then you have low porosity hair. If the opposite happens, instantly wet, you have high porosity hair.

 

I hope that you have learnt some tips and tricks and see what products would best suit you. Try our Cher-Mere quiz here to see what products we recommend. In the end, there is no hard or fast rule, try things and let your hair determine what works best for it.


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