One of the three most important factors about your hair is the porosity level. The porosity level speaks directly to the middle of the hair's story by telling you "This is what ive been through..." Knowing the ABC's & 123's of your hair is dead! At Mane Affair Studio we have traded in the letters and numbers for individualization & understanding! At the end of this we will encourage you to know how to assess yours and your clients hair with simplicity.
WHAT IS POROSITY?
Simply explained, Porosity is a graded ability to absorb water. There are three functions of Porosity: Resistant, Balanced, Absorbent.
👈 Watch the following video to understand how simple porosity is.
If it makes sense to you, comment below what is your porosity level?
Yay we are finally getting somewhere! Now, that we have a better understanding of what porosity is... what does it mean for your mane? (*Disclaimer: This test is best performed on virgin hair)
Low Porosity hair resists & blocks moisture harder than a call from a debt collector! This is common for tightly, coiled hair & loose, coarse hair. (These are not the only hair types, just the most common)
Observe the diagram. Low porosity hair strands have smooth flat groves, and when water hits it, it immediately bounces off! This is caused by stubborn, thirsty cuticles absorbing water in small doses. Since 2010 til now naturally textured hair has gone through an epidemic of "hydrating teachings". The most popular one has been -- LOC (liquid, oil, cream) & LCO (liquid, cream, oil) methods to "trap" water into our hair.
The truth is, there is no way to "trap" water! According to Britannica.com "water, a substance composed of the chemical elements hydrogen and oxygen and existing in gaseous, liquid, and solid states." This means when using a stream of water directly on the hair as a liquid, absorbing into the hair is not guaranteed! Water as a solid, or gas would be most beneficial until you build the porosity to a medium/balanced level.
Start by pre-pooing the mane with a water soluble mask (charcoal, protein, etc) -- Allow it to set under a processing cap for 30 mins before shampooing.
The cuticles have now been manipulated open wider, and ready to shampoo. Use a gentle cleansing shampoo followed by a hydrating shampoo & conditioner.
Rinse well, and style mane as desired. For more information about our favorite styling gels: read more here.
Repeat this routine on your low porosity hair once a month, and every 3-5 days shampoo & condition as usual (without the mask)
Medium Porosity is the perfect balance between hydrated & moisturized. Getting to a medium porosity requires detoxing! Yup, those precious oil concoctions that you love so much need to be detoxed off your hair asap!
Lets go back to the diagram, notice how medium porosity don't want smoke! In fact water goes in and water flows right back out when it's had enough. This is a good sign that the hair will absorb water as a solid, liquid, and gas form. The solid form could be products like gels, custards, & creams. The best liquid form would consist of actual water. Actual water could be mixed with humectant based elements like aloe vera, honey, lanolin & glycerin make for a bomb DIY Moisturizing Treatment between shampoo days. NO OILS!
Also achieving medium/balanced porosity requires consistency! Consistency is finding a routine and sticking to it! If it works, why would you change it for the newest, most popular trend? Medium porosity is a sign that what is being done, and the products being used are working. Avoid too much water in your hair as well causing hygral-fatuige, where the hair needs a break from water/water based products. This occurs when the mane is being shampooed/wet more often than it gets a change to dry.
If your hair balances water well comment below whats your shampoo day routine?
High Porosity is every manes' nightmare! In case you forgot Refer back to the video to understand the difference between each porosity level. High porosity is equivalent to an old sponge, meaning have you even an old sponge become new again? In fact the old sponge becomes fragile, & limp.
According to the diagram, high porosity water exits as quickly as it enters. This could be confusing to some when doing the porosity to test because it appears to be repelling/resisting water but the truth is the gaged, open cuticle has filled up so quickly that it can not withstand any more water. A good sign that your porosity level is high is that it takes hours & sometimes days for the mane to dry!
Depending on the reasoning for having high porosity will determine if its reversible. This test is best performed on virgin hair (hair without color, relaxer, perm, chemically manipulation) Most manes with chemically manipulation is porous. This requires your mane to grow out at least 3 inches to test the roots/new growth.
Hair that is not chemically treated yet porous is most likely fine, loose, straight, waves that get oversaturated & limp easily from products. Its easy for your stands to get full fast but here are ways to treat high porosity hair:
Use detoxing/clarifying shampoos as your first cleanse. Followed by a sulfate free shampoo.
Apply restoring masks like Olaplex or K18 (follow manufacturer instructions)
Then lastly condition with a light weight conditioner that does not weigh your hair down, yet effective enough to balance the PH.
Depending on your desired style use a dime size worth of products, remember your hair is full so whatever it cannot withstand it will spit it back out causing your mane to take forever to dry!
Which sponge does your mane best resemble? Comment below!