There are times when your hair doesn’t respond well to hair dyes or other styling products. But some will find that their hair easily absorbs moisture and show wonders with oils. It’s all connected to hair porosity! You can have high, low or medium hair porosity. Depending on the type, your hair will react to different hair products. You can always try a test to know your type. After all, knowing your hair porosity is important for healthy hair.
HealthShots connected with Dr Vinay Kumar, Senior Consultant Dermatologist, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Dehradun, Uttarakhand to know all about hair porosity.
What is hair porosity?
Hair porosity indicates how porous your hair is. Simply put, it is the capacity of hair to permit passage and retention of substances like water, chemicals as well as other molecules between environments inside and outside of hair.
Dr Kumar explains that the outermost layer of hair strands is called cuticle and it is this layer that incorporates hair pores. Hair porosity is determined by the arrangement of building blocks of the outermost layer of hair strands. Under normal conditions, pores have an optimum size permitting entry of just the right amount of substances. Too big or too small pores result in either excessively high or too little transference of various ingredients.
Hair porosity is mostly genetically determined, but it is also affected by
• Your age
• Level of exposure to sunlight
• Hair dyeing or use of hair colours
• Chemical treatments
• Hair care routine
Porosity is important in predicting how your hair is going to respond to a hair procedure or treatment. On the basis of character of pores, you can classify hair into low porosity, medium porosity, and high porosity where medium porosity is the normal pattern.
Ways to test hair porosity
There are several ways to assess hair porosity. Most of the tests are easy, and one of them is known as the Float Test. It measures the ease with which a strand of hair sinks when placed on the surface of still water at room temperature in a bowl. The highly porous hair will sink almost immediately as it quickly becomes heavier by absorbing water molecules. Low porosity hair will resist water penetration and take more than five minutes to sink. Hair with medium pores will take less time to sink as compared to low porosity hair.
Low porosity hair
Low porosity hair is less responsive to hair dyes and large sized molecules with heavy molecular weight. So be it coconut oil or grapeseed oil, your hair will not respond well to it if you have low porosity hair.
High porosity hair
Women with high porosity hair will notice that their tresses allow easy penetration and retention of heavier molecules like oils, keratin and shea butter. Such hair type needs treatment with protein-rich hair preparations (hair masks with eggs).
Medium porosity hair
Medium porosity is considered to be the optimum state wherein hair allows selective molecules to pass through and retain them.
Tips for low porosity hair
1. Use lightweight hair oil
You should be concerned with moisturisation and breaking of hair. Since your hair is dry, rough and brittle, you should use lightweight oils like almond oil (ways of using almond oil to control hair fall).
2. Bathe in warm water
Bathing in warm water can help open up pores, says the expert. You can use conditioners, which are best when applied to wet hair. Protein containing preparations are not suitable for low porosity hair.
3. Use apple cider vinegar
Debris clogging the pores in cuticle can easily be removed by using apple cider vinegar. Humectants like honey and aloe vera will help to reverse low porosity hair.
Tips for high porosity hair
1. Use shea butter
Women with high porosity hair should go for heavy molecules like shea butter and cocoa. Protein-based products will help to repair the damaged cuticle.
2. Remove hair tangles gently
If you have high porosity hair, you must remove hair tangles very gently. A hair conditioner that helps to increase moisture content of hair will be a great help.