3 Ways To Determine Your Hair Porosity

Photo Credit: @simplybiancaalexa

by  Mary Wolff

When it comes to your curls, the more you know, the better. Knowing the hair type and porosity of your hair can lead to a better understanding of what products to use, what styles to try, and overall care techniques for your best head of curls. When determining your hair porosity, there are a few basic methods to figure out this important factor.

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The 5 Best Oils for Low Porosity Natural Hair

IG @ericamuse 

by Sabrina Perkins of SeriouslyNatural.org

Hair porosity is how well hair is able to absorb and hold onto moisture. There is low, medium and high and all three affect your hair more than knowing your hair's type. As hair porosity becomes more relevant to naturals, the desire to not only know what type one has but what products will be ideal in managing that porosity.

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Hair Porosity: Does it Matter?

 
by Kanisha of BlackNaps.org

Hair porosity is a huge topic when it comes to natural hair. You may know that it deals with your hair’s ability to absorb moisture, but there’s a lot more to it than that. The science of hair can get deep real quick, so many naturals choose to focus on the look and feel of their hair rather than the nitty-gritty details of such topics as porosity.

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How to Moisturize Your Highly Porous Hair This Fall and Winter



Fall is upon us and winter is not far off as we are feeling the cooler temperatures and gearing up for the holiday season. It may not be apparent just yet, but naturals will need to get ready for the fall and winter weather for our hair. More naturals will be protective styling or adjust their spray bottle concoctions, but naturals with high porosity hair will also need to find ways to absorb just enough moisture - and retain it.

Hair Porosity 101- Natural Hair Care


by Amanda
Porosity is moving to the forefront of the hair typing conversation, and rightfully so. With the focus of healthy hair being moisture, understanding your hair’s porosity and the products that will cater to its needs are important. There are three porosity levels: low, medium (normal), and high. Low porosity hair has a cuticle that is tightly bound, making it challenging for moisture and chemicals to effectively penetrate and be released. High porosity has gaps and holes in the cuticle, which allow it to quickly absorb moisture and chemicals while also quickly releasing them. High porosity hair can be a result of genetics, over manipulation, heat usage, or chemical processing. Medium porosity is the easiest to manage and is the happy medium. There are multiple ways to check your hair’s porosity.

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The Importance of Hair Porosity in Natural Hair Care

 Photo Courtesy of pRoy

 
Your hair’s porosity is a great place to start if you need help finding products. It is determined by how tightly or loosely bound the cuticle is along the hair shaft. Low porosity hair is tightly bound, making it more challenging to absorb moisture, while high porosity hair is loosely bound or missing layers, making it challenging to withhold moisture. A lot of people associate high porosity hair with color-treated hair, but aside from genetics these are not the only ways someone can acquire high porosity hair.


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This Is Way More Important Than Your Curl Type...

 
 by Amanda

When people inquire about their hair type, they usually want to identify their curl pattern, which is probably the least important means of learning how to care for your hair. More hair care enthusiasts are switching the conversation to focus on porosity rather than curl pattern. Your hair’s porosity is determined by how quickly or slowly your hair absorbs and releases moisture, products, and chemicals. Knowing your hair’s porosity will help guide you in selecting products and also help your hairstylist determine how to approach your hair for color treatments.


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How to Condition High Porosity Natural Hair



Hair porosity does not get the same attention as hair length or curl pattern but it is essential to truly understand your texture. Porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture, oils, or chemicals like color. Low, medium, and high are different degrees of porosity. Due to damaging habits such as mechanical manipulation and color treatment, many naturals suffer with high porosity hair.

Why porosity matters

Low Porosity – the hair cuticles are tight and very resistant to opening for water and other forms of moisture. Women with low porosity often complain of products merely "sitting on their hair."

Medium (Normal) Porosity – the hair cuticles are raised enough to readily absorb moisture, oils, and chemicals. Normal porosity hair tends to hold moisture, shine, and absorb color and chemicals better than low or high porosity strands.

High Porosity – the hair cuticle that is highly raised or even chipped and therefore quickly absorbs moisture. The down side is that because it’s raised and remains raised, you can lose the moisture just as quickly as it was absorbed. Oftentimes this hair type is damaged from harsh chemicals, high heat, or harsh shampoos that strip the hair. Because the cuticles are aggressively raised, the strands catch onto each other and become easily tangled.

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Low Porosity Hair- Four solutions to help your strands absorb moisture.



Think of your hair like a sponge. Your curls have the same ability as a sponge: soak in and absorb moisture. Most of us add a zillion ingredients to help moisturize, define, hold, and add a little shine or an extra pop of color. On some occasions, our hair does not absorb certain products the way we want it to and we are left with dry, brittle strands and confused about why all the oils and creams that work so well for others do not work with our hair. Hair porosity is the factor that affects how much moisture your hair can absorb. It is the cuticle or outer layer of the hair that defines whether hair has high, normal, or low porosity.

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How to Dry Low and High Porosity Natural Hair



Before we delve into anything let’s do some quick educating for any new naturals out there. Hair porosity is the hairs ability to absorb water and hold onto it and is affected by the cuticle of the hair. However, since there are a number of articles about this you can visit this page about hair porosity that really helps to explain it all.

DRYING LOW POROSITY HAIR 
As a low porosity natural, you have probably spent hours locked up inside of your house because of hair that simply refused to dry or woken up to damp hair. This can be very annoying, so if you want to cut down on your drying time, here are some things to consider. 

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Hair Porosity and Your Natural Hair Regimen


by Precious Henshaw of PreciousHenshaw.com

Porosity is a term used to describe the hair's ability to absorb moisture. The higher the porosity, the more the hair absorbs.

Hair can be described as having low, normal or high porosity. In each of these types of porosities, the cuticle, or the outer layer of the hair, is a bit different.

In hair with low porosity, the cuticles are compact; they lie flat. Hair with low porosity typically does not absorb moisture very readily. Hair with low porosity tends to resist the absorption of hair color, chemicals, and heat, and is much more difficult to process than hair with normal porosity or high porosity. When the hair is exposed to water, the water may bead up on the hair before it actually begins to absorb.

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Applying Products to Low Porosity Hair



As a low porosity natural, product application can be a very long and arduous task. The foaming of products, the little white balls of product and literally having the product slide off of your hair and into the sink can quickly get annoying and layering is something one can only dream of.

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An Indepth Look at Porosity and Naturally Curly Hair


by Tonya McKay of NaturallyCurly

Porosity is the term used in the science of hair care to describe how easily water and other matter can diffuse back and forth through the cuticle layer and into or out of the cortex. Hair is much like a sponge, capable of absorbing water and other substances from the environment, and also susceptible to losing precious moisture and lipids to the environment. Maintaining an optimal balance of moisture in your hair preserves its suppleness, strength, and shine. This is especially important for those of us with curly hair, as it greatly influences the health and beauty of our tresses.

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Hair Porosity and Width- Natural Hair Care



Whenever I peruse the hair forums there always seems to be at least one thread asking about hair type created by a confused, newly natural who wants to know where to begin. She usually wants to know her hair type or curl pattern so that she can go to the appropriate forum and be with women who seemingly share her hair struggles.

Whenever I see these threads, I cringe because I absolutely abhor, not hate but abhor, the hair typing system where women are placed into categories based on their curl pattern. Not only is it misleading, but it is also divisive. Simply knowing your hair pattern does not help you to weather the storm that is being a newly natural because there are two far more important factors to consider – hair porosity and density.

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How to Deep Condition Low Porosity Hair




When you buy new furniture, applying Scotch Guard will keep spills and liquid from soaking into it. Having low porosity hair is equivalent to having Scotch Guard on your hair, as low porosity doesn’t absorb moisture the way high porosity hair does. (click here to see if you have low or high porosity strands)

This makes it difficult to apply products like deep conditioner to low porosity hair. These simple methods will help your hair accept the products and treatments it needs to stay moisturized.

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411 on Hair Porosity and Natural Hair Regimens


by Mahisha Dellinger of Curls.biz

Whether you love it or hate it, most of you are aware of Andre Walker’s hair typing chart. One topic that is less ubiquitous is the term “porosity” as it relates to curly hair. As a fellow curly, I am well aware of the challenges we face — frizz, dryness, limp hair, fluffy hair, uneven hair, 2-3 textures…the list goes on and on. I firmly believe that you can solve most of your daily challenges by selecting the appropriate products based on your hair’s porosity.

But first of all, let’s take a look at just what hair porosity is.

po·ros·i·ty

The state or property of being porous, or permeable to fluids and outside influences.
A structure or part that is porous and capable of being penetrated.  The ratio of the volume of all the pores in a material to the volume of the whole.  In essence, your hair’s porosity is the measure of its ability to absorb and hold onto moisture. This factor will help you determine the most effective way of moisturizing your textured tresses.

What is My Porosity?

Ready to discover your hair’s porosity? Take a strand of your hair (after gently brushing or finger combing your hair) and place it in a glass of water. Observe how your hair responds to being immersed in water.
  • High porosity hair will sink quickly to the bottom, therefore it readily absorbs water.
  • Low porosity hair will take a long time to sink to the bottom of the glass of water, if at all. In this case, the hair is unable to absorb the water.
  • Normal porosity hair will sink at a medium pace, not too fast or too slow.
So now that you know your hair’s porosity, what steps do you need to take to ensure maximum moisture based on your level?

High Porosity

High porosity hair has a difficult time holding onto moisture as it easily escapes the raised cuticles. It is important to avoid drying detergents and heavy silicones (for some) that may further exacerbate the issue.

TIP: Shop for rich creams and butters for your hair. I suggest sealing the hair in layers…start with a moisture rich leave in, follow up with a cream, and finish with a heavy butter.

I also suggest that high porosity curlies try a ACV (apple cider vinegar) rinse. This is a great way to temporarily close your cuticle, and enable the hair to retain moisture.

Low Porosity

Low porosity hair is typically much harder to moisturize since it is more difficult for moisture to penetrate the hair shaft. Prep time is paramount for low porosity curlies. Every step in your daily routine is important and will determine how healthy your hair is. Avoid moisture sapping products, including alcohol based gels, hairspray and mousse.

TIP: Shop for water based, liquid leave in moisturizers that will moisturize without heaviness. Also, make sure to add a natural oil to your regime. Opt for a light to seal your hair after moisturizing. I prefer jojoba oil since it most resembles the sebum produced in our scalp. Heavy oils will be harder to absorb and will simply sit on top of it and weigh it down.

Medium Porosity

If you fall in this category, you are only lucky curly! Medium porosity hair is easily moisturized and retains its moisture level well. My hair has normal (medium) porosity. One of my favorite ways to keep my curls hydrated is to do a conditioning rinse, then reapply a thin layer of conditioner (add more on the ends) and finally seal with pure monoi oil.

TIP: Shop for moisturizing conditioners, that can double as a leave in. Avoid protein heavy conditioners for this purpose, as the residual protein can lead to straw like curls. Add a few natural oils to the mix for sealing your hair. I prefer oils that also offer amazing benefits. Monoi de Tahiti and pomegranate seed oil are my favorites.

Humidity Schumidity – You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

by Julia-Anne of Three Naturals 

I recently got back from a fabulous two-week vacation to my island home – St. Lucia (with a quick hop over to Barbados for a wedding – shout out to Charm & Tunde). I didn’t really give any thought at all to how I would style my hair in St. Lucia, because I figured for one thing… “who cares?, I’m on vacation!” and “I’ll do what I normally do”. I packed a couple 1 ounce containers of our Three Naturals Shea Butter mix, and off to the races wit’ that.

The night before we flew out, I spritzed my already blown out hair (I had blown it out about a week and a half prior) with water, smoothed in some shea mix and braided it in about 12-15 braids, planning to take them out in the morning. When the morning came, I figured I could put the braids up in one, let them set a little more and take them out at the airport or on the flight. I didn’t want the terrible Toronto summer humidity to get to my braid-out and then get to St. Lucia looking all puffy and crazy.

I took the braids out while waiting in the departure lounge for the boarding call and ended up with what was probably one of the best braid outs I have ever had. No, I didn’t take a picture…but it looked something like this, only longer, because it was blown out:


All the way to St. Lucia…perfect hair. And as soon as we landed – this:


Can you say humid? Steamy? Watery air?

This happened as soon as I stepped off the plane. But do you know…after the horror of it died down, a few days into the trip I thought, maybe it was just humid that night. I’ll try again. So two days later on the eve of my birthday, I braided it up again. The next evening…


Not bad…this is at the door of our hotel room. I’m about to step outside…elapsed time: approx. 1.5 minutes to get to the restaurant, poolside…


And several moments later…



Hard to see so I drew a nice pink outline around my hair for ya.

So what have we learned girls?

It wasn’t just an odd night the first time…Pretty much every night’s a humid night on the island.
What we call humidity up here in the good old North is a gentle moist caressing of our hair, compared to the rain shower of invisible water that affected my hair in St. Lucia

And the moral of the story is…I will never complain about humidity again (now that I know what it really is).

Low Porosity Hair- Natural Hair Care and Styling



 by L. Providence of PartyOverHair.com

Always wonder why it takes your hair forever and a day to dry? Or how about why it seems as if products, particularly heavy butters and creams, just sit on your hair? Chances are you may have low porosity hair. If you’re unsure, take a few strands of your freshly washed hair and place them in a cup of room temperature... how long does it take your hair to float to the bottom? Does it even float to the bottom? Yea, you have low porosity hair.

It seems as if all naturals will struggle with maintaining moisture at some point in their hair journey. Lo-po hair naturals have it no different. This Lo-po V.I.P list is compiled of products that aid in raising your tight cuticles so that products can penetrate.

Wash days + co-washing

+ When you have low porosity hair, heat needs to become your best friend as it aids in opening cuticles. The best way to heat hair and moisturize is with a steamer, such as the Huetiful Steamer Aside from just using a steamer for your deep conditioning treatments, start using it for your pre-poos as well. A cheap alternative to steaming is placing your hair under a plastic cap and wrapping a hot towel around your head.

+ If you don’t have time to give yourself deep conditioning treatments with heat, consider heating up your conditioner before applying to your hair, as well as rinsing your hair with warm water before applying conditioner. A lot of lo-po naturalistas tend to have great experiences with Giovanni 50/50 Balanced Hair Moisturizer and made this one of their favorite conditioners to use.

+ Since baking soda is alkaline in nature, it can temporarily lift the hair’s cuticle. You can add a little baking soda to your conditioners or try the Cherry Lola Treatment, in which you mix baking soda with water and apply to your hair before rinsing out with cool water. With your cuticles raised, you’ll need to reseal with something acidic like Aloe Vera Juice.

+ When it comes to clarifying, consider using Bentonite Clay which can be used like a shampoo to trap and remove dirt, debris, buildup and other particles from your hair and scalp.

Protein Treatments

+ When it comes to protein, don’t go overboard as your hair doesn’t require much of it. If you decided to use protein, look for hydrolyzed rice, silk and wheat protein as they tend to be really good in penetrating and coating low porosity hair.

Daily Use
 
+ You must allow your hair some time to dry before attempting to apply products. When applying products, it’s best to start with a water based product, like Shea Moisture Enhancing Curl Smoothie, before trying to apply additional products. Look for richer conditioners with great emollients, such as jojoba oil, but sans the plethora of unnecessary oils.

+ Try finding products that contain humectants, such as Glycerin or Honey to draw out moisture. The glycerin is something you’ll have to experiment with as some people swear by it, while others loathe it. Glycerin is said to work better in climates with high humidity.

+ Some lo-po naturals tend to be extremely oil sensitive or may even choose not to use oil altogether. If you are going to use oil, avoid your heavier oils like coconut and opt for a lighter oil like Grapeseed Oil.


For those of you what low porosity hair, have you tried any of these products to help with dryness? What are some other products you would recommend?

How to Moisturize Natural Hair

 
 by NaturallyChelsea via NaturallyCurly

As curlies, we are in a constant battle to keep our hair moisturized. Some of us even go on quests to find the perfect regimen and holy grail products that will keep our tresses happy for days on end. But having coily hair that is well hydrated doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s as simple as understanding your hair’s porosity and knowing what to use for your curl pattern.

Porosity

Your hair’s porosity is the measure of its ability to absorb and hold onto moisture and thus is the best indicator for how you should moisturize it. In order to find out your hair’s porosity, take one of your shed hairs and place it in a glass of water. If it floats quickly to the bottom then your hair has high porosity. If it takes forever and a day to sink, then you have low porosity hair. Lastly, if it sinks at a pace that is neither too fast nor slow, then you have normal porosity hair.

Low Porosity

Low porosity hair is usually harder to moisturize since it is more difficult to get the moisture into your strands. In order to moisturize your hair, you should use more water based, liquid products that will moisturize your hair without coating it and making it greasy. Also, use a light oil like jojoba ro grapeseed oil to seal your hair  since heavier oils like castor oil or olive oil will be harder for your hair to absorb and will simply sit on top of it and weigh it down.

Also, if you really have an issue with your hair absorbing products, try to apply them to damp or dry hair since the strands will have released the water and will therefore be able to absorb the product. A temporary way to open up your cuticles so your strands can better absorb product is to do a baking soda treatment on your hair. Because baking soda is alkaline in nature, it will cause the cuticles of your hair to raise. Simply mix baking soda and water until it forms an aerated paste, apply it to the hair and leave it on for 15 minutes then rinse.

Medium Porosity

If you have medium porosity hair then you’re one lucky natural. This means that you have quite a few options for moisturizing your hair. However, there is a new method of moisturizing the hair called the L.O.C. (liquid, oil and cream) method that many women swear by. This method works so well because each layer of product seals the layer before it (i.e. the cream seals the oil which seals in the liquid). To do this method, apply a liquid leave in or moisturizer, then a light oil to seal it in and finish with your favorite creamy moisturizer or styler on top and your hair should be happy for at least a couple of days.

High Porosity

If you have high porosity hair, it probably has a difficult time holding onto moisture because of its raised cuticles that allow moisture to be lost to the atmosphere. In order to keep your tresses happy, apply heavy products to your hair in layers. Try applying a leave in, then a thick moisturizer then a heavy butter to seal all the moisture in. To keep your hair moisturized throughout the week, mix your favorite liquid moisturizer or leave in with water in a spray bottle with a few drops of oil and spray it on your hair at nights then seal with a butter.

To help close your cuticles temporarily to better hold onto moisture, try doing apple cider vinegar rinses when you cleanse your hair. Apple cider vinegar is acidic and will temporarily help to close your cuticles. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 2 cups of water and pour it over your hair after cleansing it, then dry it and style as normal. You can also try adding more aloe vera gel or juice to your regimen.

Final Thoughts

The key to moisturized hair is healthy hair so keep a running appointment with your jar of deep conditioner, go easy on the heat and treat it gently. As always remember to have love peace and curly haired bliss.

 How do you get and maintain the moisture of your locks?

Curly Hair 101- Revisiting the Basics

by Tiffany Anderson of Live Curly Live Free

Over 65% of the world's population has curly hair, yet many girls with curls chemically straighten and/or damage their hair with blow-dryers and flat irons rather than wear their natural curls. Why? Because they are sick and tired of struggling with dry, unmanageable frizz day after day, tired of bad haircuts from stylists who don't know how to properly handle curly hair, and tired of spending large sums on money on products that promise perfect curls, but only let them down time and time again. No more dealing with their "problem hair," they vow, so they resort to straightening it―only to end up damaging it further. It's a vicious, never-ending cycle.

Curly hair in and of itself really isn't the problem, however. The vast majority of curly hair problems are due to improper haircuts, bad styling products and ineffective styling techniques. As impossible as it may sound, when you have the right cut, use the right type of products, utilize the proper styling techniques, and understand the basics of curly hair, your curls will seem to magically change from frumpy, out-of-control frizz to healthy, defined curls almost immediately.

 Let's start putting this together to understand how it all works by first focusing on a few hair basics:

What is Hair? 

Hair is actually a nonliving fiber made from a protein called keratin. Keratin, in turn, is made up of long chains of amino acids created from what are known as the COHNS elements: carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and sulfur. These chains are linked together end to end like beads and are also cross-linked together by what are known as side bonds. These bonds are responsible for the strength and elasticity of the hair strand of which they are a part.

Each hair strand is made up of three parts: the cuticle, the cortex and the medulla. The medulla is the innermost layer of the hair; however, not everyone has one and it is most commonly found only in thick, coarse hair. Since the medulla is considered unimportant when it comes to hair services, we'll only be paying attention to the cuticle and the cortex.

The Cuticle 

The cuticle is the outer layer of hair. It is not one solid layer, but instead is made of individual scales that lay against one another just like roof tiles. The cuticle of a healthy hair strand will lie flat and protect the inside of the hair shaft against damage, as well as keep moisture in your hair where it belongs. Learning how to keep the cuticle of your hair shut is one of the most important things you can do to keep your hair healthy, moisturized and frizz-free.

The Cortex 

The cortex is the middle layer of the hair shaft (for many, it is also the innermost layer of hair for those who don't have a medulla). The cortex itself is responsible for approximately 90 percent of your hair's total weight; additionally, the natural color of your hair is determined within the cortex by a pigment known as melanin. The permanent chemical changes that take place in your hair due to permanent haircolor, texturizing, perming, straightening or relaxing take place within the cortex.

The pH Scale – What It Is and Why It Is Critical to Curly Hair Care 

The pH scale is what we use to determine the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. The scale ranges in value from 0 to 14, with 0 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline:


 Pure water carries a pH of 7 or “neutral,” so anything below 7 on the scale is considered acidic and anything above 7 is considered alkaline. So why is that critical for curly hair? Remember when I said learning to shut your cuticle is one of the most important things you can do to keep moisture inside your hair shaft and help to keep the frizz at bay? Acidic solutions are what shut the cuticle and keep the hair from damage, while alkaline solutions open the cuticle to let anything invade the cortex. That's why choosing the right products and learning how to use them properly makes all the difference in the health and appearance of your curls.

Here's an example. Your hair ranges between 4.5 and 5.5 on the pH scale. Technically, that means even the act of putting pure water on your hair is damaging all by itself because water is naturally more alkaline than hair. That's why you hear so much talk about “acid-balanced” shampoos and conditioners, or why rinsing with apple cider vinegar (pH value 3) or lemon juice (pH value 2) can be so effective. Acid-balanced solutions, when used while cleansing your hair, bring your hair back into balance and shut that cuticle back down!

While the difference between 5 and 7 might not seem like a big deal at first glance, it is important to note the pH scale is what is called a “logarithmic” scale: each change in number means a tenfold change in pH. So, according to the scale, lemon juice at a pH of 2 is actually 10 times more acidic than vinegar at a pH of 3. And that means water is actually 100 times more alkaline than hair. Looked at in that way, it all of a sudden becomes a very big deal indeed. Understanding how pH works and how you can manipulate it to your advantage will help you in keeping your curls healthy and frizz-free.

What is Hair Texture?

Simply put, your hair texture is determined by the diameter of the hair strand itself. Fine hair has the smallest diameter, coarse hair has the largest, and medium texture is somewhere in between. Your hair texture plays one of the most important roles in how you should care for your curls, not only through daily maintenance, but also when considering any chemical services such as haircolor or texturizing. Let's take a closer look at the different types of hair texture:

Fine Hair 

Fine hair can appear very limp or flyaway and does not hold a style well. It frequently seems dry, when in fact it is quite often over-moisturized. It is very easy to over-process and is quickly damaged by chemical services if great care is not taken. Products with a lot of humectants and emollients should be avoided in favor of those with protein, which acts as a strengthener and gives fine hair the strength and structure that Mother Nature did not.

Medium Hair 

Medium hair is what is considered “normal” hair, meaning it has a mid-range texture. It does not require any special considerations for chemical services and usually processes normally. Undamaged hair with a medium texture can generally support products with a wide range of ingredients, although it is usually advisable for those with a medium texture to avoid protein in penetrating products, i.e., conditioners, deep treatments, etc.

Coarse Hair 

Coarse hair is much thicker and stronger than fine or medium hair, but typically does not bend and cannot hold a style well. It is also often dry and brittle, due to an overabundance of protein. Coarse hair is much harder to process and is often very resistant to chemical services. Products with a lot of protein should be avoided in favor of those with humectants and emollients, as protein adds strength to an already abundantly strong hair strand and can cause a dry, hard, "broom straw" effect.

 To determine your texture: hold a single strand up to the light.
  • Does the hair strand look delicate, a bit insubstantial, somewhat translucent, and seem almost as if it's "barely there"? If any of these characteristics fit, the hair texture is most likely fine.
  • Does the hair strand look thick, wiry, and sturdy? Does it seem substantial and strong, with a very definitive presence and a distinctive lack of suppleness? If so, the hair texture is most likely coarse.
  • Does the hair strand seem somewhat solid, but not overly thick? Does it have some substance to it, but is still fairly supple? If so, the hair texture is most likely medium.
Please remember it is quite possible to have hair of varying textures all over your head―texture isn't always a "one size fits all" kind of hair property!

There is one exception to the rule and that's for hair that's been lightened or bleached. When you put bleach on your hair, you blow holes in the cortex that look just like potholes. It doesn't matter how “healthy” your hair feels after your lightening service―that only means you've been what we call properly “reconstructed.”

Every time you get lightened, you need to have a protein reconstruction treatment to fill in those holes, no matter what your hair texture. If you have coarse hair, however, one good reconstruction immediately after the service will probably do the trick, considering you naturally manufacture an overabundance of protein within your hair shaft anyway. Those with fine hair should consider a series of treatments to keep their hair healthy.

What is Hair Porosity?

Porosity refers to the ability of your hair to absorb moisture and is determined by the state the cuticle of your hair is in. Porosity is a critically important factor in determining curly hair care since moisture is what shapes and defines our curls. If you don't know your hair's porosity, you won't be able to make the best product and maintenance routine choices to maximize the amount of moisture your curls retain. The existing "curl classification systems" never seem to mention porosity in their categorization process. Odd, considering lack of moisture is one of the biggest causes of frizz, the demon of Curly World.

There are three different classifications of porosity:

Low Porosity

Low porosity is when the cuticle of the hair shaft is too compact and does not permit moisture to enter or leave the hair shaft. Hair with low porosity is much more difficult to process, is resistant to chemical services, and has a tendency to repel product rather than absorb it.

Normal Porosity

With normal porosity, the cuticle is compact and inhibits moisture from leaving or entering the hair shaft; however, it allows for normal processing when a chemical service is performed and will readily absorb and retain product properly formulated for this hair type.

High Porosity

Hair with high porosity, also known as “overly porous” hair, has an open cuticle that both absorbs and releases moisture easily. Overly porous hair processes very quickly and can be easily damaged if extreme care is not taken when a chemical service is performed. Although overly porous hair absorbs product quickly, it is often dry as the open cuticle does not allow for product retention within the hair shaft.

To determine your own hair's porosity, grasp a hair strand firmly between your fingers. Slide the thumb and index finger of your other hand from end to scalp (opposite direction as for texture test). If your fingers "catch" going up the strand, or feel like they are ruffling up the hair strand, your hair is overly porous. If it is smooth, you have normal porosity. If your fingers move very fast up the hair strand and it feels exceptionally slick, you have low porosity.

Why Hair Texture and Porosity are the Keys to Understanding Your Curls

This is where the so-called "curl classification systems" can be problematic. If Type 2 is supposed to mean fine, wavy hair, what happens if you have wavy hair with a coarse texture and high porosity? Or you have tight corkscrew curls often wrongly categorized as coarse, but your hair is baby-fine (as are many with curly hair) with really low porosity?

If you have wavy hair and follow the routines and use the products normally suggested for this curl type, but your hair is actually coarse and overly porous, you are going to end up with hair like straw–plus, you won't be addressing the problem of your high porosity, which blows product out of the hair shaft anyway.

If your corkscrew curls are fine and you load them up with the humectants and emollients often recommended for this hair type, your hair will end up a limp, stringy mess, assuming you can get the product into your hair in the first place. It just doesn't work that way.

Taking into account the deets above, what's your hair's profile? What products work best for you? 

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