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Why Porosity Matters...

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

Many curly girls focus on hair texture but are at a loss when their hair is still sooo dry despite ALL the products under the bathroom sink. This is why porosity matters. Porosity refers to how well your hair is able to absorb and hold moisture. Porosity is generally genetic but can be affected by chemical processing and heat treatments.

There are 3 levels of porosity: Low, medium, and high.


Low Porosity

It is very difficult for moisture to absorb into the hair shaft because of the tight, flat cuticle layer. In order to properly moisturize low porosity hair, you have to raise the cuticle. The best way to do this is with heat. Use a deep treatment (like Mizani moisture fusion intense moisturizing mask) under a hooded dryer or steamer to help the product bind with the hair. Products containing humectants like glycerin, honey, and castor oil help moisturize by retaining the water in the hair.

Signs of low porosity curly hair:

  • Curls take a long time to dry

  • Product buildup

  • Hair takes longer to saturate when wet

  • Natural oils don't penetrate, just sit on hair

Helpful styling tips:

  1. Do no or very little co-washing since low porosity hair is prone to product buildup.

  2. Instead alternate sulfate-free and clarifying shampoo.

  3. Apply products to damp, not wet hair.

  4. Lightweight products like hair milk, jojoba, and coconut oil are essential.

  5. Shea butter is an excellent sealant.


Medium/ Normal Porosity

Medium or normal porosity requires the least amount of maintenance. It easily absorbs and holds on to moisture. Occasional protein treatments are beneficial.

Signs of normal porosity curly hair:

  • Easily accepts and retains moisture inside the cuticle.

  • Holds styles well and can be colored easily.


High Porosity Hair

Highly porous hair is usually the result of chemical, mechanical, or environmental damage. high porosity hair has gaps and holes in the cuticle which let too much moisture in. As a result frizz and tangling happen in humid weather. Use anti-humidity and frizz-free products (like Mizani thermasmooth shine extend) to seal the cuticle and prevent it from absorbing too much moisture.

Signs of high porosity curly hair:

  • Curls easily absorb water

  • Curls look and feel dry

  • Curls are often frizzy

  • Curls dry quickly

Helpful styling tips:

  1. Incorporate regular deep conditioning treatments into your regimen

  2. Rinse in cold water to prevent frizz and seal

  3. Detangle with a wide-tooth comb to reduce breakage

  4. Layer leave-in conditioner, moisturizer, and a sealant to hold on to the moisture you put in

  5. Add a heavy butter to further protect your hair from loosing too much moisture

There are two methods you can use to find out how porous your hair is.

The Float Test: Take a couple of strands of hair from your comb or brush and drop them into a bowl of water. Let them sit for 2-4 minutes. If your hair floats, you have low porosity. If it sinks, you have high porosity.

The Slip'n'Slide Test: Take a strand of hair and slide your fingers up the shaft (toward the scalp). If you feel little bumps along the way, this means that your cuticle is lifted and that you have high porosity. If your fingers slip smoothly, then you have low porosity hair.

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