Sunday, July 21, 2013

I Did The Hair Porosity Test: Coily Hair Overview

Porosity & Moisture Go Hand in Hand: My Hair Porosity Test

In the shower, ready to immerse those coils under the streaming water, how does your hair react? My hair soaks up the water just as well as my rag does. It also releases it in a timely manner when I remove my hair from the water stream. 

Things to watch for as it relates to moisture: 
  • How quickly does your hair dry? Does it dry up too fast or too slow? 
  • Do you find yourself having to moisturize every day or even 2 times a day? 
You may want to do a quick porosity test!
So I did a porosity test this morning

I kind of already know how my hair plays with water. My hair retains moisture very well. It dries at a rate of what I would consider to be normal for coily, springy hair. My "test" results proved that I was correct. 1 strand of my hair was placed into a large sized jug of water. I kept it there for about 10 minutes, and whatever turns and twists that hit the water eventually absorbed a bit of water, and still kept afloat. When I took that strand of hair out of the water, it was damp, and still had strength. 

Here's the scoop on the floating hair test:

Healthy hair should not sink at all or only sink slightly. The rate that it sinks indicates the pace that it absorbs (and will lose) moisture. It is said that if it sinks to the bottom, then the hair is too porous. If it sinks slightly, then it is normal porosity. If it doesn't sink at all, then it is not easily penetrated (by moisture or color or other chemical treatments). 

This helps me to understand why some folks hair may take longer than others to properly relax or be color treated.

NOTE: I had a bit of olive oil on my strands. Probably best to do this on "naked", dry hair. I know that oil and water just do not mix. Something to consider before doing this test. This is my layman's explanation of hair porosity. I am not a hair expert, I just dabble and experiment.

What is Porosity (as it pertains to hair)?

Porosity describes how moisture (water) is absorbed/retained by the hair. It describes specifically the condition of the cuticle layer of the hair. There are 3 categories typically used to explain one's hair porosity: 1) Low Porosity, 2) Normal Porosity, and 3) High Porosity.

Low Porosity Hair: Tends to have cuticles that are too compact. Moisture doesn't enter this hair shaft (or exit) easily. As a result, products can sit on the hair shaft (product build up). Low porosity hair does not absorb moisture well.

High Porosity Hair: High porosity hair has raised cuticles that will not hold moisture in the cortex or cellular membrane complex. Tends to have lots of "holes and spaces" on the hair shaft. The cuticles are lifted, and the hair absorbs LOTS of water. Lots of water may cause loss of elasticity, which can mean breakage. In the same way that the hair absorbs lots of water, the hair loses moisture quickly.

Medium Porosity Hair: Is just as it sounds. The cuticles are undisturbed, and lay in a way that allow hair to absorb the correct amount of water, and retain it for the "normal" amount of time that water takes to dissipate from similar textured fabrics/sources.

I speak only quickly on this topic, from a common sense point of view. There are numerous sources of in-depth information on this topic. Porosity (pores, openings). More pores or openings means water can get in and out easily. Less openings means water will not be able to get in and out easily. 

I'm only touching quick base on this topic, as it can be the cause of many a dry hair issues. Moisture is a hot topic all year long, and we can't address moisture without looking into our hair's porosity. If you are unsure about your hair's porosity, and suffer from dry hair issues, please try the test that was described above (on clean hair/without product--no recent protein treatment done).



1 comment:

  1. thank you :)
    read more dry hair causes and solutions.