hair porosity 101

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Determining Hair Porosity & Finding Your Perfect Products

By Qhemet Biologics


Porosity refers to how readily your hair absorbs moisture. Knowing the porosity of your hair matters because it'll help you choose the products best suited to your hair's unique characteristics. Afro/coily hair tends to either be high or low porosity, however, it is possible to experience a combination of these due to hair treatments such as color or straightening.


Characteristics of Low Porosity Hair

You have low porosity hair if leave-in conditioners, butters and creams sit on top of your hair and weigh it down instead of being absorbed. This is because the hair cuticles tightly hug the hair's cortex which prevents moisture from easily penetrating. Because of this, low porosity hair will need light yet penetrating moisture, like our Burdock Root Butter Cream, to keep it soft throughout the day without it feeling heavy or greasy.


Characteristics of High Porosity Hair

High porosity hair readily absorbs moisture but also releases it quickly due to its raised cuticles, which causes hair to feel dry again shortly after applying products. You'll need to use products that are not only capable of adding moisture to the hair but of locking it in as well. Use a rich oil blend like our Castor & Moringa Softening Serum to trap moisture in and keep it from leaking out. An intense moisturizing cream like our Amla & Olive Heavy Cream also works wonders on high porosity hair, keeping it soft and hydrated for days. There's one way to determine your hair's porosity with certainty once and for all: drop it into a glass of water and watch if it sinks or swims. Sinking hair indicates high porosity while floating hair indicates low porosity.


Hair Types

3A? 4B? 4A? Which one am I? Type 1 and 2 hair is straight to wavy. Type 3 hair refers to hair that has a slightly tighter wave or curl pattern. Type 4 hair is clearly kinky and coily.

Curly hair is described as hair that contains bends. Each letter that describes curly hair refers to how close each bend is along the hair strand. For example, a strand of 4C hair will contain numerous, closely spaced bends and twists along its length while the bends and twists along 4A hair will be spaced further apart. The closer and more angular the bends, the kinkier the hair will be.


Products that Work for Your Hair

You're not destined to have dry, rough or damaged hair. In fact, knowing the porosity of your hair can help guide your product selections and help you reach your hair goals more quickly.

If you have low porosity hair, the trick is to get the products past tight cuticles so they can do their job. For this, you'll want to stick with products that attract moisture (humectants), and avoid products that have a low pH as these will seal the cuticle even more. Products containing vegetable glycerin and natural olive,  coconut, green tea and moringa oils offer softness, slip and lubricity and are designed to soften hair and skin. Applying products while your hair is wet will also provide some additional moisture to lock in. The use of our Burdock Root Butter Cream, Moringa Tree Conditioning Ghee and Coconut & Green Tea Softening Serum will give your low porosity hair the pampering it needs.  All three products contain a variety of ingredients best suited to low porosity hair. 

The trick to moisturizing high porosity hair is to keep moisture in once you've applied it. Whether your cuticles are damaged from heat, straightening or chemical processes, you'll want to choose hair products that have a lower pH to tighten the cuticle. Thick butters and oils will help to serve as an additional protective layer. Our Amla & Olive Heavy Cream is ideal for high porosity hair as it contains heavy oils like olive and castor that attract and retain moisture. Our Amla & Olive Heavy Cream also contains a variety of natural ingredients that support healthy hair growth to help grow out damaged hair. You'll need to handle this texture gently which means using a rich, creamy detangler to help flatten the cuticles and make combing with a wide tooth comb easier and painless. Use our Castor & Moringa Softening Serum to keep hair soft and supple, even overnight. Pure castor and moringa oils are perfect for high porosity hair and are rich in fatty acids.


Check out the product collections below to shop the best products for your hair based on its porosity.