How Hair Density and Porosity Affect Hair Moisture Holding Time
In this article we will take a quick look at hair density and porosity, and how this affects the ability of you hair to lock in the moisture for a longer time.
Hair density refers to how closely your individual hair strands are packed together on your head. It indicates how many hairs there are on a person’s head.
Hair density can be classified as low, medium or high. First start with dry hair as wet hair often looks thinner than it really is.
Let your hair hang loose in its natural un-parted shape and look at it closely from all angles.
If you can see your scalp easily then you have low hair density
If you can see some of your scalp, then you have medium hair density and
If your scalp is difficult or impossible to see then you have high hair density.
If you find that you have low hair density, use light products that won’t weigh your hair down and reduce its volume. Use a mousse to make your hair look fuller and use volumizing shampoos / conditioner with thickening agents. Simple, rounded hairstyles will allow your curls and waves to have the appearance of more volume which is ideally what you want to achieve.
Now with medium density, you can use a variety of products, styles and cuts to enhance your texture. Mousse and dry shampoos will play up volume, as well as heavier creams and butters will give your hair weight. ‘Wash and gos’ are great and will allow your texture to really shine. Twist and braids will alter your curl pattern and give it more structure.
If your hair density is high, heavy products like gels, creams and butters will hold your curls together and reduce volume. Layered hairstyles work well with women with high density.
Porosity refers to the hairs ability to absorb and hold moisture. This is determined by the condition of the hair’s cuticle layer, which determines how easily moisture and oils pass in and out of your hair. For many people, porosity is genetic but it can also be affected by external factors such as chemically processed hair, color treated hair and excess heat exposure.
Hair porosity is rated as low, normal and high and knowing your hair porosity can help you choose the right products to keep your hair well-moisturized, strong and shiny.
Levels of Porosity
Hair with low porosity has a tight cuticle with overlapping scales that lay flat and it makes it hard for moisture and chemicals to penetrate the hair. This type of hair is considered healthy and is often very shiny. Low porosity hair repels moisture and is hard to process since it resists penetration of chemicals.
Low porosity is prone to build-up from protein-rich deep conditioning products which can leave it feeling stiff and straw-like. Protein-free conditioner and moderate heat will help to open up tightly bound cuticle. Women with this hair require moisturizers and humectants products which attract and hold moisture to your hair. By choosing lighter, liquid-based products they won’t sit on your hair and leave it oily and greasy.
The cuticle is slightly raised, allowing just the right amount of moisture to enter while preventing too much from escaping. Women with normal porosity tend to hold styles well and can be relaxed. Deep conditioning treatments with protein conditioners will benefit medium porosity hair as chemical processes can damage your hair and increase its porosity
High porosity hair has gaps and holes in the cuticle, overly porous hair is usually damaged and the cuticle is lifted. This cuticle lets too much moisture into your hair and leaves it prone to frizz and can leave your hair feeling dry, fragile and brittle. Simple acts such as bathing, swimming and shampooing can create more damage and breakage due to the amount of moisture highly porous hair can absorb.
Anti-humectants will help seal your damaged cuticles and prevent them from absorbing excess moisture in the air. By using leave in conditioners, moisturizers and sealers will help your hair hold on to the moisture you’re giving it because highly porous hair will lose moisture easily.
You can use a heavy hair butter to help fill the gaps in your damaged cuticles and further protect your hair from losing too much moisture.
Determining hair porosity
There are three methods that you can use to find out how porous your hair is.
1. Float Test: Take a couple stands of hair from your comb or brush and drop them into a bowl of water. Let it sit for 2 -4 minutes. If it floats, you have low porosity and if it sinks then you have high porosity.
2. The slip n slide test: take a strand of hair and slide your fingers up the shaft. If you feel little bumps along the way, it means that your cuticle is lifted and that you have high porosity. If your fingers slip smoothly, then you have low porosity hair.
3. Spritz Test: Using a spray bottle, segment your hair and hold the sprayer at least 6-8inches away then spritz the hair and watch the way the water reacts with the hair. If the water is immediately absorbed and disappeared then the hair is porous. If the water beads or begins rolling off the hair immediately, the hair is non-porous.