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View Full Version : Hair Porosity! Are you low, normal or high porosity?



RebekahE
September 6th, 2016, 01:13 PM
I found this video on YT (thanks to torrinpaige's channel) and found it very interesting. I am sure some of you know this already but I found it very helpful to me. I am low porosity and I never understood why coconut oil always seemed to leave build-up. I am going to be trying almond oil next wash day to see if it works better. (I hope to eventually try the others but almond oil is what I have on hand)

So, what is your hair on the porosity scale?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFOAiEHU-7I&feature=youtu.be

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFOAiEHU-7I&feature=youtu.be

sarahthegemini
September 6th, 2016, 01:35 PM
I'm normal to low porosity. Nothing really penetrates my hair :shrug:

Pamberpestana
September 6th, 2016, 02:15 PM
My hair is so porous even though its really healthy! I think that's why hair loves cones so much haha

ephemeri
September 6th, 2016, 08:44 PM
High porosity on the ends, the last of my box-dyed hair. Normal porosity everywhere else. :)

irishsapphire
September 7th, 2016, 10:13 PM
Normal to low, depending on the strand. Either way, it hates coconut oil and other heavy treatments with a feiry all consuming powerful passion

lapushka
September 8th, 2016, 04:04 PM
I'm normal porosity. Hair dye works on me, bleach works on me fine. Henna too. Low porosity hair withstands most chemical services, that's how you know the difference between low & normal. After the dye & bleach porosity may (and probably will) increase to high. My hair is all virgin now, but if I were to dye, perm, bleach it, it would take it no problem - so it's normal porosity.

IMMHO "low" porosity is overused.

Kiiruna
September 8th, 2016, 04:08 PM
Mine is normal to high, especially the permed parts are very porous.

Shiranshoku
September 8th, 2016, 04:10 PM
I'm normal porosity. Hair dye works on me, bleach works on me fine. Henna too. Low porosity hair withstands most chemical services, that's how you know the difference between low & normal. After the dye & bleach porosity may (and probably will) increase to high. My hair is all virgin now, but if I were to dye, perm, bleach it, it would take it no problem - so it's normal porosity.

IMMHO "low" porosity is overused.

I agree! I also find the term porosity misleading in and of itself, since hair has no pores.

Absorbancy, maybe?

animetor7
September 8th, 2016, 04:15 PM
I have low "porosity"/"absorbancy" hair according to the water test shown in the video. :) This wasn't really a surprise to me as my hair is straight, fine, and has always had problems with dye uptake. Interestingly though, I'm able to use coconut oil with great success. So I suppose this test is truly YMMV in terms of what the results mean in terms of oils etc. that are useful for hair types.

lapushka
September 8th, 2016, 04:23 PM
I have low "porosity"/"absorbancy" hair according to the water test shown in the video. :) This wasn't really a surprise to me as my hair is straight, fine, and has always had problems with dye uptake. Interestingly though, I'm able to use coconut oil with great success. So I suppose this test is truly YMMV in terms of what the results mean in terms of oils etc. that are useful for hair types.

My comment was just a general observation, not directed specifically at you. But it does make me wonder why *everybody* (esp. on YT) seems to think they're low porosity.

animetor7
September 8th, 2016, 04:28 PM
My comment was just a general observation, not directed specifically at you. But it does make me wonder why *everybody* (esp. on YT) seems to think they're low porosity.

Oh I know, I just figured It would be helpful to have some explanation. I hope I didn't come across as defensive or upset! :) I appreciate your comment as overusing terms is unhelpful in learning how to classify hair types properly. Hopefully having a real test for this will help with everyone claiming low porosity hair. :):cheese::blossom:

lapushka
September 8th, 2016, 05:09 PM
Oh I know, I just figured It would be helpful to have some explanation. I hope I didn't come across as defensive or upset! :) I appreciate your comment as overusing terms is unhelpful in learning how to classify hair types properly. Hopefully having a real test for this will help with everyone claiming low porosity hair. :):cheese::blossom:

Yeah! I totally get it. :flower: And I don't much care for the porosity test (hair in water) either. There should be a better way to tell, right? :)

meteor
September 8th, 2016, 05:20 PM
My roots are pretty low porosity (take a long while to get wet, soak things up) and my ends are quite porous (soak up oils/products like a sponge), which makes sense since my hair is ~ 53'' long (past fingertip) and the ends have had some exposure to bleach years ago.


I agree! I also find the term porosity misleading in and of itself, since hair has no pores.

Absorbancy, maybe?

Hair has pores... or "holes" or "microcavities", if you will. :) It's discussed at some length in hair related research. Even virgin hair has pores, but, of course, damage (e.g. mechanical, UV, thermal, chemical) increases porosity.


I know water test is pretty popular, but unfortunately, the water test is not really that reliable IMHO (it doesn't take into consideration surface tension of water, specific gravity, coating on hair, etc)... Currently, the most reliable test for hair porosity is considered to be gas sorption (e.g. here it's used to test hair porosity increasing with UV exposure and bleach: True porosity measurement of hair: a new way to study hair damage mechanisms - http://journal.scconline.org/pdf/cc2008/cc059n04/p00303-p00315.pdf , summary: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18818850)

But there are easier, though less reliable ways to judge it by observation, e.g. from Science-y Hair Blog:
http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.ca/2011/09/porosity-in-hair.html
http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.ca/2012/06/hair-porosity-how-to-measure-sort-of.html
http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.ca/2014/12/testing-float-test-for-hair-porosity.html
http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.ca/2014/03/managing-elasticity-and-porosity-in-hair.html


The problem with hair porosity is that to qualify it as "low" or "normal" or "high", one needs actual limits, specific measurements of what number and size of pores is still considered OK for "low" porosity and what's already crossing into the "normal/average" and then into "high" territory.

But we do "know" porosity in comparative terms... for example, we know that, at the roots, hair is less porous that at the ends, and the older the ends are and the more damage they've sustained the higher the porosity:

The cuticle of human hair contains smooth unbroken scale edges at the root end near the scalp (see Figure 1–18 ). However, cuticle damage evidenced by broken scale edges that can usually be observed several centimeters away from the scalp is caused by weathering and mechanical damage from the effects of normal grooming actions, such as combing, brushing, and shampooing (Figures 1–18 and 1–20). In certain long hair fibers (25 cm or longer), progressive surface damage may be observed (illustrated by Figure 1–20). Stage 1 shows intact smooth scale edges and scale surfaces; stage 2 contains broken scale edges; in stage 3, the scales have been partially removed; and in stage 4, the hair splits indicating extensive cortical damage. Garcia et al. have described this phenomenon of hair degradation in some detail...
(Chemical and Physical Behavior of Human Hair, C.R. Robbins, pp. 25 - 26, more in Ch. 5 and p. 354)


By the way, Wendy of Science-y Hair Blog that I mentioned above provides hair analysis services (strands studied under microscope, exposed to acids and alkali, etc etc), and if you look at what folks report finding out from the analysis done on their hair samples (e.g. here: http://www.naturallycurly.com/curltalk/general-discussion-about-curly-hair/171228-goosefootprints-analysis.html), it's easy to see that it's extremely common to have high porosity ends and low or normal porosity roots/length, which is consistent with hair research on the issue of porosity.

Shiranshoku
September 9th, 2016, 06:15 AM
I didn't know that, thanks! I thought the porosity actually referred to the hair cuticle, and how 'open' the cuticles are positioned. And that for example a cold rinse could therefore temporarily lower your porosity. Interesting! :-)

lapushka
September 9th, 2016, 06:17 AM
I didn't know that, thanks! I thought the porosity actually referred to the hair cuticle, and how 'open' the cuticles are positioned. And that for example a cold rinse could therefore temporarily lower your porosity. Interesting! :-)

A cold rinse "supposedly" closes the cuticles. I never notice anything different.
But that's a whole other topic. ;)

Shiranshoku
September 9th, 2016, 09:04 AM
A cold rinse "supposedly" closes the cuticles. I never notice anything different.
But that's a whole other topic. ;)

I notice a difference in shine, but that might be my confirmation bias talking! ;-)

DweamGoiL
September 9th, 2016, 09:26 AM
I am convinced mine is low porosity, but I think I am gonna spring for the hair analysis and do my daughter's hair at the same time just to be sure :)