If you’re new to the curly girl method, chances are you’ve heard about or maybe even taken the hair quiz.
For a curly girl newbie, getting labeled as high porosity, 3A, medium-density curlie…….is pretty confusing.
Like…that’s great now what? I got you, girlfriend <3
Since the first step in learning how to take care of your locks is learning more about them, I wanted to help break down the terminology to help you make sense of it.
Getting started down the curly girl method can be incredibly overwhelming, so I created a getting started cheat sheet just for you!
This helpful cheat sheet is for the CG (curly girl) newbie and designed to help you make sense of all the lingo and techniques.
Now, onto the meaning of hair porosity.
What the heck does hair porosity mean?
It seems a little confusing at first but it’s quite simple.
Porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb moisture and is broken down into three categories: low, normal and high.
How Do I Know My Hair Porosity?
Let’s do a little science experiment to help you figure out exactly what category your hair falls into. Don’t panic, this will be painless <3
You can see my porosity test below.
The best way to identify the level of porosity in your hair is to drop a strand of clean hair into a glass of water. If it floats to the top of the glass you have low porosity, if it lingers in the middle of the glass it has normal porosity (yay) and if it sinks it has high porosity.
Ok, I Figured Out My Hair Porosity, Now What?
Let me break it down by category and tell you a little more about each one, kk?
Low Porosity: If the strand floats toward the top of the water and takes a while to sink, you have low porosity strands.
Meaning, your hair cuticle is tight and resistant to receiving water and moisture. Which is why your strand lingered toward the top of the glass. The water had a hard time penetrating the hair shaft and weighing it down.
People with low porosity hair should stick to products that are more alkaline based because it will help lift the cuticle. Avoid low ph products because the acidity keeps the cuticle closed. Avoid using oils and butters.
Recommended treatment for Low Porosity hair:
Steamers help lift the cuticle and allow moisture in. Always style on damp hair. Avoid overusing oils and butter.
Normal Porosity: If the strand lingers toward the middle of the glass, it has normal porosity.
Meaning, your hair holds moisture and shine for an extended period. Some people naturally have a normal level of porosity to their hair.
However, that can change. Using heat or chemically processing your hair can cause it to become more porous.
Recommended treatment for Normal Porosity hair: It’s important to develop a healthy hair care routine to keep your hair porosity healthy.
High porosity: If the strand immediately sinks to the bottom of the glass, you have high porosity hair.
Meaning that your hair strand is full of gaps and tears. Most chemically processed and heat damaged hair falls into this category. Highly porous hair absorbs moisture quickly but loses it quickly as well.
Recommended treatment for high porosity hair:
Butter and oils are your best friend. They help lock in moisture that your strands naturally lose.
- Rinsing your hair regularly with an apple cider vinegar mix
- Apply aloe vera gel
- & protein treatments (be careful not to overdo it)
These tips can all help fill in the gaps in your high porosity hair.
There is no way to completely change high porosity hair, but experimenting with different treatments can make a dramatic difference.
This photo shows the difference between damaged, too much protein, or a healthy balance.
- The far left was my hair before I had treated it at all.
- The middle is after I went a little crazy with a deep conditioning treatment and leave-in conditioner.The result was my curls feeling stiff and brittle. This is bad for your curls and a big no no. Just be careful how much protein you are adding to your routine. Experimenting is key!
- The far-right photo is after I washed everything out and styled using less leave-in and the bowl method to lock in moisture.
Repeat after me….I will not overload my hair with protien.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s hair is very different.
What works for me might not work for you.
Take the time to get to know your specific hair type and experiment on your own to find a routine that works for you.
Because curls were meant to be free and ultimately they are going to do what they want. It’s your job to figure out what that is 🙂
My hair is 3a, high porosity, and medium density.
You can find my DYI apple cider vinegar rinse and aloe gel application here.
& don’t forget to grab your Curly Girl Cheat Sheet here.