Sunday, March 24, 2013

hair porosity

Posted by Yahya at 12:39 AM
I know this has been explained before, but I thought I'd explain it in detail since it seems some people are confused about it. first of all, I see some people saying their hair is unhealthy because it has low porosity. that is incorrect. hair that has low and normal porosity are healthy. hair that is high in porosity is unhealthy. another thing that I find girls teaching, which isn't exactly true, is that low porosity hair and protein overload go hand in hand. they are two different things because hair can have protein overload and a high porosity at the same time. just doing protein treatments can help smooth the cuticle, but it won't bring high porosity hair to low porosity hair by itself. so just remember: protein helps porosity, porosity doesn't help protein. also, not all proteins help porosity, you have to look for specific kinds of proteins. I was confused about this once, too.


low porosity - hair that isn't very porous has smooth cuticles that water doesn't enter in easily. but when moisture does gets into the cuticle, it will be shut in resulting in long lasting moisture. this kind of hair is usually shiny, but it is resistant to chemical treatments like dye and relaxers. low porosity hair does not need cones or much protein either, you can get protein overload easily. low porosity hair will benefit from natural high ph products, like Castile Soap, Baking Soda, and Bentonite Clay. many low porosity haired girls have also have had success with Giovanni 50/50 Balanced Moisturizer.

normal porosity - this kind of hair can be thought of as being balanced. it can absorb a fraction of water, but is not overly porous. moisture can get in the hair strands and last. unlike low porosity hair, it can take chemical treatments okay, but you should keep it mind that over time the hair will become more porous by doing so.

high porosity - think of chemically processed hair that isn't being properly taken care of. this hair is damaged and has lots of holes in the hair shaft. these holes are like a sponge and absorb water easily, but this does NOT mean it's better for moisturizing. just as quick as the moisture comes the moisture goes. think of the hair strand as a house made of doors. with high porosity hair all the doors are open, making it unsafe for the cortex and insides of the cuticle. this type of hair does take in chemicals better, but it's not suggested because you'll just end up with even more damaged hair.


relaxed and chemically treated hair has a natural high porosity, but regular use of products such as Roux Ph Control, Aloe Vera Juice, and Apple Cider Vinegar will combat this and restore hair to normal porosity. proteins that coat the cuticle and oils will also help. note that oils help smooth the cuticle, but this is not due to ph. oils are not water soluble so they do not have a ph.

now that we understand the levels of porosity lets talk about the test. many of us hair fanatics know about this test. you divide your hair in four sections and take a shed strand of hair from each. this is because one section of hair might be healthier then another section. then you put the strands of hair in a tall cup or bowl and see if it floats. if it floats for a while it's healthy. here's what you should do for more clear results. see if your hair floats for at least 15 minutes. if it does then your hair is alright. if it doesn't it has high porosity and you have to up on your ph correctors. if you come back in an hour (with occasional checks in between the hour) and it's still floating, congratulations! your hair is in very good condition. now push down the strands and if they float back up (be patient!) your hair has low porosity.
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here is an article that further discusses the science of hair porosity:
The "Other Path" to Moisture, by Joe Parker
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here are some of the tips for low porosity hair that's explained in the article:
  • If a product will hydrate your fingers then it will moisturize low porosity hair. 
  • Adding a tiny amount of castile soap to your deep conditioner will boost it because it will lower the overall surface energy of the water system. 
  • To boost your leave-in or rinsable conditioner, heat it up and apply it to your hair at an elevated temperature: 30 to 40 C. 
  • Hydrolyzed rice, silk and wheat proteins have a molecular weight, making them better for low porosity hair.

ph higher than water equals higher porosity, and ph lower than hair equals low porosity. so to finish it all off, here are some recorded ph levels of hair related things:
  • 14 sodium hydroxide (lye) 
  • 13 bleach
  • 9-11 calcium hydroxide & guanidine hydroxide (no lye)  
  • 9-11 permanent dye 
  • 8.9 castile soap
  • 8-9 bentonite clay
  • 8-9 ammonium thioglycolate (chemical used in perms)
  • 8-9 semi permanent dye                       
  • 8-9 baking soda 
  • 8 sea water
  • 7 pure tap water
  • 6 milk
  • 5-6 tea
  • 5 soft drinking water
  • 5 hair 
  • 4-5 coffee
  • 4.25-5 apple cider vinegar 
  • 4.5 roux porosity control
  • 3-5 aloe vera juice 
  • 2 lemon juice

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