What Your Hair Type Doesn’t Tell You


Many people pay attention to the physical appearance of their hair and neglect some of the most important things that give insight on what our hair needs because of its physical makeup. Hair typing (3A-4C) limits us to just numbers and letters. It could be just a label. It is not uncommon for someone to have multiple hair types on their head, even multiple on one strand.

Hair typing doesn’t tell you:

  1. What products will work
  2. How your hair will grow
  3. If a style will work on your hair
  4. How your hair will change

We have to pay more attention to things like whether our hair is protein or moisture deficient, and whether it is high porosity or low porosity. Below is a more in-depth look at hair porosity.

With low porosity hair, the hair cuticles are tight around the cortex, making it hard for moisture and oils to penetrate the hair. Some characteristics of low porosity hair:

  • Easy product build-up is common for low porosity hair
  • Hair may feel dry and brittle 
  • Hair dries slow

Hair with medium/normal porosity typically requires the least amount of maintenance. The cuticles are looser around the core than low porosity hair to allow moisture and oil to flow freely, but tight enough to prevent much from escaping.

  • Hair needs trims often to ensure length retention
  • Hair is protein-sensitive (should not be used too often)
  • Less sensitive to chemical treating
  • Holds styles longer

High porosity hair has cuticles that are loose around the cortex. This allows moisture to flow through the hair easily.

  • There may be very little moisture and oil retention
  • Hair may feel coarse and look frizzy
  • Hair dries fast

The porosity test is very easy. Simply:

  1. Get a cup of room temperature water
  2. Get a few strands of CLEAN hair (from a brush/comb or your head)
  3. Place the hair in the water
  4. Observe: If it sinks, you have high porosity hair. If it floats, you have low porosity hair.

There is no level of porosity that is better than the other. This guide just helps you to figure out how to better care for your hair. It is important that you research more about your hair. Just knowing the hair type (3a,4c, etc.) will not give you all the information you need.

The natural hair journey takes some work. It can be a hard task daily caring for your hair if you do not take the time to figure out what works best. It may take some trial and error, but certainly learning about things like hair porosity is a great start! We are here to help you!

Do you know your hair’s porosity level and have some tips to share that you’ve learned along the way to help someone else? Please comment and share below!

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