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Hair Porosity & Density: What Do They Mean?

 

Hair is completely different from one person to the next, but which factors play a role regarding products and their effectiveness? It makes perfect sense that the biological makeup of our hair follicles and skin play major roles in how we’re all different, but the texture and weight of all the strands combined are just as unique. 

Within the haircare sector of the beauty community, you’ll often find people questioning what your hair’s porosity and density are. But what do these terms mean?

  • Hair Porosity: Your hair’s ability to absorb moisture and hold onto water all depends on its porosity (1). 
  • Hair Density: The amount of strands of hair on your head determines its density. 

Let’s Understand Your Hair’s Porosity!


Low Porosity

The cuticles are close together, making it difficult to let in moisture. 

  • Water doesn’t saturate the hair quickly in the shower 
  • It feels like forever for your hair to dry 
  • Product feels like it’s sitting on top of your hair strands 

Medium Porosity 

The cuticles aren’t too close or too far away, making this level of porosity ideal. 

  • Your hair looks healthy, shiny, and strong
  • Your hair holds a style - especially curls 
  • Your hair responds well to dyes

High Porosity:

The cuticles are far apart, causing moisture to escape. 

  • Your hair soaks up water and product very quickly
  • Your hair dries frizzy and tangled 
  • Your hair is prone to breakage 
  • It doesn’t take long for your hair to air dry 

Why is porosity so important to know?

Many hair products state somewhere on the packing that it's designed for “all hair types,” but that simply is not the case most of the time. The ingredients and texture of any product isn’t going to work for everybody (and that’s okay!). Somebody with low-porosity hair isn’t going to benefit from a product that’s rich in heavy oils, while a high-porosity guy or gal isn’t going to see much of a difference when using light and airy conditioners and leave-ins. It’s all about what your strands prefer, which all boils down to the way it reacts to moisture. 


Now Let’s Understand the Simpler Measurement - Hair Density!


There are numerous ways that you can determine the density of your hair. The simplest way to measure hair density is by measuring the circumference of a ponytail. If you’re measurement is less than two inches, you have low-density hair. If the measurement is between two and three inches, then you have medium-density hair. And if the ponytail measures more than four inches, then you have high-density hair (2). If you don’t have an elastic band or your hair is too short to pull back, you can determine your hair’s density by checking your part. The easier it is t see your scalp when you’ve parted your hair ,the less dense your hair must be. 


Disclaimer: Try not to confuse your hair density with how thick it is! Hair thickness literally depends on how wide each strand of hair is, while density pertains to how close together all of the strands are. So, this means that if you have a lot of fine hair super close together, you would have a full head of fine, high-density hair. This kind of situation would mean that you'd need to use lighter products, but just a higher amount. 


Conclusion

Pay attention to the textures and ingredients of the products you purchase from now on! Even though you may see someone with similar looking hair using certain products that work for them, you don’t really know if their porosity and density is similar to yours. And of course, if you find that the products sitting in your arsenal aren’t working the way you’d like them to, this is your sign to learn more about your hair!

Click here to learn more about the structure of your hair - you might be surprised by the results! 




Sources:
  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/hair-porosity#:~:text=Essentially%2C%20hair%20porosity%20is%20about,hair%2C%20known%20as%20the%20cuticle.&text=Medium%20porosity%3A%20Cuticles%20that%20are%20less%20tightly%20bound.
  2. https://www.carolsdaughter.com/blog/hair/hair-care-tips/hair-density-guide.html 
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