Understanding your hair: Porosity, curl pattern, texture
What is Hair Porosity?
Hair porosity refers to how open the cuticles along your hair strands are; this determines how easy it is for your hair strand to retain moisture.
Low porosity refers to strand cuticles which are tightly shut and requires lighter sealants such as oils and practices such as steaming and or the use of microwavable deep conditioning caps in order to allow for the opening of cuticles to allow product into the hair shaft.
Normal porosity is the easiest porosity type to care for. This is largely because cuticles allow moisture to enter the hair shaft while still able to retain absorbed moisture with minimal added effort on your part. Generally a lightweight moisturiser such as a good leave-in and oil are sufficient for keeping moisture in this hair type. Sealing butters used sparingly are also a good option for this hair type.
High Porosity terms strands with significantly open cuticles. This porosity type allows moisture to enter the hair shaft easily however is structurally inadequate at retaining moisture – moisture leaves the strand as easily as it enters the shaft. High porosity hair requires the application of thicker sealing products such has viscose oils and butters.
What is Your Curl Pattern?
This is related to the shape of each of your hair strands which can either be straight hair (type 1 hair), wavy (type 2 hair), curly (type 3 hair) or coily (type 4 hair). There are a few nuances in the tightness of the curls within each of these categories. Hair falling in the straight to wavy sect of the spectrum, quite similarly to medium to fine hair does not require heavy moisturisers as these can weigh the hair down resulting in a lifeless unwashed appearance of hair. Conversely, hair falling along curly to coily side of the spectrum, is able to be moisturised with heavier oils and butters without compromising the appearance of this hair type.
NOTE: Even within these categories, it is important to be aware of the texture of your hair when selecting products, e.g. finer curly hair would still do better with lightweight products, while thicker curly hair needs are better met with thicker oils and butters.