Simply said, it's your hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture.
Now, let's dive in for all who crave more than simplicity.
To understand hair porosity better, you should know a bit about the hair structure—specifically the outermost layer. The outer layer of the hair strand is called the cuticle layer. It's called this because it is made of tiny cuticles lying slightly over one another. The most common analogy is like shingles on a roof: The shingles slightly overlap, so there are no gaps for water to seep through. Porosity comes in; maybe you've guessed by now because when something is porous, it is more able to absorb moisture.
Porosity can be broken down into three categories: low, normal, and high.
Low porosity hair has cuticles that are bound very close together, normal porosity hair has cuticles that are slightly less bound, and high porosity hair has cuticles that are more widely spread out.
How to Test Your Hair Porosity at Home
It's pretty simple. You need two things: a glass of water (use a clear glass) and a strand of hair. It is recommended that you try this after washing the product to get the most accurate reading. Start by combing your hair to release strands that are shedding, and then take those stands and drop them into your glass of water. Hair that is low porosity will float. Hair that is 'normal' porosity will float and then sink slowly. Hair that is high porosity will sink immediately.
If your curls are experiencing excessive dryness and frizz and snap easily, these may be a sign that you have high porosity hair. The good news is that when you have high-porosity hair, essential proteins and hydrating oils are also easily absorbed—so take advantage of it. Using pre-treatment oil is essential.
Normal porosity hair is the easiest hair type to maintain because the hair cuticles tend to be looser, and because of that, moisture penetrates the hair with ease. That doesn't mean you can do whatever your heart desires, however—there are ways to make sure your hair stays healthy. Best tip for medium porosity hair: don't let products build up on the strands. Certain styling tonics and creams can leave a film around the hair—particularly when made with oil-based silicones—that are hard to get off in the wash. The seal closes the cuticle and makes it lie flat, essentially making your hair less porous. Our suggestion is always to use natural hair care products and toxin-free haircare.
Hair that has low porosity has dense cuticles. This means the hair has a harder time absorbing water, product, or even your scalp's natural oils, and you'll see buildup faster. When you use conditioning treatments, heat and steam are going to be your friends. Try a warm oil treatment. You can use a pre-treatment in a sauna or hot yoga class. Warming up BUR BUR in your hands or placing the oil bottle in a mug of hot water.
No matter the porosity of your hair, you should always moisturize it and use natural hair oil treatment before you shampoo. If you look at ancient cultures, they always tended to oil their hair before cleansing. After your pre-treatment with BUR BUR, use a non-sulfate shampoo(we always recommend natural hair care products), use a deep conditioner with equal amounts of protein and moisture to balance out your hair strands, and you can always follow up with BUR BUR after your hair is styled.