Did you know that not all frizz is the same? Some curls might become frizzy because they can’t absorb enough moisture, per Naturally Curly. Other curls become frizzy because they absorb too much moisture, and lose it just as quickly as it came in. This is the difference between low-porosity and high-porosity hair. Unfortunately, high-porosity hair is often a sign of damage due to chemicals, dye, bleach, high heat, or overly-stripping shampoos, though it can also be genetic, via Healthline.
Before you can treat high-porosity hair, you need to know how to identify it. According to Byrdie, you’re likely to have this hair type if your strands are excessively dry and snap easily. You may also have it if your hair tangles easily, absorbs products quickly, and air dries quickly.
Note that many sources mention you can test your porosity by dropping a single strand in a glass of water and seeing whether it floats at the top, sits in the middle, or sinks to the bottom. However, professional hairstylist Mell Guido says the “float test” is inaccurate in an educational video. Instead, you can test your hair’s absorption level by spraying your dry strands with water when they have no product. If your hair quickly absorbs the water with no droplets beading on the surface of your strands, it is probably high porosity.
Use a balance of moisture and protein to revive high-porosity hair
As explained by Byrdie, one of the best things you can do for your hair is get a trim. Removing those split ends will prevent the damage from traveling up the hair shafts. From there, it’s very important to incorporate protein into your wash-day routine. Curl Up notes that adding more protein to your hair will strengthen it and give it more bounce. In her educational video, hairstylist Mell Guido recommends testing your hair’s elasticity to determine what treatments it needs that day. To do so, take a strand of hair between your fingers and pull. If it stretches slightly and comes back, it has good elasticity and a good balance of moisture and protein. If it has no stretch and even snaps, it has low elasticity and needs mostly moisture. If it stretches too far, it has too much moisture and needs protein.
So, how do you find the right hair product? Products that contain protein will likely have words like “strengthening,” “repairing,” or “rebuilding” on the label, according to Guido. Products that contain moisture will have words such as “moisturizing,” “softening,” or “hydrating.” For high-porosity hair, Guido suggests using protein in almost every step of your wash day routine, from shampoo to styling cream. With the right balance of protein and moisture, your high-porosity hair will thank you.
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