Choosing the right products for your curls is probably the most difficult part of being a curly! Once you’ve gotten your hands on the right products you’ll be able to tell from the look and feel of your curls. Knowing your curls’ porosity is one of the crucial steps on the way to frizz-free curls.
What porosity is and why you should determine it
Porosity describes how easily your curls are penetrated by moisture, and also how easily they let moisture leave your curls. We all know what happens if our curls don’t get enough moisture: they’ll get frizzy! In order to get frizz-free curls it’s important to not only know your curls’ texture and curl pattern, but also their porosity when buying new products. Usually, your curls’ porosity is something that stays the same, however “chemical” events like coloring your curls or straightening them with a lot of heat can change your curls’ porosity. So if all the sudden your holy grail products don’t work anymore, I suggest you to again determine your porosity to see if it has changed!
How to determine your curls’ porosity
- a small bowl filled with water
- 2-3 single hair strands
Put the single hair strands into the bowl filled with water and let them in there for about 5 minutes. Then check to see where your hair strands are:
- on top of the water – you have low porosity curls
- some on top, some in the middle of the water and some on the bottom of the bowl – you have medium porosity curls
- on the bottom of the bowl – you have high porosity curls
If your curls have a low porosity it means they can’t easily absorb moisture. Once they have, they’ll hold on to it, which also causes low porosity hair to take a very long time (several hours) to air dry! Try to stay away from proteins, as they might cause product-buildup leading to straw-like curls. To make sure your curls get enough moisture, you should use products with humectants in them.
Your curls are in between low and high porosity and therefore may take a while to air-dry, but it’ll certainly take only a few hours. Make sure you give your curls the moisture they need and occasionally give them a protein-treatment. Your curls aren’t too sensitive, just make sure their moisture-protein-balance is right.
High porosity means your curls can quickly absorb moisture, but unfortunately they’ll also release it easily. High porosity hair usually also air-dries pretty quickly (especially when compared to low porosity curls). If you’ve just started to embrace your curls it’s possible your curls’ porosity will get to medium after a while (mine changed to medium after about one year). Curlies with high porosity hair need to make sure to keep the moisture in the curls for as long as possible to keep them from getting frizzy. Therefore, use rich conditioners, leave-ins with proteins and also try to seal the moisture by using oils.
I didn't come up with this all by myself - check out these readings to get more information on porosity: http://www.naturallycurly.com/texture-typing/hair-porosity http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/curl-products/curlchemist-porosity-and-curly-hair/ http://livecurlylivefree.com/curly-hair-basics/