If you’ve read Hair Porosity 101: Understanding Your Hair's Absorption & Retention Power, then you already know:
- what hair porosity is
- tips to care for your low, medium, or high porosity type
- how to perform a hair porosity test at home
Now it’s time to shed light on some common myths about hair porosity because this will help you take even better care of your hair!
Before we pick through these myths, let’s take a quick look at why hair porosity matters in the first place.
Does hair porosity matter?
Yes – it absolutely matters! Hair porosity can affect the look, feel and overall health of your hair.
Understanding your unique porosity type can reveal why your hair behaves (and misbehaves!) the way it does – i.e. not holding curl, feeling weighed down, or looking lackluster and lifeless.
With your hair porosity in mind, you can customize your hair care routine to help your hair look and feel its best, including:
- Using suitable products and styling techniques
- Knowing when to deep clean or deeply nourish
- Preventing damage and breakage
Now, without further ado, let's bust some myths! 💃
Myth #1: You’re stuck with the hair porosity you inherited
Fact: Ok, it’s true your genetics (your natural hair structure and characteristics) play a major role in your hair porosity type – but you can still influence your hair porosity.
Hair porosity is a sliding scale from low to high. By taking proper care according to your porosity level (and avoiding common types of hair damage), you can subtly slide your hair along that scale to strike the perfect balance of good absorption and retention.
Myth #2: You can permanently change your hair porosity with treatments
Fact: The flipside of Myth #1 is that you cannot completely alter your hair's porosity level on a long-term basis – unless you’re repairing damaged hair, in which case, you’re simply restoring your natural hair porosity level!
Like that sliding scale mentioned above, certain products or treatments can temporarily improve (or worsen!) your hair porosity.
It’s about managing the hair porosity you got, beauty!
Myth #3: High porosity hair is always dry or damaged
Fact: High porosity hair has gaps in its lifted cuticle structure. That means it can lose moisture as quickly as it’s absorbed – and that’s fast! However, this does not mean high porosity hair is always dry or damaged.
Even with high porosity hair, you can replenish your hydration level and lock in moisture with the right products, including deep-nourishing treatments and protective sealants (like argan oil and heat protectants).
Myth #4: Low porosity hair does not need to be moisturized
Fact: Though low porosity hair is fabulous at retaining moisture on account of its tightly closed cuticles, this smooth structure also makes absorbing anything – moisture, products, nutrients – a major pain in the butt.
That means, just like any hair porosity type (yes, even medium, goldilocks hair porosity type), low porosity hair still needs moisture and nutrients to get inside its cortex (middle) for proper hydration and nourishment.
You can help your hair drink up moisture and nutrients by gently opening the cuticle using warm water or steam. Also, use lightweight (because products tend to build up on this porosity type) hydrating oils – like argan oil – to help products penetrate that cuticle.
Myth #5: The higher your porosity, the better your hair will absorb nutrients
Fact: While high porosity hair is queen of absorption, extremely high porosity hair can be… too absorbable. Over-absorption can lead to product build up which will both weigh down hair and leave it more susceptible to breakage.
Interestingly, high porosity hair can be more prone to hygral fatigue – a type of hair damage caused by repeated swelling and contraction from excessive water absorption and drying.
Myth #6: Your hair porosity is directly linked to your hair color and hair type
Fact: Hair porosity, hair type, and hair color are distinct characteristics.
- Hair porosity is your hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture.
- Hair type categorizes your natural curl pattern (straight, wavy, curly, or coily).
- Hair color is the type and amount of melanin pigment present in your hair shaft.
Though they are unique from each other, there can be overlap between the three!
For example, certain hair types can naturally have a higher or lower porosity – i.e., curly/coily hair generally has a higher porosity whereas straight hair generally has a lower porosity. However, this is not always true, as you can have low/high porosity hair of any hair type or color.
At the end of the day, your unique hair color, type, and porosity are all influenced by a variety of factors, including by genetics, environmental exposure, and general hair care practices.
Myth #7: You can prove your hair porosity with a single strand of hair
Fact: Hair porosity tests (like the float test) can help indicate your hair porosity type, but it’s not a foolproof method – especially if you only test a single strand of your hair.
Your hair porosity is a complex trait influenced by multiple factors, including the number of cuticle layers you have, their thickness, pattern, and so much more!
So take hair porosity tests with a grain of salt!🧂
MYTH #8: How your hair reacts to products will reveal your hair porosity
Fact: While it’s true that how your hair responds to treatments and products can indicate a certain hair porosity level – this isn’t necessarily always the case.
Certain products – (e.g.: thick conditioning treatments) have particles that are just too large to absorb into your hair type – even if you have high porosity hair. This can falsely lead you to believe that you have low porosity hair because after all, this product doesn’t seem to be absorbing into your hair!
The key here is to test out different products to see how your hair responds. As a general rule, the higher the porosity, the heavier the product you should use, and the lower the porosity, the more lightweight you should use.
But because you’re unique, with hair porosity just as unique, different products will react differently to your hair. So don’t be too quick to judge your hair porosity before you try out other products!