Hair Porosity's Influence on Shampoo Bars
Updated: May 21, 2021
But, in this blog post, we're going to take the at-home porosity test (see my results below), and talk about how your shampoo bar experience can interact with your hair based on your porosity. So with that, let's begin!
First, let's review what hair porosity is, then dive into how you can test your hair at home.
What is Hair Porosity?
Hair porosity is the hair's ability to absorb material through the cuticle layer.
This cuticle layer is the outer layer of the hair shaft, made of cells that can be frayed, damaged, lay flat, or healthy raised.
So, you can think of porosity as having a high, low, or regular tolerance to absorb moisture, water, etc.
It's also important to know that porosities can change over time due to:
Heat damage (using too much heat or not in a safe way)
Color damage (using color treatments improperly)
New environmental factors (air quality, exposure to sun, etc.)
Transitioning from relaxed/permed to your natural hair
Understanding this, and that you can even have various porosities at once, is also a helpful tip!
Sometimes combining different combos of products and routines for two different porosities may be what you are missing in your curly method!
How Do You Test Your Porosity?
As you see in my previous post, I lightly touch on some quizzes you can take and examples of how you may know what porosity you have, without taking the at-home test.
However, the test can confirm the results of the quizzes, so you can properly care for your hair—and, it's super easy!
How to Take the at-Home Porosity Test
1. Simply get a clear glass or container and fill it with room temperature water.
This test is perfect for wash-day so you can get a more accurate result, when placing your hair in the water.
Ensuring your hair is clean, can ensure the strand of hair does not have any product, oils, etc. that may interfere with the porosity test process.
2. Brush or comb through a small section of hair. Gather a strand of hair form it.
It's best to clean your brush or comb out to remove all product first, before combing through your hair to get a shedded hair strand.
You can also comb your fingers through your hair as well.
OR, straight up pluck out a piece of hair (that's what I did—ha!).
Some haircare professionals suggest to air dry your hair prior to putting in the glass and some don't—so this is up to you!
3. Next, place the strand of hair in the water, wait for 5-10 minutes.
Depending on your porosity, you may not have to wait very long to see results.
As you know, high, medium, and low porosities will react differently in the glass of water.
Peeping below, we can see how they respond to water, and how your hair type may experience shampoo bars.
(It's also important to consider your hair type to better understand your hair's reaction to the bar and other products you may want to try!)
When you have high porosity hair, the cuticle is frayed or raised, and your hair can easily take-in water and moisture.
When taking the porosity test at-home, you may notice how fast your hair sinks to the bottom of the glass.
Shampoo Bars and High Porosity
When you have high porosity, you may experience a very drying experience (more than usual).
(Peep The Yellow Bird Co's post on transitioning to shampoo bars!)
If your hair is naturally dry and takes a lot to condition and retain moisture, then shampoo bars can still be your friend.
But it may require a little more assistance when transitioning to lock in moisture before and after a wash.
But no fear, pre-pooing, and deep conditioning afterward can help this and in the long run, your hair will adjust to the changes—just takes time!
The recommended shampoo bars to try for dry hair would be the Grapefruit Rosemary & Lavender, Peppermint, and Citrus Cedarwood shampoo bars.
This porosity is when your hair is considered "regular or normal porosity" and tends to mean your hair is easy to work with and retains a balanced amount of moisture.
The cuticle lies in a balanced state, so it can absorb moisture but not too much or too little.
When taking the hair porosity test at-home, you may notice your hair floating and then begin sinking over time (not quickly like high porosity, but in a balanced manner, as this porosity retains a balanced amount of moisture, water, etc.).
My results were medium! It took a few minutes (maybe around 7) for my hair to slowly float its way toward the bottom of the glass.
Shampoo Bars and Medium Porosity
You may have an easier transition with this hair porosity.
It may still feel a little dull, but an ACV rinse, and deep condition afterward is a quick fix!
The recommended shampoo bars to try for regular porosity hair would be the Grapefruit Rosemary & Lavender, Peppermint, and Citrus Cedarwood shampoo bars.
My hair personally loves the Peppermint bar the most and transitioned after about 4-5 washes.
Low Porosity hair can be prone to products building up on the scalp and hair, as the cuticle lays very flat, making hair feel caked when adding oils, butters, etc. When taking the hair porosity test at-home, you may notice how your hair floats at the top of the water in the glass.
Shampoo Bars and Low Porosity
ACV rinses are your best friend and lathering the shampoo bar in your hands, rather than directly on your hair, may help keep your hair from feeling dull and waxy when transitioning to the bar.
The recommended shampoo bars to try for oily hair would first be the Eucalyptus Tea Tree and the Peppermint shampoo bars.
Overall, understanding your porosity can prepare you on how to care for your hair when trying new products, like shampoo bars, and make your curly girl experience more enjoyable!