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Hair porosity is going viral on TikTok – here’s what it means

In Fashion + Beauty, Features, Stories, Wellness by Nicole Fuge

Another day, another TikTok trend. This time it’s hair porosity. Let’s find out WTF it means for you and your lovely locks.

By Emily Quinn

Hair porosity refers to your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. Think of it as your hair’s personality – is it high maintenance or does it chill out with minimal effort?

There are three levels – low, medium (or normal), and high.

Low porosity

Your hair cuticles are like a fortress, tightly packed and resistant to moisture. Once moisture gets in, it stays for a while. However, products can sometimes sit on the surface instead of being absorbed.

Medium porosity

The Goldilocks of hair porosity. Cuticles are slightly raised, making it easy for moisture to enter and stay put. This type is generally easy to maintain and style.

High porosity

Your cuticles are open or damaged, letting moisture in quickly but also losing it just as fast. This can lead to frizz, tangling, and dryness.

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Why Hair Porosity Matters

Understanding your hair’s porosity is like having a secret weapon in your hair care routine. It helps you choose the right products and treatments, giving your hair exactly what it needs.

For high porosity hair, think rich, hydrating products and protein treatments to patch up those gaps.

For low porosity hair, lighter, water-based products and techniques that open the cuticles can make a world of difference.

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How to Test Your Hair Porosity

TikTok is full of fun, easy tests to figure out your hair porosity. Here are a couple of popular ones:

  1. The water test: Drop a few strands of clean, dry hair into a glass of water. Wait a few minutes. If your hair floats, it’s low porosity. If it sinks slowly, it’s medium. If it sinks quickly, you’ve got high porosity.
  2. The strand test: Run your fingers up a strand of hair from tip to root. If it feels smooth, you’ve got low porosity. If it feels bumpy, you’re dealing with high porosity due to those raised cuticles.
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Tips for Caring for Different Porosity Types
Low porosity

Use heat (like a warm towel or steamer) to help open your cuticles and let your products penetrate. Look for lightweight, water-based products and avoid heavy oils or butters that can just sit on top of your hair.

Medium porosity

Your hair can handle a variety of products, so focus on balance. Regular conditioning and occasional protein treatments will keep your hair in fabulous shape.

High porosity

Opt for thicker, richer products that provide extra moisture and protection. Protein treatments can help repair your cuticles, and sealing in moisture with oils or butters will prevent dryness.

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