By Trisha Chawla
When it comes to haircare, we know you’re considering your hair and scalp type before adding your shampoo and conditioner to cart. But if there’s one factor that could determine and change the efficacy of your products, it’s your hair’s porosity. The more porous your hair is, the more likely it is to resemble Simba's mane from the Lion King. Frizz, extreme dryness and dullness are all physical indicators that you're dealing with high porosity hair. Dermatologist Dr Kiran Sethi tells you how to determine if you have it and easy steps to roll back the damage.
The hair porosity test
Your hair porosity could be high, medium or low. The higher the porosity, the more moisture it needs. Sethi recommends a simple test to nail the offender. She says, “Take a glass of water and put a strand of your hair in it. If your hair sinks, then it is highly porous. If it floats, it has low porosity.” Another indicator of this is that your hair takes a longer time to air dry or blow dry.
Depending on how you treat and process your hair, it can turn more porous over the years. “Hairstyling with excessive heat, , pollution, stress and chemical treatments can all make your hair thirsty for moisture,” says Sethi.
Why does it cause frizz?
Let’s go back to a simple science lesson. The more porous a material is, the more moisture it absorbs. While this may be a good thing for kitchen sponges, the same cannot be said for hair. “High porosity hair is hungry for hydration and absorbs moisture from products, water and the air really quickly because it may not be getting enough. However, this moisture is not retained easily which causes it turn dry and frizzy,” says Sethi. This also explains why you have extra bouts of frizz during summer or the monsoon, where humidity levels in the air are much higher.
How can you treat it?
Moisture-rich products are the best way to restore hydration levels in your hair, so it doesn’t demand for more from the environment. Sethi recommends using heavier conditioners or masks that are packed with proteins (like keratin) or oils (like argan) to lock in moisture. She also suggests you toss away anything with sulphates in it that strips away your hair’s natural, moisturising oils. Instead, opt for ultra-moisturising, low-foaming shampoos that are gentler on your hair.
And if you’re willing to go the extra step, you can also try cutting down on heat styling and sleeping on a silk pillowcase that reduces frizz and breakage.