By Alexa Santory
So we’ve discussed what a hair routine is and why they’re so important. Keeping up with a solid hair routine is what’s gonna keep your hair looking and feeling healthy and strong. Also, who doesn’t love shiny hair?? We understand its importance, now’s the time to start getting to know your hair a little better. Good hair care starts with knowing your hair type, because using curly products on straight hair wouldn’t make sense right? Beyond your hair type, which has been criticized as being a lil controversial anyway, knowing your hair’s porosity is really where the money is! Know these two things and everything else becomes so much easier!
Why is the hair typing system controversial?
Hair typing is essentially a way for brands to market and sell products, and while it’s not “bad” in it’s essence, it is flawed. Despite it being the leading way for people to figure out what type of hair they have, it doesn’t tell you that your hair may have different patterns and textures. It also doesn’t tell you how products are going to work in your hair. This is why taking porosity into account is just as--if not more-- important as knowing your hair type. The two go hand in hand in keeping your hair where it should be. But for all intents and purposes, we have to break down the hair types because while flawed, it really is the foundation of proper hair care! Let’s take a closer look!
TYPE 1: STRAIGHT
Type 1s (1a-1c) have bone straight hair to straight hair with a slight (slight) wave towards the end. They’re typically fine in texture and don’t hold a curl very well. It’s a bit harder to impart major damage on type 1 hair types because the shaft is naturally stronger since it doesn’t bend to curl. Type 1s also experience oiliness faster because sebum has a much easier time traveling down the hair shaft.
TYPE 2: WAVY
Type 2s (2a-2c) have what people call “mermaid hair” or “beachy hair.” From natural waves to loose ringlets without adding water or product are the telltale sign of having type to hair. Their hair is pretty easy to maintain and can be fine in texture, but a little thicker than type 1s. They experience frizziness more often than type 1s, but it’s nothing a bit of product can’t fix. They hold a curl better than type 1s too!
TYPE 3: CURLY
Any curl ranging from corkscrews to s-curls falls into the type 3 category. When you see curls being advertised or shown in media, these are the most common type you see. These curls are much more prone to frizz, shrinkage, damage, and breakage if you don’t care for them properly. Curly to kinky curly hair (type 4s) are naturally weaker than type 1s and 2s because it’s curly. Yes, every bend in a curl is a potential spot for breakage! The more you know!! Type 3s have a bouncy, voluminous texture and often only need a bit of water to make its natural texture pop!
TYPE 4: KINKY-CURLY
Type 4s! Your hair is dense, tightly coiled, and especially delicate. Despite the density of type 4 hair, the kinkier the curl is, the more gentle you have to be with it! Kinky-curly hair can definitely handle manipulation but consistent maintenance is queen when it comes to how it looks and feels over time. 4a curls are typically small s-curls, 4b curls are z-shaped curls and have a bit more density, and 4c curls are tight coils. Every type 4 curl pattern experiences a new level of shrinkage and have a tendency to feel oily on the scalp and dry through the shaft.
Let’s Talk Porosity
The hair’s porosity determines its ability to absorb and retain moisture. Believe it or not but your hair, like your skin, has pores and they’re what allows water and products to do their job. The outside of our hair strands is called the cuticle, and if it’s too open or too closed, it can be hard to keep moisture where it belongs. There are three porosity levels: high, normal, and low. Normal porosity hair is just that, normal, so moisture levels are normal too! Go you! The other two have a much harder time retaining moisture and often need a little push to get them to do so.
You can determine your hair’s porosity first by running your fingers through your hair and whatever strands fall out (because they always do!), take one between your fingers and move your fingers up and down the strand. If it feels bumpy and rough or it breaks in the process, it’s high porosity. If it feels smooth, it’s normal porosity (yay you!!), and if it feels thick and dense, it’s low porosity. Let’s discuss what those all mean!
Normal porosity hair is just that: normal, balanced, and pretty healthy overall! Go you! You’re doing things right and your hair probably has an easy time absorbing and retaining moisture! Keep doin’ what you’re doin!
High porosity hair is hair that has very open pores, allowing moisture in easily, but letting it out just as fast. High porosity hair has a hard time retaining moisture because the cuticle is so wide open. High porosity hair can be a result of heat/ chemical damage, sun exposure, or even just from using super hot water in the shower!
Low porosity hair is hair where the cuticle is so tightly closed that moisture can barely get in, let alone stay in. Low porosity hair types are often pretty dense and thick and tend to feel greasy at the roots and dry everywhere else.
As a general rule of thumb, low porosity hair needs moisture more often because products tend to sit on top of the hair and scalp rather than be absorbed, causing it to look weighed down and greasy. You can fix this problem by using warmer water when it’s time to wash your hair. Not scalding hot, just warm — warm enough to open the cuticle enough to let in moisture but not enough to let it out quickly. On the other side of the spectrum, there’s high porosity hair, where the cuticle is so wide open that moisture just flows in and out without making any sort of impact. One of the best solutions to this is avoiding super hot water when it’s wash day; this will prevent the cuticle from opening up even further. Since high porosity hair can be the result of heat or chemical damage, it’s wise to avoid these too! I know, I know, straight hair can be a vibe, but it’s really doing more harm in the long run. Sorry, it’s for you own good!! Switch to sulfate free shampoos and deep condition often! For both porosities, deep conditioning is a must! As someone who deep conditions every week, they help deliver concentrated treatments for your biggest and most pressing hair issues. And honestly, they make your hair look and feel amazing. If you’re transitioning your hair from heat or chemical damage, deep conditioners are gonna help you get there faster!
Your hair type and porosity level work in tandem, and knowing both is the key to maintaining healthy, moisturized hair. The sooner you figure these out, the better chance you have at giving your hair what it truly needs, and the closer you are to having a consistent hair routine!
No matter your hair type or porosity, this mask is perfect for adding moisture, shine, and softness.
This is your remedy if you have hair that feels like straw. You will feel the difference right after you use it for the first time. That’s how effective it is. It is very moisturizing and softening. I loved using it with fresh ingredients like avocado, pumpkin, and banana.