Pore(d) Over

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As the seasons change, so too do our hair struggles.

"My hair is frizzy!" you exclaim (too much humidity). "My hair is too dry!" you exclaim (brittlely cold weather drying out everything in sight).

I don't know a single woman who doesn't say something like the above about her hair, I don't care how enviable the hank of hair, but much of the hair puzzle can be solved when you examine how your hair absorbs moisture. Determining the moisture balance for YOUR HAIR is the key to nearly every hair conundrum.

The concept of porosity is quite simple. All hair is porous. If your hair shaft is more porous  moisture will go straight in… and escape just as easily. If your hair isn’t as porous, moisture will have a harder time penetrating the shaft and in turn will not escape as quickly.

Hair in its most natural state isn't as porous and may be classified as “low porosity”. But please, do raise your hand if you have done NOTHING to your hair. Anyone?

I hear those crickets.

It's all about balance. Without the right amount of moisture retained by the hair, you will take up residence in the township of Hot Messton.

Before you can determine how to find that balance for your hair, we have to determine your porosity level (high/low), by conducting the “floating hair test”:

  1. Take a couple of strands of your hair and drop them into a full cup of water. (Don't rip them from your head in front of people. That's off putting. Just grab a few from your hair brush or comb after a sweep through/ fix up.)

  2. Let them sit in the cup of water for about two to four minutes.

  3. Observe your hair. If you hair is floating in the water, you have lower porosity. If your hair is sinking, you have higher porosity.

When I conducted my own test and my own hair hadn’t sunk after 4 minutes, I decided to see how long it would take. Well, a half hour later, I got sick of monitoring my test as my hair was still only partially submerged on the very top of the water and I came to the conclusion that my hair wasn't all that porous... yeah, it took me that long to catch the hint.

Now that you know your hair’s porosity, we’ll look at how to care for hair at each end of the spectrum soon!

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Florence MerrymanComment