HAIR TYPE: POROSITY, WIDTH AND DENSITY (TheBOAH Read)

By Temilola

 

Many naturals are concerned with their curl type, whether it is a 3, 4 OR 2, they want to know which type of products to buy. However, the curl type is probably the least important; what naturals should focus more on is the hair type. The three components that define the hair type are porosity, Density and Width. If we know the properties of your hair strands, it would be easier to understand the difficulties of our hair type and take steps to compensate for these differences.

 

                         POROSITY

Porosity describes your hairs ability to absorb moisture. Think of your hair like a sponge, its ability to absorb determines its porosity.

A test to determine your hair porosity: take a strand of freshly washed shed hair (no products) and place in a cup of water.

  • If after about 5-10 minutes, the strand of hair sinks to the bottom of the cup, then it can be described as high porosity hair. It means you should focus on keeping moisture in your hair using thicker moisturisers and make use of sealants like oils. My hair is very porous, I usually layer products (leave-in, moisturizer and oil), I focus on infusing moisture; For example, letting water run through my hair twice a week.
  • If it floats, then your hair is low porosity, which means it does not absorb moisture quickly. People with high porosity hair should avoid layering thick buttery products, but lean more towards leave-ins/moisturisers in liquid forms to hydrate their hair.
  • Then there is normal porosity, you guys are the luckiest of all, you can use all types of products and focus on other characteristics of your hair. Hair with normal porosity does sink after a while, and finally to the bottom if it’s left for long enough. There really isn’t much of a test for it. If your hair doesn’t fall in one of the other two categories, then you more than likely have medium porosity hair.

 

                     HAIR WIDTH

Hair width describes the circumference of your hair strands.

The test to determine width is simple: You can find out by holding shed hair (not broken hair) in front of a light source.  They will fall in one of 3 categories:

Fine – when the strand is placed in front of a light source e.g (natural light) if the strand virtually disappears or is invisible then the strand is considered fine. Fine hair tends to be weaker than others and may break if you look at it the wrong way (just kidding… You get the point). People with fine hair should avoid hairstyles that pull at the roots e.g. big braids or tight cornrows. (Fine hair also needs protein for strength; invest in protein conditioners and treatments)

Coarse – If the strand appears thick and not smooth when you run your finger across it, then your hair could be coarse. This type of hair is the strongest because of its wide circumference. (Due to its strengths, ladies with coarse hair type should keep protein to a minimum in their hair routines to prevent it from feeling rough and dry, because protein essentially strengthens the hair and you definitely don’t need any help in that department )

Medium: If the strand does not appear thick or too thin, then your hair is medium width. This hair type has medium elasticity… (It’s not so strong that it refuses to cut when you try to break a strand nor is it so ‘weak’ that is snaps the moment you apply a little tension).

 

                 DENSITY

The density of your hair is simply how thin or thick your head of hair is. The number of hair follicles in a specific area of your hair, say a 1-inch area, determines your hair’s density.

With kinky hair, the curls are densely packed together, but don’t be fooled it doesn’t mean your hair in its natural state is thick.

When your hair is completely dry, try looking at it from various angles. You can easily tell if your hair is thick/full, if it is scanty/fine or finally, if it is medium.

This might not have an impact on the products you use but more on the type of hairstyles and detangling techniques for the women and men with full hair.

 

Once you determine your hair characteristics, choosing the appropriate and best products will be a walk in the park.