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  5. Hair Porosity: What Does It Mean To Your Hair?

Have you wondered why your hair takes so long to dry after washing? Or, why does your hair seem so dry and frizzy all the time? It’s all because of your hair porosity.

“Your hair management seems almost impossible if you have either very low or very high hair porosity,” says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.

Let’s take a closer look at what hair porosity is and how you can determine it to treat your hair with Ayurveda.

What Is Hair Porosity?

In simple terms, hair porosity refers to the ability of your hair to absorb and retain moisture. Hair porosity depends on the position of the cuticles of your hair, which enables moisture to enter or exit your hair strand.

The water or moisture cannot penetrate your hair if the cuticles lay flat. More water or moisture is absorbed when the cuticles are in an open or lifted position. However, the absorbed moisture is retained by the hair only when the cuticle layers are closed.

Your hair cuticle is further divided into sublayers such as epicuticle, exocuticle, and endocuticle, which have variable protein levels [1].

Types Of Hair Porosity

Depending on the cuticle position, we can classify hair porosity into three types:

1. Low Porosity

In low porous hair, the cuticles are tightly closed as they tend to overlap each other. This leaves no space between cuticles for water or moisture to enter. Even, the hair products used just coat your hair strand externally, rather than sinking into it. As per Ayurveda, Kapha hair has low porosity.

2. High Porosity

In highly porous hair, the cuticles are widely spaced and the gaps in between lets the moisture escape through. However, the moisture absorbed into high porous hair cannot be retained for a longer time as it dries up quickly due to free air circulation. Thus, highly porous hair tends to be dry[2] and frizzy. As per Ayurveda, Vata hair has higher porosity.

3. Medium Porosity

In medium porous hair, the cuticles are not too open but are not too close either. This enables the moisture to enter the inner layers of your hair strand while it is retained by your hair for a longer period of time. This is the ideal level of porosity healthy hair can have. As per Ayurveda, Pitta hair has normal or medium porosity.

What Causes Low Or High Hair Porosity?

1. Genetics

Typically, genetic factors can be a reason behind your low porosity hair. If low porosity runs in your family, then there are higher chances that you too have low porous hair. Sometimes, due to genetics, you have highly porous hair too.

2. Bad Hair Care Habits

Habits like too much oiling of your hair can result in flattening of your hair cuticles, thus contributing to low porosity.

Also, factors such as overwashing hair, using hot water for hair wash, bleaching hair frequently, blow-drying, heat styling, or using harsh products can cause the cuticles to raise and open, thus, increasing the porosity of your hair. These factors can turn normal porous hair into highly porous hair in no time.

3. UV Radiation Exposure

Exposing your hair to the ultraviolet radiation from the sun increases your hair porosity [3].

How Do You Know If Your Hair Has High Or Low Porosity?

1. If your hair porosity is low, then:

  • Your hair may take longer than usual to get air-dried.
  • You feel it hard to soak your hair with water during hair wash.
  • Any hair products you apply tends to deposit on your hair as they don’t get absorbed easily.

2. If your hair porosity is high, then:

  • Your hair dries off quickly after hair wash.
  • Your hair tends to be severely dry and frizzy.
  • Your hair becomes brittle and prone to breakage.
  • You find it easier to wash your hair.
  • The products used are easily absorbed into the hair.
  • The color distribution looks uneven when you dye highly porous hair.

3. If your hair porosity is medium or normal, then:

  • Your hair does not dry quickly but also does not take too long to air dry.
  • The color distribution will be even when you dye your hair.
  • You find your hair easily manageable.
  • Your hair looks healthy and lustrous.

How To Do A Hair Porosity Test?

Place a dry and clean hair strand into a cup of water to test your hair porosity.

  • If your hair strand floats at the top, then you have low porous hair.
  • If your hair strand sinks immediately, then you have highly porous hair.
  • If your hair strand sinks after a few minutes, then you have a balanced hair porosity, i.e, medium porous hair.

hair porosity float test

How To Manage Your Hair Porosity With Ayurveda?

1. For Low Porous Hair

As per Ayurveda, aggravated Kapha dosha needs to be in a balanced state to improve the moisture absorption capacity of your low porous hair. This can be done with specific herbal treatments. Such herbs provide deep conditioning to your hair besides loosening up the tightly enclosed cuticle layer in low porous hair.

A. Amla

Add water to 2-3 spoons of amla powder and prepare a smooth paste. Now, grind 8-10 leaves of basil into a thick paste and add it to the amla paste. Mix them well and apply it to your scalp and hair properly. Leave it for half an hour and wash it off with lukewarm water.

B. Mud/Clay Mask

Prepare a hair mask by mixing Ayurvedic bentonite clay[4] with Kapha pacifying herbal bark powders such as lodhara, asana, manjistha, ashwattha, etc. Apply this hair mask and wash it off after half an hour. Repeat this once a week.

C. Manjistha

Make a fine paste by adding the required amount of rosewater or honey to a spoon of manjistha powder. Apply this gently to your hair strands and leave it for half an hour. Later, wash your hair with a mild herbal shampoo.

D. Chandana

Prepare a paste by adding a spoon of lemon juice and adequate water to 1-2 spoons of sandalwood powder as per your hair length. Apply it across your hair and leave it for half an hour before rinsing it off thoroughly with lukewarm water.

“Avoid massaging your low porous hair with heavy oils. Applying light oils such as almond oil, jojoba oil, and oils processed with tannin rich herbs that work to pacify Kapha dosha can help you in balancing low hair porosity,” says Dr. Zeel.

2. For Highly Porous Hair

To improve the status of your highly porous hair, Ayurveda recommends treatments with Vata dosha pacifying herbs. These herbs promote deep nourishment, which in turn repairs your highly porous cuticle layer.

A. Yashtimadhu

Add a spoon of licorice powder and ¼ spoon of saffron to a cup of milk. Pour this milk onto your hair, spreading it across your hair with a gentle massage. Leave it for half an hour and then wash your hair properly with cold water.

B. Kumari/Aloe Vera

Rub your hair with freshly extracted aloe vera gel and rinse off after half an hour. You can do this on alternate days if you have highly porous and dry hair.

C. Vetiver

Take a clay pot and pour a small bowl of hot water into it. Add a bunch of vetiver root to the pot and keep the lid closed for at least 2-3 hours. Now, add 2 slices of lemon to the pot and leave it for a few minutes. Strain the vetiver decoction and use it as your hair rinse.

raw khus or vetiver grass

D. Oil Treatments

Ensure you massage your hair at least twice a week with warm oil [5]. You can use heavy oils such as coconut oil, sesame oil, argan oil, etc. Also, Ayurvedic oils with Vata pacifying herbs can be your best choice if you have high hair porosity. Leave your hair with oil overnight and wash your hair with suitable herbal shampoo in the morning.

E. Natural Protein Treatments At Home

    • Banana+Coconut Milk Mask

Prepare a pulpy mask by blending a banana and ½ cup of coconut milk. Apply this mask and let it get completely absorbed into your hair for half an hour. Later, wash it off with cold water.

    • Egg+Yogurt Mask

Prepare a creamy mask by blending 2 egg whites and ½ cup of yogurt. Apply it thoroughly to your hair shaft and wash it off with cold water after half an hour. Repeat this at least once a week.

Vedix Tip: Avoid washing your hair with hot water when you have highly porous hair. Ayurveda recommends lukewarm water for hair wash. Also, avoid heat styling, blow-drying, and anything which causes heat damage to your hair.

Can You Change Your Hair Porosity?

You may not be able to alter your hair porosity if it is due to genetics. However, you can achieve healthy and manageable hair by taking the necessary precautions as per your hair type. You can reset your hair porosity by bringing your vitiated doshas to balance with a regular Ayurvedic hair care regimen, if it is caused by other factors.

Important Note:

We recommend seeking the advice of your doctor before using any of the Ayurvedic and home treatments mentioned in this article to fix your hair porosity.

The Last Word

No matter how porous your hair is, Ayurveda recommends regular oil massage with suitable herbal oil before shampooing. This keeps your Ayurvedic doshas in equilibrium. Also, ensure your hair products are sulfate and paraben-free to prevent any unwanted changes occurring in your hair porosity.

At Vedix, we enable you to have the most suitable regimen for your hair type with customized Ayurvedic products formulated based on your dosha levels.

Know Your Dosha Now

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