My hair type ranges from 2C (wavy) to 3B (curly) and I have low porosity hair. Knowing your hair type can help a lot when choosing hair products. It means you can quickly zero in on products you know have a better chance of working for your hair, instead of spending hours browsing and scrolling through shops.
But wait. What are hair types and how did we get here?
Like all those curious about their hair type, I did a deep dive into what information was out there about hair type and hair porosity. I’m going to share with you a little bit about what I found, but I also encourage you to do more of your own research.
There is so much information and knowledge out there, and with knowledge comes the power to give your hair what it needs to thrive.
There are four main hair types. Straight (Type 1), Wavy (Type 2), Curly (Type 3), Coils/Kinky-Curly (Type 4). These types can be further sub-categorised into A – C depending on HOW wavy, curly or kinky-curly your hair is. Think of it like a spectrum. Depending on how straight or how curly your hair is, determines where you fall on the spectrum.
Here is a handy diagram. You will probably run into this chart a lot when doing your curly hair research.
Take a look at your hair. In its most natural state, where does it fall on the spectrum? It’s also perfectly normal for you to have multiple types on one head of hair. I usually swing between three types like I said earlier, type 2C, 3A and 3B.
I know my hair type, now what?
Well I’m glad you asked. I will link a few sources here for you to check out and learn more about how to care for you hair type.
- (Article) Naturallycurly.com – Type 2 – 4. Here you can click on your hair type and the site will take you to a page with simple tips about how to care for your particular brand of hair.
- (Article) Curls.biz – Type 1 – 4. This article briefly gets in to the science of how bonds and protein in our hair determine our hair type. Here you can also find great tips and Curls own product recommendations for your specific hair type.
- (Video) BiancaReneeToday – Type 1 – 4. In this quick 6 minute video, Bianca lays out the 4 hair types, talks about their characteristics and mentions styling tips and tricks to manage each specific hair type.
- (Video) Angela C Styles – Type 1 – 4. Angela takes a deep dive into hair types, the pros and cons of the chart, how chemical styling changes your hair type and why it’s important to know your type.
This is just a drop in the pond of all the information about hair type, so like I said, I encourage you to do more research about your specific type. There are tonnes of people on the internet talking about type 2A to type 4C hair, you just need to go out there and find them.
So, you know your hair type, what’s your hair porosity? When you know how porous your hair is, you can determine how much or how little moisture or protein you need to add to it to get it feeling strong and healthy
How to test for hair porosity
There are two ways I know of and have used.
First, The Float Test. Fill a cup three quarters full of room temperature water, pull a strand of clean hair from your head and place it in the water. Let it sit for 2 – 4 minutes. After this time if your hair is still floating you likely have low porosity hair, if it’s somewhere around the middle, you likely have medium porosity hair and if it has sunk, you likely have high porosity hair.
Second, The Slip’n’Slide Test. Take a strand of your hair and slide your fingers up the strand, towards your scalp. If you feel tiny bumps along the way, you likely have high porosity hair. If the strand feels smooth, then you likely have low porosity hair.
I have low porosity hair. This means the hair cuticle lays flat. It usually repels moisture and is prone to product build up from protein-rich products. All good things to keep in mind when buying and using your hair products.
When trying to understand porosity, this is something I think of which helps me to visualise what my hair needs. Think of one of your hair strands. Imagine there are little holes in the strand that let moisture in and out. If you have low porosity you will have less holes. If you have high porosity you will have more holes. With this image in your head, what do you now need to do to fill those holes to make sure the strand is strong and moisturised? DO IT!
Unsure where to start? Don’t worry. I have linked some articles and videos below that discuss what porosity is and how to deal with your particular hair porosity.
- (Article) Naturallycurly.com – This tells you how to check your hair porosity, includes lots of details about the characteristics of each porosity type and how to care for them.
- (Article) Devacurl.com – This detailed article is a beginners dream. It talks about the characteristics of each porosity type, how to test your porosity and briefly goes into the basics of caring for your porosity type.
- (Video) Penny Tovar – In this 5 minute video, Penny talks about why knowing your hair porosity is important, the characteristics of each porosity type, how you can ‘change’ your porosity and how to test for your porosity type.
- (Video) Jannelle O’Shaughnessy – Here Jannelle goes into depth about what porosity is, why it matters, what are the signs of each porosity type, how to test porosity and some of the best ways to deal with your porosity type. It is 17 minutes long, so if you have the time I would recommend this video. If not, the other sources I provided should be a good gateway into the realm of porosity.
Alright. You now have more weapons to add to your curly hair arsenal.
Some of the videos and articles mentioned in this post talked about how knowing your hair density and hair length can also help you properly care for your hair type. If you wish to know more about them you can find all this information through Google, YouTube or if you have Instagram there are great curly hair influencers who have become mentors for my own curly hair journey. I’ll link them now:
- Honest Liz
- Boss Curl
- Jannelle O’Shaughnessy
- Vicky Queen of Curls
- Bounce Curl
- Rizos Curls
- Bianca Renee
Thanks for reading through this post about hair type. Now that you know a little bit more about your hair and how to care for it, you can use this post as a spring board for future research along your curly hair journey. Comment below what your hair type and porosity is. I’d love to know. Have a great day!