To help an oil affect your hair in the most beneficial way, it has to match level of hair porosity.
Have you ever wondered why one oil makes your hair flat while the other makes strands frizzy? The secret lies in the structure of oils, and to be more precise, in the size of molecules which an oil is made of. Composition of oils is dominated by various fatty acids of different molecules sizes. And not every molecules match each hair type.
In the light of this, the choice of natural oils has to be governed by the type of fatty acids that dominate in a particular oil.
This is the only way to match an oil with porosity level of your hair.
Hair porosity – what’s that?
Hair porosity is a parameter describing state and condition of your strands. This term was invented by observing and analysing outer structures of hair; more precisely by analysing cuticles that each hair is built of. Cuticles aren’t attached tightly to hair surface. Instead, they are arranged in layers coating hair cortex. These are connected with cellular cement. Cuticles start raising up the moment hair is getting damaged. The more distressed and dehydrated hair, the more raised up are the cuticles, with reflects higher hair porosity. Consequently, the more cuticles are raised up, the more hair is ‘defenceless’: it’s prone to damages.
Each well-selected natural hair oil fits its molecules into the various size of gaps that each hair type is characterized by.
Due to porosity level, we can distinguish three hair types:
- Low porosity hair – of tightly adjoining cuticles. Such hair is thick and heavy, rather stiff and definitely hard to style. This hair type requires special care without which strands get greasy and, as the consequence, they lose volume. Too much of sebum can lead to excessive hair loss, which is caused by weakened hair bulbs (due to bad oxygen circulation).
- Medium porosity hair – of slightly bent out cuticles. Improper care can make hair either flat or frizzy. Medium porosity hair often has dehydrated ends, gets static or is greasy. Its hair bulbs lose condition hence hair falls out. Insufficient number of vitamins and minerals contribute to hair deterioration.
- High porosity hair – of widely opened cuticles. It’s dehydrated and damaged hair of extremely poor condition. Such strands are deprived of shine and vitality, they lose volume and density, frequently brittle. What’s more, such hair’s condition deteriorates faster as it loses moisture easily. This kind of strands has to be continually nourished. What’s also important, an owner of such hair must be careful not to damage it even more.
How to define hair porosity?
Hair porosity can be defined in many ways. If you have time and considerable problems with hair, visit a trichologist, who will examine your hair and scalp.
Moreover, you can define hair porosity by putting a clean hair (without any silicones, etc.) into a bowl filled with water. Observe the hair to find out what has happened to it after 10 minutes:
- If it swims somewhere at the very bottom of the bowl or if it has fallen onto the bottom this means that your hair is of high porosity; the cuticles of which absorb water quickly.
- If it swims somewhere in the middle of the bowl it means that your hair is of medium porosity; the cuticles of which absorbs water in a moderately.
- If it floats on the water this means that type of your hair is low porosity; the cuticles of which don’t let water get inside.
More often than not women know which porosity level their hair is since defining the type isn’t that hard. The description of three hair porosity types enables to categorise your hair easily.
How to match an oil with a hair porosity?
As it has been mentioned before, hair oils have different structure because of various sizes of molecules they are made from. Thanks to this, oils can ideally fit into particular hair type. To demonstrate, coconut oil has very small molecules which fit the tiny gaps of low porosity hair. At the same time, the small molecules don’t work well on high porosity hair because all they can do is make hair frizzy. To sum up, while picking an oil, pay attention to the amount of particular fatty acids an oil contains.
You can make use of the following guidelines:
- High porosity hair – choose oils that contain great amount of polysaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6)
- Medium porosity hair – choose oils that contain great amount of monosaturated fatty acids (omega-7 and omega-9)
- Low porosity hair – choose oils that contain great amount of saturated fatty acids (lauric acid, stearic acid, myristic acid)
Which oil does match low porosity hair?
Choose oils of small molecules:
- Coconut oil
- Shea butter
- Babassu oil
- Palm oil
Which oil does match medium porosity hair?
Choose oils of medium-sized molecules:
- Hazel nut oil
- Camellias oil
- Moringa oil
- Almond oil
- Argan oil
- Macadamia oil
- Apricot oil
Which oil does match high porosity hair?
Choose oils of big molecules:
- Safflower oil
- Cedar oil
- Grape seed oil
- Sunflower oil
- Black seed oil
- Corn oil
- Evening primrose oil
Hair oil – what should you be careful about?
Hair oils have gained so tremendous popularity that almost every cosmetic brand produces some oil-containing beauty products. However, before you visit a cosmetic shop get acquainted whit what should be paid attention to during shopping. In this way, you’ll avoid bad surprises as you’ll protect your hair against damages.
- Composition of hair oil – mismatching oils. Many producers don’t take thought whether the oils they put inside their product are balanced and selected with accordance to hair porosity. Instead, they use either the most common ones or the most popular oils. This makes the oils become less effective as they don’t reveal their entire potential.
- Composition of hair oil – short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). These are very unkind alcohols that can irritate scalp, cause allergies and when used continuously, they can even contribute to hair dehydration. In the light of this, it’s suggested avoiding such alcohols not only in oils but also in other beauty products. Such short-chain fatty acids are, among others: alcohol denat., benzyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, ethanol alcohol.
- Composition of hair oil – petroleum derivatives and artificial colourants along with preservatives and heavy, comedogenic silicones can irritate. Remember that the more natural composition of a hair oil, the better its action. The best hair oils are free of any possible irritating substances therefore, they can be applied directly to scalp.