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Here's Why The Float Test Doesn't Determine Your Porosity

We all want to know our the porosity of our curly hair as it helps us figure out not only what products to use, but also what hair care regime we should follow. Let's look at what the science (aka CURLiD Trichologist Samantha Stewart MIT) has to say on porosity.


1. What is Porosity?

Porosity refers to the hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture. Your hair's porosity is primarily determined by genetics, however it can also be altered by external factors such as:

  • chemical processing (bleach, chemical straightening or other treatment)

  • application of heat (think blow-dryers or styling tongs)

2. What is 'The float test'?

The float test is taking a strand of your hair and placing it in a glass of water. The claims are that your hair's porosity depends on where your hair floats in the glass.


3. What are the main issues with the float test?

There are too many variables in this test that may affect the end result such as:

  • If you are using a hair strand that has product on it such as conditioner or if you've recently applied a treatment mask, this coats the hair to prevent it from damage. This in turn will not represent the true porosity of your hair as the hair follicle is now coated with product.

  • The quality and minerals of water used for this test may also affect the end results, which again may present you will false results.

4. So how can I actually test my hairs porosity?

To accurately determine your hair's porosity your hair needs to be examined in a lab using high powered scanning electro microscopes. By doing so, you'll get detailed imaging of your hair strands and be able to accurately determine your porosity.

A microscopic image of a hair strand. Property of CURLiD.

If you are interested in learning about your hairs porosity, or if you need help figuring out what products or hair-care routines work best for your curly hair pre-order one of our Hair Analysis Kits today!



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