Newbie...confused about texture & porosity

This is my first post but I've been trolling for about three weeks, which is when I started my CG journey. The whole process has been overwhelming and intimidating! I obsessed for a minute about my curl "type" (I'm thinking somewhere between 2b-3a), but the more I read, the more I'm convinced that texture and porosity are going to lead me in the right direction as far as product selection. But try as I might I can't seem to figure out where I fit, even after reading StuttsWife's blog/posts on the topic! :banghead: I'm hoping someone might be able to help...

POROSITY: My gut tells me I've got high porosity hair because I've been coloring, straightening, and blowdrying my hair for ~15 years. But when I do the float test, most of the strands are still floating after 4 minutes (the ends of some strands start to sink by then). And when I run my fingers up the strands on my head, some are smooth, but others are "bumpy."

TEXTURE: I don't know if my hair is fine or coarse! It's pretty dry and prone to frizz. Fine and coarse should be opposites (right?), so you'd think it'd be easy to figure out, but I have no idea.

I don't know if this will help, but my results with just LA Looks Sports Gel have been dry, stringy, and crunchy (even after I SOTC), and the curl clumps "separate." BUT, it holds and I don't have my normal layer of frizz. When I just use Smooth N Shine Curl Activator Gel for Extra Dry Hair my hair is softer and the curl clumps are larger, but it does not hold at ALL (by the end of the day it pretty much looks like it used to when I would straighten it and go outside in high humidity) and I end up with a halo (or more) of frizz. I am wondering if my hair's reaction to the proteins in LA Looks or the humectants in Shine N Smooth might help to determine what my porosity/texture are. Lately I've been trying to do a combo of these two products, but if either is bad for my hair texture/porosity, I want to know so I stop using it!

BTW, I live in a very high humidity environment. If that helps at all! I am even more confused because I just read the jar of Smooth n Shine and it says it has "added proteins!"


  • SandiSandi Posts: 364Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Porosity: The strand test is notoriously un-reliable. A better indicator would be how long your hair takes to dry with no-product. I'm pretty sure my own porosity has changed, so I should probably re-do this test...

    Texture: This is a toughie. A lot of people have differing types. For my own head, the majority of it is coarse, but the nape (for some odd reason), has the same texture as my baby hairs in the front. Why, I will never understand. As far as looking to see, the thickness of your hair strands should be a clue. I can see a single hair several metres away. It's never going to "disappear" on me. Also, coarser haired curlies tend to have more protein issues. (Many protein products leave my hair feeling like straw).

    I can't do just gel also because of what you just described. Humidity also brings you to the topic of dew points, something I know little to nothing about because there's been no need. My hair is pretty tolerant in general when it comes to weather, but in more humid climates, I tend to use more glycerin-y products. How your hair reacts to humidity doesn't really tell you much about the above characteristics, but it's good to know. :)

    Also, I don't see a problem with trying to use the products together. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, just tweak your routine a tad.
    Hair Type: 3c/4a, Coarse, Med-High Density, Med-Low Porosity
    Curly since '09
  • wavesandsmileswavesandsmiles Posts: 59Registered Users Curl Novice
    I agree with Sandy. Hair properties are helpful for narrowing down what products and techniques to try out first, but in the end, whatever works for you works for you- it doesn't hurt to try. :)
    Whether a product is good for you depends on so many different factors- maybe it is a combination of your porosity and texture, maybe it's the weather and your porosity, maybe it's your hair's elasticity- it's really hard to figure out exactly why sometimes. At least that has been my philosophy on buying products and trying new techniques lately.

    I understand your confusion- I think determining properties is tricky. Probably the only way to be sure of your properties is to get your hair analyzed. I didn't do that, but pretty sure my hair is mainly low porosity because it takes hours to dry and my fingers run up the strand really easily. Some strands are bumpy but I don't think it's my fingers getting "caught" on the raised cuticles, but more due to the kinks.
    As for texture, fine hair is supposed to be difficult to see and feel eve against a contrasting background. Coarse hair is thick and visible and feels almost wiry when you rub it. Medium is in between.

    Also different strands of hair may vary in coarseness and porosity so that could also be why your different strands do different things.
    CG since June 2011 :)
    2b/c, thick, medium/coarse, low-medium porosity
    full Chinese Canadian
  • sarajane82sarajane82 Posts: 77Registered Users
    Thanks, guys! So, if hair takes a longer time to dry with no product, is it more or less porous?

    I see your point about not getting too hung up on these things. I think I keep telling myself that if I can properly identify my curl type or the properties of my hair, it will be like a magic formula that will lead me right to the products and routine I should follow. When in reality, it will probably be more of a trial and error thing. I've only been doing this for 3 weeks and I'm already losing patience with the trial and error! I never know what to expect one day to the next and I'm always crossing my fingers that my hair will look presentable and STAY that way. At least when I straightened, I knew what to expect. Then again, I did that for over a decade so maybe I shouldn't be comparing it to 3 measly weeks of CG!! At first I was enjoying my little "experiments" but lately I'm just downright frustrated!

    (I'm not giving up, though...!)

    Sent from my HTC6500LVW using CurlTalk App
  • AngelaE8654AngelaE8654 Posts: 1,099Banned Users Curl Neophyte
    From what I understand, the more porous your hair is, the more quickly it dries without product. I am still working on figuring out my own porosity, but I don't ever color or chemically treat my hair so I'm pretty sure it's in the "normal" range.

    I'm definitely a "curly" 2c. Sometimes curly and sometimes just wavy upper layer with a ringlety under layer. My hair has been thick and coarse since birth. Strawberry blonde in color that can and does change depending on the type and amount of light.

    All in all, I'm happy with my hair type but almost for sure think yours is prettier. :)
  • SandiSandi Posts: 364Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Yep, all hair is porous, but higher porosity hair (either from damage or from birth) tends to gain and leak out moisture really easily. Hence why almost all high porosity curlies follow the LOC method as if it were the ten commandments. (Sealing is very necessary).

    In contrast, low porosity hair tends to have trouble soaking up product, especially thick product (e.g. shea butter). (My hair despises all of the non-shampoo SM products, for example. I can't say I missed out on much because I'm scent-sensitive anyway, but...)

    As general guiding advice, these properties are most helpful when looking for new products if you haven't found a routine that works. If that is the case, then IMO these properties (alongside important factors like humidity) can help guide a product recommendation. It is true that while there's no magic arrow to an HG product list, people with overlapping properties tend to be able to use the same products.
    Hair Type: 3c/4a, Coarse, Med-High Density, Med-Low Porosity
    Curly since '09
  • sarajane82sarajane82 Posts: 77Registered Users
    I'd never heard of the LOC method, but I looked it up...I think my hair would be so weighed down and greasy if I did that! I used As I Am curling jelly for the first time yesterday and I'm pretty pleased with the results. I'm still not sure what my porosity is, but at some point when I have time I'll try to air dry without product and see what happens. For now, though, I think I'm going in the right direction!

    Sent from my HTC6500LVW using CurlTalk App

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