When you gave yourself a general hair-care education, you may have missed learning about porosity. But here’s the deal: All hair is porous, but some hair textures are more porous than others. Simply put, the porosity of your tresses refers to how tightly closed the hair’s cuticle layers are, or aren’t, and how easily your hair absorbs water. Here, CurlyNikki.com breaks it down even more and offers some helpful advice to curlies who aren’t sure where their strands stand where porosity is concerned.

Not sure about your hair’s porosity? Well, think about into which of these two categories your tresses tend to fall.

High-porosity hair. Curly hair is usually highly porous (more so than natural, uncolored straight hair) and doesn’t tend to retain water well. Why? Because strands with many larger openings in the cuticle layer are like a thin sponge; they can absorb a lot of water but they dry out easily. To combat this dryness problem, commit to a moisturizing regimen. In addition, avoid regularly washing hair with shampoo; try to conditioner-wash (or co-wash) your hair and deep condition regularly. And when you do occasionally cleanse your hair, choose a sulfate-free shampoo as it is less harsh on your mane. Also, after every co-wash, rinse your hair with cool water to shock and seal the cuticle layer shut. You may even want to experiment with leave-in conditioners.

Low-porosity hair. Visualize hair strands with fewer openings and a cuticle layer that usually remains tightly closed. Water has a more difficult time penetrating low-porosity hair. But once H2O gets inside the hair shaft, it remains there longer and provides much needed moisture. One downside to low-porosity hair is that products tend to not absorb into its strands easily. The result? Product buildup on the hair’s outer surface. This buildup can weigh hair down and take away its bounce and vitality. To combat buildup,  try a warm water rinse to help open up cuticles for styling products. If buildup seems particularly excessive, try an apple cider vinegar rinse. This also removes buildup on your scalp.

Unsure how to build a moisturizing regimen that works for you? Click here to learn more.