Is the glass of water test a legit way to see what products your hair needs?

TikTok is great for all kinds of hair and beauty hacks.

A recent trick circulating on the platform suggests that individuals can pop a single strand of hair into a glass of water, to find out the best products to use.

In the video – which has racked up more than 5.8 million views – 21-year-old Chloe Amore Beatty says putting a strand in a glass of water to see if it floats will tell you the porosity of hair – and which products to use as a result.

She explains that knowing the right products to use for your hair type can help it grow.

In the clip, Chloe says: ‘If it rises to the top and stays at the top, you have low porosity hair.

‘If it completely sinks down to the bottom you have high porosity hair.

‘If it floats in the centre, you have normal porosity hair.’

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For those not clued-up, stylist and founder of Routes Hair Extensions Rachel Burgin explains: ‘Hair porosity is essentially your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. It’s a key part of understanding your hair’s health and how to keep it in check.’

High porosity means that water, oils, and other types of products can be easily absorbed by your hair, whereas low porosity means the opposite.

But does this hack really tell you everything to know about your hair?

Dominique Lescott, founder of Hair Popp, tells that this ‘water and jar’ technique is flawed, due to environmental factors – particularly with Afro hair.

She says: ‘The jar test isn’t effective enough to find out whether hair porosity is high, medium or low.

‘Some of the reasons are that Afro and curly hair, in particular, is subject to change depending on a variety of factors including the density of the hair, the health of the hair and how clean or dirty the hair is. 

‘Porosity is the ability of your hair to detail moisture, not whether it sinks or floats in a glass of water.

‘The key to healthy hair is to drink plenty of water, eat a healthy diet and have a good routine using quality products.’

Salem Wynter-Baxter, Afro hair care strategist and founder of Root2tip, also says that this hack isn’t suitable for Afro or curly hair.

‘Detecting the porosity level on Afro/curly hair in all honesty is a science experiment. The truth is, our hair will have a number of porosity levels even on one strand,’ says Salem.

‘The hair in the glass test when done without scientific criteria is flawed on many levels. A strand of hair plopped in a glass that has been taken from your head or hairbrush will be covered in a moisturising product or even hair gel. This alone will interfere with the accuracy of the water in the glass porosity test.’

Frey Necole, creative director of Zee Elle, agrees and says that while the water test is a popular at-home method, it doesn’t take everything into account.

‘Just like various parts of your skin may have different oil production levels – e.g. some oily and some dry – the scalp is the same. There is a chance that some parts of your hair have high porosity and other parts have low porosity,’ she explains.

Frey suggests an alternative way to see how easily your hair absorbs moisture.

She adds: ‘If experiencing hair breakage in certain parts, the spray bottle test can be used for targeted areas.

‘Simply spray water on a section of the hair and watch. If the water does not absorb and rolls off after 2-3 minutes, it means you have low porosity hair.’

How to get your hair back in balance:

If you suffer high or low hair porosity, fear not, it’s really easy to get back in balance. 

For those with low porosity hair, Rachel Burgin says: ‘After shampooing rinse hair with warm water and squeeze out the water, on a bi-weekly basis. Then apply a hair boost treatment and pop over a shower cap. Then warm the cap with a hair dryer – this allows the hair cuticles to open to allow the treatment in. Then 20 minutes later rinse thoroughly in warm water.’

If you have high porosity hair you’ll need protein to help lock in the moisture that’s been easily absorbed.

Rachel says: ‘Your hair is probably already splitting and breaking if you are not taking action. Each day spritz on a protein spray on dry length and ends.’

This will restore protein and feed the hair at the core rather than the oils that sit on top of the hair.

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