How to Determine Your Hair Porosity

What is hair porosity

To give your hair the most effective treatment with best possible results, it’s necessary to know the porosity level of your hair. Yes I know that it sounds fancy but it’s as simple as this: Hair porosity refers to your hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture and there are three levels of it: low, normal or high. The outer layer of your hair strand, the cuticle, is the one determining your hair porosity. The cuticle can open and close to let moisture and products in and out. The more porous your cuticle is (more “holes” in it), the more it absorbs moisture into the hair strand. And careful now! This doesn’t mean that it is a good thing. High porosity hair absorbs fast moisture but loses it equally fast, making it dry again. On a contrary, low hair porosity has compact cuticles and it is hard for it to penetrate moisture into the hair strand.

Porosity test

To determine whether you hair has high, normal or low porosity takes only 5 minutes! All you need is glass of water and few hair strands of yours. And please! Use hair from a comb do not rip them from your head 😱😂. Drop the hairs into the glass of water and let them sit for five minute. Check whether the hair strands are floating on the surface, starting to sink slowly eventually staying on the halfway or sinking fast all the way to the bottom. If they float, your hair is low porosity. If your hair sinks slowly, it has normal porosity, and if it sinks immediately, your hair is high porosity.

Low hair porosity  

Floating hair has low hair porosity.

Normal hair porosity

Slowly sinking hair has normal hair porosity.

High hair porosity

Sunken hair till the bottom has high hair porosity.

Hair care according to porosity level

If your hair was floating on the surface, you have low porosity hair, meaning that the cuticles are very compact and it is hard for the hair to absorb moisture. Therefore, the best way to treat the hair is to open up the cuticles before applying moisture into your hair. To do that you can use steam or simply a hot damp towel. Another efficient way to make the cuticles to open up is the use of hot oil treatment.

Normal porosity hair requires less maintenance than low or high porosity hair. Just make sure that once in awhile you treat your hair with deep conditioning treatments and you use hair oils to seal the added moisture.

High porosity hair feels often very dry and looks frizzy. As the cuticles are already too open try not to apply unnecessary heat to your hair. If possible, air dry your hair (Many times I get the best curls when I air dry my hair 😏). Use regularly deep conditioning treatments and rinse it off with cold water to close the cuticles. I know! Everyone loves hot showers but this trick really works. Finally, seal in the added moisture with a sealing hair oil.


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Vanessa Martins, Founder TheWildCurl