Hair porosity test

How to Determine Your Hair Porosity

What is hair porosity

To give your hair the most effective treatment with the best possible results, it’s necessary to know the porosity level of your hair. Yes, it may sound 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 have a high, normal or low porosity hair takes only 5 minutes! All you need is a glass of water and a few hair strands of yours. 

  1. Shampoo your hair sample to remove any product buildup and let it dry
  2. Drop the hairs into the glass of water and let them sit for five minutes. 
  3. Check whether the hair strands are floating on the surface, starting to sink slowly eventually staying on the halfway or sinking fast to the bottom. 

The Results

  • Low porosity: If your hair floats on the surface, you likely have low porosity hair.
  • Normal porosity: If your hair sinks slowly and eventually floats somewhere in the middle of the glass, you likely have medium porosity hair.
  • High porosity: If your hair sinks immediately, you likely have high porosity hair.


Hair porosity water test


Hair care according to porosity level

What low porosity hair needs

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 to your hair. To do that you can use steam or simply a hot damp towel. Another efficient way to make the cuticles open up is to do a hot oil treatment. Use oils that can penetrate the hair shaft. The Wild Curl Moisturizing Hair Oil contains oils that when heated the penetration ability increases. 

What normal porosity hair needs

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.

What high porosity hair needs

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, always air-dry your hair or use cold air with the hairdryer. 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 works. Finally, seal in the added moisture with sealing hair oil such as our Weightless Wavy Hair oil for finer hair types and Kinky hair oil for afro hair.

Additionally to sealing hair oils it is also important to use moisturizing and penetrating hair oils. As the cuticles of high porosity hair are more widely spaced the hair can absorb and lose water very fast. This can result in hygral fatigue (repeated swelling and drying), a factor that can damage hair. Some oils can penetrate the hair and reduce the amount of water absorbed in the hair, leading to a lowering of swelling. For this, use moisturizing hair oil that can penetrate the hair shaft such as our Moisturizing Curly Hair Oil.


  • Vanessa

    Hi Lucretia, If the hair strands are low porosity they don’t absorb that easily water inside the hair strands. This makes the hair float. If the hair doesn’t sink naturally in few minutes this means that your hair has low porosity. If you leave the hair for a long time eventually all type of hair would absorb water and sink.

    With low porosity hair, the cuticles tend to overlap each other and are tightly packed together. Because there are no spaces between the cuticles, it makes it harder for water, as well as products like oils and conditioners, to deliver moisture to the hair shaft.

    Hot oil treatments tend to be loaded with protein and make a great choice for deep conditioning fine hair that is low in porosity. You can see more information on our blog post about a Hot Oil Treatment.

  • Lucretia Ruple

    So I did my strand test and it stayed on top but I push them down a little bit just to make sure that they could get through the water tension. The stand sank to the bottom But then some of them rules again to the top. what does this mean?

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