Hair porosity 101

If you are new to the concept, you may be thinking “What is hair porosity?”. Your hair’s porosity by definition is its ability to absorb moisture. Your hair may be of low, medium or high porosity. Determining your hair’s porosity is an easy way to figure out what products will work best for your hair (which can save you a whole lot of money).

How to determine your hair’s porosity:

  1. The water test (the most accurate in my opinion):

What you’ll need:

  • A glass of room temperature water (tap will do)
  • A clean strand of hair (one that has no product on it so I suggest you do this test after you’ve washed your hair).


  • Place the strand of hair into the glass of water (ensure that the glass is sat on a flat, stable surface) and wait approximately 5 minutes.

At the end of the 5 minute period, if the hair is floating at the surface of the water then your hair is low porosity. If it is floating in the middle area, your hair is medium porosity and finally, if the strand of hair has sunk to the bottom of the glass then you have high porosity hair.

  1. The touch test:

What you’ll need:

  • A strand of hair


  • Hold the strand of hair with one hand and gently pass two fingers over the strand. If it is bumpy then your hair is high porosity (the bumps are the openings and gaps usually found on high porosity hair). If you don’t feel any ridges or bumps then your hair is of low porosity.


  1. The water bead test:

If you’ve noticed that when your hair is exposed to water, the water usually sits on the strands of hair (in bead form) and takes a while to actually absorb into your hair, then your hair is most likely low porosity. On the other hand, if you don’t notice this happening then you more than likely  have high porosity hair.

So now that you’ve determined your hair’s porosity, you may be wondering what it means and what products are suited for your hair. I’ll be addressing both low and high porosity hair below. Medium porosity is a great medium and is not as tough as high and low porosity. If you have medium porosity hair you can use just about any type of product and your hair should not have any issues absorbing it and retaining the moisture.

High porosity hair:

Lets start off with high porosity hair. High porosity hair is hair that absorbs moisture quickly and easily, however, it also releases this moisture just as fast. As a result of this, high porosity hair tends to get dry and frizzy very quickly. This type of hair requires heavy, creamy products such as leave-in conditioners and hair masks.

Tip: when washing your hair, end with cold water as this will help to close the hair shafts and lock the moisture in.

Low porosity hair:

In low porosity hair, the cuticles are closed, making it hard for moisture to be absorbed. If you have low porosity hair you want to use light products such as oils, sprays and hair milks that will absorb quicker and more easily into your hair than thick products. Because low porosity hair does not absorb product as well as medium or high porosity hair would, there tends to be a lot of build up on the hair’s surface that weighs down hair strands and leaves your hair feeling heavy. This can be counteracted buy deep cleansing your hair using a clarifying shampoo or apple cider vinegar (don’t do this too often as your hair will become dry and frizzy).

In order to help your low porosity hair better absorb moisture, you can use heat which will help to open the shafts in your hair. Do this in moderation to prevent any heat damage. This can be done in the shower for example. Wash your hair using warm-hot water to allow the hair to better absorb the product.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions on hair porosity and I will try my best to answer them!


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