5 May

What Is Porosity?

Porosity refers to how well your hair is able to absorb and hold moisture. It is affected by the flexible outer hair layer called the cuticle, which determines how easily moisture and oils pass in and out of your hair. For most, porosity is genetic, but it can also be affected by external factors such as exposure, heat treatments and chemical processing. Porosity is a measurement of your hair’s ability to absorb and hold moisture. You can also think of it as indicating how easily moisture can penetrate your hair. Porosity is determined by the structure of your cuticle- the outer layer of your hair.

Why Do You Need To Know Your Hair’s Porosity

Knowing your hair’s porosity can help you choose the right products to keep your hair well-moisturized, supple, strong and shiny.

What are the 3 types of Hair Porosity?

1. Low Porosity Hair

Low Porosity Hair is moisture resistant with a tightly bound cuticle layer with overlapping scales that lay flat. This type of hair is usually considered healthy and is often very shiny. Low porosity hair repels moisture when you wet it and is hard to process since it resists penetration of chemicals. his means that it may be hard to get moisture into your hair, but once you do, you don’t need to worry as much about your hair drying out. Your coils/ curls can also be prone to product buildup, especially from protein-rich products which can leave your hair feeling straw-like


  • Use moderate heat when deep conditioning to help open up the tightly bound cuticle.
  • Go completely protein-free, rather use daily conditioners with products such as honey.
  • Go for lighter, liquid-based products such as hair milks that won’t sit on your hair and leave it oily or greasy.
  • Use softening moisturisers such as shea butter or jojoba oil.

2. Medium Porosity Hair

Hair with medium porosity requires the least amount of maintenance. It has a looser cuticle layer, allowing for a steady but moderate flow of moisture in and out of your hair. Hair with medium porosity hold styles well and can be chemically treated and coloured with predictable results. Occasional deep conditioning treatments with protein conditioners can help maintain the hair’s porosity and prevent the transition to high porosity.

  • Avoid protein in your daily regimen
  • However, you should use protein products when deep conditioning

3. High Porosity Hair

High porosity can be the result of several things. One could be born with high porosity hair, it could be the result of damage from chemical processing, rough treatment or environmental damage. High porosity hair has gaps and holes in the cuticle, which let too much moisture into your hair and leave it prone to frizz and tangling in humid weather. Even simple acts such as bathing, swimming and shampooing can create more damage and breakage due to the sheer amount of moisture highly porous hair can absorb.

Layering these products will help your hair hold on to the moisture you’re giving it. You can even follow up with a heavy hair butter to help fill the gaps in your damaged cuticles and further protect your hair from losing too much moisture.

High Porosity Hair has gaps and holes in the cuticle layer, which allow moisture to pass quickly in and out. This can lead to frizz and tangling in humid weather, and extreme dryness in dry weather. You’ll need to be carefulwith activities like swimming or bathing that involve a lot of moisture getting into your hair, since this can cause breakage.

What to use:

Anti-humectants, especially when it’s humid, will seal your cuticles and prevent them from absorbing too much moisture. (Ex: raw shea butter, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil)

Leave-in conditioners and moisturizers will provide your hair with moisture through the day, but use a sealer such as Avocado Oil to retain moisture and prevent dryness.

Sealants like shea butter and coconut oil are your besties if you have high porosity hair


There are two ways to determine you can use to find out how porous your hair is.

(1) The Float Test: Take a few strands of hair from your comb (P.S. Use clean hair! Hair products can alter your results) and drop them in a bowl or glass of water. Let them sit for five minutes. If your hairs float after

the time is up, you have low porosity. It may float somewhere in the middle of the bowl if you have medium porosity. If they sink to the bottom, you have high porosity hair.

The Hair Float Test

(2) The Spray Bottle Test: Take a small section of your hair and mist it with a spray bottle. Watch closely: if the water beads up on your hair, it is low porosity. If it absorbs quickly, your hair is high porosity. If you notice the water sitting on your hair for a couple minutes before absorbing in, you have medium porosity hair.

Click here for the quick quiz that’ll determine your hair type

Do not stress now that you know your hair type! There are no “good” or “bad” hair types – it’s all about knowing how to care for the hair that you have. Two people with identical curl patterns and hair types could possibly have different porosity, and therefore need to use very different products. However, there is one product you should use regardless of hair porosity: deep conditioners. A deep conditioning treatment is important for all hair types, natural and relaxed alike since it provides nutrients that all hair needs to grow and remain strong.

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