Why Hair Porosity Matters

Knowing your porosity level lets you get the most out of your curls and products. Understanding porosity is the first step into figuring out your perfect curly routine.

So let’s figure it out!


Hair porosity is the hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. Hair can fall anywhere on the porosity spectrum of low, medium, and high. There are a few simple tests you can do to find out your porosity level.24_large

Method #1 – The Strand Slip Test
Stretch out a strand of hair and slide your finger and thumb along the hair from root until end. If you feel little bumps along the hair (not single strand knots), if the hair feels rough, dry, or like straw, you have high porosity hair and lifted cuticles. If your hair feels smooth, then you have normal hair. If your strand feels hard and your fingers slip smoothly along it, then you have low porosity hair.

Method #2 – The Spray Test
Spray a small section of hair with a little bit of water, only a mist. If the water does not absorb into the hair quickly, but just sits on the hair or you can see the beads of water, then you have low porosity hair. If the water sits on your hair for a while slowly absorbing, then you have medium porosity hair. If the water is sucked into the hair quickly, then you have high porosity hair.

Method #3 – The Water Glass Test
Drop a clean strand of hair into a glass of water. If the strand floats then you have low porosity hair. If the strand sinks slowly, then you have medium porosity. If the strand sinks very quickly then your hair is high porosity.


These test are a great place to start, but there are more signs to look for when finding out your hair’s porosity. Remember that different parts of your hair can have different porosity levels due to damage.
Here are some more signs when investigating your hair’s porosity:

Low Porosity Hair
• Your hair takes a very long time to dry.
• Does not hold color well.
• Hair looks shiny, feels smooth.
• Oils and products sit on your hair and build-up rather than absorb into the hair.
• When water is applied to the hair, it takes longer to get full saturated.

Medium Porosity Hair
• Hair is elastic.
• Low maintenance.
• Receives and retains moisture well.
• Holds styles and color well.

High Porosity Hair
• Absorbs water and products, but it needs more to see results.
• Hair looks and feel dry.
• Frizzy and undefined.
• Hair dries quickly.
• Hair is inelastic, breaks easily.


Low Porosity
• Steam from the shower or steamer, can help hair treatments or conditioners penetrate the hair stands more effectively.
• Apply products onto hair when its damp.
• Be careful not to put too much product on the hair
• Using a cleansing shampoo or sulfate-free shampoo to get rid of build-up but not strip the natural oils.

Medium Porosity
• Deep condition regularly.
•  Do not overuse heat styling tools, chemicals, or other damaging processes as to not cause hair to become high porosity.

High Porosity
• Don’t use heat.
• Deep conditioning treatments and protein treatment regularly.
• Cold water rinse to close cuticles.
• Layer products to seal in the moisture.
•  Don’t manipulate and style too often.
• Use cleansing shampoos, skip harsh chemicals.


Published by Saphie Renee

I’m Saphie Reneé, an American living in the Netherlands.

One thought on “Why Hair Porosity Matters

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