Understanding hair porosity


Posted May 10, 2018
In Hair Care, Popular Articles

Porosity, what does that word really mean??

I never knew it correlated to hair until I started being really interested in my own natural hair. Supposedly, it’s vital to know when you have natural hair because it will definitely point you in the right direction when picking the right products.

Hair Porosity basically means how well your hair is able to absorb and retain moisture.

Understanding Hair Porosity | Natural Curlies

Image Credit: Graham Hunt

Hair porosity 101

So, there are three different categories of hair porosity…. Low – Normal – High

Low porosity

This is when you have extremely tight curls; it’s hard to keep moisture in your hair and for your hair to retain it. So it’s really hard to allow moisture into the cuticles.
Water will just sit on top of your hair, it takes a really long time getting your hair completely wet, and you also will notice lots of product build up.

Liquid based products are best for low porosity hair. Use light and thin oils, and cold water to close your cuticles.

The best product combination for low porosity hair is …. Leave in Conditioner (liquid)→ Cream → Oil – So you’re moisturizing your hair as much as possible, and sealing it at the end.

Medium porosity

Your hair easily absorbs and retains moisture. It’s less maintenance!! Yess. Medium porosity will tend to hold styles well depending on how much heat you put in your hair.

This type of hair is also known to hold lots of moisture and shine for a long period of time.

High porosity

This means that your cuticles are extremely open and it’s really easy for moisture to flow through your hair, but your hair doesn’t quite retain the moisture.

High porosity hair also means that your hair tangles pretty easily, because your hair cuticles are getting caught within one another and retaining so much moisture. Quick drying and frizzy hair are also signs of high porosity.

The best combination for high porosity hair is… Leave in Conditioner (liquid) → Oil → Cream – So you’re locking in that moisture just in case it slips out easily.

What porosity are you?

So, by reading the different categories of hair porosity, do you know what porosity your hair is???

Here’s a way to find out… the Porosity test

Things you’ll need:

A cup filled half way with water
Time lol

Take a strand of your hair, place it in the cup for about 10-15 minutes and watch the magic work!

Understanding Hair Porosity | Natural Curlies

Image Credit: Natural Curlies

Low Porosity

If your hair strand floats and stays at the top of the water – this means your hair does not easily allow moisture in nor does it easily allow moisture out.

Medium Porosity

If your hair strand floats mid-way of the water – this means your hair does allow moisture in and retains it for a good amount of time.

High Porosity

If your hair strand sinks to the bottom of the water – this means your hair easily allows moisture in and out because of damage or widely gapped hair cuticles.

Which one are you??! Comment down below and let me know!


Contributing Writer @ Natural Curlies

Hi!! My name is Anstacia, yes, like the movie lol. I’m a twenty – something natural girl who’s honestly still trying to find my way. I’m a Mississippian who’s into art, blogging, and obviously my natural hair and all three of those things have literally taken over my life in an amazing way. I’ve been a natural girl all my life, and I plan to stay that way. As an artist, I’m always trying to find creative ways to spruce up my life, as well as my natural journey. I can’t wait to share with you guys my journey and what it’s like to be in my shoes!!


  • Carla Butler-Edward

    Hi, my name is Carla, and unlike my kids hair I have low porosity, their hair is high…How can I better condition my hair to retain moisture?

    • Kara

      Hi Carla,

      Light products work best for low porosity hair as heavy products such as shea butter unless it is whipped will cause build up. Also light oils such as grapeseed or jojoba work best. Heat is great for low porosity hair so steaming or deep conditioning is a must to open up the hair cuticles and allow the product to moisturise your hair. Clarifying bentonite clay as its not stripping and it moisturisers. When buying products the first ingredient should be water and include humectant ingredients which attract moisture such as aloe vera or honey.

      I hope this helps


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