Hair Porosity: Types, Causes, And How To Determine Its Level

By Arshiya Syeda

You may find that your hair takes too long to dry after washing. Sometimes even high-end hair products don’t work the way that you expect. This may be related to your hair porosity levels. Porosity plays a big role in how your hair behaves and reacts to styling products.

You can keep your hair healthy by determining your hair porosity levels to combat tangles, frizz, and dryness. This article provides some fun methods to check hair porosity levels and explores why they are important. Scroll down.

What Is Hair Porosity?

Hair porosity refers to your hairs ability to absorb and retain moisture.  While all hair types are porous to a certain extent, curly hair types tend to be more porous. Extensively damaged hair strands are also highly porous (1). Knowing your hair porosity level helps you choose the right hair care products and treatments suitable for your tresses. In the next section, lets take a look at the different levels of hair porosity.

Types Of Hair Porosity

Types of hair porosity

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1. Low Porosity

Low porosity hair cuticles are tightly closed and resist moisture absorption into the hair shafts. This hair type takes time to absorb moisture, making it prone to buildup and excess oil accumulation on the scalp. However, low porosity hair can lock in moisture for a long time and appears healthy and shiny.

2. Normal Or Medium Porosity

The cuticles in normal porosity hair are neither tightly closed nor too open. As a result, this hair type absorbs and retains the right amount of moisture and appears healthy, lustrous, and voluminous. Normal or medium porosity hair requires the least amount of maintenance. It allows you to experiment with different hairstyles and coloring processes.

3. High Porosity

The cuticles in highly porous hair are widely placed and open. As a result, such hair can absorb moisture readily and cannot retain it. This makes it dry and brittle. Highly porous hair is prone to tangles and frizz.

You can have low or high porosity hair for numerous reasons. Lets find out what they are.

Causes Of Low Or Highly Porous Hair

Both low and high porosity hair can be genetic. However, multiple reasons can make your hair highly porous. These include (2):

Thereare ways to manage your hair porosity (discussed later in the article). But, before that, you should know your hair porosity levels. Here are a few ways to determine that.

How To Determine Hair Porosity Levels

1. The Float Test

The hair porosity float test

Shutterstock

  • Put a few hair strands in a bowl of room temperature water.
  • Ensure that your hair strands are clean and do not contain any residue.
  • Observe them for about 2-4 minutes.
  • If the strands sink immediately to the bottom, your hair is highly porous. If they sink slowly, it means you have normal hair porosity. If your hair floats on the surface or just below the water level, it means it has low porosity.

2. The Slip And Slide Test

  • Slide a hair strand between your index finger and thumb, starting from the tip towards your scalp.
  • If you feel that the slide is bumpy, you have high hair porosity, and if the slide is smooth, you have low hair porosity. If the slide is normal, your hair porosity is normal.

3. The Spray Bottle Test

  • Pick a hair strand and spray water on it.
  • If the water droplets sit on the surface, forming beads, you have low hair porosity. If the water gets absorbed quickly, you have high hair porosity. If the water stays on the surface for a while and gets absorbed, you have normal hair porosity.

Apart from these popular tests, you may take the following tests to confirm the results. Check them out below!

4. Products Test

Take note of the pace at which hair products get absorbed into your hair. If the products get absorbed at a very fast pace, you have high hair porosity. If they sit on the surface for a long time, you have low hair porosity. If the products are working somewhere in between, you have normal hair porosity.

Consider your hair type (curly, wavy, straight) while taking this test. This is because curls absorb hair products quickly (because of high porosity), while straight hair may take time to absorb them.

5. Hair Drying Test

Dampen your hair and see how long it takes to dry. High porosity hair dries quickly, while low porosity hair takes a long time to dry. If your hair dries at an average pace, you have normal hair porosity.

6. Shine Test

Low porosity hair is usually lustrous and reflects light, while highly porous hair looks dull. If your hair is moderately shiny, you have normal hair porosity.

7. Tangle Test

If your hair gets tangled easily and is difficult to detangle, you have high hair porosity. If your hair is easy to manage, you have low hair porosity. If your hair is somewhere in between, you have normal hair porosity.

8. Protein Test

High porosity hair is the most receptive to protein treatments and shows quick results. If your hair is not receptive to protein treatments, you have low hair porosity. Normal porosity hair responds to such treatments in a balanced manner.

Once you have determined your hairs porosity level, the next step is to figure out how to take care of it. Let us see how to take care of low, normal, and high porosity hair types.

Take Care Of Your Hair According To Its Porosity Levels

 Low Porosity Hair

Since low porosity hair is moisture-resistant, here’s what you can do:

  1. Use argan, coconut, and jojoba oils to moisturize your hair. For best results, heat the oil for a few seconds before massaging it onto your hair and scalp.
  2. Pamper your hair every two weeks with conditioning hair masks that contain avocado, banana, and olive oil.
  3. Use a clarifying shampoo once a week to remove all the product buildup on your hair and scalp.
  4. Do not use an excessive amount of product on your hair, and distribute it evenly throughout the hair.

Normal/Medium Porosity Hair

Normal/medium porosity hair receives the right amount of moisture. You can use any nourishing and conditioning shampoo and hair masks for it. This type of hair responds well to all styling, coloring, and other chemical treatments. However, avoid frequent chemical treatments and bleaching as it may damage the hair.

High Porosity Hair

High porosity hair requires extra care as it is susceptible to breakage, damage, dryness, frizz, and tangling. Heres what you can do to nourish and protect it:

  1. Use a leave-in conditioner every alternate day to retain the moisture and prevent dryness.
  2. Massage your hair and scalp with jojoba, olive, avocado, or coconut oil regularly to nourish and moisturize them.
  3. Avoid using heat styling tools and hairsprays.
  4. Rinse with cold water to prevent frizz.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding your hair porosity helps you choose the right hair care products and treatments for your tresses.
  • Low and high porosity hair can be genetic.
  • Medium porosity hair responds well to styling, coloring, and other chemical treatments.

Hair porosity is the hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. Curly hair types and damaged hair are very porous. There are three levels of hair porosity –⁠ high, normal, and low. Once you figure out your hair porosity, you can buy hair products and learn hair care tips that improve your hair quality and texture. This reduces the chances of hair damage, hair loss, and breakage. Try the tests mentioned above to check your hair porosity level and take the required steps to improve your hair health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is frizzy hair low or high porosity?

High porosity hair is more prone to frizz as it loses moisture fast.

Is low porosity hair better than high porosity?

Low and high porosity hair types come with their own set of challenges. Low porosity hair is more prone to buildup and takes time to absorb moisture. Highly porous hair can get dry and brittle as it loses moisture fast.

Does high porosity hair dry quickly?

Yes. High porous hair is more spaced out and dries quickly.

Is coconut oil good for low porosity hair?

Yes, coconut oil is good for low porosity hair. It penetrates the hair and moisturizes the strands from within.

How often should I wash my low porosity hair?

Low porosity hair prone to dirt and sebum buildup. It should be washed at least twice a week, depending on how greasy your hair feels.

Is rice water good for low porosity hair?

Rice water adds shine to low porosity hair. But don’t use it too often as it might make your hair look flat.

Is curly hair low porosity?

Curly hair can be low porosity too.

Does low porosity hair get wet fast?

No. Low porosity hair takes time to absorb water and takes longer to get wet.

Does low porosity hair need conditioner?

Yes. However, too much conditioner can make low porosity hair look flat and limp.

Is vitamin E oil good for low porosity hair?

Vitamin E is a light oil suitable for low porosity hair.

Sources:

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

    1. Hair Cosmetics: An Overview
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4387693/
    2. True porosity measurement of hair: a new way to study hair damage mechanisms
      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18818850/
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Arshiya Syeda is an editor at StyleCraze. Prior to that, she was a content writer and combined her writing and... more

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