January 7, 2020
January 7, 2020

Understanding Hair Porosity


Porosity pertains to the hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. This also includes the rate at which water and/or topical products that are applied to the hair are absorbed into the strands. The more porous your hair is, the more moisture it can hold, making it healthier and easier to manage. During the course of a lifetime, porosity can change.

There are three levels of Hair Porosity so let’s, discuss this in further detail.


If someone has high porosity, it means they have a hard time keeping their hair moisturized. And, even with regular attention, the texture and overall appearance of the hair can seem dry… controlling frizz is also harder. This is because the hair cuticle itself has signs of damage. The cuticle is the outermost layer of the strand. If you were to examine it very closely, you would see cracking, splitting and irregular texture. A person with high porosity hair can absorb moisture fast, but they can also lose moisture just as easily. In order for hair to retain moisture, the follicle needs to be “Closed”, but in this situation the process is a struggle. As you age, hair naturally tends to develop a higher porosity level. Things that accelerate this process are long-term use of chemicals and exposing the hair to high levels of heat from blow dryers, flat irons, curling irons, etc.


If you have normal hair porosity you are winning! Balanced hair is generally healthy, and the follicle can both absorb and retain moisture with minimal problems.


When you’re young, the hair generally has a lower porosity level. Having low porosity means that the hair follicle doesn’t absorb moisture as quickly as high porosity hair. This also means water and topical products do not penetrate the hair easily, having little to no effect. Even though the cuticles are healthy, hair can still have a dry appearance.

There is a test you can do to determine your porosity level. Get a clear glass and fill it halfway with water. Place a strand of your hair in the water and wait about 5-10 minutes. If your hair floats on top of the water, you have LOW porosity. If it hangs out in middle of the water, you have NORMAL porosity. If your strand is sitting at the bottom of the glass, you have HIGH porosity.

Regardless of your hair type or texture, hair porosity can be determined the same way.

If you have high porosity try applying a deep conditioner or protein treatment to the hair once a week. It will also provide some relief to brittle, damaged hair. Wash conditioner out in cool water, this helps to close the follicle and seal in moisture.

If you have low porosity, try using a steamer, and apply products that are rich in humectants.

Once the cuticle has become damaged, the focus then becomes preventing further harm. We know that excessive heat and chemical processes contribute to this damage, if possible start to eliminate or reduce the frequency of those routines. Try letting your hair air dry overnight. If that’s not possible invest in hair dryer that you can sit under. It usually has three temperature settings, choose low or medium if you can. It may take longer for your hair to dry but hair health should be the priority.

Also, limit sun exposure, too much direct sunlight on the hair can also strip it of moisture. If you must be outside for an extended period of time, cover it with a scarf or hat.

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