What is Hair Porosity?

Hair Porosity is a term that is used to describe how well your hair is able to absorb and retain moisture and oils.

First let me explain to you a little about the 3 layers of the hair shaft it will help you to understand the hairs structure a little better.

Here are the 3 layers in a hair shaft!

  • The cuticle is the outermost layer of your hair. It comprises individual cuticles that overlap each other, imagine the tiles on a roof. 
  • The cortex is the middle and thickest layer. It contains fibrous proteins and pigments that give your hair its color.
  • The medulla is the central, innermost layer of the hair shaft.
Now that we've covered that lets get into the types of hair porosity and how to detect which one you may have! So we have: 
  • Low Porosity
  • Normal Porosity 
  • High Porosity
Low Porosity

If you have low porosity hair, it means the structure of your hair doesn’t easily allow moisture to be absorbed into your hair shaft. This can make it harder for water to saturate your hair when it’s washed, but more importantly it can make styling and processing challenging!

Let’s take a closer look at the characteristics of low porosity hair, as well as some tips and advice on how best to care for it.

Signs of Low Porosity:

  • Cuticles are closed 
  •  No moisture 
  • Considered resistant hair 
  •  No absorption (products sit on your hair) 
  •  Hair color ( doesn’t take to color well)
  •  Water beads sit on your hair
  •  No volume 
  •  Takes forever to dry 
Tips for Low Porosity:
  • Everything warm works well!
  • Put product on in the shower (moisturize in the shower)
  • Work in smaller sections when detangling
  • Use light weight products
  • Extra creamy products is a no no
  • Prone to product buildup
  • Boo! Hair Poo isn’t good for you!
  • Humectants (particularly glycerin) is good for you
  • Your protein sensitive
  • Skip a leave in and use a hair milk /styler
  • Rinse hair with warm water after wash and conditioner  
Low porosity hair isn’t at all difficult or problematic hair. It is in fact hair that is easily kept in a healthy condition, strong and elastic. It doesn't need a lot of help to keep its integrity, it does however need gentle handling and a little personalized care that's all! I'm sure you're asking well why do people describe having a hard time moisturizing low porosity hair then? Why isn't conditioner the quick path to moisturized hair? Your probably like ok so what am I missing? Does oil and conditioner seem to sit on top of your low porosity hair, but soak in for everybody else? LISTEN: Healthy, low porosity hair may or may not have the cosmetic make up you may tend to find desirable. That's just perception and expectation. Hey you may find your low-porosity hair frustrating because you want it to feel or behave differently but someone else might prefer to have hair like yours! TRUST ME! It's a woman thang lol.   
Normal/Medium Porosity
Hair with normal / medium porosity tends to hold styles well, and can be processed with predictable results. Absorbs and retains the perfect amount of moisture; Shiny, healthy, lots of volume and also holds styles in place for an extended period of time. Those with normal / medium porosity will see the benefits of curls full of bounce and elasticity. This hair requires the least amount of maintenance due to its looser cuticle layer and easy acceptance of hair oils. Regular hair routines involving treatments and or deep conditioning along with proper moisturizing can increase your chance of maintaining excellent product absorption.
High Porosity
Now when it comes to caring for highly porous hair,(high porosity hair) the goals include reducing and reversing damage to the cuticle, and also helping your hair retain moisture! To help nourish, moisturize, and repair your highly porous hair, it’s important to use products that have the right formulation for this hair type. 
So let’s take a closer look at the characteristics of high porosity hair, as well as some tips and advice on how best to care for it.  
Signs of High Porosity:
  • Doesn’t retain moisture
  • Damaged or highly processed hair
  • Tangles so much
  • Dries very fast
  • Frizzy
  • Rarely looks shiny
  • Absorbs products quickly
  • Is prone to breakage
 High Porosity Hair Tips:
  • Leave in, Hair cream, Hair butter
  • Rinse with cool water after wash and condition to close cuticle
  • Extra creamy Products
  • Eggs are good for high porosity
  • Likes protein
  • Don’t use hair milk
  • Heat up your deep conditioner 
Highly porous hair is often prone to breakage that can keep your hair from growing. As well as using nourishing, hydrating hair care products, the following tips may help cut down on hair breakage.
  • Avoid sulfates, parabens, silicones, and sodium laureth sulfates. These ingredients can pull a lot of natural oil from your hair.
  • Minimize heat styling. You can also use heat styling appliances on a lower heat setting and use a heat protecting product on your hair.
Bottom line is if you have high porosity hair, water and oils can be easily absorbed, but your hair will have a hard time retaining that moisture. This can lead to hair that’s dry, frizzy, and prone to tangles and breakage. However, there are certain products you can use, and strategies to try that may improve the health of your hair, and make it easier to manage and care for!
How do I know what my porosity level is? 
Cup Method Water is essential to life and the key to learning all about your natural hair. This test requires about 6oz or so in a glass of room temperature water and some good eyes!
Test Results
    • Floats: If it floats, you may have low porosity hair. It means your hair has a hard time absorbing water. Low porosity types can make their hair absorb product easier by applying minimal heat while they add moisture.
    • Stays in the Middle: If your strand of hair remains in the middle, you probably have medium porosity hair. It means your hair is normal, and you don’t have much of a problem getting your hair to hold moisture and nutrients.
    • Sinks: If your hair sinks,  you may have high porosity your cuticles are open, and you have no issues absorbing all the moisture your hair can handle. But then you quickly lose it. Also, your hair can be vulnerable to harmful chemicals and damaging toxins, because the hair shaft is continuously exposed.
The Strand Test
Try identifying your hair’s porosity by the strand test. It’s the easiest way to test your strands. First, take a dry strand of hair and stretch it out as far as it can go with one hand, with your other hand, use your thumb and pointer finger to glide across the strand. How does it feel?  
    • Hair moves easily but feels hard and dense (thick) - Low porosity
    • Hair feels smooth - Normal porosity 
    • Hair feels rough, dry, or breaks - High porosity 
It's that simple!