Hair porosity is how well your hair absorbs and retains moisture. Knowing your hair porosity can be very important especially for natural hair to know how you can properly keep your hair moisturized, and know what methods and products to use.
Knowing your hair porosity will allow you to maximize the benefits from your conditioning products. There is low, normal, and high porosity.
Here are a few ways you can test what your hair porosity is:
(Please note that the hair should be freshly cleansed, no product on the strands for accurate results)
The Float Test
- Fill a glass of with room temperature water
- Take a couple of strands from your clean hair and put them in the water (do not push down)
- Watch and wait for a few minutes
- After 4-5 minutes of your hair is still floating on the top of the water, you have low porosity. Low porosity means it’s a bit harder for your hair to absorb moisture. The cuticles are closed so moisture does not enter easily.
- If your hair slowly sinks/stays in the middle you have normal porosity. Normal porosity is usually ideal because it absorbs and holds moisture well
- If your hair sinks immediately you have high porosity hair. High porosity means that your hair absorbs moisture quickly, but can also lose it quickly
The Slide Test
- Using a strand of your hair, starting from the end, slide your fingers up the hair shaft
- If it feels bumpy you have high porosity
- If it feels smooth you have medium-low porosity
The Spray Test
- Section your hair and spray a section with water (you don’t have to drench it)
- If the water sits on the hair or beads up you have low porosity
- If your hair absorbs the water quickly you have high porosity
- If the water sits for several minutes then absorbs you have normal porosity
Care For Low & High Porosity:
Please know that I am no expert but I’ve done a lot of research and trial with my own hair. Also, everyone’s hair is different so some things might work for ones low porosity hair that usually doesn’t for most, the same with high porosity. The tips below are general tips for each type.
- Use low heat to open cuticles for moisture to be let in. You can begin washing your hair in warm water, or deep condition under a hair dryer (with plastic cap) heavier products just sit and weigh the hair down
- Use lighter products and oils like Argan, and grape seed oil
- Make sure you keep the hair free of a lot of build up which can also block moisture
- Heavy products like creams and hair butters are great for high porosity
- Heavy oils like castor oil, jojoba, coconut
- Protein is good for the hair but not too much! Start out trying protein treatments/masks or products with protein once a month. I think that more than twice a month is too much.
- Deep conditioning is good for all hair
If you have normal porosity, keep doing what you’re doing. Deep conditioning when needed, regularly.