Learn Your Hair Porosity

Hair porosity is one of the main properties of hair that you need to know about. If you have read my post on how to determine your hair type via the pattern that your tresses follow, then you might already know your hair type. Now it is time to learn about your hair’s porosity.

Hair porosity is defined as the hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture.

Hair porosity plays a major role in making your hair frizz-free or frizz-full. It helps you determine your hair products and hair styling techniques. Porosity determines how well your tresses hold on to the moisture that you provide to them through conditioners, deep treatments, oils and any other product that you apply to your hair.


What determines Hair Porosity?

The cuticles on the hair determine the hair’s porosity. The hair is made up of three layers: Outer most Layer is Cuticle, followed by cortex and the central Medulla. Medulla is present only in very coarse hair. So, the outer layer called cuticle somewhat resembles the red tiles that are used on roof at many traditional South Indian houses. 😀

The placement and positioning of the cuticles determine the hair’s water absorption and retention properties.


Curlacious_Hair Porosity India

Hair Porosity Explained

The above representation sums up the hair porosity and moisture absorption and retention. However, the explanation is below:

High Porosity:

The cuticles are raised which allows easy absorption of moisture. However, the raised cuticles also allow easy loss of moisture.

Low porosity

The cuticles are tightly closed around the cortex. They do not allow any moisture to enter the hair strands. It is very difficult to moisturize low porosity hair. And hair is easily weighed down as most products stay right on top of the strands without getting absorbed.

Normal porosity

The cuticles are partially open. Not as wide as the high porosity hair and neither tightly closed like low porosity hair. Such hair is most easily moisturized and retain moisture without much effort.

Normal porosity hair is dream porosity of all curly and wavy haired people!! However with right care and moisturizing method and products, you can surely make your hair porosity work for you!!


How to determine Hair Porosity?

It is very easy and quick to estimate your hair porosity. One of the most widely used method is the cup test.

Test 1:

Take few shredded strands of hair and drop it in a cup full of water. Don’t sink it. Just drop it on top of the water and leave it. Check after 2 minutes.

High Porosity: If your hair sinks down to the bottom of the cup, you have high porosity.

Normal Porosity: If the hair sinks to the middle of the cup, you have normal porosity.

Low porosity: If the hair keeps floating near the top of the cup, you have low porosity.


Test 2:

Stand under the shower and let the hair sprinkle on you hair. Do not touch your hair. Watch how long it takes for your hair to get soaked.

High Porosity: Your gets drenched almost immediately.

Low Porosity: You hair takes ages to get soaked with water.

Note: In this method, please do consider your hair density. As high density hair will always take longer to get soaked even if it is highly porous. In such cases, you can also try out the below alternate method to determine your hair’s porosity.


Test 3:

Start with dry and product-free hair. Using a spray bottle, spray plain water onto the hair surface and watch the bubbles on the hair surface.

High Porosity: If the water bubbles are absorbed by the hair almost immediately, you have high porosity.

Normal Porosity: If the water bubbles get soaked up slowly, you have normal porosity.

Low Porosity: If the water bubbles stay on the hair surface without being absorbed into the hair, or even trickle down the hair surface, you have low porosity.


Test 4

Once you are out of shower, make a note of the time that your hair takes to dry while there are no styling products are applied.

High Porosity: If your hair dries very quickly, you have high porosity.

Low Porosity: If your hair takes ages to become dry, you have low porosity.


Out of the above 4 methods, Test 1 (The Cup Test) and Test 3 (The Spray Test) are my favourite. Why? These two somehow seem more easy to me. It is easy and involves less of other influences which might have an effect on the determination.

Were you able to determine your hair’s porosity? What is your hair porosity? Which method did you use? Or still confused? Ask your doubts or mention your porosity in comments down below.

15 thoughts on “Learn Your Hair Porosity

    1. For high porosity hair, you should always leave in conditioner in your hair (any silicone free one that u are using) and follow this up with a very thin layer of oil to close the cuticles. The oil will help in preventing moisture loss. And then follow this up with ur usual silicone free gel. The gel can be replaced by shea butter whipped cream too.

      Also, use apple cider vinegar rinse to close cuticles at end of shower. This also closes the cuticles and reduces moisture loss.. 🙂

    1. Hi Ikroop,

      You can use any sulfate-free shampoo and any silicone-free conditioner. But oils, try to use light oils like almond or jojoba oil. If you use other oils, try not to apply in excess as it can simply sit on top of the hair and look greasy even after washing. Use hot oil treatments to let the effects to seep in. Also, while deep conditioning, apply warmth(by wearing shower cap or wrapping warm towel). Wash your hair with warm water(not hot) first and then finish off with cold water at the end. Do not use heavy or many styling products. This will help!

  1. This article has been quite informative I didn’t know there are hair types just as we have skin types. The various tests mentioned in the blog are really helpful and good enough to understand your hair type and to have them treated accordingly.

    1. Hey Aadya…. yes you can surely use olive oil and bananas as hair pack. It is really good for hair. Gives well moisturise and shiny hair. Since you have low porosity, put on a shower cap or plastic cover after applying. Applying additional heat(like wrapping warm towel over the cap) also helps.

  2. Hey
    I have low porocity hair with coarse width and medium density. What type of products should i include in my hair care routine to weigh down my curls for it to not look like hay?
    Plus i love coconut oil and i feel it keeps my hair moist and shiny.

  3. Hi, a very informative article you shared with us. I hear first time in my life the term “hair porosity”. I have a question for you. Is it possible to identify hair porosity without any medical equipment?

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