Saturday, March 23, 2019


Hair Porosity is the ability of your hair to absorb and retain moisture. It is determined by the condition of the cuticles, it is majorly influenced by the state of your cuticles and this determines how moisture penetrates and leaves the hair. The same goes for oils and other products used on your hair.


I usually talk about how technique and regime are the most important process of your journey, knowing your porosity with the porosity tests to be discussed, allows you to choose the rights products for your hair, the right way to apply these products to keep your hair well moisturised and healthy.

Genetic is the major factor that determines your hair porosity but excessive use of heat and chemicals and environmental factors can also have an impact.


Having a smooth natural hair journey implies that you understand your hair in and out, you know what works for your hair, how your hair reacts to certain ingredients and techniques. Knowing your porosity is another major factor which can help you solve some of your hair problems.

Hair porosity is broken down into 3 categories;
  • High Porosity
  • Medium or Normal Porosity
  • Low Porosity

High Porosity Hair

High Porosity hair has wide open or torn cuticles which allows for quick absorption of moisture, but not retained and loses it just as fast. 
  • Hair tends to look dry and and tangles easily.
  • Hair gets saturated quickly and may be difficult to retain moisture.
  • Styles dry quickly and hair is prone to breakage and split ends.


 Medium or Normal Porosity Hair

Normal porosity hair has flat laying cuticles. These cuticles are raised enough to allow for absorption of moisture and is able to retain the infused moisture.
  • Hair readily absorbs moisture and retains it in the cuticles.
  • Hair is soft, supple and manageable.
  • Hair holds styles and colour treatment well with shine and volume.
  • Hair is usually full of bounce and elasticity.

Low Porosity Hair

Low porosity hair has cuticles that are tightly sealed to the cortex which makes it difficult for water, oil and products to penetrate the hair shaft. However, once moisture is absorbed, it is well retained.
  • Hair takes time to get fully saturated when under water.
  • Styles take longer to dry.
  • Products and oil may sit on top of the hair instead of penetrating the hair shaft.
  • Water beads on top of the hair, reaching your face and neck before it reaches your scalp.
  • Hair is less prone to breakage and split ends.
  • Hair is prone to product buildup.


There are several porosity tests to figure out your hair porosity, which we are going to discuss below.
But paying attention to the characteristics of your hair is the most important one because these tests may not be 100% accurate.

Below are the methods for Natural hair porosity test;

The Float Test

(Photo: Instagram/ world_record_gofw)

This is a test to check how your hair reacts in water.
Fill a glass with clean water (room temperature).
Take some strands of clean dry hair and drop them in the glass of water.
Let sit for a 3 minutes.
If hair strand floats on top of the water, your hair is Low Porosity.
If it sinks to the bottom of the glass, your hair is High Porosity.
And if hair strand sinks half way, You have Medium Porosity.

The Slip & Slide Test

Pull a strand of hair gentle with your hand.
With your other hand, slide your thumb and finger up and down the strand.
If you feel small bumps along the way, you have High Porosity.
If the strand feels smooth to touch, you have Low Porosity.

The Wet & Dry Test

How long does it take your hair to get fully saturated?. I usually have to wait under the shower for a while while patting my hair gently for it to get soaked before i proceed to wash.
Do you have little droplets of water sit on the surface of your hair that runs down to your face and neck before the water reaches your scalp?
For how long do you air dry your hair? Mine takes a full day to 2 days to get properly dried.
If you answered YES to the above questions, you have Low Porosity.

If your hair gets wet quickly, and dries quickly as well, you have High Porosity.

The Wet & Dry Test are usually the best indicators of hair porosity as the other test may be inaccurate. For example, hair staying too long in the water.
Note that your hair thickness play a role in determining the accuracy of this test. You may have Low Porosity and Fine Hair, so your hair dries quickly.
And you may have High Porosity hair and thick hair, so your hair takes time to dry completely.

I have been able to determine my porosity by paying attention to the characteristics of my hair. To the extend that the first time i read about hair porosity test and hare care tips, I already knew my hair porosity. I did the test just to further buttress an already known fact.

Each porosity has it's own pros and cons,there are no good or bad hair types. So it is advisable to take your time in finding how your hair reacts in certain conditions.
Knowing your porosity will help your natural hair journey become easy since you already know the hair care tips for your hair. Thus your hair regimen becomes as easy as possible.

Hair porosity can be altered due to constant use of chemicals, heat and colour treatments, so it is important to do the porosity test often and follow the hair care tips. 

Do you know your porosity and what hair care tips do you use in maintaining your hair?

Do let us know in the comments below.

Kindly Subscribe to the blog to get an update as soon as there is a new post.

And do well to follow us on other social media

Instagram: @mane_tresses
Twitter: @mane_tresses
Facebook: @manentresses
Pinterest: manentresses


  1. Thank you for this article. I did a big chop and color Jan. 2019, and for a long time I thought I had high porosity hair. I have since cut the ends of my hair and do not have any color left. I did the hair porosity tests above - and I am confused!
    1. My hair floats (within the first 3-5 mins) - should be low porosity
    2. I feel bumps when I pass my finger (I also see the gaps when I observe strands that have fallen out) - should be high porosity
    3. My hair takes some time to get fully saturated - should be low porosity

    HELP! :(

  2. I read your article. it has helped me a lot to understand the porosity of my hair.Your work is good keep it up as well !I have a question? if i use coconut oil on my hair. so Will it be into absorbed my hair.My hair type is low porosity hair.

  3. I had read your article and test my hair, unfortunatiely i have low porosity hair. Can you please suggest me the best oil for my really did a good job. i appreciate your efforts. Thank you!