What is Hair Porosity (Low Porosity, Normal Porosity & High Porosity)

Posted by TASHA GARCIA on

Porosity measures the hair’s ability to adequately take in color, moisture, and any other topical liquid. You can also think of it as indicating how easily any liquid can penetrate your hair. Porosity is determined by the structure of your cuticle (the outer layer of your hair). Porosity falls in 3 levels low, normal and high. 

3 ways to determine your Hair's Porosity Level (make sure to use clean hair)

1. Water Test: 

To determine your hair porosity level using water, take some strands of hair from your brush or comb. Drop your hair strands in a bowl of water. Let the hair strands sit for a few minutes. If your hair floats after the time is up, you have low porosity. If it floats some where in the middle of the cup, you have normal porosity hair.  If it sinks, you have high porosity. 

2. Hair Strand Test:

Take a strand of hair if your fingers move easily up the strand and it feels dense and hard, you have low porosity hair. If it feels smooth, you have normal porosity hair. And if the strand feels rough or dry or it breaks, you have high porosity hair. Take a strand of hair and slide your fingers up it, toward your scalp. 

3. Spray Bottle Test

Using a spray bottle, spray a small section of your hair. Watch closely to how your hair reacts, if the water remains on top of your hair, it is low porosity. If you notice the water sitting on your hair for a couple minutes before absorbing in, you have medium porosity hair. If your hair absorbs quickly, it is high porosity.

 Low Porosity Hair

  • Hair takes a long time to dry.
  • Products tend to build up on your hair rather than absorb.
  • Natural oils don’t readily penetrate, but rather sit on your hair.
  • Hair takes much longer to get fully saturated when you wet them.

Best Oils for Low Porosity Hair

  1. Grapeseed Oil
  2. Argan Oil
  3. Jojoba Oil
  4. Apricot Oil
  5. Pomegranate Oil
  6. Sweet almond Oil
  7. Hemp seed Oil
Low porosity hair has a hard time letting moisture in so you should do things that will really open up your cuticles. Stay away from protein heavy products, focus on light natural oils, use lightweight products, don’t layer on too many products, and use heat. If you co-wash your hair, make sure to clarify (shampoo) your hair every few weeks to remove build-up.


Normal Porosity Hair

  • Curls are full of bounce and elasticity
  • Requires very little maintenance.
  • Easily accepts and retains moisture inside the cuticle.
  • Holds styles well and can be colored with good results.

Best Oils for Normal Porosity Hair

  1. Argan Oil
  2. Macadamia Oil
  3. Moringa Oil
  4. Hazelnut Oil
  5. Rapeseed Oil
  6. Sesame Oil
  7. Rice Oil
  8. Sweet almond Oil
  9. Olive Oil

Keep your hair moisturized! Do a hot oil treatment every week or once month. Don't abuse your hair with heat, try to keep that to a minimum. Also work in sections when washing, deep conditioning or detangling your hair to prevent breakage. 


High Porosity Hair

  • Hair easily absorbs water, however, it requires more products.
  • Hair often looks and feels dry.
  • Hair is often frizzy.
  • Hair drys quickly.

Best Oils for High Porosity Hair
  1. Coconut Oil
  2. Jojoba Oil
  3. Olive Oil
  4. Castor Oil
  5. Hemp Seed Oil

High porosity hair has many holes in the hair shaft because of the open cuticles. Protein treatments help high porosity hair by filling in the gaps with protein. It’s the best thing you can do to strengthen and restructure the shaft. Remember not to over use protein, it can also damage your hair, protein can cause hair breakage. Protein treatments are to strengthen, but be sure to balance all protein with moisture. Protein and moisture combined work to create a healthy strand. 


  1. Make sure to sleep with a satin or polyester scarf/bonnet or satin pillow to prevent breakage during sleep.
  2. A hair steamer is great for retaining moisture, use it with our hot oil and/or deep conditioner. 
  3. If you ever notice that your hair is protein sensitive, it may mean that you just need more deep conditioning.

Here are some links to some products we find helpful:










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