What is hair porosity?

What is hair porosity?

You might have heard the phrase "hair porosity" and been curious about what it meant. Hair porosity essentially refers to your hair's capacity to take in and hold moisture. How efficiently oils and moisture travel into and out of the cuticle, the outermost layer of your hair, depends on the porosity of your hair.

Typically, three major criteria may be used to classify hair porosity:

  • Closely spaced cuticles are a sign of low porosity.
  • Cuticles that are loosely connected have a medium porosity.
  • Wider spaces between cuticles high porosity.

This article will examine what factors into your hair's porosity, how to identify your particular kind of porosity, and the best ways to care for your hair based on that type. 

What does hair porosity mean?

Understanding your hair's three-layered structure will help you better comprehend the idea of hair porosity. These layers consist of:

  • The thick, protective outer layer of your hair known as the cuticle is composed of tiny cuticles that cover one another, much like the shingles of a roof.
  • The thickest part of your hair is called the cortex. It includes the pigment that gives your hair its colour as well as fibrous proteins.
  • The soft, middle region of the hair shaft is known as the medulla.

Water, oils, and other moisturising treatments must be able to penetrate the cuticle and reach the cortex for your hair to be hydrated and healthy. Water and oils can't easily permeate the hair if the cuticles are too close together. Your hair may find it more difficult to absorb the necessary moisture as a result. Additionally, your hair will have a difficult time holding moisture and keeping moisturised if the cuticles are split too widely apart.

What causes low or high hair porosity?

Most of your hair's ability to absorb and hold moisture comes from your genes. Therefore, there is a strong probability that you will have low porosity hair if it runs in your family. Porosity can be influenced by heredity, but it's not the sole cause. Your hair can become harmed over time by blow drying, bleaching, straightening, over washing, and using harsh treatments. Your hair's cuticles may become elevated and open as a result, which might make it more difficult for your hair to retain moisture. Additionally, to hair treatments, excessive UV exposure can also increase porosity of your hair. When you're outside, use a hat or another sort of head covering to shield your hair from the sun.

Is there an easy way to test your hair porosity?

Using a glass of water to assess the porosity of your hair is one of the simplest methods. This is how you do it:

  1. Rinse and shampoo your hair to get rid of any product buildup.
  2. Fill a glass with water.
  3. Drop one hair strand into the glass of water when your hair is clean and dry.
  4. Keep an eye on the strand to watch if it floats at the top or sinks to the bottom of the glass.

The results

  • Low porosity: You most likely have low porosity hair if the strand floats at the top before sinking.
  • Normal porosity: Your hair likely has a medium or normal porosity if the strand floats in the centre of the glass.
  • High porosity: You probably have high porosity hair if the strand swiftly sinks to the bottom of the glass.

Low porosity hair


The cuticles are closely spaced and densely packed in hair with low porosity. 

  • As a result, moisture has a difficult time penetrating the hair shaft. 
  • If hair products tend to sit on your hair and are difficult to absorb, your hair may have low porosity. 
  • When you wash your hair, the water struggles to soak it, and air-drying your hair takes a long time. 

Ways to change your low porosity hair: 

  • These have a capacity to penetrate your hair more easily and can be less prone to result in product buildup.

  • Condition after wetting your hair: The conditioner could be simpler to take into your hair if its diluted.
  • Check shampoos and conditioners for glycerine and honey among other components: Products containing oils should be avoided since they have a tougher difficulty reaching the cuticle.

Medium porosity hair


  • The cuticles of hair with medium or regular porosity are neither excessively open nor too close together. This makes it simple for moisture to seep in and also makes it simple to keep moisture in for a longer amount of time.
  • If your hair is manageable and holds styles well for a reasonable amount of time, you may have hair with a medium porosity.
  • It doesn't take very long for your hair to air dry and your hair tends to seem healthy, lustrous, or glossy.
  • Hair with normal porosity might alter over time as a result of heat damage and other chemical processes.

Higher porosity hair


  • High porosity hair permits moisture to be taken into the hair shaft quickly, however it is unable to maintain moisture for very long owing to genetics or hair damage. This is due to the fact that cuticles typically have openings or holes between them.
  • If water and other moisturising agents are readily absorbed into your hair and your hair tends to break easily, you may have high porosity hair.
  • Your hair tends to be frizzy and dry, and air drying it takes only a little while.

Ways to change high porosity hair:

  • Look for butter and oil-based components in shampoos and conditioners: These components will aid in keeping your hair moisturised.
  • Use leave-in conditioners: These items aid in the moisture retention of your hair.
  • On your hair, use a heat-protecting product: Before blow-drying or using other heat-related styling techniques, use heat-protector. Your hair may be shielded from heat damage using this.
  • When conditioning and shampooing, stay away from hot water: Instead, use warm water.

The bottom line

You might not frequently hear the term "hair porosity." You can manage, treat, and take better care of your hair if you are aware of the type of hair porosity you have. But that may result in thicker, healthier hair.


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