Hair Porosity 101

When I started my natural hair journey, porosity was one of the first things I stumbled upon then shelved away thinking it was not-so-important. I was re-introduced to it at NaijaHairCanGrow’s 2014 Salon Day Out  and it made a big difference in the way I cared for my hair after. If you’re struggling with dry hair or wondering why your hair doesn’t retain moisture, you’ll want to stick around and get to the end of this post.

What Is Hair Porosity? 

Hair porosity is the ability of your hair to absorb and retain moisture. It is affected by different factors – genetics, use of products and chemicals and heat. Knowing your hair porosity and the right products/techniques to complement it would keep your hair well-moisturized and strong. Let’s imagine that hair with ideal porosity is like a foam sponge. When you pour water on it, it retains that water except it is squeezed out or kept under heat for the water to evaporate. Unfortunately, I don’t have ideal porosity, I know a couple of ladies that don’t either but we’ve managed to keep our hair healthy and in top shape, you can too. 

How Do I Know My Hair Porosity?

The easiest and quickest way to determine your Hair Porosity at home is to do the float test which I call the  strand-in-water test (I totally just made that name up).

What You’ll Need

  • A clear glass cup or bowl
  • Strand of hair


  • Fill the clear glass cup/bowl with lukewarm water
  • Place a strand of clean hair in it
  • Observe.



High Porosity – Hair sinks quickly

Normal Porosity – Hair sinks slowly

Low Porosity – Hair doesn’t sink at all

What Does This Have To Do With My Products and Regimen?

High Porosity

Yes your hair dries out fast and it’s probably not because you don’t moisturize properly. Simply put, your hair has “holes” that allows moisture seep out easily. You’ll want to up your protein treatments to help “fill” the holes in your hair but don’t go overboard with it. Always have your spray bottle handy, you’ll have to moisturize regularly and increase your moisturizing deep conditioning treatments.

Normal Porosity

This is the preferred type of porosity. It means your hair absorbs products and holds moisture just as well. However, with excessive use of hot styling tools and harsh chemicals, your porosity can change. It’s important to keep to a good hair care regimen and stay away from the bad guys.

Low Porosity 

Your hair needs a bit of help to keep moisture locked in, you’ll want to use products that contain humectants that help draw moisture into your hair like and use heat for your moisturizing and deep conditioning treatment to help the products penetrate your strands.

Do you know your hair porosity? Has it affected the way you care for your hair?

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