Has it happened to you that a friend told you about this new hair product that makes their hair look and feel simply A-MA-ZING? And then you went, bought the same product and you couldn’t be more disappointed with the result?

Why do different people have such different results when it comes to hair care products?

There are various ways to look at this. One of the most important insights you can get about what your hair likes is your hair porosity.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

What is hair porosity?

So let’s first understand what hair porosity actually means.

You might have seen this word pop up every now and then when reading about hair care, but rarely is it explained what it actually means.

Hair porosity definition:

Hair porosity is the permeability of your hair cuticle. If this outer layer of your hair is highly raised, we speak of high porosity, when it is closed, you have low porosity hair.

Your hair will have a natural tendency to one or the other extreme. Curly hair is most often high porosity, while many straight-haired people have low porosity hair.

That being said, there are quite a few ways in which you can impact the porosity of your strands through hair treatments and other external things.

Why should you care about your hair’s porosity?

This, at first, might not sound very interesting. Why should you care if your cuticles are raised or closed?

Image of woman sitting in front of her laptop with a puzzled look on her face

Well, first of all, your hair porosity determines how well your hair can be moisturized and retain moisture. When the cuticle is raised, moisture and oils get into your hair more easily. But they also get out much quicker.

People with low porosity hair, on the other hand, need some way to help their hair absorb moisture in the first place.

This alone is vital information for anyone who wants shiny, healthy hair.

Second of all, different hair porosities need different hair care. To achieve your hair goals, you need to pick the fitting products, tools, and hair care routines.

So finding out the porosity of your hair and then caring for your locks according to the result can get you from constant bad hair days to the great looking hair you want!

How do you know if you have high or low porosity hair?

So now, assuming that you don’t have a microscope at home, you’ll ask yourself one question:

How can you know what your hair porosity is?

While looking at your hair, and how it reacts to water and products in general, will give you a very good idea already, there is a very popular method to test for porosity.

The hair porosity test

The best-known method to test for hair porosity is the so-called “hair porosity water test”.

All you need for it is a glass of water and a clean hair. Make sure your hair is really clean, meaning no conditioner, no hair gel or other products. Those would falsify your result.

Drop your hair into the glass of water, and set a timer for 20 minutes. After these 20 minutes, come back to see what your hair did.

Image of a glass of water with a long, dark hair in it to do the hair porosity water test

Did it sink? Then you have high porosity hair.

Is it still floating, even after 20 minutes? Then you clearly have low porosity hair.

People whose hair cannot decide which way it wants to go, fall under the range of medium porosity hair.

So what do these different porosities actually look like, what do they mean for your hair care and what can you do about it?

Low porosity hair

As we found out above, low porosity hair means that your cuticle is closed, making it difficult for moisture and product to penetrate the hair shaft.

Instead, hair care products tend to “build up” on top of your hair.

Related: The best low porosity hair products

While generally in hair care, you want to avoid heat, low porosity hair can benefit from a little warmth. Higher temperatures open the hair cuticle, allowing your hair treatments to do their work.

This obviously doesn’t mean frying your hair with a hair straightener!

But turning up the water temperature a little bit or wrapping your hair in a warm towel while letting your conditioner soak will help your hair actually absorb some of the product.

If you use hair oils in your hair care, opt for lighter hair oils, ie Almond oil (get some here*!).

Image with 5 tips for low porosity hair: use warmth, be careful about product build-up, don't overdo protein treatments, try warm oil treatments, use light hair oils

Another thing you want to look out for is too much protein in your hair care products. Low porosity hair tends to be rather protein sensitive.

So if you have any signs of protein overload, follow these tips here!

High porosity hair

High porosity hair is that type of hair that never seems to get enough moisture. It is usually quite dry and therefore breaks easily, making hair growth a real challenge!

Is high porosity hair bad?

Hearing this, you might wonder if high porosity is the “bad” side of porosity to be on. This depends a little bit on the reason for your high porosity.

Some hair types, like kinky and curly hair, tend to naturally have higher porosity. But a lot of times, highly porous hair is actually a result of damage from using heat on your hair, bleaching it or generally not treating it with care.

In this case, yes, high porosity shows that your hair is damaged.

To find out if your high porosity hair is damaged hair, you can do two things:

  1. Honestly think back if your hair always was like it’s now, and how you’ve treated your hair recently. Did you do any of these hair care mistakes? Did you bleach your hair?
  2. Follow a healthy hair care regimen for a while, considering all the tips for high porosity hair below. Then retake the test. If your hair porosity has changed significantly, it was very likely due to damage.

How do you treat high porosity hair?

To get high porosity hair from being dry and brittle to soft and shiny you face a double challenge.

First, you need to moisturize it like crazy, and might also have to do protein treatments regularly to deal with damage. While this is easy to do as your hair absorbs everything readily due to the raised cuticles, you need to do it a lot!

Once a month hair treatment is by far not enough for this kind of porosity!

And then you have to make sure that all of your loving care actually stays with your hair. Meaning, you need to “lock” the moisture in.

You can do this by either “sealing” the cuticle with sealing oils and creams, or using rinses like apple cider vinegar or simply ice cold water. The latter encourages your cuticles to lay flat, closing the outer layer of your hair.

Related: The best high porosity hair products

Tips for high porosity hair: moisturise your hair, do protein treatments, use sealing oils, avoid heat, do cuticle-closing rinses like ACV or cold water

Ready to test your porosity?

So now that you know why the porosity of your hair is important and how to test it, will you incorporate this knowledge into your hair care routine?

Or do you have more questions that you didn’t find answered here? Let me know in the comments and make sure to pin this for later!

No idea what hair porosity is and if yours is high or low? Find out how to do the hair porosity test and how to care for different hair porosities here!

*These links are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.