Is Your Hair Thirsty? Unveiling the Secrets of Hair Porosity

Understanding your hair's porosity will help you look after it

Image: Shutterstock

Understanding your hair porosity, what it can and can’t deal with, and what you need to do to look after it are all key in any haircare regime. One of the things that helps is to know whether your hair is porous, and what to do with that information. With a few handy tips, you can keep your hair in tiptop condition, whether it’s highly porous or not


  • What is hair porosity? Plenty of questions are often asked about haircare. What’s the best way to dry hair? How much product is too much? How often should you wash your hair based on type? But what about how porous is my hair? The first step is to understand what hair porosity actually is. In straightforward terms, it refers to how easily your hair takes on moisture, and there are three categories: normal, high and low. Now we know that, we can move on to finding out which category your hair belongs to.
  • How do you test hair porosity? It’s actually really easy to test your hair for porosity; all you need is a glass of water and a strand of hair. Simply drop the hair into the water and watch the way it reacts. If it drops straight to the bottom you have highly porous hair; if it floats you have low porosity; and if it hangs around in the middle your hair is classed as normal.
  • Tips for low porosity hair: With low porosity hair, cuticles are tight and are often resistant to taking on moisture. Knowing that means you can start to use tactics to get moisture in. Steamers can work well, and rich oils like jojoba and coconut are received well. You need to be careful about using any products with a low pH, as the higher acidity will encourage the cuticle to stay closed.
  • Tips for normal porosity hair: If you’re one of the lucky ones with hair that hangs in the middle, it means your hair takes in and holds on to moisture well. There’s little extra you need to do; just make sure you follow a healthy haircare regime to keep things in balance. Questions like how often should you wash your hair still need to be addressed, and the answer is to not overdo it. It’s the same with treatments and products, sometimes a little goes a long way.
  • Tips for high porosity hair: When your hair is highly porous, that means moisture can easily get in, so the additional weight makes the strand sink to the bottom of the glass. That’s normally down to tears and holes in the hair. This not only means that the hair takes on moisture easily, but that it loses it quickly too. Hair oils, butters and even aloe vera can help seal those gaps, but you’ll need to do this regularly, as they can’t be repaired for good.

When you know how porous your hair is, you can start to take steps to make the most of your natural locks. Put a few simple tips into practice, depending on your hair type, and you’ve got more chance of keeping it healthy and shiny. Try the test to work out your hair porosity type, and then give the relevant tips a go! You can always repeat the test later to see if things have changed.

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