Hair Porosity

Porosity is defined as the state or property of being porous, or permeable to fluids and outside influences. For hair, different porosity levels translate into the capability your hair has of being penetrated by the products you apply. It’s a darn good tool that indicates hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture.

There are two easy ways to determine how porous your hair is:

  • The Float Test – take a couple of strands from your comb or brush and drop them into a glass of water. After 2 to 3 minutes minutes if your hair is still floating at the top, you have low porosity. If it sinks quickly , you have high porosity. If it slowly sinks, you have medium porosity.
  • The Slip Test – take a strand and slide your fingers up the shaft, (from tip to root). If you feel little bumps along the way, you have high porosity hair. You’re feeling the lifted/raised cuticle layers. If your fingers slip smoothly, your cuticle layer is are more tightly bound with scales that lay flat and you have low porosity hair.

I took the float test.


After 5 minutes my coils were still at the top….low porosity it is.



Porosity type is important to know so you can properly moisturize your hair. Those like me, with low porosity,  should use lighter liquid-based moisturizer that will penetrate your hair. We need to clarify our hair periodically to avoid buildup of proteins which make our hair feel like straw. It’s best that we use moisturizers rich in emollients like jojoba oil and coconut oil; humectants like glucose, elastin, collagen, keratin, or silk; and hair milks instead of heavy pomades or creams that will just sit on the hair making it look oily.

More on applying products to low-porosity hair soon.


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