Hair Porosity: What It Is & What It Means for Your Hair
Plus, expert product picks for each type
What comes to mind when you hear the words, “hair porosity”?
If you’re thinking about pores in your face or perhaps the porous nature of a sponge, you’d be correct.
SO, WHAT IS HAIR POROSITY?
Hair porosity is a fairly simple concept. It refers to your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture.
This is determined by the condition of your cuticle, the protective outer layer of your hair that’s made up of overlapping cells.
As you can see above, the cells of your cuticle may lay flat, be spread far apart or fall somewhere in the middle.
Hence, we have three categories: low porosity, medium porosity and high porosity.
WHAT AFFECTS HAIR POROSITY?
Thick or thin, curly or straight, your hair type is not necessarily indicative of your hair’s porosity.
Things that do affect hair porosity include genetics and external factors like: chemical processing, heat damage and UV exposure.
HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR HAIR POROSITY
To test for porosity, simply grab a clear glass and fill with water.
You’ll want to do this with clean hair, as product buildup can affect your results.
Brush your hair first to retrieve any shedding hairs, then take one and place it in the cup of water.
Low porosity hair will float at the top, medium porosity hair will initially float and then slowly sink and high porosity hair will immediately sink to the bottom of the glass.
It’s really important to understand your hair’s porosity to ensure you are using products that will most benefit your hair.
Let’s delve into each of the three hair porosity categories and their specific needs:
Low Porosity Hair
Despite being healthy, this type of hair has a very closed cuticle which means it’s difficult for your hair to take on and retain moisture.
When you use products, they have a tendency to sit on the surface and weigh your hair down.
You also may notice that when you wash your hair, it takes longer than normal to become fully saturated with water.
Things to Avoid: Heavy oils and keratin protein which can contribute to excess buildup on the hair.
Products to Try:
Dreamy Purifying Shampoo - A good clarifying shampoo used weekly or bimonthly will help remove buildup and leave your hair clean, shiny and refreshed.
Luxe & Indulge Marula Oil Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner - This duo gently cleanses and hydrates hair with nourishing marula oil and humectant provitamin b5 to help lock-in moisture without adding weight.
Oil Serum Hybrid Styler - This 2-in-1 product treats dullness and dryness while adding volume and smoothness to your style.
Sorbet Botanical Smoothing Balm - A must-have combination of a lightweight leave-in conditioner plus frizz-taming styler.
Medium Porosity Hair
If you have medium porosity hair, you’ll find that it’s generally the easiest to care for and relatively low maintenance.
This type of hair has a slightly open cuticle, which enables it to absorb and retain moisture. Medium porosity hair also tends to hold styles well.
Using an occasional masque, keratin treatment or products that are lightweight and hydrating are optimal for this porosity level.
Things to Avoid: You’ll also want to steer clear of heavy oils or excessive use of keratin to avoid weighing hair down or making it brittle.
Products to Try:
Rejuvenate Keratin Recovery Treatment - This wash out keratin treatment helps mend damage to lock-in essential moisture and leave hair softer, shinier and more manageable.
Restorative Clay Masque - Formulated with detoxifying clays, this hair masque helps remove buildup while deeply hydrating and nourishing strands.
Miraclé Lightweight Conditioning Shine Spray - A light marula oil spray that easily absorbs and offers a smooth and lustrous finish.
High Porosity Hair
You’ll most likely notice that with this hair type, your strands are rough, dry and prone to frizz or breakage.
High porosity hair has a significantly raised cuticle which makes it easy to attract moisture, but difficult to keep it.
To help combat the dryness and breakage, you’ll want to select products that hydrate and help fortify your hair.
Things to Avoid: Anything drying that zaps moisture from your strands.
Products to Try:
La Mane Borage Oil Silk Shampoo - Our intensely hydrating shampoo that contains deeply nourishing borage seed oil and strand-strengthening silk protein.
Borago Borage Oil Deep Conditioning Masque - This rich masque deeply penetrates strands and is designed to fortify and repair dry, damaged hair.
Dream Creme Intensive Reconditioning Hair Treatment - An ultra-nourishing leave-in treatment that helps strengthen hair and preps it to be styled.
Posh Hair Polish - Heat protectant is a must-have with high porosity hair. To avoid further damage, this smoothing and conditioning styler also protects against the heat of your tools.
TO SUM IT UP
Hair porosity is something that affects all of us. Knowing your hair’s porosity will enable you to make the best decisions when it comes to caring for your hair.
We hope these tips will help you achieve your hair goals!
So tell us, what is your hair porosity and what are your can’t-live-without products?
1 - Naturally Curly Staff, “Hair Porosity”, https://www.naturallycurly.com/texture-typing/hair-porosity.
2 - Bianca Lambert, “How to Determine Your Hair Porosity (and Care for It Accordingly”, July 8, 2020, https://www.byrdie.com/hair-porosity-test-5070329.
3 - L’Oreal Paris Staff, “What is Hair Porosity and How to Do a Porosity Test”, https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/hair-care/damaged-hair/hair-porosity.aspx.