Skip to Content

How To Test Hair Porosity For Better Hair Care

Sharing is caring!

Knowing your hair porosity is extremely important. In fact, I would go as far as to say knowing your hair porosity is the single most important thing you should know about your hair.

Have you been finding it difficult to manage your natural hair? Has your hair been feeling dry and brittle? Does it seem as though your hair simply won’t grow past a certain length?

This could be because of how porous your hair is. Your hair’s porosity has a major implication on how well (or not) your hair absorbs and retains moisture.

If you are not sure what your hair’s porosity level is, you can find out how to test your hair porosity right here.

Before we jump into it, let’s take a look at the different types of hair porosity and how it affects you.


***Please note that this site uses affiliate links if you would like to read the legal stuff you can find it here


What is Hair Porosity?

Essentially hair porosity is about knowing how porous your hair is. Porosity will tell you how well your hair absorbs moisture, how well it retains moisture and how best to apply products to your hair.

There are 3 types of hair porosity. Low porosity, normal porosity and high porosity. We will touch on what this means in just a moment.

Depending on which category you fall into will depend on how you will decide to go forward with your hair care regimen.


Low Porosity Hair

Low porosity hair is where the strands of your hair are tightly closed meaning that moisture finds it very difficult to penetrate into the hair shaft.

In order for your hair to gain moisture, you have to find ways for the cuticles to open up so moisture can penetrate.

You can read more about how to care for low porosity hair here.


Low Porosity Hair Characteristics

  • Your hair finds it difficult to gain moisture
  • You may experience a lot of product build-up
  • Your hair may look frizzy
  • You might be experiencing a lot of breakage


Normal Porosity Hair

Normal porosity (sometimes called medium porosity hair) is hair that is fairly well balanced. The cuticles are neither too tight nor too open. It is a perfect balance of porosity that will give you the perfect healthy head of hair.

Normal porosity is the type of hair that we should all strive towards if we can. This does not mean that if you have either high or low porosity hair that your hair is necessarily unhealthy.


Normal Porosity Hair Characteristics

  • Your hair doesn’t take an overly long amount of time to dry
  • Styling your hair is fairly easy
  • Your hair has a good balance of shine and softness.


High Porosity Hair

High porosity hair is where the cuticles of hair are too widely open. When this happens your hair absorbs moisture very easily but it also loses moisture just as quickly because there is no way to hold onto it.


High Porosity Hair Characteristics

  • Hair feels very dry
  • Your hair dries extremely quickly when air drying
  • You have a high amount of breakage


Knowing your hair porosity is one of the most important things you need to know about your hair


How To Test Your Hair Porosity

There are a few different tests that you can do that will help to determine the porosity of your hair. Admittedly some of these tests are a little better than others.

1. Float Test

The float test is a fairly simple test that you can do.

Wash your hair first to make sure that it is free of product buildup. This is very important as by not doing so you run the risk of having inaccurate results.

-Next, simply take a glass of clean water.

-Then take a strand of your hair and place it into the glass.

Depending on where your hair floats will determine the porosity of your hair.


High Porosity Hair: If the strand sinks to the bottom of the glass very quickly it means that you likely have high porosity hair. The cuticles are widely open so moisture enters very easily weighing the strand of hair down causing it to sink quickly.

Normal Porosity Hair: If the strand sinks a little but stays mostly somewhere in the middle of the glass it means that you likely have normal porosity hair. The cuticles are not too open nor too closed so the hair absorbs and retains moisture fairly effectively.

Low Porosity Hair: If the strand of hair stays at the top of the glass barely having moved down it means that you likely have low porosity hair. The cuticles are tightly closed so it makes it difficult for moisture to penetrate causing the hair to sit at the top of the water.


2. The Slip N Slide Test

This test is a little unusual. It requires you to pay close attention to your hair. To do this test simply follow these instructions.

-Take one strand of hair

-Slide your fingers up and down the hair strand.

If the strand feels rough then that is a sign of having high porosity hair as the cuticles are lifted. If on the other hand the strand feels very smooth then you probably have low porosity hair. This is because the cuticles are closed and tightly bound to each other so they do not cause friction against your fingers.

It would be very difficult to see if you have normal porosity hair as there is no measurement telling you how much or how little friction you should have.


3. Section Test

This porosity test is really easy to do.

-Take a section of your hair.

-Spritz it with water using a spray midst bottle.

If the section of hair curls up very quickly it means that you have high porosity hair, if it takes some time to curl or it just doesn’t seem to get very wet then you probably have low porosity hair.


Are These Porosity Tests Accurate?

These tests are accurate to some degree but they are definitely not foolproof.  Your hair could be normal porosity but because you still have some product build-up it may skew the results of the tests.

Also, there is no way of really telling if you have normal porosity hair because it is somewhere in the middle of high and low and there is nothing to measure it against.


Can You Change Your Hair Porosity?

The answer to this is yes and no.

No, because you may have a certain hair type due to genetics and this particular porosity may be considered your hair’s “normal porosity.”

Yes because they are a few things that you can do which can affect your hair and change the porousness of your hair.

For example, if you have high porosity hair and you want to close the cuticles so that your hair can retain moisture, you could use silicones to create a protective barrier on your strands to stop moisture loss. This may not be the best practice but it is one reason why some people still love to use products containing silicones.

If you have low porosity hair make sure you are using lighter oils like sweet almond, jojoba oil and baobab oil. You can read more about the best oils for low porosity hair here.

Another little trick for those with low porosity hair is to add conditioner to your hair before you wash it in order for the conditioner to be absorbed more easily by your strands.


Final Thoughts On How To Test Hair Porosity

The porosity of your hair is determined by the cuticles. If they are too tightly bound, it will be difficult for moisture to penetrate the cuticle and therefore you could end up with very dry hair.

If the cuticles are very wide (high porosity) your hair will not be able to retain the moisture which means you will be left with very dull and dry hair.

Doing one of these simple tests can help you find out your hairs porosity and therefore help you know how best to maintain your hair. It will also give you some insight into the best hair care tips for your hair.

Which is your favourite hair porosity test?


Related posts:

How to retain moisture in 4c hair

10 Low porosity hair characteristics you should know



How to test hair porosity