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Why Hair Porosity Matters & Why You Shouldn’t Ignore It

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If you know anything about me it’s hopefully that fact that I love natural hair and want to know a whole lot more about it.

I’ve been fascinated with natural hair since around 2012 when I gave myself the big chop and set myself the challenge of growing long natural hair (something that was rarely seen back then).

Today it still stands true, I love to learn more and more about natural hair, and I’m especially fascinated by the fact that some people can grow their hair fairly easily whilst others struggle for years.

Out of all the things that I have come to learn by far one of the most important things has been to do with hair porosity.

The more you know about your hair porosity the more “armed” you can be to make sure you are doing all the right things.  To start off with let’s take a look at hair porosity and why porosity matters.


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What Is Hair Porosity?

Hair porosity in simple terms is about how well your hair can absorb and retain moisture.  It is determined by how flat the cuticles of your hair sit together and either allow or do not allow moisture to penetrate. Imagine a shingle roof where the tiles are laid one on top of the other, that’s the best way to describe it.

Knowing the porosity level of your hair can help you to determine the best products to use in your hair as well as how to put together the best regimen for your particular hair.

No matter if your hair is curly or straight its good to know where your hair stands.  Just for the record curly hair needs to have a much closer relationship with moisture than straight hair does which is why it is so important to know where your hair stands on the porosity chart.

Hair porosity usually falls into one of three categories; high, low or normal.  

I’ll explain the difference so you get a better understanding.


High Porosity

If you have high porosity hair it means that the cuticles of your hair are not very flat allowing moisture to easily penetrate but equally allowing water to also be lost. 

People who have high porosity hair can take in moisture very easily but cannot hold on to it for very long.  This means that their hair gets dry very quickly after being moisturised.


Low Porosity

Low porosity hair is the other side of the scale to high porosity hair where the cuticles are too closely laid meaning that moisture can not penetrate easily. 

For a person with low porosity hair, they will find it difficult to get hair products to actually feel as though they are being absorbed into the hair strand.  Often products will simply sit on the outside of the hair not doing anything.

A person with low porosity hair has to find ways to get moisture to penetrate into the hair strand. You can read all about how to moisturise and seal low porosity hair here.


Normal Porosity

Normal porosity hair is the type of hair that everyone wants.  It’s not too much one way over the other but rather a nice balance.

Moisture can penetrate the stands of hair fairly easily but also the moisture can also be retained over time which puts your hair in a really good position for health and growth.

Low porosity hair strand

Low porosity hair strand where the cuticles are tightly knitted


Normal porosity hair strand

Normal porosity hair strand with some damage



How Do I Find Out My Hairs Porosity Level?

There are a few tests that can be done to find out your hairs porosity but one of the simplest to do is the smooth and feel test. Although not 100% accurate it can give you some idea as to how porous your hair is.

You take a strand of your hair and run your fingers gently up and down the strand. 

If you feel lots of roughness its likely that you have high porosity hair as the cuticles are lifted quite high and that is the roughness that you feel.


Why Hair Porosity Matters

Porosity matters a whole bunch because natural hair needs moisture in order to flourish.  If your hair cannot be properly moisturised then it becomes dry and you are prone to breakage.

As you know when your hair breaks you can’t get good growth so often it will appear that your hair is simply not growing when in fact it is but you are not retaining the growth that you are getting.

No matter if you fall into the high or the low porosity category there are still things that you can do to help get the level of moisture that you need.

If you think you have high porosity hair you should read this to help you get a good regimen in place.

If you suspect that you might have low porosity hair this can help you learn how to work with it.

Hair porosity matters because once you know which category you fall into you can know how to look after your hair in the best possible way.  


This is why porosity matters


Is It Better To Have High Or Low Porosity Hair?

Neither one is particularly better for you than the other as both high and low porosity hair are not particularly good to have.

With both types, you still have to work on getting the moisture in and retaining it. For that reason, you don’t really want either.  It’s best to try and get your hair as close to normal as you possibly can. 

How do you do that?  Keep your hair as healthy as you possibly can and make sure you maintain the moisture protein balance.


What About Hair Density?

The density of your hair can also be considered a factor in how to manage your hair.

Hair density is all about how many strands of hair your head has per square inch. This can help you to define if you have thin or thick hair.

I don’t suggest that you go and try to count how many strands of hair you have per square meter on your head but you can take a look and roughly see if your hair can be classed as dense or not.

Knowing the density of your hair can also help you to pick the right products for your hair.

If you have thin hair layering heavy products on your hair may not ben the best thing to do.  If you do have thin hair then look for lighter products that will work better for you.



Why I Choose Porosity Over Hair Type

Hair typing is still quite a big thing for people.  Everyone wants to be able to put themselves into a category so that they can “know” the best products and how to handle their hair.

Well, the truth of the matter is that, yes knowing your hair type can give you some insight into understanding your curl pattern but that does not equal you understanding what works best for your hair.

Hair porosity matters so much more because it is much more specific to you rather than a general overview.

Give me porosity over hair type any day!


Related post: 5 Signs you have healthy hair


Final Thoughts On Why Porosity Matters

If you don’t know it yet, yes hair porosity does matter, it matters a whole lot because based off your har porosity you can know how to move forward with your natural hair care.

If you want the health and the growth of your hair then you need to understand a little bit of the science behind it.

Do you know your hair porosity?


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21 Fast hair growth secrets

Why you need to be deep conditioning your hair

Why porosity matters