Everything You Need to Know About High Porosity Hair: A Comprehensive Guide

Knowing the porosity of your hair is key to figuring out the best natural hair care routine for you. Understanding your hair's porosity helps you know what it needs to thrive.

I understand that this topic might seem complicated, but it's really not. In this article, I will break everything down for you.

What is Hair Porosity?

Hair porosity refers to your hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture, oils, and water. Hair can be classified as low, medium, or high porosity depending on its characteristics.

3 Types of Hair Porosity

1. Low porosity

Low-porosity hair has cuticles that are too close together, making it difficult for the hair to absorb and retain moisture or water. Instead, moisture and products sit on the hair, leading to product buildup rather than absorption into the hair.

Women with low porosity hair may notice that their hair takes longer to get wet when saturated, and it also takes a long time to dry.

2. Medium (normal) porosity

With medium porosity hair, the hair cuticles are raised, allowing for easy absorption and retention of moisture. This type of hair has bounce and elasticity, and it can hold styles well.  

3. High porosity

Hair with high porosity has cuticles that are far apart or raised. This type of hair easily absorbs moisture but also loses it quickly. As a result, it requires more products to stay moisturized.

While high porosity hair is genetic, it can also be caused by damage from harsh chemicals, heat, over-styling, hair coloring, and harsh shampoos. These things damage and lift the cuticles, making them more porous.

Characteristics of High Porosity Hair

  1. Dry brittle hair
  2. Looks and feels dry
  3. Tangles easily
  4. Frizzy hair
  5. Prone to breakage
  6. Absorbs moisture and products quickly

How to Condition High Porosity Hair

If you have high porosity hair, it's important to condition it properly to keep it moisturized and reduce damage to the cuticle. To do this, you can incorporate some tips and tricks into your natural hair regimen.

1. Do protein treatments 

High porosity hair and protein treatments go hand in hand. However, don't overdo it. Protein treatments fill the gaps in your hair cuticle and make it stronger. When your hair is stronger, it is less prone to breakage. High porosity hair needs this extra protein to be stronger.

How often should you do a protein treatment?

When it comes to protein treatments, it's important to listen to your hair's needs. We suggests doing a protein treatment once every three months, but if your hair is heat or color damaged, you may need to do it more often.

The key is to find the right balance - too much protein can be harmful, while not enough can lead to breakage. A good way to tell if your hair has too much protein is if it feels dry and brittle.

2. Deep condition often

High porosity hair needs moisture, but a balance between protein and moisture is also essential. To maintain this balance, use a moisturizing deep conditioner one week and a protein deep conditioner the next week. A general rule of thumb is this: when your hair feels dry, use the moisture conditioner, and when your hair feels weak, use the protein conditioner.

3. Reduce heat on your hair

Heat can be damaging to your hair, regardless of your hair's porosity. However, high-porosity hair is more susceptible to heat damage. To prevent heat from damaging your high porosity hair, blow-dry your hair on low heat. By avoiding constant hair straightening, you can improve your hair health.

4. Use thick products

High-porosity hair always needs extra moisture, so it's important to ensure your hair is moisturized often. To get that extra moisture, use thick moisturizing products like leave-ins or butter.

5. Avoid excessive hair dyeing

If you choose to dye your hair, we recommend against using permanent dyes. Instead, use rinses, which are dyes that can be washed off.

Rinses will give you healthy color-treated hair, while permanent dyes will raise your cuticles higher and cause moisture to leave your hair more quickly.

Check out this video by NaturalRegin, which explains in detail the hair tips every high porosity natural needs to know.

How to Know Your Hair Porosity

There are three easy methods you can use to determine your hair porosity.

1. The Float Test

The Float Test is a simple and easy method to determine your hair's porosity by measuring how easily it absorbs water. Here's how you can do it:

  • Wash your hair with shampoo to remove any product buildup, but do not condition it.
  • Take a clean strand of hair and drop it into a bowl of water.
  • Allow it to sit for 2 to 4 minutes.
  • If your hair floats, you have low porosity hair.
  • If it sinks slowly, you have medium porosity hair.
  • If it sinks quickly, you have high porosity hair.

2. The Slide Test

Here's how you can do the slide test:

  • Take a strand of hair
  • Slide your fingers from the ends toward your scalp.
  • If your fingers slide easily up the strand but feel dense and hard, you have low-porosity hair.
  • If your fingers slide smoothly, then you have medium porosity hair.
  • If you feel small bumps on the way up, your cuticle is raised and you have high-porosity hair.

3. The Spray Bottle Test

Here's how you can do the spray bottle test:

  • Select a small section of hair and pin the rest back.
  • Fill a spray bottle with water
  • Mist the selected section just enough to dampen it.
  • If the water sits on top of your hair, you have low porosity hair.
  • If the water sits on your hair for a few minutes before being absorbed, your hair has medium porosity.
  • If your hair easily absorbs the water, you have high porosity hair.