Hair Porosity: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

For those just starting on their haircare journey, you’ve probably heard of the word “hair porosity” but have no idea what it means. To fill you in on the loop, hair porosity refers to  your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture.The levels of porosity are broken down into three categories: Low, Normal, and High. Your hair porosity is determined by the outer hair layer called the cuticle. Try visualizing a pine cone when trying to figure out what your hair shaft is like. A closed cone would resemble low porosity hair while an open pine cone resembles high porosity hair. Knowing your hair’s porosity is one of the main important factor when it comes to buying products that will work for your curls. Your hairs porosity can be genetic or caused by factors such as hair damage from chemical treatments or heat. 

Low Porosity Hair

If you have low porosity hair, it means that the cuticles on your hair are tight and lays flat. Because of this, when you try to wet hair that’s low porosity, it tends to repel any kind of moisture. Low porosity hair is also much more prone to product buildup. When it comes to getting moisture into low porosity strands, Steamers are extremely useful for helping lift up the cuticles. Always make sure your hair is damp when applying products so that you can get all the moisture you can get. Lightweight products and oils tend to work better on low porosity hair.

Some characteristics of low porosity hair include:

  • Hair takes a long time to dry.

  • Products tend to build up on the hair. 

  • Hair takes a long time to get saturated with water.

  • Having to use clarifying washes in order to remove product build up.

  • Heavy oils, moisturizers and butters tend to sit on top of hair instead of penetrating.

Medium Porosity Hair

If you have medium porosity hair, it means that the cuticles on each hair strand aren’t too closed nor open. Medium porosity Hair easily allows moisture inside the cuticle and can take hair coloring and relaxers much better then low and high porosity strands. Hair with medium porosity often has the least amount of maintenance and holds styles really well. 

Some characteristics or medium porosity hair include:

  • hair is easy to style and can hold styles for a good length of time

  • hair takes coloring and chemical treatments well

  • hair tends to look healthy and shiny

  • It doesn’t take too long for your hair to air dry or get fully saturated with water

High Porosity Hair 

If you have high porosity hair, it means that you have gaps and holes within your cuticles. Because of this moistures leaves the hair as quickly as it is absorbed. A lot of people think that the only cause to having high porosity hair is solely due to some kind of hair damage. However this isn’t always true as high porosity hair can also be genetic. Protein treatments are a must for those with highly porous strands as they help rebuild and strengthen the cuticles. Layering heavy stylers, butters, and oils helps your hair to hold on to the moisture better. 

Some characteristics of high porosity hair include:

  • Hair easily absorbs water.

  • Hair dries quickly.

  • Requires more product when styling.

  • Hair is almost always dry and easily frizzes.

  • Hard to retain moisture

  • Hair gets tangled easily.

  • Constant breakage and split ends.

Next time you see someone online with your ultimate hair goals, be sure to find out whether they have the same hair porosity as you because more than likely if they do, the products they’re using may work for you as well.


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