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Hair health and science

What Type of Hair Porosity Do I Have?

3 minutes

What’s all this about hair porosity? It’s pretty simple: porous hair depends on cuticle spacing. The way your cuticles are spaced (close together or far apart) affects how well oils and moisture pass in and out of your hair. 

There are three types of porosity: low, medium and high. But what does it all mean?

How to test hair porosity 

To test your hair's porosity, try dropping a strand into some water. If it sinks slowly, your porosity levels are normal. If it sinks straight to the bottom, you have high porosity hair. If it floats, you have low porosity hair. 

Or, just do the spray test. Spritz some water onto dry hair. How fast does the moisture sink in? If they suck it up like a sponge, you’ve got high-porosity hair. If the water sits on top of your strands for longer, then you likely have low-porosity hair.

What is low porosity hair? 

Low porosity hair has tightly packed cuticles that don't let water and other substances through. 

  • Products don’t sink in: Oils and creams sit on the surface of their hair instead of being absorbed. 

  • Tangling: With less moisture, there’s more friction to cause tangling. 

  • Water slides right off: It takes a while for water to soak into your hair with those closed-up cuticles. 

  • Product builds up easily on your scalp: Low porosity hair may become bogged down by build-up, which can slow the flow of nutrients and make styling difficult.  

  • Air-drying takes ages: When water does eventually soak into low porosity hair, your hair won't let that moisture go without a fight. 

Misconception: low-porosity hair has “fewer cuticles”, stays smoother, and can’t be damaged easily.  

Reality: low-porosity hair is easier to care for and requires less maintenance. It’s all about your routine. 

Routine depends on texture. Curly, kinky, and coily hair is naturally drier than straight strands, which means that curlies need to focus on the right moisturising in their routines – they can't use heavy products that don't absorb into the hair shaft. 

What is medium porosity hair? 

Medium porosity hair has cuticle scales that are open at the ends, but not fully open like high porosity hair. The cuticles allow for moisture to enter the cortex easily. 

  • Style stays: Your hair is a breeze to style and can hold styles for a while. 

  • Colour, too: Hairdressers love you because your hair is the perfect canvas for a colourist.

  • Quick to air-dry: You use blow dryers for styling more than for drying. 

  • Shiny, glossy, fab: Your hair has a magical ability to look healthy, shiny, and glossy. 

For you medium porosity people out there, you'll need to reinforce your mane and nourish it with deep reconstruction. Look for shampoos, conditioners and oils that will ensure your oily glands are under control, rebuild your hair and reinforce its natural protective layer.

What causes low or high hair porosity? 

Mostly, it's a genetic lottery – or probability – to be honest. But there are other factors, too. Blow-drying, straightening and fading your hair with chemicals can cause it to become porous. Also, too much exposure to UV rays makes your hair porous, so wear a hat in the sun and make it a fashion. 

Now that you’re enlightened on hair porosity, tailor your routine for those cuticles! 

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