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How to Determine Hair Porosity — And How to Care For It
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How to Determine Hair Porosity — And How to Care For It
February 06, 2023
2 min

Porosity describes the measurement of your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. While like most factors, porosity is largely determined by genetics, it’s important to remember that your hair porosity can change due to external factors within your control, from heat to continual hair dyeing or chemical processing.

When measuring your hair porosity, you’ll likely fall into one of three common categories: low porosity, medium (or “normal”) porosity, and high porosity.

How do you test hair porosity at home?

Thankfully, you don’t need to make any appointments to determine your hair porosity, and doing so at home is fairly simple. While they might not give you an exact result, there are a handful of quick tests that will help you become familiar with how porosity works and where you likely fall on the spectrum — below is our OurX favorite.

The Float Test: For this, all you’ll need is a clear glass of water and a strand(s) of hair. (Instead of plucking hair out of your head for this specific purpose, comb your hair to release shed-prone strands.) That said, it’s also recommended to try this specific test after washing any product and build-up from your hair to get the most accurate at-home results possible.

  • Grab a clear glass of water and a strand(s) of hair.
  • Drop strand(s) of hair in water.
  • Hair with low porosity will float at the top of the water. Hair with medium porosity will float, and slowly settle to the middle glass, and hair with high porosity will sink to the bottom immediately.

What are the characteristics of low porosity hair?

Hair with low porosity is known to be moisture resistant — so while it may be difficult to get moisture into the hair, you’ll have an easier time maintaining that moisture and won’t have to worry as much about your hair getting too dry too fast.

When it comes to maintenance, you’ll want to use richer products less frequently, or use in sparring amounts, as low porosity hair can be prone to excess product build-up. Opt for lighter products and serum-based stylers to keep the hair from feeling weighed down.

What are the characteristics of medium porosity hair?

If you have medium porosity hair, you’ll have the easiest time maintaining your hair health and day-to-day styling, as the type features a looser curl cuticle, which allows for a consistent flow of moisture penetration.

With this type, maintenance is really the goal. You’ll want to prioritize using products that will keep moisture continual (think leave-ins!), and avoid frequent coloring, and chemical processes that can alter your hair’s porosity.

What are the characteristics of high porosity hair?

Those with high porosity hair are more likely to experience severe dryness, frizz, and breakage. This is because this type features a porous cuticle that can easily absorb water but can’t retain it. Naturally, high-porosity hair benefits from excessive nourishment and moisture, so look into prioritizing richer, moisture-boosting products to help lock in hydration.

As with all things hair,

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