Natural Hair

How to Determine Your Hair Porosity the Right Way

October 26, 2018
The Guide to Learning the Porosity for Your Natural Hair

Learning about the porosity of my natural hair was one topic I didn’t want to research because it seemed confusing. However, after finding out my porosity, I see why knowing this information is important for your journey!

What is natural hair porosity?

Your natural hair’s porosity refers to its ability to absorb and retain moisture. It’s broken down into three different categories:

  • Low Porosity
  • Normal Porosity
  • High Porosity

Knowing the porosity of your natural hair will help you learn how to properly care for it and choose quality products. You want to choose products that’ll keep your hair moisturized and healthy.

How do I find out my porosity?

If you’ve done research on this topic, then you probably heard about the “Float Test.” After looking up more information, I found out this test isn’t accurate for determining your porosity. It’s best to pay attention to the characteristics of your hair and how it behaves in certain situations.

Here are some characteristics of each porosity, let’s see if you can find out which category you fall in!


Low Porosity Characteristics

Photo: @coily_dawn | Low porosity hair has tightly sealed cuticles which makes it difficult for water to penetrate the hair shaft. However, once you're able to effectively moisturize your hair, you can retain moisture for days at a time. | NaturallyMadisen.com
Follow @coily_dawn on Instagram!

Low porosity hair has tightly sealed cuticles which makes it difficult for water to enter the hair shaft. If you notice your hair takes a while to get saturated under running water and it beads on top of your hair, those are signs you have low porosity.

You may also notice that products sit on top of your hair instead of penetrating your strands. After you style your hair, it can also take forever to dry! Although this can become frustrating, there are ways you can effectively care for low porosity hair:

  • Steam your hair or add heat while deep conditioning. This will open up your hair cuticles which will allow the product to effectively penetrate the hair shaft.
  • Avoid using silicones, heavy butter, and thick oils. Low porosity hair is prone to build-up, so using these will cause more. Some light oils you can use are Grapeseed + Avocado.
  • Clarify your hair frequently. As previously stated, low porosity hair is prone to build-up. The only way to remove product build-up is by clarifying.

Related Post: How to Keep Your Low Porosity Hair Healthy

High Porosity Characteristics

My natural hair is high porosity. I maintain my curls by deep conditioning regularly, using protein treatments, and applying heavier products to my hair. | NaturallyMadisen.com
Follow me on IG: @naturally_madisen

High porosity hair has cuticles that are wide open which means your hair absorbs moisture quickly, however, it can lose that moisture just as fast. I have high porosity hair and it can become difficult to find ways to retain moisture.

If you have high porosity hair, you’ll notice that your hair gets saturated quickly under running water and your styles dry fast. Your hair may also tend to look dry and you’ll notice that your hair tangles easily. Since the cuticles are wide open, it’s easy for your curls to become tangled, which can be a pain to deal with at times!

Here are some ways you can care for high porosity hair:

  • Use heavier butter + oils as sealants. Heavy products will seal in the moisture you apply to your hair and you’ll be able to retain it longer. Some good products to use are Shea Butter, Olive Oil, and Castor Oil.
  • Do protein treatments at least once a month or more often. High porosity hair has gaps in the hair shaft. Using protein will help temporarily fill those holes and strengthen the hair.
  • Aloe Vera and Apple Cider Vinegar are great products to use for high porosity hair. They balance the pH of your hair and flatten your cuticles. This will ensure moisture is sealed into your hair and limit tangles.

Related Post: 6 Ways to Care for High Porosity Hair

Normal Porosity Characteristics

If you have normal porosity, this means your hair’s cuticles are raised just enough to readily absorb moisture and retain it. Normal porosity hair tends to retain moisture and shine better than low or high porosity.

I don’t know many naturals with normal porosity, but if you do have it, you pretty much have nothing to worry about! Make sure you create a healthy hair regimen and remain consistent with cleansing, deep conditioning, moisturizing, and sealing moisture into your hair. Keep a good moisture-protein balance by alternating between moisturizing and protein treatments each month.

The Importance of Porosity

We discussed at the beginning of this post some benefits of knowing your hair’s porosity. One benefit is you’ll know what type of products to choose. Reading the ingredient labels and ensuring the consistency of your products will work for your hair will save you time and a lot of money. Of course, it’ll take trial and error to find what works, however, you’ll know what to look for if you know your porosity.

Another benefit is you’ll learn how to properly take care of your natural hair. When you know your porosity, you can moisturize your hair and seal in that moisture with the correct products and techniques. Learning how to effectively moisturize your hair will help you maintain healthy, manageable curls.

Related Post: The Best All-Natural Products for High Porosity Hair


Watch how your hair responds in certain situations to find out your porosity. Knowing this will help your natural hair journey become easier since you’ll know how to take care of your hair.

I found out my porosity by paying attention to the characteristics of my hair and comparing the signs of each one. My hair is easily saturated under running water, I’m able to use protein treatments frequently, my hair loves heavy butter and oils, and my styles dry quick.

Each porosity has its pros and cons, however, learning how to manage it will help you be successful on your healthy hair journey.

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5 Comments

  • Reply Tess Petersen November 20, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    I have some issues getting to know what kind of porosity I have. It gets dump easily but takes forever to dry, oils are not enough to get rid if the frizziness but when I use heavy products volume says buh-bye. I am a 2c-3a and have coloured hair and ten years of heat damage… The only thing I know for sure is my hair really loves cold water. Any help?

    • Reply Kimberly Ellis April 29, 2020 at 6:45 pm

      Hi! I have the exact same issue: hair gets damp easily, but takes forever to dry; frizz occurs fairly easilt, but heavy products flatten. Also have 2C/3A hair. I would love suggestions, too. Thanks

    • Reply Kimberly Ellis April 29, 2020 at 6:48 pm

      Wow! You just described my hair, too. In have the exact same issues, especially the easily damp hair that takes forever to dry. I get frizz without products, but get weighed down with heavy products. I also have 2C/3A hair. I would love ideas, too.

    • Reply Dee Ossy September 18, 2020 at 10:49 pm

      OMG other people who have my same problem. My hair also gets wet quickly but literally take several hours to dry. I just assumed I was low porosity.

      • Reply Madisen September 19, 2020 at 1:14 am

        Yeah it’s possible that you could have both low + high porosity. We have many different textures and one blogger that I follow has high porosity hair in the back and low porosity in the front. It can get a little confusing lol but looking out for these characteristics and how your hair behaves will help you figure it out!

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