Natural Hair

The Guide to Learning Your Natural Hair’s Porosity

October 26, 2018
Here are characteristics to look for in order to figure out your natural hair porosity.

Learning about the porosity of my natural hair was one of those topics I didn’t want to research because it was confusing. However, after finding out my own porosity, I see why knowing this information is key 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 figure out how to properly care for it and choose the right 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 already, then I’m sure you ran across what is called the “Float Test.” Unfortunately, I found out that the test isn’t accurate. There are other ways to figure out your natural hair’s porosity, for example, by paying attention to the characteristics of your hair.

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
Low porosity hair | Photo: @coily_dawn

If you have low porosity natural hair, it has tightly sealed cuticles which makes it difficult for water to enter the hair shaft. Do you notice your hair takes a while to get saturated when you have it under running water? Does the water seem to bead on top of your hair? Those are signs that you have low porosity hair.

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 your low porosity natural 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 for your hair are Grapeseed and 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.

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
My high porosity hair: @naturally_madisen

High porosity natural hair is the opposite of low porosity. The cuticles are wide open which means your hair absorbs water 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 for days at a time.

High porosity hair may tend to look dry and you’ll also notice your hair tangles easily. Does your hair get saturated quickly under running water? Do you notice your styles dry fast? Those are signs you have high porosity hair.

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

  • Use heavier butters and oils as sealants. Heavy products will help 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.
  • Make time to do protein treatments at least once a month. 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.

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 natural hair tends to retain moisture and shine better than low or high porosity hair.

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.

Why is knowing your natural hair porosity important?

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 money.

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 moisturize your hair effectively will help you maintain healthy, manageable curls.

Related Post: 5 Ways to Effectively Moisturize Natural Hair


Take some time to watch how your hair responds in certain situations in order to find out your porosity. Knowing this information will help your natural hair journey become easier since you’ll figure out how to take care of your hair.

I found my porosity by paying attention to the characteristics of my hair and comparing the signs of each porosity. My hair is easily saturated before shampooing, I’m able to use protein frequently, my curls love heavy butter and oils, and lastly, 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.

Do you know your porosity?


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Do you know your natural hair's porosity? In this guide, you'll learn the characteristics of each porosity and find out which category you fall into.

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