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The Importance of Porosity

Why is porosity important in textured hair care?

Porosity is defined as the state or quality of being porous (Source), so your hair’s porosity is it’s ability to absorb moisture.

It’s pretty easy to find out what your hair’s porosity is, pull some shed hair from a comb or brush and drop into a bowl or glass of water. If your hair floats you have low porosity hair, if it sinks you have high porosity hair. If it is hanging around somewhere in the middle you have normal porosity.


What does this mean?

Arming yourself with this information you can build the best regimen for your hair. Textured hair  frizzes up when its not properly moisturized, so once you can learn how to add moisture and and trap it into your hair, you can help your hair stay at its healthiest.


Characteristics of  low porosity hair:

– takes a while to get saturated when shampooing

– products tend to just sit on top of your hair

– resistant to chemical treatments (relaxers, color, etc.) or  takes longer than normal for them to work

– takes a long time to dry

– known for being resistant to treatments (protein, color and other chemical treatments)

Low porosity hair has a cuticle that closes tightly, so moisturizing requires effort.  The hair cuticle does not easily open, but once moisture is added it stays there.  Opening the cuticle often requires heat. Rinsing with warm water or deep conditioning with a hood dryer or steamer  opens the cuticle, allowing the opportunity to use light weight creams or oils.

Characteristics of high porosity hair:

– absorbs products and water very easily, almost instantly

– dries very quickly

– looks and feels dry, even after you shampoo and condition

– responds well to protein treatments

– tangles easily and is often frizzy

Most believe that high porosity hair comes from regular chemical treatments and heat damage….and some people are just born with it.  A consistently open cuticle makes this hair type challenging (tell me about  it….).  Experimenting with products that close the hair cuticle or techniques like rinsing the hair with cool water after shampooing may help.  Moisture from the use of heavy crèmes, oils and butters is “lost” at a slower rate than lighter products and may work as well.

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Do you know your hair’s porosity? On your next shampoo day don’t forget to drop a strand in some water to find out for sure. Oh, and there was a time when Mo was sure that her porosity changed after a big chop, you can read more about THAT here.

Inspiring Confidence (in your natural hair journey),


5 thoughts on “The Importance of Porosity

  1. […] : Moisture retention. Do you know your hair’s porosity? If not, check out this blog post. Once you know your hair’s ability to absorb moisture, you will be able to determine which […]

  2. […] a cool water rinse (I have high porosity hair, gotta make sure those cuticles close…) and wrapping my hair in a tshirt for about 30 […]

  3. […] building a healthy regimen is “rooted” in more than curl pattern. Characteristics like porosity, density (ponytail test), strand thickness (fine, medium, […]

  4. […] building a healthy regimen is “rooted” in more than curl pattern. Characteristics like porosity, density (ponytail test), strand thickness (fine, medium, […]

  5. […] if you have high porosity hair (or even if you don’t), oils that penetrate the hair shaft are the best choice to treat […]

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