What Is hair Porosity and why should you know yours ?


Is your curly hair dry and brittle ? You can’t achieve the look you want ?

The porosity of your hair plays a crucial role in your daily hair care.

You need to know the porosity of your hair to adopt a customized hair routine.

You will be able to choose the best hair care products for natural african hair, avoid breakage and restore your hair’s strength.

Discover below how to determine your porosity and how to care for and maintain your hair according to its degree of porosity!

What is hair porosity?

The porosity of hair represents its ability to absorb and retain moisture.

Your hair fibers are surrounded by scales (also called cuticles) that are more or less open depending on your hair type.

These scales absorb and retain more or less moisture you give them depending on your porosity.

👉🏾 Find out how to moisturize your afro hair naturally.

If your cuticles are open, you have very porous hair. Moisture easily gets in, but just as easily gets out!

Conversely, if your cuticles are closed, your hair is not very porous. It will be more difficult for your hair to absorb moisture, but it will be better able to retain it.

How to determine your porosity ?

Here are 3 tests that will allow you to define the level of porosity of your natural hair.

1. The glass of water test

This is the easiest way to test the porosity of your hair:

  • Wash your hair with your usual shampoo and rinse it well
  • Once your hair is dry, cut a small strand and drop it into a glass of water
  • Observe if the strand stays on the surface or sinks to the bottom of the glass

Test results

  • Low porosity : your hair floats on the surface for a while before sinking, your hair has a low porosity
  • Medium porosity : your hair stays in the middle of the glass, the porosity of your hair is in the average
  • High porosity: your hair sinks quickly to the bottom, your hair has a high porosity

2. The slip test

Take a strand of hair and slide it along your fingers, from the tips to the roots.

If you feel small bumps along the hair fibers, your cuticles are raised and therefore your hair is very porous.

If you feel a smooth surface, then your hair is not very porous.

3. The spray test

Spray a small amount of water on a section of your hair and observe how the water settles on the surface of your strands.

  • If the water beads up on your hair, it means it has low porosity.
  • If the water is quickly absorbed by the hair, then your hair has a high porosity.
  • Finally, if the water stays on the surface of the hair for a few minutes before being absorbed, the porosity is average.

How to nourish your low porosity 4c hair ?

Here are some tips for nourishing and moisturizing your low porosity afro hair:

  • Use light oils like jojoba oil as a pre-poo to help open up the hair scales.
  • Apply a conditioner or deep conditioner after shampooing and before rinsing to help seal in moisture.
  • Avoid dry environments as much as possible, especially in winter. You can use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
  • Reduce the frequency of use of heated styling equipment such as straighteners and hair dryers.

Which shampoo for your low porosity hair?

If you have low-porosity hair, look for sulfate-free shampoos that contain provitamin B5 and plant proteins.

These two ingredients help strengthen and moisturize hair without damaging it.

Also, choose a shampoo with a neutral pH that respects the scalp.

Which moisturizing mask for low porosity natural hair?

Hair with low porosity tends to become dry quickly.

Here’s a mask with honey, eggs and olive oil that will restore optimal moisture:


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil


  • Mix all the ingredients to obtain a homogeneous mixture
  • Apply all over your hair
  • Cover your hair with a bathing cap or plastic film
  • Leave on for at least one hour
  • Rinse your hair with your usual mild shampoo

Apply this treatment once a week and your nappy hair will soon be back in full force!

👉🏾 Discover the best diy protein treatment for curly natural hair.

Which oil for low porosity natural hair ?

To repair and moisturize your low-porosity hair, prefer light oils that easily penetrate the hair fiber.

Macadamia oil, jojoba oil, and sweet almond oil are among your best options for restoring moisture.

👉🏾 Check out the best oils for dry natural hair.

If your hair is really dry and damaged, you can also use vegetable glycerin, which is a great humectant.

How to treat highly porous hair?

Here are some tips for treating highly porous hair:

  • Use a shampoo and conditioner rich in proteins like keratin. These help strengthen hair fibers and reduce water loss.
  • Regular deep conditioning: masks and oil baths
  • You can also use a leave-in conditioner to help seal in moisture.
  • If you have kinky hair, shea butter is perfect and will be of great help. This natural butter contains a high percentage of fatty acids that help nourish and soften hair.

You are now ready to identify the porosity of your hair!

Adapt your hair routine according to your degree of porosity and you will quickly get softer and shinier hair.

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