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Beauty Blog

Aly Phant's Black Elephants Blog

Hair Porosity

Black Elephants

Hair porosity is a measure of your hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture. Knowing your porosity can help explain why following someone's directions to a T can still result in dry, brittle, dull hair.

(For those who know what hair looks like under a microscope, you may skip this paragraph. For everyone else, let's draw a picture. Imagine a snake or even a fish. The scales all go in one direction. If you feel along that direction, it feels smooth. Going in the opposite direction feels rough. Same thing with your hair. It has scales called cuticles.)

Porosity can be measured as low, medium, and high with medium being the normal. To find out your porosity, you can perform these two tests:

1) Gently pinch your hair and run your fingers up the hair from ends to roots. If you feel any texture or bumps, you probably got high porosity because the cuticles are raised and are causing that textured feeling.

2) Find hair from your comb or brush and drop them into a cup of water. If the hair sinks to the bottom within a minute or two, you've got high porosity. If it never sinks, you've got yourself some low porosity, girl!

Low Porosity

This hair type is super smooth because the cuticles are flat against the shaft of the hair giving it a shine. But moisture and chemicals have a hard time getting inside the hair resulting in longer wait times. Product buildup can also be a problem.

Low porosity girls need to always shampoo well because of possible buildup. Use a good clarifying shampoo and lather twice. When applying any products, make sure the hair is damp and not wet. Wet hair will leave no room for the products or anything else to be absorbed. Always use products that are light like olive oil and coconut oil. And always use heat to help open the cuticles. This can be a hood dryer or body heat using a plastic cap.

Medium Porosity

This hair type is considered normal so as long as you continue to keep your hair healthy, you are good to go. Just remember that porosity can change over time with continued use of chemicals and heat. So moderation is key to staying normal.

High Porosity

This hair type is the exact opposite of low porosity. The cuticles are wide open. Light bounces around rather than bouncing back so the hair tends to look dull. Moisture and chemicals just flow into the hair. Chemical processes like relaxing and coloring work quickly.

High porosity girls need to always be watchful when around moisture. We all know wet hair is heavier than dry hair. So breakage can even occur while bathing or swimming. Avoid heat when possible to keep the cuticles from opening up.

After washing, you need to use leave-in conditioners, butters, heavier oils, and protein treatments to plug up those holes. I'd also recommend trying Roux Porosity Control to help lay the cuticles down.


Once you know your porosity level, you will see why following some instructions won't yield the results claimed by the writer. They may have a different porosity than you, but now you can make the right adjustments and get those results you desire!

Have a blessed week!