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Low Porosity Hair Test: Do You Need to Do It?

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What is your go-to routine when cleaning and styling your hair? What kind of products do you apply to your curls to make them look stunning as ever? 

Sometimes even if our other curly friends swear by some of their holy grail products, it doesn’t seem to work for us. One factor that could affect how your hair reacts with various products is its porosity. 

To figure that out, you need to do the low porosity hair test. Once you’ve figured that out you can edit your hair routine. That will help you achieve better-looking hair. 

The hair porosity test is a very simple test that you can do on your own at home. We’ll take you through the steps so you can follow them. After that, we’ll give you tips on how to care for your hair depending on its porosity. 


What Is Hair Porosity?

hair section
Hair Cuticle Source: Wikipedia

In simplest terms, hair porosity tells you how capable your hair is at absorbing and retaining moisture.

To understand it better, let us take a closer look at a hair strand. Each of our hair strands is composed of an outer shell that is structured like shingles on a roof. 

The cuticles allow the moisture to go through and seal them inside. There are things that could cause them to open up, such as applying heat to them.

Conversely, you can close them using cold water.

Hair porosity comes in 3 types: high, medium, and low porosity. 


Let’s Take The Low-Porosity Hair Test

The type of hair porosity you have is genetic. However, there are chemicals and situations which can lead you to develop such hair porosity.

Let’s help you to know what type of porosity you have by doing any or both of these tests:

Float Test

  1. Take a clear glass of water. Make sure you can see through it so you can easily analyze if your hair is absorbing moisture easily.
  2. Get a couple of your hair strands. You don’t have to pluck out your hair just for this test. There are hair strands that naturally fall off when you run your fingers through your hair. That sample should be enough to use. 
  3. Take note of where your hair lands. If your hair sinks immediately, then it has high porosity. If it floats on top, then it has low porosity. If it somewhere sits in the middle then goes deeper, then it is of medium porosity. 

Slip And Slide Test

This is yet again a simple test but it is somewhat subjective.

With this test, you take a strand of your hair and use your fingers to slide up the shaft. If you feel bumps as you do the test, it simply shows that the hair cuticle is lifted and you have high porosity hair. 

On the other hand, if you don’t feel the bumps and your fingers glide smoothly, then you have low porosity hair.

This test may not be as reliable as the float test because it will depend on your ability to feel those bumps. 


Caring For Your Hair Based On Porosity

Now that you’ve figured out what type of hair you have. Let’s further discuss what they are and what each type means. By understanding the condition of your hair, you can better select products more suitable for your hair. 

High Porosity Hair

With high porosity the cuticles are open. That means that it is capable of easily absorbing moisture. The products you apply can readily penetrate through it.

However, that also means that the moisture can easily leave because the cuticles are open. It doesn’t efficiently trap moisture. There are different factors that could cause you to have high porosity hair such as heat styling and various chemicals, dyes, bleaching, etc. 

Most of those with high porosity hair find that it appears dry and brittle. That is due to the lack of moisture in the cuticles, and their inability to hold moisture.

Many people may think that high porosity hair is the worst of the three. That’s because the most damaged hair is highly porous. Usually, this happens when the hair is repeatedly chemically treated due to coloring and other hair modifications.

The chemicals could disrupt the cuticle and ruin it so that it can’t close anymore. 

However, there are upsides to having porous hair. As the cuticles are already open, they can easily absorb the product. The problem lies in being able to seal the cuticle to keep the moisture in.

Pro Tip:

  • Consider deep conditioning or moisturizing treatments that help close the cuticle.
  • When the cuticle is too damaged to close, some acidic and protein treatments help with the sealing of the damaged cuticle.

Low Porosity Hair

Low porosity is on the other end. Unlike the open cuticles in the high porosity hair, those with low porosity have cuticles that are harder to open because they are tighter in structure. 

When the cuticles are packed tightly, they overlap. That makes it more difficult for moisture to get inside. Those with low porosity hair often observe the beading of water on their hair.

Even if the cuticles are tightly packed, this type of hair porosity is still considered healthy. In fact, if you look at someone with low porosity hair, you see that it is often very shiny. 

Pro Tips: 

  • This hair porosity type is prone to build-up. So it would be best to avoid using protein-rich deep conditioners frequently. Use protein-free conditioners instead. 
  • You may need to use heat when you want to deep condition it to help open up the cuticles.

Medium Porosity Hair

Medium porosity is in the middle and is ideal. With medium porosity hair, moisture can still penetrate the hair but it doesn’t easily escape out. 

This is the balanced zone when it comes to porosity. The key to taking good care of your hair that has this kind of porosity is to maintain the moisture that’s already in it. 

Pro Tips: 

  • Maintain your hair’s medium porosity by using leave-in conditioners, heat protectants, and moisturizers. Just make sure that they aren’t too heavy or too lightly formulated.
  • Another way to maintain the hair in this state is to avoid chemical processing (or keep it to a minimum). Heat styling should also not be done too frequently or you risk developing high porosity hair.  

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