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Hair Porosity Test

A hair porosity test will help you determine your hair’s health level, build the best regimen and choose the best products for your natural hair needs.

This article covers when to do a hair porosity test, how to do a hair porosity test, and how to move forward once you’ve identified your hair porosity level.

The Best Hair Porosity Test for Curly Hair
The Best Hair Porosity Test for Curly Hair

Hair Porosity Meaning

Hair porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb products and promote moisture retention to ensure maximum length and health.

Hair can be low porosity, medium porosity, or high porosity and the tests recommended in this article will tell you what your hair porosity level is.

Low Porosity Hair

This is hair that has a hard time letting moisture in. The hair cuticles are tightly closed. Low porosity hair doesn’t mean your hair is unhealthy. You just have to build the best regimen to optimize hair growth.

Medium Porosity Hair

A cross between low porosity and high porosity hair that’s also referred to as normal porosity. Medium porosity hair is slightly opened.

High Porosity Hair

High porosity hair is highly porous hair that has a hard time keeping moisture in. The cuticles of hight porosity hair are wide open.

This is likely damaged hair that needs a lot of love, care, deep conditioning, and strengthening products.

And depending on the level of damage, a hair trim might be required as well. If left unchecked, high porosity hair can lead to hair loss. 

Wrong hair products and bad hair care practices can turn healthy normal porosity hair into low porosity or high porosity hair.

Different Types of Hair Porosity

What is the Hair Porosity Test?

If your hair isn’t acting right or you’re a new natural, a hair porosity test is your first step to choosing your products and building a functional regimen. 

Does Hair Porosity Test Work?

The hair porosity test works if conducted as directed below. You can try one or all of the hair porosity tests to be sure.

The hair porosity test also works for curly hair and straight hair. It’s not specific to a hair type.

Hair strand in its follicle
The image above displays a hair strand nestled within its follicle and the epidermis, dermis, and sebaceous glands.

When To Do Hair Porosity Test?

Below are the top signs that you should do a hair porosity test:-

  • You’re a new natural and just did the big chop. This is the best time to try out the hair porosity test.
  • Your products no longer work correctly.
  • Your hair won’t let in moisture or retain moisture properly.
  • You’ve just had a bad hair care experience with coloring, bleaching, straightening, etc.
  • Continuous exposure to elements like wind, ultraviolet rays, etc.
  • You’ve done the hair porosity test before and determined your porosity level but the products aren’t working anymore. This is a sign your porosity level has changed and you need different products.

How To Do Hair Porosity Test

There are three great ways I recommend for determining your hair porosity level. They are all easy to carry out.

There’s also a how to card at the end of this article for you to print and add to your hair journal for when you want to do the hair porosity test.

A hair porosity test is best conducted on freshly washed hair free of products.

Hair Porosity Test 1

  • After shampooing hair, keep aside a few shed strands before applying product. 
  • Fill a bowl or large cup with lukewarm water then take a few strands of hair into the lukewarm water.
  • If the hair strands float for a few minutes before sinking then you have low porosity hair.
  • If the hair strands sink immediately, then you have high porosity hair.
  • Hair strands that take some time to sink indicate normal porosity hair.

If you carry out this hair porosity test but you’re still unsure about your hair porosity level, then proceed to step 2 below.

hair porosity test. Hair float in glass with water.
How To Do Hair Porosity Test

Hair Porosity Test 2

  • Clean your hair, apply products and style – braid out, twist out or you can just put hair in 4 – 6 bantu knots. Observe how long it takes for your hair to dry.
  • If your hair takes longer than a few hours to dry then you likely have low porosity hair. Keep the length of your hair in mind when assessing the few hours it takes for your hair to dry.
  • Hair that dries quickly but then starts to feel dry or straw-like within a short period after is a sign of high porosity hair.

Hair Porosity Test 3

When your hair is dry, run your fingers down the length of the hair shaft of a few strands. What do they feel like?

Smooth cuticles indicate low porosity hair while strands that feel rough and uneven to the touch indicate high porosity hair.

Once you’ve carried out this hair porosity test and figured out if your hair is low porosity or high porosity, the next thing is products and the best regimen for your curls.

How to Care for Low Porosity Hair

For more on how to care for low porosity hair, treatments, and best products, read 57 Best Hair Care Products for Low Porosity Hair.

How to Care for High Porosity Hair

For more on how to care for high porosity hair, treatments, and best products, read 50 Best Hair Care Products for High Porosity Hair.

Recommended Healthy Hair Care Reading

For a more detailed reading on hair porosity and best hair care practices for healthy, moisturized hair, I recommend 365 Days of Moisture for Dry & Parched Hair.

Book 2 in the Healthy Hair Care Series covers everything you need to know to build the best regimen for your hair type. Learn more HERE.

365 Days of Moisture for Dry & Parched Hair

Got more questions about hair porosity tests? Drop them in the comments section below.


Abi is a curly hair expert who delved into the world of natural oils after severe hair loss issues. Through her research, study, and testing, she was able to regrow her bald spots & a healthy head of hair. She is the founder of Healthy Natural Hair Products & Ade Ori Hair Care, and the author of the highly-rated Healthy Hair Care Series. She continues to study hair science, Ayurveda, and natural and healthy solutions for hair and skin. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines

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