High Porosity, What Does It Mean?

Determining if you have high porosity hair:

A quick way to determine whether your hair is low porosity is to collect strands from a brush or comb and drop them into a glass of water. If your hair takes a relatively short amount of time to sink, your hair is high porosity. The hair sinks quickly because there are gaps along the cuticle.

Think of your hair as a sponge. If you have high porosity hair, the cuticles of the hair shaft are not tightly bound. As a result, moisture is absorbed quickly but isn’t trapped within the hair because the cuticles remain open; after deep conditioning your hair may feel soft but after a few hours feels dry again. Because high porosity hair absorbs a lot of water, when wet, the water weighs down the hair and decreases elasticity.

 

Caring for high porosity hair: 

After deep conditioning, seal the hair cuticles to trap moisture in using one of the following methods:

  • ACV (apple-cider vinegar) rinse as your final rinse. Our hair has a natural pH balance of 4.5-5.5. ACV has a pH level of 3. Diluting ACV in water and rinsing your hair with the solution will help seal the cuticles.
  • Use light conditioners with pH balances of 4.5-5.5 as your final rinse to seal your hair cuticles.
  • Roux Porosity Control as the final step in your wash. For more on Roux PC, check out this post: How To Use Roux Porosity Control.
  • Clear or color rinses. Clear/color rinses correct porosity because they contain proteins that bind to the hair shaft.

16 Comments

  1. Hi, my hair gets tangled before & after washed, conditioned & combed out. It tight and tangled & notty. My hair is very long a very thick & is 4b, 4c in texture & 26 inches its quite a bit to work with & I don’t mind. However, it is so frustrating when after I think it’s detangled & I get ready to use stylers & creams & gels, I have to detangle over & over again. I will do the porosity tests & and try the protein treatment. Am I on the path? Oh, I have a scalp condition, and must use Head & Shoulders plus a prescribed steroid ointment for my scalp. I’m sure this started this problem. Any suggestions?


  2. Your hair is gorgeous~ I noticed though, you have to put alot of product in your hair,do you have to use so much to maintain length? as a busy mom of 3 I want to grow my hair natural no relaxer, and keep it healthy. but dont have the time or money for so many products, what would you say the most important products would be to use. thank you!

    1. Author

      Thank you! After 3 years, it's simply what works for me. Essentials: moisturizing shampoo, clarifying shampoo, deep conditioner, a good moisturizer and oil to seal with.

  3. I know this has nothing to do with the topic but can't find where to ask this question.
    Any solutions to receeding hair line? Due to wrong/too much braiding and wrong touch up methods, I have my front hair line falling out leaving patches (like am getting bald)
    Any suggestions pls

    1. Author

      A few suggestions: relaxing your edges every other touch up, foregoing tight braids, scalp massages to help stimulate blood flow and growth, using castor and peppermint is a suggestion. Hope this helps!

  4. I also get strands that don't sink for weeks [three? I did the test two semesters ago last, so it was a while back] and my hair takes forever to dry [sometimes it's still wet after two days], but I seem to have high porosity hair: when it dries out, it's always completely dry like a desert–all the moisture is escaping, right? Secondly, it doesn't feel smooth or sleek unless it has been flat ironed. No amount of porosity adjustments seem to help me, though: using ApHogee products or ACV rinses, or the fact that I make most of my own products now and know their PH levels. My hair loves protein, as well. I just…don't know. 🙁

  5. Just thought I would let you know the strand in water test has been proven to be scientifically incorrect and not the most reliable source of porosity.

  6. jeni, should this test be done on hair that is freshly washed with no product on it? My last wash I used a low pH conditioner so I'm wondering if its affecting my results.

    1. Author

      Hi Andrea, yes freshly shampooed hair works best.

  7. Ok I have a question for you. I had assumed my hair was low porosity because all of the water tests I saw said if your hair floats and never sinks it was low porosity. After I read your post yesterday I did a search for as many hair blogs mentioning porosity and relaxed hair as I could. Most said the same thing, hair floating/never sinking low porosity but one said if your hair kept floating it was normal porosity provided that once you forced it down in the water it stayed down and didn't float back up. Well that's exactly what mine did which I thought was weird. I tried a few different strands and the most that happened was it came to the midpoint of the water and that was it. Have you ever heard of that or is it just floating low/sinking high?

    1. The same things happens to me as well (floating until forcing down and strands do not float back up)

      Sidebar: I had a dream that I woke up with APL hair. Couldn't tell me nothin'! lol

    2. Author

      Hi there, I've never heard of that but it's certainly something to look into

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