What does hair porosity mean?

Porosity… an intimidating word that many of us have heard of, but probably not too sure what it means? Don’t sweat it, we’re here to change that! Hair porosity refers to how capable your hair is at keeping and absorbing moisture (Healthline). The level of your porosity is in control of how well water, oils and products can pass in and out of the outer layer of your hair, aka the cuticle. Keep on reading to find out your hair porosity level and how to best take care of it!

a) What are the different types of hair porosity?

In the world of hair care, it is super important to get to know our hair better. The three different levels of hair porosity are as follows: low, medium and high. Wondering which one you are? Let’s dive in!


High porosity hair

Highly porous hair easily absorbs water, oils and products; we know what you’re thinking, this sounds ideal, right? Although it can absorb well, it also struggles to lock in the moisture that our hair needs. This occurs when the cuticles of our hair are too spaced apart (Healthline).

a) What are the characteristics of high porosity hair?

Because of its tendencies to repel products, high porosity hair can absorb products quickly, look frizzy, dry, prone to breakage and hard to style due to lack of hydration (Vogue).

b) How to care for high porosity hair with oils?

Natural oils are a godsend for our scalp and hair alike with so many to choose from! When you have high porosity hair, it is vital to use moisture-rich/heavy products such as coconut oil, which has high levels of Vitamin E, hence being a saviour for bringing your hair back to life (Curly Nikki). It also works to add shine and lustre to the hair (who doesn’t love that?).

Castor oil, which comes from the castor bean plant, does wonders for sealing your strands - the best friend that knows how to hold it together. It has antifungal and antibacterial properties, as well as omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids.


Medium porosity hair

Medium porosity hair, which is typically known as normal, masters both qualities of high and low. Medium porosity hair enables moisture to pass in and out without any difficulty (Cosmopolitan); similarly to a sponge!

a) What are the characteristics of medium porosity hair?

Typically, medium porosity hair tends to look healthy and shiny, but can be affected by frizz (e.g., due to rainy weather). Hairstyling comes easily to this type of hair and can be held together for a long amount of time.

b) How to care for medium porosity hair with oils?

Due to its ability to steadily absorb and keep moisture, it is best to use lightweight oils such as the worldwide favourite, argan oil! This oil has been known to help in increasing shine and reducing frizz because of its high levels of vitamin E. Adding to this, argan oil is also known to have oleic and linoleic acid (which can help to manage the water intake of your hair).


Low porosity hair

In complete opposition to high porosity hair, the cuticles of low porous hair are a tight-knit squad that repels water/products, making it extremely hard for moisture to reach the hair shaft.

a) What are the characteristics of low porosity hair?

Usually, products and water sit on the hair instead of being absorbed. This can mean that it takes extra long for water to penetrate low porous hair during your routine wash, and also takes a while for it to air-dry!

b) How to care for low porosity hair with oils?

Low porosity hair and lightweight oils that can be easily absorbed into the hair go hand in hand. For example, the consistency of sweet almond oil makes it easy to absorb into the scalp (Healthline). Sweet almond oil is filled with vitamins such as B-7, commonly known as biotin, which helps to keep the hair healthy and strong!

Argan oil (the jack of all oil trades) is also great for low porous hair. Not only does it contain Vitamin E, but it is full of fatty acids such as oleic and linoleic, which are known to help moisturise and condition the hair.


How to accurately test your hair porosity

The most common way to test your porosity is by doing the hair water test, and the good news is that it can be done from the comfort of your home!


The hair water test

Begin by washing your hair with shampoo and rinse through thoroughly to eliminate any product build-up. Once your hair has dried, take a strand and drop it into a glass of water. If it floats to the top then it indicates low porosity, the middle of the glass is medium (normal), and the bottom is high porosity.


Can you have low and high porosity hair?

According to Naturally Curly, a fourth level could exist for you: multiple porosities. This can change for many reasons throughout your life, let’s find out why:


Can you change your hair porosity?

For a lot of us, porosity can increase over time while still remaining within the same range. We may begin with a certain level of porosity which can alter over time due to various factors such as genetics, how often we use harsh products, bleaching, over washing, etc. 

Luckily for us all, the ByErim Luxury Hair & Beard Oil exists, meaning you can avoid going to the trouble of sourcing and mixing oils completely. The golden formula has been 15 years in the making and combines the likes of Amla, Argan, Castor, Coconut, Sweet Almond and essential oils (Lavender, Rosemary, Bergamot) at the absolute perfect balance – ideal for ALL hair types and porosities! 

November 24, 2021 — Ishpreet Sundal