Hair porosity

What do porosity, hair and proper curl care have to do with each other? Here I explain why and how you should determine the porosity. Also learn what conclusions you can draw with it for the care of your curls.

Hair porosity – what does it mean?

You should definitely know the porosity of your hair, because it indicates how dense the cuticle that coats your hair is.

The hair consists of the medulla, the cortex and the cuticle. The fibrous layer and the cuticle layer are made of keratin, which are fibrous proteins. Thick hair is made up of more proteins than fine hair (another thing to keep in mind!).

Porosity hair


When we talk about porosity of hair, it means how the cuticle is arranged to the hair marrow, that is, how much the hair marrow is protected and healthy.

It’s important to know your hair porosity, because that’s how you know how your hair absorbs and holds moisture. This is crucial for your choice of products. (By the way, here you can find my tutorial on the Curly Girl Method).

Hair porosity explained in video

In my hair porosity video, I show you everything you need to get started with this great hair care method:

Porosität leicht erklärt

Video abspielen

There are these types of porosity hair

  • Low porosity hair
  • Normal porosity
  • High porosity hair

Hair porosity

Low porosity of the hair

If your hair has a low porosity, you have a compact cuticle. Your hair will shine and feel smooth. The downside is that your hair doesn’t style well, you can tell because your hairstyles don’t last long. Because of your close cuticle, water doesn’t penetrate your hair quickly, but if it’s wet, it takes a long time for your hair to dry. By the way, this is also the case with care products (not to mention color), which your hair has a hard time absorbing.

If you have low hair porosity, care products can be deposited quickly and so-called build-up occurs.

Normal porosity of the hair

If your hair has normal porosity, the cuticle of your hair is slightly open. Your hair is easy to style, looks healthy and absorbs care products well. Should you dye your hair, this is also possible without any problems. By the way, a normal hair porosity is the „perfect condition“ for your hair.

High porosity hair

If your hair is very porous, it has a very wide open cuticle. Your hair absorbs water and also care products very quickly. However, they also lose them again quickly. You can tell because your hair dries very quickly. They also look very dry and tend to have a lot of frizz (they curl a lot).

Can the porosity change?

Yes, it can. It is indeed the case that hair dyes (especially bleaches), water containing chlorine or even sun and salt water can change the porosity.

How to test the porosity of your hair

There are several ways to test your hair porosity. Here I show you the simplest methods.

Water test

For this test you will need a glass of water and a single piece of your hair . Make sure that your hair is freshly washed and that you do not have any care products in your hair.

Hair porosity

How does the hair porosity water test?

Put your hair in the water. If it remains on the surface, it has low porosity. If it sinks to the center of the water glass, your hair is normally porous. If the hair migrates to the bottom, your hair is highly porous.

Care for hair with high porosity: proteins

If your hair shows high porosity, you need care products with proteins. Because they form a protective layer on the hair and smooth the cuticle. These include, but are not limited to, the following ingredients:

  • Amino acid (amino acids)
  • Elastin (elastin)
  • Oat protein (oat extract)
  • Keratin (keratin)
  • Collagen (collagen)
  • Milk protein (milk)
  • Rice protein (rice protein)
  • Silk protein (silk protein)
  • Soy protein (soy protein)
  • Wheat protein (wheat protein)

The following products may be suitable for your hair.

Conditioner with proteins:


Care for hair with normal porosity

Hair with normal porosity requires a balanced mix of products with and also without proteins. I myself have had exactly this experience. At the beginning of the Curly Girl method I used a lot of moisture for my hair, products without proteins. Finally, I got the best result when I used a new product with proteins. I thought I had found THE product for me. However, after some time my hair became straw-like and hard. This showed me that I had to find the right balance between the products. Since then, I use both products with and without proteins. Meanwhile, I also notice when my hair needs what.

Conditioner without proteins:

Care for hair with low porosity

If your hair is low porosity, you need increased hydration and less protein. However, make sure you use products with protein from time to time, the goal is to create a balance.

Hair conditioner for moisturizing:

Good to know

Did you know that the porosity of your hair can change with your care? This result is easily achievable and I can tell you from experience of many many curly heads that most of the time with high porosity hair you will think about healthier curl care. However, it may be that individual strands of hair, mostly in the lower hair, are normal porous.

Find the right hair care

Do you not yet know exactly what your hair needs in terms of care? Then I recommend you to read my guide about hair care, where you can also do a hair care test and get my direct tips and product recommendations for you. If you already know what your hair is like, you can choose the right products below.

Questions and answers

Here I answer the most frequently asked questions about hair porosity.

What is porosity in hair?

Porosity is the ability of your hair to absorb and hold moisture. Curls or hair in general with high porosity have a high ability to absorb moisture, but they can not hold it for a long time. While hair with low porosity has a lower ability to absorb moisture, it can hold it longer.

What porosity have my hair test?

A simple test to determine the porosity of your hair is to place a hair in a glass of water and observe if it sinks or floats. If it sinks, you probably have low porosity hair. If it floats on the surface of the water, it is probably highly porous. If it floats anywhere in between, you probably have normal porosity.

What does low porosity mean?

Low porosity means that the hair cuticle lies flat and moisture has difficulty penetrating. This often results in hair that is difficult to moisturize and quickly becomes greasy.

What do porous hair need?

Porous hair needs moisture and proteins to stay healthy. Moisture helps to hydrate the hair and smooth the cuticle, while proteins help to strengthen the hair and repair damage.

How do I know if my hair needs protein or moisture?

One indicator of whether your hair needs protein or moisture is the Elasticity Test. To do this, pull apart a strand of hair and let them snap back together. If they bounce back to their original shape quickly, you need moisture. However, if it bounces back slowly or not at all, you may need protein.

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Über die Autorin

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