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High Porosity Hair: Characteristics, Causes, Care & Tests

aida turner

Published by Aida Turner

As a hairdresser, I’m always asked about different hair types, and one of the most critical factors determining your hair’s health is its porosity. Hair porosity is the hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture, essential for maintaining healthy hair.

Each person’s hair has a unique porosity level that can be categorized into three clusters: low, medium, or high. Understanding your hair’s porosity is crucial for proper hair care because it allows you to use the most suitable products and techniques specifically designed for your hair type.

I will share everything you need to know about high porosity hair in this article. We’ll cover its definition, characteristics, determining if you have high porosity hair, its causes, commonly associated problems, and, most importantly, how to care for it.

First, let’s look at what precisely high porosity hair is.

What is high porosity hair?

Highly porous hair has cuticles that are raised and widely spaced, making it easy for moisture to enter the hair shaft but challenging to retain, which can make it difficult to style hair.

In contrast, low porosity hair has tightly closed cuticles, making it difficult for moisture to penetrate; furthermore, medium porosity hair has slightly open cuticles, allowing for a balanced moisture retention level. Check the article to understand the differences between low porosity vs high porosity hair.

If you want to know more details about hair porosity, read our full guide!

high porosity hair can easily moisturized because of the raised cuticles

What are the characteristics of high porosity hair?

If you have high porosity hair, you may experience some or all of these characteristics. It’s important to identify them so that you can choose the right hair care products and techniques to care for your hair.

  • Dryness: High porosity hair tends to be dry and can feel rough to the touch.
  • Frizziness: Due to the raised cuticles, high porosity hair can be prone to frizz, especially in humid environments.
  • Tangling: Hair with high porosity can easily become tangled and knotted, making it difficult to manage.
  • Breakage: High porosity hair is more fragile and prone to breakage due to its weakened structure.
  • Split ends: The raised cuticles can also cause the hair to split at the ends, resulting in a frayed and damaged appearance.

What are the causes of high porosity hair?

High porosity hair can be caused by a number of factors. Here are some of the most common causes:

  • Genetics: Some people are simply born with hair that has high porosity due to genetic factors.
  • Environmental damage: Exposure to the sun, wind, and other environmental factors can damage the hair cuticles, leading to high porosity.
  • Chemical treatments: Overuse of chemical treatments like hair coloring, relaxers, and perms can weaken the hair cuticles and increase porosity.
  • Heat styling: Regular use of hot tools like flat irons, curling irons, and blow dryers can also damage the hair cuticles and increase porosity.
  • Improper hair care: Using harsh shampoos, brushing the hair aggressively, and not conditioning regularly can all contribute to high porosity hair.

How can I determine if I have high porosity hair?

There are three types of tests to determine the porosity of your hair.

  1. The float test involves placing a strand of hair in a bowl of water to determine if it sinks quickly, indicating high porosity, or floats, indicating low porosity.
  2. The slip ‘n’ slide test involves sliding fingers up a strand of hair to feel for roughness or bumps, which can indicate high porosity.
  3. The water spray test involves spritzing a section of hair with water to observe how quickly it is absorbed, with quick absorption indicating high porosity.

Learn about the tests in detail, check the ultimate Hair Porosity Test!

test your hair to determine how high your porosity is

To get the best results when determining your hair’s porosity, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

  • First, make sure your hair is clean and free from any products or buildup.
  • It’s also a good idea to perform multiple tests to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • Additionally, test different sections of your hair, as porosity can vary throughout your head.

How to care for high porosity hair?

Caring for high porosity hair requires a delicate balance of moisture and protein. Here is a list  outlining some effective ways to care for high porosity hair:

  • Use Moisture-Rich Products: High porosity hair requires regular moisture, so use hair care products labeled as “hydrating” or “moisturizing.”
  • Layer with Moisture: The LOC method (liquid, oil, cream) involves layering a water-based product (liquid), oil, and cream to help curls retain moisture and provide long-lasting hydration.
  • Use Nutrient-Dense Creams and Oils: Use creams and oils that are rich in nutrients to help repair damage, provide the moisture and protein that high porosity hair needs.
  • Protect Hair from UV Exposure: UV rays can damage high porosity hair, so use a hat or scarf to protect hair from the sun’s rays.
  • Use Protein Treatments: Protein treatments help to strengthen high porosity hair, reduce breakage and keep hair strong and healthy. Use a protein treatment once a month.


  • Avoid Excessive Heat Styling: High porosity hair is already damaged, so minimize the use of hot styling tools to avoid further damage, breakage and split ends.
  • Avoid Sulfates, Parabens, and Silicones: These ingredients can strip natural oils from hair and cause further damage. Look for hair care products labeled as “sulfate-free,” “paraben-free,” and “silicone-free.”


In conclusion, high porosity hair requires special care and attention to maintain its health and beauty. Understanding its definition, characteristics, causes, and problems associated with it is essential in maintaining healthy, strong hair. By following proper hair care practices, high porosity hair can be managed effectively, and its beauty can be maintained for a long time.


How often should I wash my high porosity hair?

It’s recommended to wash high porosity hair once or twice a week. Frequent washing can strip the hair of natural oils and cause further damage.

How do I protect my high porosity hair from environmental damage?

You can wear a hat or scarf to shield it from the sun’s UV rays. Also, use hair care products that contain antioxidants to help prevent damage from free radicals. Avoid exposing your hair to extreme weather conditions like extreme heat or cold.

Are there any DIY treatments I can use to improve the health of my high porosity hair?

Yes, for example, you can use a deep conditioning treatment made of avocado and coconut oil to moisturize your hair and repair any damage. You can also use a protein treatment made of eggs and yogurt to strengthen your hair and reduce breakage.

aida turner

Author of this article: Aida Turner

Founder & Hair Care Consultant

Aida is a cosmetologist and hair care consultant with over 7 years of experience in the beauty industry. Aida has worked with various top salons and smaller hair care brands, offering her product development, formulation, and testing expertise.

Her extensive knowledge of hair care ingredients and their effects on hair health enables her to provide thorough, well-researched, and unbiased reviews on a wide range of shampoos and hair care products. In her spare time, Aida enjoys experimenting with new hair care routines, blogging about her experiences, and helping others achieve their hair goals.