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Low vs high porosity hair: the differences

aida turner

Published by Aida Turner

Are you struggling to understand why your hair feels dry and damaged no matter how much you try to moisturize it? The answer might lie in your hair’s porosity.

Hair porosity refers to how well your hair can absorb and retain moisture, and it can be classified as low, medium, or high.

In this article, we will focus on the differences between low porosity and high porosity hair, and how they can impact your hair care routine.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of your hair’s porosity and how to care for it accordingly.

Low vs High Porosity Hair: The Differences

In this list you can see the five main differences between low and high porosity hair:

  1. Moisture Absorption

The most significant difference between low porosity and high porosity hair is their ability to absorb moisture. Low porosity hair repels water, making it difficult for moisture to penetrate the hair shaft. On the other hand, high porosity hair easily absorbs moisture, but it may struggle to retain that moisture due to the open cuticles.

  1. Product Absorption

Low porosity hair may struggle to absorb products due to the tightly closed cuticles, leading to product buildup. High porosity hair easily absorbs products but may struggle to retain them due to the open cuticles.

  1. Drying Time

Low porosity hair takes longer to dry as water is unable to penetrate the hair shaft. High porosity hair dries quickly due to the open cuticles.

  1. Heat Styling

Low porosity hair may be resistant to heat styling tools as the heat is unable to penetrate the hair shaft. High porosity hair may be more susceptible to heat damage due to the damaged cuticles.

  1. Product Buildup

Low porosity hair may be prone to product buildup due to the closed cuticles. High porosity hair may absorb too much product, thus leading to buildup as well.

It’s important to note that each hair type has its own set of challenges when it comes to hair care. But knowing your hair’s porosity level can help you tailor your hair care routine to suit its unique needs.

low porosity and high porosity hair need different caring routines

How to care low porosity vs high porosity hair?

Here is a table with the recommended products to care for low and high porosity hair:

ProductRecommended for Low Porosity HairRecommended for High Porosity Hair
ShampooClarifying shampooMoisturizing shampoo
ConditionerLightweight conditionerDeep conditioner
Leave-in conditionerLightweight, spray or mistCream or butter
OilsLight oils such as Argan or Jojoba oilHeavier oils such as Castor or Olive oil
Protein treatmentsAvoid or use sparinglyRegular use
Styling productsLightweight, water-based productsCreams or butters


Having a clear understanding of the differences between low and high porosity hair is crucial in making informed choices when it comes to hair care. Once you have identified your hair porosity, you can choose the right products and techniques that work best for your hair type.


What kind of low-porosity vs. high-porosity hair tests are there?

There exist three commonly used approaches for assessing the porosity level of your hair:

  • The float test
  • The slip ‘n’ slide test
  • The water spray test

Want to know the methods? Check our Hair Porosity Test!

Is it possible to change the hair porosity?

Hair porosity is largely determined by genetics and cannot be permanently changed. However, certain external factors like chemical treatments, heat styling, and environmental damage can temporarily alter hair porosity. It’s important to take good care of your hair and avoid damaging practices to maintain its natural porosity.

Can I have both low and high porosity hair on my head?

Yes, it is possible to have different porosity levels in different parts of your hair. The porosity of your hair can vary depending on the region of your scalp. This can be due to differences in hair follicle density, hair thickness, and the amount of sebum produced.

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.