What is Hair Porosity And Why Does it Matter to Curly Hair?

Hair porosity is the key to get into the caring curly hair journey and your compass to get the right treatment for your curls.

But usually, the first step that almost every curly hair girl takes before starting the natural hair journey is to determine her curls type and ignoring hair porosity.

To be accurate, it’s a crucial step to know hair type but not as you think, because hair is more complicated than classifying it by its type. Hair porosity plays a significant role here.

What is hair porosity?

Hair porosity describes the formation of a protective flexible outer hair layer, which is called a cuticle.

This layer is formed from smaller cuticles that overlap each other in three different ways, classified into three types: high porosity, low porosity, and medium porosity, where hair porosity’s type refers to hair ability to absorb moisture and retain it. 

Hair porosity is genetic, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have the same type of it all your life because some factors affect it, like using heat tools, washing hair with hot water, chemical processing, overwashing, and hair dyeing. Those habits cause hair breakage and increase porosity as a result because of cuticle damage.

Hair porosity types

As I mentioned, there are three types of porosity. Each porosity type has different features and ways to treat it because it affects how your hair will soak up moisture and retain it.

types of hair porosity
types of hair porosity

Low porosity 

The hair with this porosity type hardly absorbs moisture and hardly loses it unless you make bad habits like using heat because of cuticles’ hair formation, which overlaps closely.

This type’s main feature is its healthy, shiny look because of its ability to keep its hair moisture.

On the other side, you’ll feel some difficulty in moisturizing it and quickly get a build-up of protein and other heavy substances because the products, especially containing protein, will collect on the hair and repel moisture due to tightly packed cuticles. 

Medium porosity

People who have this hair porosity type are lucky. The cuticles in this porosity are not very close together and not too open, allowing the hair to absorb the suitable amount of moisture and retain it for a reasonable time. 

The good side about this porosity is that it has the positive things of the rest porosity types. However, it can be helpful to be careful because regularly using protein products in your routine leads to build-up problems unless you use them from time to time.

High porosity 

The cuticles of high hair porosity are too open and have gaps between them, so the hair sock up too much moisture easily but loses it quickly.

High porosity can be genetic or caused by bad curly hair habits so be careful about what you do in your hair routine. 

A Lot of care is needed in this porosity type; it quickly gets frizzy and messy, especially in humid weather, and hair tends to break easily. You have to know how much moisture your hair needs and how to lock it in your hair. 

How do you know the porosity of curly hair?

Although there are many porosity tests that you can perform to determine the type of porosity, there is no scientific evidence of its correctness. Still, there is a study about the gas sorption method, which is about hair features to determine hair porosity. But if you want to know your hair porosity by yourself, may some signs refer to your curly hair porosity.

Low porosity: when you wash your hair, it takes a long time, more than 2-3 minutes, to get wet and absorb water, and after washing may take five hours or even for the next day to get dry.

High porosity: unlike the previous porosity, water and moisturizing products sock up easily into the hair and don’t need a long time for your hair to air dry.

Medium porosity: this hair porosity doesn’t take too much time to get wet in a shower or dry after it. 

Note: Hair density plays a significant role in the amount of time it takes for the hair to dry or absorb water, the temperature of the air dryer or air plays a factor too, and products used.

Why is it important to know your curly hair porosity?

Knowing your hair porosity cuts a lot of time searching for suitable products for your hair. And saving money that you spend on wrong products, right products which work with your friend, doesn’t mean it’ll suit your hair even if you have the same hair type because the hair porosity is more important here.

Let us look at some tips that can help you pick the right products according to your curly hair porosity.

Low porosity: avoid using products that contain protein because it’ll build up on the hair, weigh it down and get greasy.

It’s better to use products that have humectant ingredients like glycerin and honey. If you want to use a hair mask for deep conditioning, it should be free-protein, and you should cover your head with a heat shower cap to let the cuticle a little bit open and allow the mask to get into the hair; in general, you should focus on liquid-based products. 

High porosity: this porosity needs a particular routine; avoid heat tools and protect your hair before swimming or if you go out on a sunny day. The most suitable products for this porosity contain protein and use anti-humectants. Also, it’s better to use leave-in to moisturize your hair and seal the moisture in your hair, or you can try the LOC method to retain moisture into your hair for a long time.

Medium porosity: you can use products containing protein from time to time when you feel that your hair needs it, but avoid using it constantly. In general, use moisture and protein products equally depending on your hair needs.

Myths about curly hair porosity 

Like everything in the hair world, there are many common porosity myths. We have to stop believing them to avoid the bad hair effect because of those myths.

Your hair porosity won’t change: despite the hair porosity being genetic, it’ll be affected by some bad habits (heat, harsh ingredients, overwashing, etc.), which can lead to increased hair porosity.

Low porosity is the best porosity: it is the least porous, which tends to breakage, but if you treat it wrong, it won’t be the same.

There are positive and negative sides to each porosities kind. The main rule you should follow is to treat your hair the right way that suits its porosity and type. 


You should love the nature of your curly hair so you can understand how to meet its needs adequately. Porosity is one of the key points to reach a routine that suits your curly hair. Besides knowing your curly hair porosity, you have to learn more about your scalp and hair type to be ready to start your journey.

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