How to work with your hair’s porosity: determining your porosity

In my last post, I defined what hair porosity is. Please click HERE to read it. You should know your hair porosity because it will really help you understand how to take better care of your hair. What works for high porosity hair will probably not work for low porosity and vice versa.

Today’s topic will center on determining your hair porosity.

Hair porosity can be genetic or acquired.

Genetic: This means that you might be born with low, normal or high porosity hair. It doesn’t matter if you have thick or fine hair strands. Fine hair strands could be low porosity and thick hair strands,  on the other hand, could also be high porosity. 

Acquired: Chemical damage, mechanical damage (e.g excessive brushing), heat damage, etc. might cause changes in your hair porosity.

If your hair is not chemically treated (dyes or relaxers), it is possible your hair is low porosity. This does not mean that people with relaxed hair cannot have low porosity hair though.


1. Strand smoothness test. 

The most basic way is to take a hair strand and run your fingers up the shaft (from the tip to the root). If it feels rough, it is likely you have high porosity hair. On the other hand, if it feels smooth, it is most likely that you have normal to low porosity hair.

2. The float/sink test. 

After thoroughly cleansing your hair (using any method of your choice) and before adding any product, take any of your clean shed hair strands and put them in a glass of room temperature water. Watch what happens over the next 4 minutes to see if the strands float or sink. If the strands sink immediately, then your hair is probably high porosity. If it sinks gradually over the next 4 minutes, then your hair is probably normal porosity. If it stays floating when the time is up, then it is quite likely that your hair is low porosity. It is best to use clean hair because if you use hair that has product on it, it might not sink even though your hair is high porosity.

3. How long it takes for your hair to dry. 

Wash your hair and towel dry it to remove the excess water. Don’t leave the towel for longer than 5 minutes. Add no oils or products afterward and note how long it takes for your hair to air dry. Don’t do any braids or twists. Open up your hair if you know what I mean. If it takes less than 2 hours, then it is likely you have high porosity hair. Normal porosity hair would dry in approximately  3 – 6 hours. Low porosity hair will take longer than 7 – 8 hours to dry or even the whole day.

Take note: I think that although the time it takes your hair to dry is largely dependent on porosity, the thickness of your strands and hair density can also play a significant role. 

Have you ever checked your hair porosity? Do you think it’s high, low or normal? I’ve never really checked mine before but I’m going to do that on my next wash day and give you an update. 

I’ll be continuing this series soon with how to manage low porosity hair. 

Read more:

Hair Porosity: The Float Test Part Two (The Science-y Hair Blog)

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About the author
Dr Fomsky

Nigerian-born Dr Fomsky is a God-lover, a wife, a mom of three, a medical doctor by day. Plus she owns a Nigerian-based online hair product store called Sizzelle.
Dr Fomsky is very passionate about hair, skin and weight management. Since she's had her babies, she's been struggling to keep her weight and her tummy down!
At night, she likes to read books, write blog posts and leave comments on other blogs. She lives in Alberta, Canada and is also the author of Solving your relaxed hair breakage book .
LAST RELAXER DAY: December 15th, 2016
BIG CHOP: January 14th, 2017
Natural Hair, Unknown Porosity, Fine Hair strands, Low to Moderate Density

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2 Comments to How to work with your hair’s porosity: determining your porosity

  1. I’ve never been a fan of the float test. It didn’t seem right to base you hair porosity on one strand. It’s good to know there are other tests.

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