How to Determine Your Hair’s Porosity & What It Means

If you have heard the term “hair porosity” recently and been baffled - don’t worry, you’re not alone! There are lots of different terms and categories to describe hair health, texture and type.

We get it - it can be overwhelming! This week, we’re going to be breaking down another (possibly) daunting hair care term – porosity.

The term “hair porosity” refers to the general ability of your strands to absorb and retain moisture. There are 3 different types of hair porosity levels: low, mediumand high.

We will go over exactly what each of those means for your hair, teach you how to figure out your hair’s porosity level, and most importantly provide some crucial tips and tricks for each porosity type.

Square One

Let’s start from square one – what does porosity mean? Hair porosity refers to your hair’s natural ability to absorb moisture and product.

We’ve created a simple assessment that can help you to determine your hair’s porosity level and give a bit of background as to what exactly that means.

If you’d like to take a hands-on approach, there are a few quick tests that you can conduct yourself to determine the porosity level of your hair.

The Strand Test

Take a single strand of your hair in fingers. Starting from the bottom, run your fingers upwards to the root of the strand.

What do you feel?

What It Means:

If the strand feels rough, bumpy or breaks - your hair has a high level of porosity.

If the strand feels smooth – your hair has a medium level of porosity.

If the strand slides easily and feels dense or hard in your fingertips – your hair has a low level of porosity.

Want a second opinion? Try this quick test, too!

The Float Test

After brushing or running fingers through your hair, remove a single strand. Fill a bowl or cup with room-temperature water and place the strand inside.

What It Means:

If the strand sinks quickly to the bottom – your hair has a high level of porosity.

If the strand sinks slowly to the bottom – your hair has a medium level of porosity.

If the strand floats – your hair has a low level of porosity.

What does my hair porosity mean?

Now that you’ve figured out what your hair’s porosity level is, let’s dive into what exactly that means and how the porosity level of your hair can change over time.

High Porosity

High porosity hair has difficulty retaining moisture. It tends to be a bit more damaged as a result of UV exposure, heat styling, and chemical or bleach processing.

Over time, this results in the hair cuticles being permanently stuck in the “open” position, making it easy for moisture to soak in, but just as easy for it to escape from the open cuticles.

Highly porous hair typically air-dries quickly, is prone to excess frizz, and feels a bit drier on the ends.

Tips for Hair with a High Porosity Level

Moisture is key! Use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner that aims to provide deep hydration to your strands. Additionally, use a deep conditioning treatment 1-2 times weekly to give your hair that extra hug of moisture that it needs.

When washing and rinsing your hair, try to use lukewarm or cold water. This encourages the cuticle to close and retain more water for a smoother feel.

After applying styling or leave-in product on your clean hair, use cuticle-sealing products.

A great example of this is the RevAir Reverse Air Dryer, which uses low heat and air flowing in the natural direction of the cuticle to dry and smooth the hair – while tension lays the cuticle down flat in the “closed” position.

Apply a moisturizing leave-in primer before Rev'ing your hair to help the ingredients do their job and be locked in under the smoothed cuticle. One of the best tips for your hair’s health- cut down on UV and heat exposure.

Wear a hat when you’re lying on the beach or running around on sunny days, and opt for heat-free or low-heat styling options instead of styling with heat-intensive tools daily.

Check out some protective styling and braiding tips that we posted a few weeks ago!

Medium Porosity

Medium porosity hair has little to no difficulty absorbing or retaining moisture. It tends to be relatively healthy with minimal exposure to damage from UV, chemical or heat processing.

Fun Fact: Hair starts out with a medium or low porosity level and gradually becomes more porous as damage occurs.

The best thing you can do for your strands is to have a beneficial hair regimen that focuses on hydration and low-heat styling to keep hair at a medium to low porosity level.

Tips for Hair with A Medium Porosity Level

Wash your hair regularly to keep it clean and build-up free. Since excess buildup and deep hydration aren’t a large concern for this porosity, focus on choosing products made for your hair type.

Want to learn more?

Check out our blog How Well Do You Know Your Hair Type.

Keep it healthy! The focus is on keeping your hair at this healthy, average porosity level! Stay away from excess chemical and heat styling to preserve your strands.

Try styling your hair with no or low heat alternatives, like swapping your hair dryer for a RevAir Reverse Air Dryer, or rocking your natural texture!

Whew- that was another long one! Hopefully, you now have a better grasp on just what exactly hair porosity levels are, and what they mean for you.

Each week we will be back with another blog focusing on hair health and education – because we get how important it is.

Regardless of your hair’s porosity level, the RevAir helps to cut down on heat exposure and lay your cuticles down smoothly – all while infusing moisture and your favorite product right into your strands.

If you’d like to talk more about keeping your hair healthy, or have questions about the RevAir – don’t hesitate to contact us!

Our team of educated advisors are here to chat!