Hair Porosity: Is My Hair Healthy?

February 21, 2014 | LOVE EMBRACE INSPIRE  | by Denise Zakiya of

In a few months, I will be celebrating my one year Natural Hair anniversary! It has been an incredible journey and I have learned a lot about my hair, products and proper maintenance. But, there's so much to learn! In fact, the other day one of my YouTube subscribers asked me a question that I couldn't answer, because I didn't know what she was talking about. She asked, "Do you have low porosity hair?" I've never heard of porosity, so of course I decided to Google it.

According to, "Porosity refers to how well your hair is able to absorb and hold moisture. It is affected by the flexible outer hair layer called the cuticle, which determines how easily moisture and oils pass in and out of your hair. For most, porosity is genetic, but it can also be affected by external factors such as exposure, heat treatments and chemical processing. Knowing your hair's porosity can help you choose the right products to keep your hair well-moisturized, supple, strong and shiny." After reading that definition, I still had no idea whether my hair porosity was low or high. So, I decided to do "The Float Test" which is very simple.

How to Conduct a Float Test

  1. Fill up a small bowl or cup with water
  2. Remove a 3-5 strands of hair from your comb or brush and place them into the bowl of water
  3. After 2-4 minutes, if your hair floats, you have low porosity. If your hair sinks, you have high porosity. 

Based on the test, my hair floated and then sank like rock which meant that I have high porosity. As I mentioned before, I am still learning and apparently, I need to change my hair routine, real quick!

High porosity hair can result from over manipulation, environmental damage and even chemical processing. Since this type of hair has a very rough cuticle layer, too much moisture gets into the hair which leads to frizz and multiple sessions of detangling. In order to treat high porosity hair, it's helpful to use anti-humectants to seal the damaged cuticles, have weekly deep conditioning and aloe vera treatments and apply coconut oil throughout the hair.

Low porosity hair is considered very healthy and looks shiny. But this type of hair can be prone to build-up due to protein deep conditioner. If you have this type of porosity, nourish your hair with daily protein-free conditioners with humectants. Also, try Shea butter and natural oils such as coconut or jojoba oil.

Now that I know that I have high porosity hair, I will continue the weekly deep conditioning and Aloe Vera treatments. In addition, I will start looking from anti-humectants to seal my hair along with thick butters like Shea butter to make my hair healthy!

Which type of hair porosity do you have and what changes do you need to make to promote healthier hair?

Denise Zakiya 

Denise Zakiya is a Natural Hair and Health & Wellness blogger and vlogger. She holds a Master's in Public Health, is a wellness coach and enjoys long distance running.

YouTube, IG, Facebook, Twitter: DeniseZakiya


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