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Hair Porosity, What You Need To Know About Natural Hair

Hair porosity is simply hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture. There is high, low and normal and all three have specific needs.

Black women are becoming more involved and knowledgeable about what our hair needs and that includes hair texture. What we put into our hair and the terms we hear daily can be hard to figure out.  One term in particular is porosity or hair porosity.  Hair porosity is simply hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. There is high, low and normal and all three call for very different hair care and products. 

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Coming up with a regimen that caters to your hair’s needs is a very important part of your natural hair journey. When it comes down to which products you should try, knowing your hair type and the porosity allows for better haircare. These factors will help you better understand which products will work best with your hair and which products you should probably stay away from.

Hair porosity is simply hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture. There is high, low and normal and all three have specific needs.

Before buying any product, you will need to determine the porosity of your hair. This will not only help you understand which types of products will work best with your hair, but it will also give you an idea of what type of regimen you need to

(Here is a popular test to determine your hair’s porosity but I found out simply seeing how my hair acted when I was in the shower and what it needed to stay moisturized. I have high porosity hair.) 

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Low porosity hair is defined as having cuticles that are tightly closed and is protein sensitive. The cuticles are compact, which doesn’t allow moisture to escape as quickly, but it also doesn’t allow much moisture in, either. It’s typically very dry in nature, no matter how much you try to moisturize it and cannot fully accept moisture unless the cuticles have been lifted.

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Medium Porosity hair is healthy, containing cuticles that lift when prompted to accept moisture into the shaft, and seals shut in order to lock moisture in.

High Porosity hair is damaged, containing gaps and holes in the cuticles. Some are more prone to having high porosity hair even if they are not damaging their hair. Since the cuticles do not shut, you’ll find that it allows a lot of moisture in, but it also lets a lot of moisture out.  If you have heat damage or have had any type of chemical treatment without properly caring for your hair afterward, your hair could very well be high porosity.

Hair porosity is simply hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture. There is high, low and normal and all three have specific needs.

Products to Use Based on Your Hair Porosity

Low porosity hair requires products that will impart a good deal of moisture to the hair. Stick to products that contain humectants (honey, aloe vera juice, etc.) and emollients (oils, butters, etc.). Light, water-based products are your best bet, as well as light oils such as grapeseed or almond oil. When conditioning low porosity hair, it is best to sit under the dryer so that the heat will encourage the cuticles to lift, gaining more penetration of the product.

Also, make sure to not overdo with products that contain protein, as this will cause your hair to become hard and dry. Low porous hair will not need as much protein as other porosity types.

Shampoo / Clarify:  

Kinky Curly Come Clean Moisturizing Shampoo 

Bentonite Clay

SheaMoisture Low Porosity Protein-Free Shampoo


Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner

SheaMoisture Low Porosity Protein-Free Conditioner


Carol’s Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey Shine Pomade For Dry Hair and Textured Hair

Cantu Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream

SheaMoisture Coconut and Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie


Grapeseed Oil

Argan Oil

Almond Oil

Medium porosity hair can pretty much use any products that aren’t damaging in nature. Use products that are water-based and contain proteins and emollients. Of course, too much of anything will be bad, so try to maintain a healthy balance between moisture and protein. Since this hair type’s cuticles don’t close tightly, you will need to seal moisture in with an oil or butter.


ORS Olive Oil Creamy Aloe Shampoo

Bentonite Clay


SheaMoisture Coconut and Hibiscus Curl & Shine Conditioner

Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner

SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque


Miss Jessie’s Leave In Condish
SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-In
Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-In


Jojoba Oil
Argan Oil
Shea Butter

High porosity hair needs products will both protein and moisturizing properties. Since the cuticle is damaged, this hair will need reconstructing masques and a great deal of TLC. Generally speaking, you cannot rebuild the structure of the cuticle after it has been damaged, but you can use products that will fill those gaps in as your hair grows out.

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You will also want to adapt the L.O.C. / L.C.O (leave-in, oil,
cream) method, in order to lock moisture into your hair. This method of product
layering will nourish and moisturize your locks, while ensuring that that
moisture does not escape.


Elasta QP Creme Conditioning Shampoo
Design Essentials Oat Protein Henna Deep Cleansing Shampoo  (fave)
SheaMoisture Mongongo & Hemp Seed Oils High Porosity Moisture-Seal Shampoo


SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-In
Kinky Curly Knot Today (fave)
Mop Top Deep Conditioner


Eden BodyWorks Jojoba Monoi All Natural Hair Milk

SheaMoisture Coconut and Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie

OYIN Handmade Hair Dew (fave)


Jamaican Black Castor Oil
Avocado Oil
Rice Bran Oil

I know this may seem like a lot of information being thrown your way but the take away is that hair porosity will affect your hair and it needs to be considered when looking for hair products. Also know THIS IS JUST A GUIDE and if something does not work simply try something else. It took me years to find my Holy Grail and trial and error will help you find what works best for you too. Reason being: climate, age, geographical locale, hormones, health and what you are doing to your hair will all factor into the ideal products for your hair. 

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Listen to your hair, watch how it acts in each season and see how it fares with different products. That will always be your best guide for product selections when you factor in your hair’s porosity.

What hair porosity hair type are you? 





  1. September 20, 2020 / 1:27 am

    ead your article. it has helped me a lot to understand the porosity of my hair.Your work is good keep it up as well !I have a question? if i use coconut oil on my hair. so Will it be into absorbed my hair.My hair type is low porosity hair.

  2. September 22, 2020 / 1:46 am

    I read your article. It has helped me a lot to understand the porosity of my hair. your work is good keep it up as well! I have a question? If I use coconut oil on my hair. So will it be absorbed into my hair. My hair type is low porosity hair.

    • Sabrina
      September 22, 2020 / 12:18 pm

      Glad the article helped

  3. January 4, 2021 / 7:22 am

    Hi Sabrina, Thanks for sharing this great article for beginners. My hair structure is low porosity. Your great explanation helped me a lot. Keep writing.

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