The Highs and Lows of Porosity!

Hello My Lovely Sage Beauties,

Porosity and how it relates to the health and maintenance of your hair is a word that is often heard in the natural/curly hair community. Having a clear understanding of what porosity means and which category your hair fits into can help you take better care of your hair and scalp for longer, stronger curls. It will also help you save time and money when shopping for products. Not all curls are the same, and once you know what level of porosity you have you may need to update your hair care product regimen.


What is ‘Porosity’ and why does it matter to your natural/curly/textured hair?

The porosity of your hair determines how well your hair is able to absorb and hold onto moisture. It is affected by the flexible outer hair layer of the hair shaft, called the cuticle. Porosity, just like pore size, is genetic but it can also be affected negatively by external factors such as environmental stress, excessive heat styling, and chemical processing. Porosity is usually measured as being either low, high, or medium.

What is “HIGH” Porosity Hair?

Hi, My name is Lily and I have high porosity hair! High Porosity (HP) hair absorbs water easily, but it loses moisture quickly, meaning it is harder to keep high porosity hair moisturized! High porosity hair has gaps and holes in the cuticle, which results in unwanted frizz in humid weather. My hair loves water and absorbs water quickly but I struggle to keep my hair hydrated, and my hair responds best to rich yummy products with ingredients such as Shea Butter and Castor Oil. High Porosity hair also benefits from regular protein treatments. Check out my review of one of my favorite protein treatments here.

Because highly porous hair does not retain moisture easily, it’s important to regularly deep condition your hair and incorporate a protein treatment into your haircare routine. I also recommend layering your products, such as combining a moisturizing leave-in conditioner with a hydrating curl cream. You can read about my layering tips for more here.

Remember These Top Tips for High Porosity Hair

Layer your products! The LOC Method will help to seal in hydration.

Look for products with rich ingredients (Shea butter, Coconut Oil,)

To minimize unwanted damage and dryness, avoid excessive heat styling.

Alternate your deep conditioner with a protein treatment.


What is “LOW” Porosity Hair?

Hair with low porosity has a tightly bound cuticle layer with overlapping scales that lay flat. This type of hair has natural shine, but repels moisture when you try to wet it and is difficult to chemically process. Low Porosity hair is also prone to product build-up from very rich or emollient products. I would recommend using protein-free treatments, and lightweight daily conditioners that won’t weigh the hair down or create buildup. Humectants, which are ingredients that help to reduce the loss of moisture, such as Glycerin or Honey, will help Low Porosity Hair gain moisture without feeling too heavy. I recommend adding organic Honey to your favorite conditioner to put some moisture back in your life. Low Porosity Hair also benefits from using a moderate amount of heat with a protein-free deep conditioner to help open up the cuticle.

Remember These Top Tips for Low Porosity Hair

Alternate your regular shampoo with a clarifying shampoo.

Glycerin and Honey are your friends! (Humectants that will help your hair)

Avoid heavy styling products.

Use water-based moisturizers.


How do you determine which type of porosity your hair has?

The most popular test to determine where you fall on the spectrum of porosity is simple and quick. When I first heard of this test I questioned it’s validity but it works to give you an idea of how your hair reacts to water, and it confirmed my high porosity life.


The Easiest Test You Will Ever Take:

Take a strand of your own hair, from your brush, and place it in a glass of water.

High Porosity Hair will sink quickly to the bottom, therefore it readily absorbs water.

Low Porosity Hair will take a long time to sink to the bottom of the glass of water, if at all. In this case, the hair is clearly unable to absorb the water in the glass.

Now that you know how important understanding the level of your hair’s porosity, keep in mind, here are some options that address specific concerns based on porosity.


Shea Moisture Low Porosity Protein-Free Shampoo





Shea Moisture Mongogo & Hemp Seed Oils High Porosity Moisture Seal Mask

Hemp Seed Oil and Shea Butter infuse the hair with hydration and help to repair damage and improve the elasticity and health of High Porosity hair. It also contains Irish Moss which helps to add shine.




If you have a favorite product, whether it’s for Low or High Porosity, be sure to leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram! (@sagebeautyblog).

With Love and Joy,

Lily Sage

  One thought on “The Highs and Lows of Porosity!

  1. September 25, 2020 at 11:28 PM

    I have had hair problems for a long time. I searched a lot but could not find any satisfactory information. But you have done a great job in this article.i really appreciate you. keep it up!

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