How To Test Your Hair Porosity And Why You Should

For us Bossy Beauty’s there is nothing better than having a great hair day and maybe you are reading this and having one of your best hair days or maybe you are having one of those “that’s it, I am chopping it all off!” kind of hair days. Before you do something drastic, take a deep breath and let me help by educating you on something that you may not be aware of and may change your entire outlook about your hair and why it acts the way it does.

The way our hair absorbs moisture has a lot to do with how it responds to elements like weather, blow drying and the types of products we use. Hair porosity refers to how well your hair is able to absorb and hold moisture.

Depending on the condition of your hair, your cuticle layers could be very open allowing a lot of moisture in. On the opposite side of the spectrum, your hair’s cuticle layers could be very tight, preventing moisture to penetrate it.

High porosity means your hair is very porous allowing a lot of moisture in, low porosity, on the other hand, means that your hair is less porous and is resistant to moisture. High porosity can be either genetic or the result of damage from chemical processing, rough treatment or environmental damage.

Knowing your hair’s porosity can greatly help you better understand your hair, how to properly care for it and how to choose the right products to keep your hair well-moisturized, strong and shiny leaving you less frustrated and likely to do something drastic!

So let’s recap before we dive into how to test your hair’s porosity:

Hair With Low Porosity:
• Cuticles are closed keeping moisture from entering easily and resistant to moisture
• Products tend to sit on your hair instead of absorbing
• Will not absorb hair color or treatments easily
• Water beads up on the hair
• Hair takes longer to dry
• Hair may look healthy but it doesn’t have much elasticity or volume

Hair With High Porosity:
• Absorbs too much moisture, but is unable to retain it
• Will look and feel dull/dry
• Can be a sign of damage and over processed with torn cuticles
• Hair tangles easily due to cuticles getting caught on each other
• Hair dries quickly
• Hair tends to be frizzy

Porosity Test

Now for the fun part! You can easily test the porosity of your hair with a simple Float Test:

Take a couple of strands of hair (clean preferred) from your comb or brush and drop them into a glass of water. Let them sit for 2-4 minutes. If your hair floats, you have low porosity. If it sinks, you have high porosity. It’s that simple!

So what does all this mean?

If your hair strands stayed afloat and you have low porosity it means your hair is typically resistant to moisture. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you have unhealthy hair, it just helps you better understand that you need to help your hair retain more moisture. Try using lighter hair products and heat can be your best friend. Wash and condition your hair with a good hair care system.

If you hair strands sunk in of water your hair is highly porous. It absorbs moisture easily and you most likely experience frequent frizzing. Highly porous hair requires a little more tender love and care, but it’s nothing a high-quality hair regimen can’t handle! Porous hair needs protein to fill in the gaps.

So now that you better understand your hair and why it looks and feels the way that it does, you can make a more educated decision about the products you are using and if they are the right ones.

Low Porosity Hair
Hair with low porosity has a tightly bound cuticle layer with overlapping scales (much like ties on a roof that lay flat and protect the inner shaft. Low porosity hair repels moisture when you try to wet and it is also prone to build-up from oil-based conditioning products, which can leave it feeling stiff and straw-like.

My Recommendation: A Volume Treatment System
Like the MONAT Volume System to help your hair attract and hold moisture without the sticky build-up and increase density, manageability and shine. This is the system I first started using because my hair was very flat and I needed the lift.

If You Have High Porosity Hair
High porosity hair has gaps and holes in the cuticle, which let too much moisture into your hair and leave it prone to frizz and tangling. Even simple acts such as bathing, swimming and shampooing can create more damage and breakage due to the amount of moisture highly porous hair can absorb.

My Recommendation: A Hydration Treatment System
Because highly porous hair can also lose moisture easily, the MONAT Hydration System will help seal your damaged cuticles and prevent them from absorbing excess moisture in the air and the leave-in conditioner helps to seal and moisturize.

My Personal Results

After two kids and turning 50, my hair up and died. Literally. I had tried so many products and wasted hundreds if not thousands of dollars on products that made little to no difference. I have been using Monat for over 2 years and the results I get from the products never cease to amaze me. I am 54 and my hair looks healthier than it did in my 30s. A true testament to knowing the porosity of my hair and how to use the right products to care for it.

Take the simple hair porosity test today and be empowered to choose products that will properly care for your hair!

*Results vary. Some individuals may have a combination of low and high porosity with the strand floating part on top and part on the bottom. These individuals will benefit from either System depending on their individual preference.


I am Terri Willingham, a free-spirited entrepreneur who enjoys the country life on a Texas ranch with my husband and amazing two boys.

I am grounded in my faith and family and I have a deep passion for spreading joy and empowering other women through my Bossy Beauty community to embrace and believe in their own inner free spirit. I believe women should own and stay true to their authenticity.

Follow me on Facebook to join the daily conversations going on in my community around faith, mom life and all things beauty. To learn more about starting your own home-based business, click HERE.

If you take anything away from the time you spent here it's to know that you are beautiful, loved and valued just the way you are! Keep believing in yourself and letting your light shine!

Terri Willingham