The Porosity Test: How To Find Out Your Porosity Status And What To Do About It

African American woman holding a glass of waterI am a strainer, at least I used to be. In practical terms that meant that I would add tons of moisture to my hair just for it to leave my strands with the same speed that it was applied. It was as if moisture was allergic to my hair!

Scientifically that meant that the cuticle layers of my hair had pores, holes and gaps in them virtually rendering my hair weak and prone to breakage.

Porosity determines your hair’s ability to absorb moisture and knowing where on the porosity scale your hair falls makes all the difference in how you tailor your healthy hair regimen.

Here is the bad news, if you have naturally curly hair or relaxed hair, your hair is generally considered porous. For the curly girls, the very structure of your hair, the bends, the twists and turns do not allow for a smooth surface so some of the cuticle layers are naturally raised up because they cannot physically all lie flat.

For our relaxed ladies, chemical relaxers essentially raise the cuticle layers so that the chemicals can be deposited to the hair to break the bonds thereby making it straight. In so doing, there is generally a loss of protein (as some cuticles chip off) leaving the hair more porous than before.

The good news is, we can help our situation by focusing on hair porosity treatments but one of the first steps is conducting a simple water glass test.

The Test

The porosity test has been around for years, the main premise is to see how water flows through your hair strand to determine just how many pores or holes your hair has in its surface.

Let me start by saying that there really isn’t much scientific backing for this test but like with many things, the practical application and results is what matters most. To conduct the test, all you need is a bowl or glass of water and a few strands of your hair.

About Petra

Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.


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  • Claire

    Hello, I’m new to the world of hair care, decided to start my hair journey. I did the porosity test but I’m confused as my strands sank then floated a minute after does this mean I’m high porosity or low?


    Due to the fact that the majority of African-Americans have multi DNA we have so many different types of hair in our heads we go from non poros to high porosity on one head of hair so the treatment can be tricky. The best thing that I have learned the more natural and milder the ingredients in the product the better. To harsh is too bad. I have been natural for over 45 years and love it! At sixty will a full head of hair no bald spots!

  • Hello. When I did the test my hair was in and out the water,but it stayed mostly flowing on top. What is my hair Porosity?