Hair porosity explained

Posted by Ana Eliza Montilla on

At Verb, we talk about moisture and hydration constantly when it comes to healthy hair, but there are a lot of misconceptions about what your hair actually needs. The struggle is real to find the perfect routine for your hair and understanding hair porosity is a great place to start. By getting to know the strands on your head, you can start to identify the exact products that will interact with your hair most effectively.

If you aren’t familiar with hair porosity, we’ll explain what it is along with a hair porosity test to determine if you have low, medium, or high porosity hair.

What is hair porosity? 

Simply put, hair porosity is how easily your hair strands can absorb and retain moisture. This is largely dependent on how open or closed each hair strand’s cuticle is. A more open cuticle enables moisture to easily pass in and out of your hair. On the other hand, strands with a cuticle that is more closed will not absorb moisture as easily, but will be able to better retain the moisture that is absorbed. Hair porosity is typically genetic, but can be affected by other factors such as heat and chemical exposure from tools and treatments.

What is low, medium and high porosity hair?

In general, hair porosity is split into three categories:

  • Low porosity hair strands are tightly wound and compact, making it difficult for moisture to penetrate it which is why the hair may appear dry. Additionally, it's hard for moisture that is absorbed to leave, which can lead to product build-up over time. However, low porosity hair is generally considered to be  really healthy, and is usually very shiny. Think under processed, uncolored hair where the cuticle hasn’t been damaged over time and is fully in-tact.
  • Medium porosity hair strands are what we are all striving for. A little roughed up, so that product penetrates the hair and holds styles but not damaged enough to need constant care. Medium porosity allows just the right amount of moisture to enter and leave, which makes it easy for this type of hair to have long lasting hold hours after styling.
  • High porosity hair is when the cuticle of the hair is fairly open, allowing moisture to easily enter and leave. It may sound like getting constant hydration into the hair is good, but letting too much moisture in leaves your hair vulnerable to frizz, tangling, and even breakage. High porosity hair tends to have gaps in between cuticle layers, which lets more moisture come in than you hair can handle, and this type of hair also isn’t able to retain moisture for long which means your hair can dry out quickly if you aren’t using the right products.

Hair porosity test

hair porosity test

Don’t worry -- no microscope is needed to quickly diagnose your hair porosity. To find signs of low, medium or high porosity hair, simply fill a glass of water and drop a loose, single (clean!) strand into the water. Low porosity hair floats, medium porosity hair lands somewhere in the middle of the glass and high porosity hair can be found at the bottom of the glass. 

What low porosity hair products should you be using?

There are so many great low porosity hair products to choose from. For starters, make sure you are clarifying your hair every 4-6 washes with something like Verb Reset Clarifying Shampoo. This will help remove any build up that is common with low porosity hair. Styling products should be applied to damp hair as often as possible to be most effective. Deep conditioning is going to be important, but you will want to avoid protein heavy masks so stick with products like Verb Hydrating Mask or Verb Ghost Mask. Continued protection is also valuable, so using a leave-in moisturizer with UV protection like Verb Leave-In Mist and a heat protectant when styling, like Verb Ghost Prep are great ways to preserve the porosity of your hair.

reset clarifying shampoo

reset clarifying shampoo

designed to remove product
build-up for super shiny hair
and a balanced scalp



What medium porosity hair products should you be using?

With medium porosity hair, balance is everything. Masking is really important, and don’t be afraid of adding protein into the routine as long as you keep it at a spaced out cadence (every 4-6 washes). Verb Reset Repairing Mask is a great option for this. Make sure you are not using too much heat or over-processing your hair. Ensuring you are using a color-safe shampoo and conditioner will help keep your hair protected. Also, stick to a soft bristled detangling brush like Verb’s Detangling Brush to prevent additional breakage. 

treatment masks

treatment masks

deep conditioners to smooth,
nourish and hydrate your hair


What high porosity hair products should you be using?

When styling high porosity hair, there are strategies to make sure your hair is getting moisture and locking it in. Using intense conditioners and masks like Verb Hydrating Conditioner and Verb Reset Repairing Mask will help build protein back into the open cuticle. Layering products here is going to be key to start to building back the hair in order to help retain moisture. Products like Verb Leave-In Mist or Verb Reset Sealing Mist are great agents to seal the hair. These products will also help against frizz and humidity (unless frizz is your thing, embrace it!!).

reset repairing mask

reset repairing mask

formulated to nourish,
hydrate and restore
damaged, overworked hair



No matter your hair porosity, keep strands healthy and hydrated

Regardless of whether you have low, medium, or high porosity hair – there are steps you can take to retain just the right amount of moisture for healthy and hydrated strands. Using the right products is fundamental, so take a look at your routine and see if you should make changes.

Have more questions about hair porosity? DM us on Instagram @verbproducts and we’ll answer all your hair care concerns. 

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