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What Is Hair Porosity and How Does It Affect Your Hairstyle

#WaverWednesday: What Is Hair Porosity and How Does It Affect Your Hairstyle?

Posted by Michael James on

For the last few months, we covered what you need to build and maintain a foundation for 360 waves. We also took the time to break down the three types of hair brushes and the roles they’ll play in your wave journey. This week, we’re going to get a bit more technical and discuss something that a lot of guys don’t take into account when it comes to styling their hair: hair porosity. But what is it and how does it affect your hairstyle?

What’s Hair porosity?

There are endless resources on the Internet that talk about hair porosity, but in short, hair porosity is basically a measure of how easily liquid passes through your hair. As you can guess, this can have a major effect on how your hair holds product, which will of course affect how you style your look.

Usually, there are three levels to hair porosity (low, medium/normal, high) but to keep things simple we’ll focus more on the opposite ends of the spectrum with high and low porosity.

How to determine your hair porosity

What Is Hair Porosity and How Does It Affect Your Hairstyle

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The process is pretty simple. There are a few testing methods but I preferred the 'float test'. Just take a small bowl of water and few clean strands of your hair. Drop the strands of hair in the bowl of water. If your hair starts to sink within the first 5-10 seconds, chances are your hair is high porosity. If your hair doesn’t sink within that time frame, you likely have low porosity hair. After testing my own hair with this exercise, I found out that I have high porosity hair.


Tip for High-Porosity Wavers

When using water-based products in your hair, allow the product to set in your hair first before brushing. Once you start your brushing session, you’ll be able to feel the product still in your hair and it won’t dry out once your hair fully absorbs it. That’s a great way to keep your style pliable.

What Is Hair Porosity and How Does It Affect Your Hairstyle

Tip for Low-Porosity Wavers

When using water-based products on your hair, you can still allow the product to set, but it will take slightly longer for your hair to absorb it. I recommend brushing with a soft brush to work the product in. This will help your hair absorb the product a bit better.

Both hair types have their benefits and drawbacks, but understanding your hair porosity will save you time in trial and error and help you focus in on what works best for your hair.

Thanks for stopping by! Next week we’ll talk about compression and how to approach it properly. Show us your progress by posting a picture on Instagram using the hashtag #WaverWednesday.


Kado is the founder of Elite Spins, a digital community for wavers to share product reviews, methods, and tips. Connect with him personally on Instagram and follow the Elite Spins page. 

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