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What is Hair Porosity and Why Does it Matter?

As one navigates the complex world of hair care, you may find yourself asking: What is hair porosity? Why is it important? Rossano Ferretti Parma is dedicated to providing deep insights and guidance on this vital aspect of hair health. Understanding hair porosity will revolutionise the way you care for your crowning glory.


What is hair porosity?

Hair porosity is the measure of your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. This is largely determined by the condition of the hair’s outer layer, also known as the cuticle. When the cuticle layers are tightly packed together, your hair has low porosity. If these layers are lifted or separated, your hair possesses high porosity.

Hair with low porosity has a more challenging time allowing moisture and oils in, but once absorbed, it retains this moisture quite well. On the other hand, high porosity hair absorbs moisture and oils easily but struggles to keep them locked in. This crucial difference plays a significant role in determining the products and care routines best suited for your hair.


What are the different types of hair porosity?

Hair porosity is typically classified into three types: low, normal, and high.

Low porosity hair has tightly bound cuticle layers, causing the strands to repel water. It can take a while for this hair type to become thoroughly wet. It also struggles with absorbing hair products, which often sit on the hair’s surface instead of penetrating it. However, when moisturised, low porosity hair retains this moisture for a longer period.

High porosity hair, conversely, has raised or damaged cuticles allowing moisture to be absorbed quickly. However, it also loses this moisture with equal rapidity, leading to consistent dryness or frizziness. High porosity can be due to genetics or can be a result of harsh chemical treatments, heat styling, or environmental damage.


Image depicting the various types of hair porosity: low, normal, and high.


How to Test Your Hair’s Porosity?

Testing your hair porosity is surprisingly straightforward and can be done at home with the ‘float test’. Simply take a few strands of your clean hair and place them in a bowl of water. Watch the hair for a couple of minutes – if it sinks, your hair has high porosity. If it floats, your hair has low porosity.

Another method is the ‘slide test’. Slide your fingers up a strand of hair, moving from the end towards the root. If the strand feels smooth, you likely have low porosity hair. If it feels bumpy or has a certain grit to it, your hair is probably of high porosity.


Image showing whether your hair floats in a glass or not, depending on the hair porosity.


Choosing Products According to Your Hair Porosity

Recognising your hair’s porosity allows for an informed approach towards hair care.

For low porosity hair, it’s essential to use heat-activated treatments or lighter, water-based products that can penetrate the hair cuticle. Deep conditioning with heat can also significantly aid moisture absorption. We recommend our Vita Rejuvenating Hair Mask, ideal for fragile, thin or ageing hair. This product is designed to deeply penetrate and gently hydrate your hair strands, boosting their moisture retention capacity.

A professional tip from Hair Artists: Steer clear of heavy oils and butters. Lightweight, liquid-based formulas are more readily absorbed by low porosity hair so it doesn’t fall flat or feel oily. The Vita Mask is a great option for thirsty, low porosity hair types that can’t take thick formulas. For application, consider a gentle heat source, such as a warm towel wrap, to aid in the absorption of the mask.


Image of Rossano Ferretti Parma's Vita rejuvenating mask.


High porosity hair, on the other hand, benefits greatly from protein treatments, leave-in conditioners, and oils like coconut and shea butter that help fill in the gaps in the cuticle, lock in the moisture, and reduce further damage.

If you have high porosity hair, our Prodigio Regenerating Treatment is an excellent choice. It is an award-winning pre-wash mask, that features a nourishing blend of shea butter and various oils including, macadamia, corn, and amaranth oil. These ingredients help to seal the cuticles and lock in moisture while providing essential nutrients. We also recommend our Vivace Leave In Conditioner, formulated with plant proteins to hydrate and restore hair health, further preventing moisture loss.


Image of Rossano Ferretti Parma's Prodigio regenerating treatment and Vivace leave-in conditioner.


Let your hair shine with moisture

At Rossano Ferretti, we aim to provide the best, most targeted solutions for every hair type and condition. All our products are enriched with the power of nature, containing Certified Organic Botanicals and driven by advanced hair science, aided by skincare technology, to help you achieve the best version of your hair, no matter its porosity level.