Everyone in the Natural Hair Community is talking about porosity…but what does it all mean?

According to the Pivot Point Salon Fundamentals Cosmetology Text Book “porosity is the hair’s ability to absorb moisture, liquids or chemicals.”

So if hair is showing signs of low porosity it usually means that your cuticle has a hard time lifting so that your hair is able to absorb products. But what if I told you that there are a number of people with hair that resembles low porosity but they really aren’t….


There are a number of women who’s hair show’s signs of the inability to absorb products and it’s all because they simply have not throughly cleansed their hair. That’s right…hair that has not been properly cleansed with a shampoo containing surfactants is likely to collect tons of buildup which leads to the hair not being able to accept/absorb product.

What is the cause of this build-up? Build-up on the hair comes from the use of heavy oils and butters, hard water and using using products made up of silicones that are not water soluble. When the hair is not throughly cleansed the cuticle is unable to lift and the hair isn’t able to get hydration/moisture it needs from water.

So what’s the best way to determine your hair’s porosity?

First thing’s first…EVERY Natural needs to buy herself a clarifying shampoo. Clarifying shampoos contain strong surfactants that are able to remove dirt, oil and build-up. Now if you’ve been using lots of heavy oils (like coconut or castor) and butters (specifically shea butter) it may take several shampoo sessions to get all that gunk out of your hair. Kinky Curly Come Clean (KCCC) is a favorite amongst many whom have participated in the 30dayhairdetox in removing dirt, oil and build up.

As a cosmetology student I’ve seen a number of clients who use oils in their haircare regimen and let me tell you there are times when that oil is super difficult to cleanse from the hair. With that said it’s very important to note that there is a chance that not all of the build-up will be totally removed on the very 1st clarifying session.

Determining porosity is not that big of a deal. After being clarified does the hair absorb water? Does it dry fast? Does it do different things in different areas. Are some areas more resistant to product than others? These factors can tell you much about your porosity.