Fake Hair Porosity Tests Exposed and the Real Way to Test

Does your hair dry up super fast after moisturizing? Most likely High Porosity.

Does your hair acquire buildup easily, has a hard time receiving moisture, but the moisture lasts for a long time once moisturized? Most likely Low Porosity.

Neither of these problems? Medium Porosity

Now, that is the real, fast and easy way to know what your hair porosity type is. There are tons of infographics being spread around and websites promoting a FAKE hair porosity test. The sink or float hair strand in water test is not the real way to determine porosity.

In fact, a few scientific resources have spoken out about this, yet this myth is still being peddled:

#1 Lorna Casse, Hair Care Consultant with a Master’s in Chemistry

Lorna did a breakdown about How the Hair Porosity Test is NOT Accurate. She provided 5 detailed reasons why this test is not legitimate.

#2 JC Blogger and UK Scientist at The Natural Haven Bloom

Exposed this hair porosity test myth years ago, yet it still continues to get pushed all over the internet.

She points out that in most cases, your hair will float:

This is because hair is generally covered in oil. This oil is naturally produced sebum and any extra that you may use in your hair care routine will have an added impact. Now oil will always float on water, so your hair floating does not mean that it has low porosity. 

You can tell that your hair is porous if it absorbs water quickly in the shower even when it has products on it, but then also dries up very fast. Based on this knowledge you should use products that can seal the moisture before the hair starts to dry completely. Low porosity is harder to tell. If your hair doesn’t soak in the shower very fast. It could be of low porosity or it could be so well coated with products such that they repel the water. Either way, low porosity means that the hair takes longer to absorb moisture but it also retains moisture for a longer time which in the end is not a bad thing.


#3 Sister Scientist a Cosmetic Scientist also debunked this in a video and explained how porosity works.

Hair porosity is your hair’s ability to retain moisture after absorbing water. Making porosity perhaps even more important than knowing your hair texture type. Good thing, you now know the real way to determine your hair porosity.

20 thoughts on “Fake Hair Porosity Tests Exposed and the Real Way to Test

  1. Thank You for this article!! I have tried the water test multiple times and my hair always floats but I’m pretty sure it is either High or Medium porosity based on other symptoms. (Gets wet fast, dries fairly quickly, I color my hair monthly….blasted grays!, etc, etc)

    1. My hair does not dry quick. Once it dried it is hard and brittle. I describe it as feeling like wool. What porosity hair do you think I have?

  2. My hair takes a long time to dry. Using a towel to soak up water, it stays damp after 5-6 hours covered with towel. I then let it air dry. I always believed I had low porosity hair and had the best success using rose water and glycerin resin for softness and shine. The float test indicated that I have 4C hair because the hair would float on top of the water for a long time. Is this indicative of low porosity?

      1. My hair air dries pretty quickly. It is NOT soft, & has a rough/dry texture. My hair is also prone to split ends/breakage even though I never use heat on it. What would you think my porosity is?

          1. My roots can get super oily but my ends are dry/rough looking. My hair isn’t smooth, bouncy, or shiny. Flat, even when I apply products.

  3. My hair frizzes easily is prone to breakage and split ends, but it doesn’t dry quickly and can often remain wet at the roots for a day or so if I air dry. Also if I hop in the shower the water kind of just sits on top of the hair. Any advice? When I did the float or sink test one strand sank quickly and then floated to the top about two mins later?!

  4. Thick, wavy hair, frizzes in humidity. Takes @ 3-4 hours to dry. Baby fine texture, but thick. I’m thinking low porosity, but not sure. And my PhD Chemist husband has NO idea!

  5. My hair gets wet easily and takes forever to dry. My hair gets tangled easily, and it breaks off when wet. What’s my hair porosity?

  6. I want to shine some light on a myths. Specifically, low porosity myths
    I had my hair Lab analyzed and one of the many things microscopically analyzed was my porosity level. Turns out, I have a head of low po hair.
    And Yet…YET…. my hair dries SUPER FAST.
    Why? It never ever absorbs water. It actually repells water; even when completely clarified. The water remains on top of the strand in little beads….and water sitting on top of a water-repelling surface dries quickly. Now, if/when porosity hair DOES absorb water then yes, it’ll dry slow. It is incorrect to believe only high po hair dries fast.
    I also see a lot of blogs describing only hi po hair being frizzy and tangled.
    Low po can, and often does, suffer from RELENTLESS frizz and tangles. Why? Because
    severely dehydrated hair becomes frizzy and tangled; and low po hair that hasn’t absorbed moisture is in fact- dehydrated.
    Bonus Myth- “protein treatments should be avoided with low po hair”. This is ABSOLUTELY FALSE. All hair is made up of protein….and all hair is capable of becoming protein deprived. And protein deprived hair needs -you guessed it- protien. AND THANK YOU FOR SPEAKING ON THE FALLACIES OF THE FLOAT TEST!

    1. thank you for sharing this information because i was so confused because my hair dries so quickly but also water sits on top of my hair and rolls off when i splash water on it so i was conflicted if my hair was low porosity or not

    2. thank you for clearing this up, this the answer i been looking for. i have short hair rn and i rinse with cold water and it tends to dry fairly quick. i’ve noticed that it takes longer when i rinse with warm water tho and i’m assuming that’s bc the warm water is opening my cuticles allowing more water in

  7. Hi.. my hair absorbs water just fine. my hair does not dry fast. It doesn’t absorb hydrating products to well. It has frizz i can’t get rid of. At first when I put leave in conditioners it looks like it absorbs but a few minutes later I check my hair and it looks dry. I can’t seem to find a product that my hair likes. My scalp get alot of buildup.
    What porosity I’m i?

  8. I once had in locks for a month and when I did take them out thinking that I would have gained a lot of growth. The opposite happened. My hair was stringy, whenever I washed it, it shed a lot, the ends were often knotting together. I assumed that I wasn’t able to get moisture into my hair properly and that’s why my end result was so damaging and now, I am still trying to identify the porosity of my hair and how to treating.

  9. When I’m wetting my hair, it looks soaked after a few minutes of wetting it, but then when I remove the water it starts to shrink up. I’m confused because then it takes me 4-5 hours for my hair to dry. Could this mean I have medium porosity?

  10. I am still confused with the porosity of my hair, my hair dry quickly and gets frizz and out of control easily with humid or hot whether but every-time i take water test it’s floats. I had to do straightening everytime i wash my hair to make it look frizz free.

  11. My hair drys fast nd is dry nd rough I have split ends nd breakage but my roots become greasy after a day nd my hair looks super shiny

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