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Medium Porosity Hair Guide

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

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Medium porosity hair may not always be in the spotlight, but its significance in hair care should not be overlooked. Situated between high and low porosity levels, medium porosity hair possesses its own unique characteristics and demands specific attention to maintain its health and vitality.

Medium porosity hair falls in the middle range of porosity levels, neither excessively porous nor resistant to moisture absorption. It strikes a balance between absorbing and retaining moisture, making it more manageable than high-porosity hair yet less resistant than low-porosity strands.

To delve deeper into this topic, I’ve enlisted the expertise of my friend, a seasoned cosmetic formulator with a PhD in chemistry. Together, we’ll navigate the intricacies of medium porosity hair, from identification and causes to effective care strategies, ensuring your locks receive the tailored attention they deserve. So, grab your notepad, settle in, and let’s embark on a journey to master the art of caring for medium porosity hair!

Understanding Hair Porosity: A Key Element in Hair Care

Image of hair cuticle showing low porosity, medium porosity, and high porosity.

Hair care enthusiasts and professionals alike understand the paramount importance of high-quality hair fibers, primarily composed of keratin protein. With a plethora of hair care products flooding the market, consumers are constantly seeking formulations that cater to their unique hair needs and preferences.

Recognizing and comprehending our hair type is pivotal in selecting the most suitable products for our hair care regimen. This is where porosity enters the picture.

Porosity is a significant concern for individuals striving to maintain healthy, vibrant hair and achieve desired styling outcomes. It refers to the hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture, influencing its overall condition and manageability.

Porous hair presents many challenges, including fragility, lack of luster, and difficulty in styling and maintenance.1,2 Moreover, porous strands are prone to frizz due to their rapid absorption of moisture from the environment.

In response to these concerns, hair care scientists have dedicated their efforts to understanding the underlying causes of porosity, devising diagnostic methods to assess its severity, and developing effective solutions.3,4

Hair porosity is categorized into three main levels: low, medium, and high. This classification guides hairstylists in selecting appropriate products and treatments tailored to their clients’ specific hair porosity needs.

Exploring the Three Levels of Hair Porosity

  1. Low Porosity Hair: Characterized by tightly sealed cuticles, low porosity hair has difficulty absorbing moisture, often resulting in dryness and reduced elasticity.
  2. Medium Porosity Hair: Falling between low and high porosity, medium porosity hair strikes a balance in moisture absorption and retention, making it more manageable and resilient.
  3. High Porosity Hair: With highly porous cuticles, high porosity hair readily absorbs moisture but struggles to retain it, leading to frizz, tangles, and breakage.

Understanding these distinct porosity levels is essential for implementing an effective hair care routine tailored to individual hair needs.

Unraveling the Mysteries of Hair Porosity

Hair, predominantly composed of protein, boasts an intricate structure characterized by thousands of cuticle layers resembling shingles on a roof. These cuticles harbor minuscule pores, serving as gateways for active ingredients to penetrate the hair shaft.

Various external factors such as chemical treatments, heat styling, UV exposure, and aggressive brushing can compromise the integrity of these cuticle layers, leading to widening of pore size and increased porosity. Chemical treatments, in particular, exacerbate this effect by inducing the appearance of more pores on the hair surface.

Porosity levels are determined by factors like pore size, volume, and density. Hair with larger pore sizes, greater volume, and numerous pores is categorized as “High Porosity Hair,” while hair with fewer, smaller pores is dubbed “Low Porosity Hair.” Medium Porosity Hair occupies the middle ground.

Understanding these distinct porosity levels is crucial, as they profoundly impact the appearance and maintenance needs of your hair. Each porosity level demands a tailored approach to care, owing to inherent structural differences and variations in mechanical strength.

In particular, low-porosity hair possesses unique beauty needs that necessitate specialized attention distinct from those of medium or high-porosity hair types.

Performing the Float Test: A Simple Porosity Assessment

The float test offers a straightforward method for gauging hair porosity. Follow these steps for accurate results:

  1. Select a Strand: Choose a single strand of hair for testing.
  2. Prepare the Water: Fill a container with water at an optimal temperature ranging between 25-30 degrees Celsius. Consistent water temperature is crucial, particularly for wet hair, as it can influence the test outcome.
  3. Submerge the Hair: Gently place the individual hair strand into the water, ensuring it doesn’t disrupt the water’s surface.
  4. Observe Absorption: Carefully monitor how long it takes for the hair fiber to fully submerge. Hair with high porosity tends to absorb moisture rapidly, sinking faster than low-porosity hair, which absorbs water at a slower rate.
  5. Interpreting the Results: If the hair strand remains suspended between the top and bottom of the container, it indicates medium porosity.

Performing this simple float test provides valuable insights into your hair’s porosity level, aiding in the selection of appropriate hair care products and routines tailored to your specific needs.

Image of float test.

Identifying Medium Porosity Hair: Key Characteristics

Medium porosity hair, also referred to as normal porosity, occupies a unique middle ground between low and high porosity. Recognizing this porosity level requires attention to specific traits:

  1. Manageability: Medium porosity hair is generally easy to comb, brush, and style, offering flexibility in hairstyling endeavors.
  2. Appearance: While often healthy-looking, medium porosity hair may occasionally exhibit dryness and lackluster shine, even without prior chemical treatments.
  3. Water Absorption: It readily absorbs water and dries out efficiently, indicating a balanced porosity level.
  4. Color Consistency: Hair maintains a uniform color along its length, with occasional discoloration observed primarily at the tips.
  5. End Health: The ends of medium porosity hair typically display minimal damage, with only a few instances of broken or split ends.

By recognizing these distinct characteristics, individuals can accurately identify and understand medium porosity hair, enabling them to tailor their hair care routines for optimal health and vitality.

Understanding Medium Porosity Hair: Key Differences

Medium porosity hair stands distinctively between low and high porosity hair types, exhibiting unique characteristics that set it apart:

Cuticle Structure

Medium porosity hair features medium-sized cuticle openings with some pores, allowing small molecules of active ingredients and water to penetrate. While easy to wet, this hair type can also dry out quickly, making it susceptible to extreme humidity and cold weather conditions.

In contrast, low porosity hair possesses fewer cuticle openings, while high-porosity hair boasts a higher ratio of pores and pore density, leading to many empty spaces within the hair fibers.

Moisture Balance

Medium porosity hair maintains an adequate level of moisture content, requiring moisturizing products to preserve its hydration balance. Despite being easy to wet, it can swiftly dry out, making it an ideal candidate for moisturizing treatments.

Conversely, high-porosity hair lacks moisture, resulting in dry and brittle strands, whereas low porosity hair tends to retain moisture well.

Hair Shaft Quality

The quality of the hair shaft in medium porosity hair varies throughout its length. While smooth and aligned at the roots, the surface deteriorates towards the tips, becoming rougher with widened cuticles and additional pore openings over time.

Low-porosity hair typically boasts a smooth and shiny shaft quality, whereas high porosity hair often feels rough due to eroded cuticle layers.

Active Ingredient Adsorption

Medium porosity hair exhibits a moderate capacity for adsorbing active ingredients, influenced by their molecular size and the size of available cuticle pores. This includes the uptake of color pigments, where medium porosity hair strikes a balance between low and high porosity hair types.

High porosity hair quickly adsorbs active molecules due to its numerous large pores, while low porosity hair may require additional time or a dilator to facilitate adsorption.

Best Tips and Products to Take Care of Medium Porosity Hair

Maintaining Cleanliness and Hygiene

Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene is paramount for healthy hair and scalp. Follow these essential tips to ensure optimal cleanliness:

Regularly wash your hair using a moisturizing shampoo to keep it clean and refreshed. This helps eliminate sebum, debris, and dead cells that can accumulate on the scalp over time.

Accumulation of sebum and dead cells on the scalp can lead to dandruff, causing dryness and unsightly flakes. Opt for a gentle moisturizing shampoo to combat dandruff, effectively keeping the scalp nourished and flake-free.

A moisturizing shampoo not only cleanses the scalp but also ensures the removal of dead cells from the scalp’s surface. This helps maintain optimal moisture levels, leaving your hair and scalp evenly moisturized and conditioned.

Consistent Conditioning Routine

Maintaining a regular conditioning routine is crucial for medium porosity hair. Follow these steps to ensure your hair receives the care it needs:

After shampooing, apply a light-textured moisturizing conditioner without fail. This step is vital for medium porosity hair to lock in moisture and maintain its health.

Conditioning agents in the conditioner help detangle knots, smooth the hair cuticle surface, and provide slip. This facilitates easier combing, brushing, and styling, ensuring your hair remains manageable and free from tangles.

Regular conditioning preserves the protein structure of the hair fiber, preventing any further loss of hair strength. By maintaining the integrity of the hair strands, conditioning helps prevent an increase in porosity levels.

Incorporating conditioner into your hair care routine is essential for keeping medium porosity hair healthy and resilient. For personalized recommendations on conditioner selection and usage, consult a trusted hair care professional.

Incorporate Weekly Deep Conditioning

Enhance the health and vitality of your medium porosity hair with a weekly deep conditioning regimen. Follow these steps to unlock the full benefits:

In addition to regular conditioner use, integrate a deep conditioning mask into your routine once a week. This concentrated treatment is essential for providing your hair with the nourishment it needs to thrive.

Look for a deep conditioning mask tailored for medium porosity hair, containing key ingredients such as:

  • Humectants
  • Hydrating agents
  • Cationic conditioners
  • Proteins
  • Emollients
  • Natural oils/butters

A deep conditioning mask not only restores hair health but also enhances its structure and shine. It promotes lasting smoothness and quality while safeguarding against future damage, ensuring your hair remains vibrant and resilient.

Remember: If your hair is already in good condition, you can adjust the frequency of deep conditioning treatments accordingly. Listen to your hair’s needs to determine the best approach for maintaining its health and vitality.

Embrace Oil Therapy for Scalp Health

Discover the power of oil therapy in maintaining optimal hair and scalp health. Follow these guidelines to harness its benefits effectively:

Natural oils serve as potent emollients, fiber lubricants, and scalp stimulants. Enriched with fatty acids, antioxidants, and other essential organic compounds, they provide unparalleled nourishment.

Incorporate regular scalp massages into your routine to promote scalp health and root nourishment. Aim for at least one session per week to reap the full benefits of oil therapy.

For medium porosity hair, opt for light-textured oils that can effectively penetrate and nourish the hair shaft without weighing it down. Choose oils carefully to ensure they align with your hair’s unique needs and preferences.

Top Oil choices

Leave it applied for approximately 2-4 hours or overnight. Wash your hair the next morning and proceed with your daily hair care routine. 

Other Best Products for Medium Porosity Hair

Leave-In Conditioners

Curl Creams


Is medium porosity hair frizzy?

All hair is prone to frizz due to its rapid and high adsorption of moisture from its environment. That is just part of having hair.

Curly hair in general is more prone to frizz since its structure is completely different than straight hair, so medium porosity hair can be frizzy.

The key is to find the right products and techniques that work best for your medium porosity hair so you can keep it moisturized and reduce the frizz.

How frequently should hair medium porosity be cleansed?

It depends on your lifestyle. If you exercise frequently or if your medium porosity hair is exposed to things like smoke, salt water, or wind then you may need to cleanse it more often.

In general, medium porosity hair should be shampooed and conditioned at least once a week to keep it looking its best. After all, a healthy scalp equals healthy hair!

An excess of sebum, debris, and dead cells on the scalp can result in a slew of problems, so it’s important to keep the scalp clean and healthy.

Which is better – high porosity, low porosity, or medium porosity hair?

All hair is good hair, and one porosity level is not necessarily better than the other.

What matters is that you understand your hair’s porosity level and that you use products, techniques, and treatments that are specifically made for your hair type and porosity level.

Get to know your hair and how it responds to different products and treatments. This will help you maintain it in the best possible condition.


Medium porosity hair requires a tailored hair care routine due to its delicate nature. Before investing in any products, it’s crucial to understand your hair’s unique characteristics.

Despite its appearance of health and shine, medium porosity hair requires specialized care to maintain its natural beauty.

Crafting a personalized regimen is key to achieving a flattering style and preserving your hair’s vitality and radiance. Take the time to assess your hair’s needs and choose products accordingly for optimal health and beauty.


1. Marsh, J. M.; Gray, J.; Tosti, A., Healthy Hair. Springer International Publishing: 2015.

2. Zviak, C., The Science of Hair Care. Taylor & Francis: 1986.

3. Syed, A. N.; Ayoub, H., Correlating porosity and tensile strength of chemically modified hair. Cosmetics and toiletries 2002, 117 (11), 57-64.

4. Hessefort, Y. Z.; Holland, B. T.; Cloud, R. W., True porosity measurement of hair: a new way to study hair damage mechanisms. J. Cosmet. Sci. 2008, 59 (4), 303.

5. Fernandes, C.; Medronho, B.; Alves, L.; Rasteiro, M. G., On Hair Care Physicochemistry: From Structure and Degradation to Novel Biobased Conditioning Agents. Polymers 2023, 15 (3), 608.


I’m just a girl who transformed her severely damaged hair into healthy hair. I adore the simplicity of a simple hair care routine, the richness of diverse textures, and the joy of sharing my journey from the comfort of my space.

My mission? To empower others with the tools to restore, and maintain healthy hair, and celebrate the hair they were born with!

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Prepare yourself for an unforgettable adventure and make sure to pack these essential items to take with you on your journey.

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