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A Comprehensive Guide to Medium Porosity Hair

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

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Not many people talk about medium porosity hair, but it’s an important porosity level to pay attention to. It’s not too high or too low, making medium porosity hair unique and need special care.

To help you out, we’ve provided a comprehensive guide and I’m sure your locks will be singing with praise as they’re given a chance to thrive through top-notch maintenance and care.

We will explore how to identify medium porosity hair, discern what causes it, and how to address the problem, plus more!

This journey requires patience, dedication, and knowledge, so take out your notepad, sit back, relax, and get ready for a crash course on medium porosity hair!


Consumers and hair care formulators alike are keenly aware of the importance of quality hair fibers, which are composed of keratin protein. Hair is a unique natural material that requires special attention to ensure its superior quality.

We as consumers are always on the lookout for great quality hair care products that help us achieve our desired look and style.

Understanding the type of hair we have is a major step in finding the right products for our needs. That’s where porosity comes in.

Porous hair is a major issue for those who are concerned about the health of their hair and the end results of styling.

Porous hair is fragile, lacks shine, and is difficult to style and manage.1-2 It may appear lifeless, leaving your curl definition looking unstructured and lackluster.

What’s more, porous hair is prone to frizz due to its rapid and high adsorption of moisture from its surroundings.

Hair care scientists have worked diligently to uncover the cause of porosity, develop a strategy for analyzing its severity and find ways to resolve it.3-4 

Hair porosity is classed into three levels based on how porous individual hairs are. Hairstylists use this information to determine which products and treatments will be most effective for their client’s hair needs.

They are:

What is Hair Porosity? 

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

Hair is made up of protein and its outer surface consists of thousands of cuticles that lay on the surface like shingles. These cuticle layers contain tiny pores that provide a channel for active ingredients to penetrate.

Repeated chemical treatments, thermal styling, UV exposure, or harsh brushing can strip away the cuticle layers and cause the pore size to widen.

Additionally, using chemical treatments can cause more pores to appear on the surface. This increases the porosity level and causes hair to be characterized as “porous”.

The level of porosity depends upon the pore size, the volume of the pore, and the number of pores on the surface.

  • Hair fibers with larger pore sizes, higher pore volume, and numerous pores are termed, “High Porosity Hair.”
  • Whereas, hair fibers having relatively fewer numbers of pores, smaller pore size, and less pore volume are called, “Low Porosity Hair.”
  • “Medium Porosity Hair” lies in the middle.

These varying porosity levels, although subjective to each individual, have a huge effect on the look of your hair and how much attention it needs in terms of taking care of it. Because these factors are so influential for customer interests, having an understanding of them is key.

Due to structural disparities and the variations in mechanical strength between low, medium, and high-porosity hair types, caring for each level of porosity requires a specialized approach.

Low-porosity hair comes with its own unique set of beauty needs that differ from those for both medium or high levels of porosity.

Porosity Test

Admittedly, there’s no guaranteed approach to knowing your hair porosity. Nonetheless, you can form a pretty precise assumption with the float test! The float test is one of many ways to find out your hair porosity.

Though the test may not be definitive due to numerous variables, it does give a general insight. Typically speaking, hair floats because of its natural oil content. Excessive sebum production, combined with any additional hair product used can only amplify this effect.

To ensure the most accurate results, be sure to test your hair when it is free from product build-up and take samples from different sections of your head. Bear in mind that this is merely a general guide to assist you with assessing your hair porosity.

Here’s how to do the float test:

  1. Take a single strand of hair.
  2. For the best results, fill a container with water at an optimal temperature of 25-30 degrees Celcius. This range is especially important for wet hair as it can drastically alter the outcome.
  3. Place the individual hair strand into the water, making sure to not disrupt the water’s surface.
  4. Carefully observe the length of time it takes for the hair fiber to completely submerge.
  5. Hair with high porosity will quickly absorb moisture and sink faster than hair with low porosity, which will take longer to absorb the water.
  6. If the hair remains suspended in between the top and bottom of a glass, this indicates that it has medium porosity.

Image of float test.

How to Identify Medium Porosity Hair: Characteristics

With its unique position between low and high porosity, Medium Porosity hair (also known as Normal Porosity) can be tricky to identify. It is sometimes a challenge to determine the exact porosity level of this hair type.

With the following indications, you can easily recognize these few tell-tale signs:

● Relatively easy to comb, brush, and style.

● Hair appears healthy, however, sometimes it may appear dry, and lack shine and life (despite the fact, it hasn’t had any prior chemical treatment).

● Easy to adsorb water and dries out quickly and easily.

● Hair typically maintains a consistent color throughout its length, save for the tips that may occasionally appear discolored.

● The ends are healthy with only a few broken or split ends.

How Medium Porosity Hair Differs From Low and High Porosity Hair

Cuticle pores

Medium porosity hair has medium-sized cuticle openings and some pores. These pores are available for small molecules of active ingredients and water molecules to penetrate.

Medium porosity hair is easy to wet, yet can dry out quickly. They are vulnerable to extreme humidity and cold weather.

In contrast to hair possessing medium porosity, those with low porosity possess far fewer cuticle openings. On the other hand, high-porosity hair has a high ratio of pores, and pore density, and contains many empty spaces in its fibers.

Moisture Content 

Medium porosity hair has an adequate level of moisture content. They don’t appear dry, yet they need moisturizing products to maintain their moisture balance.

As mentioned above, they are easy to wet and quick to dry out. Medium porosity hair is perfectly primed for moisturizing products because of this.

When the humidity is high, hair becomes dry by flushing out its inner water molecules. 

In contrast, high-porosity hair lacks moisture altogether and is dry and brittle. 

Quality of the Hair Shaft

Hair fibers differ in the amount of protein, moisture, and surface properties throughout its length. Medium porosity hairs tend to be smooth at the roots where the cuticles are aligned; however, as you move toward the tips, the surface deteriorates.

With age, the texture becomes rougher and the cuticles widen with additional pore openings at the tips. This phenomenon is particularly noticeable in medium porosity hair.5

Low-porosity hair is not only smooth and shiny, but it also boasts great shaft quality. On the other hand, high porosity hair often feels rough to the touch due to its eroded cuticle layers, and the inner structural segments might be exposed. 

Adsorption of Active, Color Uptake

The degree of adsorption for active ingredients is directly related to their molecular size and the size of available cuticle pores. Medium porosity hair has a moderate capacity for adsorbing such active ingredients.

A particular example of the uptake of color or dye pigments is coloring formulation. High porosity hairs are quick to adsorb these active molecules due to a large number of pores available as well as their larger pore size.

On the other hand, low porosity hairs take more time to uptake these active molecules or may require a dilator to dilate pore size to facilitate the rate of adsorption. 

Best Tips and Products to Take Care of Medium Porosity Hair

Keep it Clean and Hygienic 

It is important to keep your hair and scalp clean. You should wash your hair regularly using a moisturizing shampoo.

When sebum, debris, and dead cells start to accumulate on the scalp, it can lead to a variety of issues. A particularly pesky one is dandruff; it causes dryness and flakes which are unsightly and uncomfortable.

A gentle moisturizing shampoo ensures the removal of dead cells from the upper scalp surface, keeping hair and scalp evenly moisturized and conditioned. 

Never Skip Your Conditioner 

A light-textured moisturizing conditioner is a must-have product for medium porosity hair. It should be applied immediately after shampooing.

Conditioning agents detangle hair knots, smoothen the cuticle surface, and provide slip making it easy to comb, brush, and style. This preserves the protein structure of fiber and prevents any further loss of hair strength and increase in porosity level. 

Regularly Use a Deep Conditioning Mask

For optimal care of medium porosity hair, conditioner should not only be used regularly but a deep conditioning mask should also be utilized once per week for maximum benefits.

A deep conditioning mask for medium porosity hair should be a concentrated formulation comprising:

  • humectants
  • hydrating agents
  • cationic conditioners
  • proteins
  • emollients
  • natural oils/butter

A deep conditioner not only restores the health of your hair but also boosts its overall structure and luster. It ensures lasting shine, smoothness, and quality while protecting against future damage.

Note: If you know that your hair is relatively healthy, then feel free to skip a deep conditioning treatment. Always let your hair be your guide!

Oil Therapy is the Key to Maintain Healthy Hair and Scalp

Natural oils are excellent emollients, fiber lubricants, and scalp-stimulating liquids. They are a natural formulation comprising fatty acids, antioxidants, and other essential organic molecules.

Regularly-administered oil therapy involving medium porosity hair can make the scalp healthier and nourish the roots. We recommend massaging your scalp at least once a week.

Light-textured oils are best for medium porosity hairs.

Top 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


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.


Hair with medium porosity is delicate and thus calls for a specialized hair care routine. Before selecting any products, it’s essential to comprehend the exact nature of your hair.

Medium porosity hair can often appear healthy and lustrous, making it easy to overlook the need for proper care.

To achieve a flattering style and maintain natural radiance, specialized attention is essential in crafting an individualized regimen so that your hair is as healthy as it can be.


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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